Should I just let the guineas out?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by bradselig, May 21, 2012.

  1. bradselig

    bradselig Crowing

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    Warren, IN
    I tried to search for an answer but couldnt find what I was looking for. Several days ago I moved my guinea keets from the "brooder" to the coop. Inside the coop, they are in a 2ftx6ft pen. The pen is just a 1"x2" wire fence, so they are able to see the chickens. They have been constantly pacing the wall of the pen. They are still eating and drinking, but very determined to find a hole in the wall to escape. I tried to surround the pen with cardboard to make it appear to be a true barrier. Well it stopped the pacing, but they went NUTS and started "peeping' like crazy! I was impressed with how loud they got!. They were content in the brooder and rarely made a sound.

    Should I just let them out of the pen to hang out with the chickens? The chickens range between 6-8weeks old. Recently (yesterday) I re-homed several of the 8wk old cockerels. Before, the older chickens wanted NOTHING to do with the younger group and would constantly pick on them. Since the cockerels are gone, all the older pullets have really calmed down around the younger group (which consists of cockerels and pullets).

    While I dont know the exact age of the guineas, I believe they range from 3-4weeks old (possibly older). As far as the size difference, they are very close to the size of my 3 bantam pullets, but still smaller than the Red/Black Star pullets as well as the younger flock (which consists of 5 polish and 6 turkens). If I let them out, they would have access to the coop (10x10) as well as a fenced in 12'x24' fully covered pen. I do want to eventually free range all the birds with them going into the coop at night to sleep (including the guineas). Would letting them in the coop and run hurt the chances of them imprinting the coop as home?

    Thanks in advance for all the help! I will be trying to get pictures of them tomorrow (it was already too dark in the coop to get good pictures of them).
     
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Crowing

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    Even tho they are pacing, I would keep them separated by wire and let everybody see each other until you think the keets are at least 6 wks old... they aren't fully feathered, still need warmth at night because they can't regulate their own body temps yet, and the keets should be eating game bird starter, not chick starter, scratch or a layer feed (they should not be eating layer feed until they are around 12 weeks old, they do not need the extra calcium).
     
  3. bradselig

    bradselig Crowing

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    Warren, IN
    Thank you. They are pretty feathered out. I should have really been listening to the breeder when he was telling me the age of the guineas in each brooder [​IMG] (I was just so excited to see that many keets!). I do still have a light on them at night and the polish and turkens sleep right next to the keets (obviously with the wire separating them). I did completely forget about the different feeds though. Right now they are on a 26% Turkey starter, while the chickens are on an 18% starter. I guess I should have stopped and thought about it a little more and I probably could have answered that question myself LOL!

    THanks again for the help.
     
  4. livenwpeeps

    livenwpeeps Chirping

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    You also want them to learn "where home is" so when you do let them out they won't leave and never return. To teach them this, they need to stay in the coop/run for 5 to 6 weeks straight.
     
  5. bradselig

    bradselig Crowing

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    Thank you. I was aware they needed to imprint on the coop but wasn't sure if they could be let out to the pen during this "training " period.
     
  6. Jebyballard

    Jebyballard In the Brooder

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    If I let my adult guinea out, will he come back in? I have had him in the coop with the chickens for about four weeks now. I also have younger guineas in there as well. When can i let them out to forage?
     
  7. JLeigh

    JLeigh Songster

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    Some people advocate 6 weeks, some advocate 12 or more. My adults (7 mos. old) were penned for four weeks. My personal opinion is it's better to let them out for short periods to start with (no matter how long you've penned them), then put them back in the pen, increasing the time period each time every couple or few days. I did this for two weeks. If in doubt, leave him in the pen an extra week or two. How old is the adult, and how old are the younger guineas? How long have you had them? That makes a difference. I'm assuming you got your adult as an adult?

    If they all get along and "hang" together, then it's possible the adult will want to hang around the pen to stay near the younger ones. Guineas don't like to be alone. You can use that to your advantage, letting the older one out for a while, then if the younger ones are old enough, letting one or two out with him, until finally one day you open the door and let them all out, (and stand nervously at the window watching every move they make, running in and out of the house a hundred times to see where they are.....oh wait.... that was me. [​IMG]) ((They have me well trained.))

    If they're a flock, and used to each other, they'll want to stay together for the most part. I'm a big fan of a covered pen and/or coop at night. I feel it cuts the chances of them being taken by a predator in half at least. But that's just my preference. Others let them free-range 24/7 with great success. I have more nocturnal predators than I do daytime predators.

    There are no guarantees when you let them out but over time, they'll learn "the ropes" and you'll trust them. That's why I supervised to start with. It sure made me feel a whole lot better! The ages make a difference in my mind. I may be completely wrong. Experts, please chime in with advice.
     

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