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Questions about Ameraucanas and Silkies with Guinea Fowl

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BennieAnTheJets, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. BennieAnTheJets

    BennieAnTheJets Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2016
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    Hi, Bennie here.

    We have a nice flock of 23 Guineas and were thinking of possibly adding chickens.

    The two breeds most fascinating to me are Ameraucanas and Silkies.

    We have tons of questions - some of which do not seem to have been answered in previous threads - so here we go:

    Does anyone know what the biggest challenges are when one has never had chickens (what may be a learning curve) when one comes from Guinea Fowl only?

    I understand that one may obtain fertile eggs of Ameraucanas from a BYC member - I need help with the obvious: when you get a few roosters hatching, do you have to kill or try to sell the extra males?

    How well do you think one male would get along with the Guineas?

    With Guineas, we were able to keep all babies and we have 11 males and that works ok. With chickens that won't work, right?

    I am not sure I can kill the extra roosters (or cull, as some folks prefer to call it).

    Do you think Silkies would fit into such an assortment or be hurt by the Guineas and Ameraucanas?

    I love the blue eggs and would raise them on organic feed to eat the eggs - Silkies are just so pretty and may be great to hatch a few Ameraucanas or even Guinea eggs, right?

    Any advice much appreciated! or links to previous posts if I missed them.

    Thanks, Bennie
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    I have zero experience with guinea. I do know that silkies can either be little spitfires or they can be slow and picked on. They aren't a good breed in a mixed flock, they often are the target of pecking, especially the crest. Americana are pretty, they often don't lay a lot of eggs. If you can't cull roosters I wouldn't breed. The market quickly gets saturated with extra roosters and there's only so many homes for them.
     
  3. BennieAnTheJets

    BennieAnTheJets Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2016
    Virginia, USA
    thanks so much for your reply, oldhenlikesdogs!

    yeah, I can see how the Silkies may be picked on, being smaller and not seeing well past their tufts, and looking "different" with hidden eyes, so less threatening to others, maybe

    ok, so how do you kill/cull roosters then, if you hatch Ameraucanas, for example?

    I have a "gas chamber" making CO2 with baking soda and vinegar, to euthanize keets (baby Guineas) if they are born and seem unable to make it, to end suffering, but with the chicks, do you have to wait for them to grow older to see who is a rooster?

    here is a link to the euthanasia chamber - I searched for quite a while to find the most painless method - if you know a better way, please let me know

    http://guineas.com/forum/index.php?id=8376

    from http://www.ratfanclub.org/euth.html

    also I would like to find out what people do with the extra roosters - do people eat them? - how big are they when it is decided to kill/cull them?


    Thanks, Bennie
     
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I decided to give Guineas a try a year or so ago. I was not impressed with their temperaments. They had their own coop, but chose to move themselves in with my Easter Eggers, Olive Eggers, Marans and black Spanish Turkeys. That would have been perfectly fine, had they not spent all of their time terrorizing everyone. Even the turkeys who were much bigger. They'd all be pecking about the yard, then for whatever reason, one guinea would single out a bird, grab it by the wings or tail and start dragging it around. Which would then catch the attention of the others who would join in. I dealt with several dead birds because of those guineas. It could have been my source, but I didn't care for them. And I'd NEVER put them with Silkies. Ever. The standard sized chickens would probably be okay with Silkies if raised up by them, but I've even had that go badly. Silkies are usually docile little birds that don't see well, and they do better with others of their own kind or other docile or crested breeds.

    Culling doesn't necessarily mean killing. It can also mean rehoming or even just moved to a different coop away from the flock. Most of my extra cockerels (especially the Silkies and Sizzles) are rehomed with pullets in pairs or trios. Others go away by themselves to a new flock. Some are sold and eaten by the buyer. Some are eaten by us. I also have a free range bachelor coop for birds I can't find homes for, get attached to or that I'm waiting to process. There are lots of options for extra boys, not all of them involve killing.

    Good luck :)
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    We cull by breaking the neck and harvesting the meat. It can be hard to have to face this option, but it's one you will have to become familiar with if you wish to breed. Maybe you are lucky enough to have a processor nearby or customers who will eat them. I like keeping birds alive too but there's not enough homes, about 50% hatched will be roosters. Give a good life than give them a good death, no matter how you decide to do it.
     
  6. BennieAnTheJets

    BennieAnTheJets Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2016
    Virginia, USA
    sorry to hear about your trouble with the Guineas, howfunkyisurchicken, especially the dead birds!

    I must say, I can see it - it is probably not your source of Guineas, but the Guineas themselves and a little bit of environment - I can train mine a little and get them to act one way or the other by putting them in certain situations regularly and from the time they were little

    there is a lady on the Guinea Fowl International forum http://guineas.com/forum/index.php?mode=user&search_user=sandshaven who is very good with training Guineas - she can do amazing things with them - I think it is because she thought about them a lot and she is very determined to help autistic children with the birds - whenever I think Guineas are hard to train, she proves otherwise - she has a web site, too, and may be willing to help/answer questions

    http://sandshaven.com/therapy.php and http://sandshaven.com/hatchery.php

    just wanted to include this to avoid giving Guineas a bad rap

    like all other creatures, they do form habits and adapt to their environment - overall they tend to be pretty wild and aggressive (which I like better than being weak and sickly) but it can be a problem if one expects docile and friendly birds - they need their space and you need to keep an eye on them, I find

    having said that, I never had serious injuries, let alone death, but we only have Guineas competing with other Guineas - so pretty much same size and strength birds

    I also have created extra spaces (hiding spaces and roosts and platforms inside the coop and run) whenever I felt like there was too much stress on a weaker bird in the flock - and that always resolved things for us

    overall I love our Guineas!

    Thanks for the tip on the Silkies! if I ever get any, I'll be sure to give them their own enclosure and watch closely at free ranging time

    Thanks also for the tips about culling!

    yeah, if I got Ameraucanas, I would probably want to breed them, too, to contribute to keeping the breed going, especially since they are not so common, but I am not sure about the noise of a rooster either

    Guineas are loud but a rooster crows! ha ha! that is another bother in the neighborhood, perhaps - we'll have to see

    I have no experience with the breaking the neck technique - maybe a close by farm could process the extra roosters for us to eat for a fee, if we cannot find homes for them

    agree with the good life and quick death idea - thanks, oldhenlikesdogs!

    we do eat chickens from local farms
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016

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