New to Guineas

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by watchdogps, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are hopefully moving to a place where we can have guineas. It will be a 160 acre property, with approximately 8 acres around the house clear or semi clear. I raise Anatolians, so I want Guineas for the pest control. I plan to free range them (yes, I know not right away) and my dogs should keep most predators away as long as the guineas dont go off too far into the woods.
    There is a large coop/shed type building that I am sure is suitable for them as a house.
    I have a few questions:

    I'm not sure how many I should start with. We obviously have plenty of space, but input welcome.

    Can anyone give me a list of what I need to start up?

    I really don' t want to deal with heat lamps and stuff, can I start with birds that are past that stage? What age would that be, and is there any real good arguement NOT to do that?

    In the winter, should I still let them out or do they need to stay locked up?
     
  2. cracking up

    cracking up Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you get them in the warm time of the year you can put them in an outdoor run at four to six weeks and they'll be young enough to adapt to a new place and old enough not to need extra heat. I used to think you needed to start with day olds but they're in the house for the first few weeks anyway so they don't know where they are. With a big property I would start with at least 20 - it is more expensive to buy older keets but maybe you could find someone who would be willing to hatch and raise them for a while (like a 4H student).

    I don't have experience with them in cold winters but others say they are pretty hardy.

    You'll need a secure pen with high perches until they are old enough to know where they live and they can take care of themselves during the day. Food and water and that's about it.

    Mine are really good about going into the coop at dusk and I just shut the door and let them out in the morning.
     
  3. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! Can the high perches be in the coop? The coop is quite tall, I think about ten feet
     
  4. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes the perches can be in the coop, they usually prefer perches to being on the floor. You might want to make a few perches at several different heights... they will all eventually prefer the highest perch tho. Just make sure they have adequate landing space and thick deep bedding to cushion their landings, they are not the most graceful birds when it comes to getting down off the perches and can hurt themselves easily [​IMG]
     
  5. damselfish

    damselfish Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Regarding numbers, we have nine that free range (cooped at night) and they seem to do a pretty good job of keeping the bugs down. We also have 12 chickens, though.

    I would estimate our guineas' total range as 4 or so acres, the chickens as 1-2.

    I would get them as day-olds and keep them in the coop with a heat light as needed from day one rather than keeping them in a brooder in the house. That will minimize your hassle factor.

    Finding birds that are past that stage means they will have imprinted on somewhere else as home. Then you'll have to keep them cooped/penned for six weeks anyway to re-train their brains, while they produce much larger poop in limited space than the day-olds would.

    Plan to spend time with them. We sat in the coop with ours as often as we could, trained them to come when we whistled (food rewards!) and learned to display a lot of patience when waiting for them to decide to go into the coop at night. Be consistent, use the same words, don't raise your voice. Tell them nicely how silly they are.

    Do not buy into the "guineas are stupid" theory. Guineas, particularly young ones, do amazingly stupid things but with enough space, enough patience and enough guineas to make a useful flock, they are a helpful part of the homestead. They alert for predators, chase small ones off, keep snakes at bay, etc.

    You will need extras. See above comment re: amazingly stupid things & plus the females get taken off nests easily by predators. So get 25. You will lose some, and some will become the street-smart oldsters that keep the flock going.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I am still leaning towards birds that can go straight into the pen. It's not the poop factor, it's the inexperience and lack of time that have me scared about incubating. I won't have a place that will be a steady temperature, so I dont know how I could properly monitor and regulate the heat. The house doesnt have A/C and I will be working hours that include both hot and cool times of day. I'd be heartbroken if I baked or froze my baby birds!
     
  7. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and I will be getting chickens too
     
  8. kyle7630

    kyle7630 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You really just need a heat lamp for the younger ones. They will stay under it for heat, and move away from it to get cool if they need to. You will save a ton of money getting younger keets vs. older birds. From what I see around here, adults typically cost 500-800% higher than keets less that are just a few days old. It's pretty common to see adults for 25 bucks on CL, and keets for 3-5 dollars. Multiply those prices by 20 birds and you can see the value of getting a 10 dollar heat lamp easily. JMO, but don't let the work put you off because it's really fairly easy. Especially with the tons of info and people here willing to share advice.
     
  9. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, so if I were to get 25 keets, how big a space would I need to have them with a lamp they could get away from?
     
  10. kyle7630

    kyle7630 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you what has worked for me with my chicks and my keets in the past, and what I'm using for my keets now. I think it could hold 25 for a couple of weeks, and I think the larger one would hold them longer. I have a big rubbemaid type container that is heavy duty. It's rigid and doesn't bend like regular rubbermaid. I have a heat lamp on one end of it, pointed down and clamped to the side. I zip-tied the light as well so it couldn't fall in the container and catch fire. I put paper towels in the bottom and the feed and water on the opposite end. I leave them there until I find that one has escaped. Then, I get the escapee, and the rest of them and put them outside in a rabbit hutch that I found on CL for 40 bucks. If you have a coop already, when they are a little older, you can put the light in there near where they will sleep, or make a place for them near the light and that should work. JMO though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011

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