Should I get Guineas?

AltonaAcres

Crowing
Jan 13, 2019
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If I hatched 2-4 Guineas and raised them I would let them free-range around my 5 acres to control tick populations. Has anyone done this? Would I provide shelter/food/water? We have a pond on our property and tons of trees. what age would I release them? would they stick around?
 

Tre3hugger

Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Mar 21, 2020
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I think that is a little bit too few for them to be a happy thriving flock. They are extremely group oriented. I would definitely provide a shelter(though some do not) that they can return to at night, and depending where you are located spend they may spend most of the winter in. I currently have 9 guineas I got from a hatchery. I built them this night time enclosure out of mostly pallets and 2x4's.
20200513_173745.jpg

I moved them outside a week ago. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/just-moved-my-1-month-old-keets-outside.1376502/ I have only been providing heat at night, and plan on turning that off in the next few days. They prefer to roost most of the time they are in there so far and seem to be enjoying it. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/1-month-old-keets-loving-new-coop-pic-heavy.1377297/ They will live in the coop full time for a month to hopefully imprint that as home. Then i will give them access to my 5 acres. They will be 8 weeks old .Tick control is my main motivation.

I don't know if you should or shouldn't get them. I have certainly enjoyed them, but they have been harder to keep than chickens because I want them to range and then come home and well that just may not be in their plans. There's no guarantee, once I let them out, that they will ever come back. They require gamebird food as babies, so you'll need to provide that until layer feed is sufficient when they're grown. I have been doing some simple things to increase the chances tho, like ringing a bell when I feed and feeding at night and providing high comfy roosts in their coop. Let us know what you decide!
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Natrona County, Wyoming
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If I hatched 2-4 Guineas and raised them I would let them free-range around my 5 acres to control tick populations. Has anyone done this? Would I provide shelter/food/water? We have a pond on our property and tons of trees. what age would I release them? would they stick around?
Read the thread Raising Guinea Fowl 101 and pay particular attention to post by @PeepsCA .

I never recommend anyone getting fewer than 10 guineas. They are a flock bird and do best in large groups.

Guineas are very vulnerable to predators at night. If you want to keep them around, you need to keep them in a secure coop at night.
 

R2elk

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Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Could they live with my flock of chickens? That free range?
If you brood the keets separately they will be able to understand that chickens are not guineas. My guineas are brooded, raised and housed separately and can free range in the same area, at the same time, as the chickens free range. Each form their own groups and avoid each other.
 

wyoDreamer

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 10, 2010
5,530
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NE Wisconsin
Where are you and what is your neighborhood like?
For example, living in south-eastern Wyoming on 5 acres, in a sub-division of 5-acre lots. It would not be a good idea to get guineas as they are loud and like to range and you will get complaints. But, a 5-acre lot surrounded by farmland - yes, guineas may be a good idea for you.

We have 24 acres. My guineas range all 24 plus the 13 acres of horse pasture north of us. Plus, they like to explore about 15 acres of the 40 acre cash-crop field across the street. Plus, I have seen them returning home from the swamp across the road. AND they go to the neighbors across the street every morning to eat the sunflower seed that she puts out for them.

They usually return the to coop at night, but I have seen them sleeping in the pine tree right behind their coop, and in the pine tree near my garden. I have had 1 in the tree and 3 in the coop ...
They have gotten trapped in the neighbors trees by a 2 day snow storm. As soon as the driveways and roads were plowed, they came home and stayed by the coop for about 2 weeks.

I feed them 50/50 layer and scratch. I don't know how old they are since they came with the house, but we have lived there for 6 years now and they were full grown when we moved in.
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
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Stillwater, OK
Where are you and what is your neighborhood like?
For example, living in south-eastern Wyoming on 5 acres, in a sub-division of 5-acre lots. It would not be a good idea to get guineas as they are loud and like to range and you will get complaints. But, a 5-acre lot surrounded by farmland - yes, guineas may be a good idea for you.

We have 24 acres. My guineas range all 24 plus the 13 acres of horse pasture north of us. Plus, they like to explore about 15 acres of the 40 acre cash-crop field across the street. Plus, I have seen them returning home from the swamp across the road. AND they go to the neighbors across the street every morning to eat the sunflower seed that she puts out for them.

They usually return the to coop at night, but I have seen them sleeping in the pine tree right behind their coop, and in the pine tree near my garden. I have had 1 in the tree and 3 in the coop ...
They have gotten trapped in the neighbors trees by a 2 day snow storm. As soon as the driveways and roads were plowed, they came home and stayed by the coop for about 2 weeks.

I feed them 50/50 layer and scratch. I don't know how old they are since they came with the house, but we have lived there for 6 years now and they were full grown when we moved in.
Wow! Your guineas have really had enviable success and longevity, especially for a free-range flock! And... they have quite the range! Trying to restrict ours to 10 acres has been tough.
 

wyoDreamer

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 10, 2010
5,530
10,085
551
NE Wisconsin
I am lucky that my neighbor really likes them, lol. I had them shut in for a week because one was hurt and I wanted it to get a chance to heal. The neighbor asked about them 3 days into them being grounded, worried about them as she hadn't seen them and they didn't come get their treats, lol.
 

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