The guineas hate their coop

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by chickenology, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. chickenology

    chickenology Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2010
    Ohio
    I got three guineas last spring and built them a 4 ft by 2.5 ft coop with 5 ft of roosting space. Feeders and waterers are securely hung outside the coop, and the guineas have access to both from the inside of the coop. I originally planned to put the coop up on long "legs", but haven't gotten that part done yet. It currently sits about 6 inches off the ground. The coop is very secure, uninsulated, with a large window that can be closed in or opened in front covered with 1/2 inch hardware cloth. There is ventilation in the soffits and a hand painted sign on the outside with mirrors on it for them to admire themselves in. I kept them in this for about 6 weeks, then let them free range with the chickens during the day. I had to herd them back into their coop every night this past summer (they wanted to roost on the fence which was higher). In the fall we finished our very comfy chicken coop and moved our 5 pullets in. The guineas promptly made themselves at home with the chickens and now they won't leave. We have had so much snow that I felt bad for the guineas in their smaller coop and allowed them to be with the chickens. Now I am seeing the male guinea pull feathers out of a couple of our chickens (the RIR and BO), and not let them eat scratch. And I have three four month old EE's (including a cockeral) that need to be moved in with the other chickens in the next month or so. The chicken coop is not big enough for 8 chickens and 3 guineas, and I am afraid the guineas will hurt the cockeral. I obviously need to move the guineas back to their coop. I also know that I need to have more than three guineas to make this work, so am planning on incubating guinea eggs this spring and keeping at least two more keets. My questions are... how many guineas can I expect a 2.5 by 4 ft coop to hold, will the guineas like their coop more if I elevate it 4-5 feet as originally planned, and will 5 guineas be enough to end their obsession with the chickens? I hate to push my luck with the neighbors by having a huge flock of free ranging guineas screaming at them. I really love those guineas and don't want anything to happen to them, but can't have them picking on the chickens either. Any other ideas for how to make them like their own coop more would also be appreciated. Please don't tell me to rehome the guineas, they happen to be my favorite. Thank you!
     
  2. lotzahenz

    lotzahenz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    My guineas like to roost up high as possible and they all roost in the rafters of my barn, lined up close together at night to keep warm I guess. I would say to put that little coop as high as possible and see if they like it better. I love the site called Guineas in the Garden, google it and there is a whole guinea site that has lots of info. The book is great, I got a copy at my local library. I love my 4 boy guineas. I lost their mother a year ago and still have the dad and 3 sons. It is a lot quieter with no females, but then no babies to show up unexpectedly. My hen hid aways and hatched her own eggs, which I hear is unheard of. She did it twice though. Good luck, you may just have to devise a pen on your little coop. I would guess 5 linear feet is a bit short for 5 guineas to roost. That does not leave any room for one to get away if being picked on, you may want 8 to 10 feet. I would guess 1.5 ft per bird.
     
  3. robin416

    robin416 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2007
    That's not a coop, that's a coffin. Guineas need space to get away from each other. They should be in a space that is at least 4X4 being at least 8 foot tall with as many places to hide as can be fit in.
     
  4. chickenology

    chickenology Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2010
    Ohio
    Thanks for the advice. I wish I would have seen the space recommendations when we were building the coop, instead I tried to go by the chicken 4 ft/bird rule. I thought that since they would be free ranging during the day that they would be OK in the tight quarters. Tonight I will move the guineas into the 4 by 8 ft coop that the 4 month olds are in and move the 4 months old in with the older chickens. That will at least buy me some time to acquire a more appropriate place for the guineas. There are bantams in the incubator right now that are supposed to be moved into the coop the guineas will be in, but they can brood in the house until they are off heat lamps, and I can always move them into the abandoned guinea coffin if I need more time to get the guineas their new home. I am looking at a 9 ft by 12 ft three sided shelter for the guineas, one that can be modified to add a floor and the front wall secured. I would like to have the front wall closed in with hardware cloth and plywood, and a door of course. It will be predator proof, dry, but uninsulated and potentially drafty. Do guineas need more protection than this? In the spring and fall I would like to divide the shelter and raise meat birds in half of it, but the guineas would be the only occupants during the winter. Would 9 ft by 6 ft be enough space for 5-6 guineas during warmer weather? Better to ask now than make more mistakes. Thanks again.
     
  5. robin416

    robin416 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2007
    Because Guineas are so much more combative and such a hierarchy focused bird the more space they can be given the better. They need enough space to be able to escape the flock leaders who can be quite persistent and unrelenting about pounding on low birds.

    My Guinea coop is about 24X24 with about 25 birds. There are multiple roosts scattered through the building. There is a half sheet of plywood leaning against all of the outside walls for hiding. There is an 8X8 wired off room for injured birds or new birds.

    If you can get the space and hiding issues worked out for your birds they should be perfectly willing to enter their coop each night.

    Being that you are in OH Winter time with an open side is not a good idea. They need protection from wind and drafts or they will freeze to death. The are hardier than our chickens but they would need more than a three sided building.
     
  6. chickenology

    chickenology Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2010
    Ohio
    Just to update... the guineas were moved into their own 4 by 8 ft pen inside the main chicken coop last night while I search for their permanent coop. They seem lonely, and didn't eat much today, but they are safe and the chickens are happier. They still have full visual and auditory contact with the flock of chickens, which will hopefully help their social needs. We will all be glad when spring arrives. Thanks again for your advice!
     
  7. Cadeau

    Cadeau Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2011
    My guineas prefer to roost waaayyyy up in the locust tree by the barn!
    Probably 20 feet up and buried way in by the trunk.
     
  8. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

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    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    I had my 5 adult guineas in with my younger chickens all summer long. Then I started free ranging again a few months back and the guineas moved in with the older chickens!! I think they liked the taller roost. The older chicken's roost is 8' by 10' and the other roost is only around 4' by 6' or something.
     

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