Pen Breeding Guineas, & ratios?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by rollyard, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. rollyard

    rollyard Songster

    Jan 31, 2010
    Anyone with any experience in pen breeding Guineas? How successful?

    Also, what male to female ratio? Some of what I have read suggests that Guineas are monogamous, so best to pen birds in pairs only, while other info suggests that you can run one male with up to five or so females? I am finding in my limited experience with these birds that the male is hounding one female & only accepting of one bird where trios kept?

    If I run one male with say five females, am I wasting four females with fertility being achieved from only one bird, that which the male has selected?

    Penning only option currently for testing, & some birds aren't predator proof due to poor vision.
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    BFE, CA
    In my experience, I think/feel it more depends on the size of the pen, and whether or not you can allow them at least a couple hours of free range time each day, rather than the male/Hen ratio being that important.

    I have more Hens than males in all 3 of my breeding flocks; one is a full time free range flock - 11 males/3 Hens with 100% fertility rate, one was part time free ranged, (I'd let them out in the afternoons after the eggs were laid) - 5 males/11 Hens with 100% fertility rate, and the last flock was penned all season in a 10'x20' covered pen - 4 males/10 Hens with less than 25% fertility rate (they were well fed and provided lots of greens, just to rule out diet contributing to fertility issues).

    My full time free range flock, no matter what the male/Hen ratio has been over the years always had 100% fertility all season and there is always lots of mate changing going on, and trios... one male with 2 Hens in toe that would share a nest.

    With my part time free range flock this year I witnessed certain males breeding several Hens every time they were out free ranging, and there were trios with this flock as well.

    I never witness any breeding within the penned flock, just aggression and tension.

    So IMO too many males in a pen equates to too much aggression, and no free range time equates to even more aggression, at least it did in my penned flock. Changes will be made for next spring's breeding agenda with that flock. I'm thinking only 2 males in with the 10 Hens next season (and they will be 2 completely different males than I used this year). I still will not be able to free range them, so we'll see how it works out. I'm not really a fan of full time penned birds [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  3. jcatblum

    jcatblum Songster

    Oct 27, 2010
    Cement, OK
    I agree with peeps, I hate keeping the birds penned. But when I invested lots of time & money aquiring birds of many colors I have chosen to keep them penned. My normal pearl & lavenders are my free rangers.

    I have a 28x28 pen & a 20x8 coop which they sleep & eat in. I have 30 guineas in the pen. Think 8 or 10 are males (can't remember). I am hoping it will be enough space to keep the aggression down. If not I will cage in 8x8 cattle panel style coops as trios

    Don't have the link but read. Study once that 5:1 is good for caged guineas.

    My free range birds I have 1:1 since I enjoy watching them hang out in pairs. I did have one girl last yr that seemed to never have fertile eggs-- no idea which girl it is though!

    Edited -- since I put the wrong dimensions for the coop @ first!
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  4. rollyard

    rollyard Songster

    Jan 31, 2010
    Ok then. thanks for that info PeepsCA & jcatblum. My pens are long & narrow (approx 7 metres x 2 metres) with mostly pairs or trios in each. The only pen with one male & five females I have been letting out late evenings after eggs laid for an hour or so (whatever time permites) to free of these hens isn't too popular with the male, but the others all seem to be living harmoniously @ the moment. I set quite a few eggs about four days ago so too early yet to candle but maybe some idea of fertility in a few more days?

    I too would much prefer to free range my birds (as I used to) as I feel they definately perform/thrive better when allowed to do so, & cannot wait to swing open the doors, but will persist a while longer as would like to find out more about some of the genes. I haven't seen any breeding activity in the penned birds so far, so may eventually have to cull back to two colours only I wish to test this season & free range? An added problem with one colour I am keen to test, Cinnamon, is that their eye sight isn't too good (no pigment), so concerned about losing them to predators when not penned?

    I wonder if different groups would intermingle/breed if free ranged all of the time? Very likely risky!

    Thanks again for info, very helpful
  5. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    This is a fantastic read for me because I want to keep my lavs penned next spring for breeding purposes.
    I have let everyone else out to free range (Pearls, Royal Purples) because they are dark enough to hide in foliage but those lavs are awful light to be out. A hawk or owl would pick them off pretty quick, I bet. I have a LGD so that does help and my dark Guineas coop up at night and I close the door.

    I still have my lavs and one dundotte penned but they are not happy about it. They see the others out and want to go so badly! However, I also have a slate blue growing up and I want that one to survive very much and would love to have a pen already established to add this little beauty to for breeding. I have my Guineas penned at my barn and I fear if I let them loose even for a short while they will go with the free rangers and not back into their breeding pen at night since the free rangers coop up in the barn at night in the grow up pen and coop. They fly over the 3 ft fence and go into the coop since it is 10x14 and has only a few youngsters loose that can't use the roosting board.

    Can anyone give me some advice or insight?

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