Small yard guinea fowl?

0wen

Songster
Mar 25, 2016
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Southwest Virginia
I have zero guinea fowl presently, and about the same amount of hands on knowledge of them but a family member is in the process of growing a food forest on a 1 acre lot. They have no real interest in chickens (since I run a couple of flocks and supply eggs) but considering a small guinea flock.

That leads to the questions..

Their land is approximately 3/4 acre. It is completely fenced with 8' high privacy fence. They are growing fruit trees - small variety (BYOC method). Obviously potential for the birds to clear the fence, either through flight or utilizing the trees as a step, but wondering how much they really roam. Say, a small flock (3-5? or do they need a larger flock?) that would essentially just roam the food forest (ideally for pest control - ticks, insects, etc)

Also, some claims that they aren't terribly rough on a garden and prefer weeds and insects to "plants." Legitimate or is myth?

Finally, flock size and make-up. Males needed or could they run an all hen flock? Small flocks viable - say 3 - 5 hens or do they prefer a mob?

Thanks,

0
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,302
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Conway SC
Guinea's can fly to the top of the tree's and farther. They will roam usually a few hundred yards away, but will usually return back to where they were raised if fed there. I have had guinea's Many times and have never been able to raise them successful here on the farm because of predators----mainly hawks in the day and owls in the night. 4 years ago I hatched 8 from a dozen eggs from the auction----I kept them for a 2 to 3 years and raised a lot of "chicks" from them---only because they remained penned------never free-ranged. I Sold them when the bird-flu scare shut down a lot of the local(with-in 2 hours) Auctions. Some are lucky enough to keep them, some just keep buying more year after year. I wish I had a few hundred right now because they are selling high.
 

R2elk

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That leads to the questions..

Their land is approximately 3/4 acre. It is completely fenced with 8' high privacy fence. They are growing fruit trees - small variety (BYOC method). Obviously potential for the birds to clear the fence, either through flight or utilizing the trees as a step, but wondering how much they really roam. Say, a small flock (3-5? or do they need a larger flock?) that would essentially just roam the food forest (ideally for pest control - ticks, insects, etc)

Also, some claims that they aren't terribly rough on a garden and prefer weeds and insects to "plants." Legitimate or is myth?

Finally, flock size and make-up. Males needed or could they run an all hen flock? Small flocks viable - say 3 - 5 hens or do they prefer a mob?

Thanks,
0

By privacy fence, do you mean a wooden fence? One method to keep guineas in is to use a fence that does not provide a perch at the top of the fence. A wooden fence would provide a good perch from which the guineas would have a very high percentage of getting down on the wrong side of the fence.

Guineas are somewhat trainable but it requires attention the guineas and making them very uncomfortable when they do something that is not desired such as leaving the containment area. @PeepsCA is the guinea expert and one of her methods was to run at her escaped guineas while flapping a towel. They quickly learned to stay in the areas she wanted them to stay.

I never recommend getting a flock of less than 10 guineas because they are a flock bird and do best in large groups.

If you want guineas to be easy on a garden, NEVER feed them treats from the garden especially when they are keets. Guineas seem to develop their tastes early and will remember those treats and will eat them when visiting a garden.

Other than digging some major holes for dust baths and decent holes for nests, guineas will not "plow up" a garden like chickens do.

A one to one ratio of cocks to hens with perhaps a few extra hens seems to work well for guineas. If you want a really noisy flock, get all hens. The hens will "buckwheat" all day long calling for mates. Getting an all male flock will make a much quieter flock and about the only loud call you will hear is when they do the alarm call.

Providing secure housing at night and not allowing the hens to have hidden outside nests will go a very long way to keeping the flock safe from predators.

Good luck.
 

0wen

Songster
Mar 25, 2016
715
185
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Southwest Virginia
Yes on the wooden fence. Think adding anti-pigeon/cat/etc spikes on top would be enough of a deterrent or should they consider clipping wings?

Good to know about the hens opining for a male. They won't mind bathing holes - entire 3/4 acre is BTE garden style set-up. I'm really not sure they'll have a tick problem to warrant guineas in a wood chip setting and may still try to sell them on ranging chickens instead.
 

R2elk

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Feb 24, 2013
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Yes on the wooden fence. Think adding anti-pigeon/cat/etc spikes on top would be enough of a deterrent or should they consider clipping wings?

Good to know about the hens opining for a male. They won't mind bathing holes - entire 3/4 acre is BTE garden style set-up. I'm really not sure they'll have a tick problem to warrant guineas in a wood chip setting and may still try to sell them on ranging chickens instead.

The anti roosting spikes might work but that is a lot fence that needs topped off. Clipping one wing can help but also makes the guineas vulnerable to predators. If starting with keets, they can be pinioned and then will never be able to fly. I personally would not pinion any type of poultry but at least the Guinea Farm has all of their keets that they keep pinioned.

Another alternative is to get the Jumbo guineas. They are bigger because they were bred for meat and do not tend to be the fliers that regular guineas are.

Tick removal is not the only benefit to having guineas. Mine do an excellent job on all insects including grasshoppers. Any small creatures such as mice and voles are also part of their diet.

Good luck.
 

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