Raising guineas, similar to chickens?

Jimmiaandboys

Chirping
10 Years
Jul 13, 2009
126
0
99
Bennington County, VT
My husband and I are thinking of ordering guineas this year for eggs and possibly, meat. Do they need a separate coop/run setup like chickens or something different? What important things need to be kept in mind when planning for them? It's difficult to find a book, info elsewhere so as always I'm relying on the know-how of BYCers.
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speckledhen

Intentional Solitude
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Feb 3, 2007
79,178
13,633
1,236
Blue Ridge Mtns. of North Georgia
They are nothing like chickens. The keets need a higher protein starter than chicks. They lay sooner, but they lay seasonally. They travel further on their daily routes than chickens, can fly very well so fences may not contain them, they are loud, Loud LOUD. Sometimes they become very aggressive toward chickens, which is why I had to rehome my four guineas. They're very fun, though, a laugh a minute. Unless you are only raising them for meat, there isn't much sense trying to pen them up. Their benefit is their bug eating abilities and unless you have a top on your run, you can't keep them in anyway.
 

Jimmiaandboys

Chirping
10 Years
Jul 13, 2009
126
0
99
Bennington County, VT
Quote:
Thank you, Cynthia. We are hoping to free range them during the growing season, we have several acres and lots of bugs. Would they just need a house with roosts and nests? We still have snow on the ground in March, should we connect them with the chickens via the chickens' run or would we need to build a separate roofed run for them. The run I'm pushing because we often have a few feet of snow on the ground from Dec-Mar. I think we'd likely raise atleast some of the males for meat, we're leaning towards French Guineas.

Are the males called cockerels, females pullets? So much to learn...

Cynthia, many thanks for this and further insight.
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Mia
 

Terri O

Crowing
10 Years
Jan 2, 2010
4,671
45
296
WI~chickening for 30 years!
In the winter (in WI) we too have a bunch of snow and I keep my guineas in the coop with the chickens. Now that it has become nicer I have begun letting all birds out into the yard for range time. In the beginning everything will go back in but as the season continues the guineas start staying out and sleeping in the trees. They are kind of more like a wild bird than are chickens. The one year that I did not have guineas I noticed way more ticks on my dogs. They seem to LOVE ticks! So I guess the bottom line is that they would rather b a out and eating other stuff than chicken mash! If you dont want them to fly you could always clip their wings...they would be easier to catch then--for you and anything else! TErri O
 

Jimmiaandboys

Chirping
10 Years
Jul 13, 2009
126
0
99
Bennington County, VT
Thanks, Terri for the info

Do they like to sleep in the trees in the warm weather or do they roost indoors? Do they use nest boxes or lay out on the range?

Oops, I see you mentioned they sleep in the trees.
 
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speckledhen

Intentional Solitude
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Feb 3, 2007
79,178
13,633
1,236
Blue Ridge Mtns. of North Georgia
If you don't want owls to pick them off one by one, they need to roost in a closed building of some sort. Mine roosted with the chickens at night from the time they were 4 weeks old till they became seriously aggressive. Guinea males are called cocks and the females hens. They are ground nesters, so my nest was a piece of plywood leaned against a wall, with straw underneath it on the floor. I have a pic of that somewhere. Oh, here it is:

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Some say that French guineas have trouble breeding and have to be artifically inseminated, but I'm not sure that's always the case. Yes, I called a hatchery and asked and they told me they don't breed well naturally.

We spent time taming ours, as you can see:

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Here are the little aliens, trying to phone home, LOL
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Jimmiaandboys

Chirping
10 Years
Jul 13, 2009
126
0
99
Bennington County, VT
Thanks, Cynthia! They are funny, aren't they? lol I love the pics, esp. on the satellite. lol

Looks like my DH have lots to think about before jumping into guineas, maybe a goal for next year. This spring, whenever we see the bare ground we need to add onto our coop and run!

That project will tame my impulses, a little.
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Thanks again for the info, humor and pics!

Mia
 

speckledhen

Intentional Solitude
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Feb 3, 2007
79,178
13,633
1,236
Blue Ridge Mtns. of North Georgia
Glad to make you laugh a bit. They really are crazy birds. In fact, I more often than not call them "goonie-birds". I hope to have them again some day, but will house them separately from my chickens so they have a separate "society". I miss having them, but dang, the decibel level!
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