Thinking of getting a few guineas and really need some info

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by dmdhart, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. dmdhart

    dmdhart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2009
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    I have several chickens but am thinking about getting 4 guineas. I have a few questions.
    Most importantly, will they eat stink bugs? Our place has been invaded by the horrible things and I'm praying that the guineas will gobble them up. The chickens only eat them here and there.
    Secondly, the ones I'm thinking of getting are 3 -4 months old. Is that that too old to teach them to roost in the hen house with the chickens? How long to I need to keep them in there before I can let them go in the yard? I have a 1/2 acre fenced yard(not covered) that the chickens free range in, but they go up at night.
    Also, how often do guineas lay? I've heard that they are very broody. Is that true? Will they hatch out chicken eggs as well? OH! Can they eat the same as the chickens? I give mine laying crumbles and for a treat will mix in bird seed, sometimes sweet feet and in the winter I add scratch. (plus all the table scraps)
    Sorry for all the questions, but I really would appreciate some input.
    Thanks for being there BYC
     
  2. cracking up

    cracking up Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2009
    So Cal
    I'm not sure if they eat stink bugs but between the chickens, ducks and guineas I haven't seen one in a long time so I think they do.

    I don't think 3 or 4 months is too old. You'll have to keep them in a cage in the chicken coop and gradually let them mingle. Sometimes they get along and sometimes they don't but I think they're too young for all of the adolescent fighting.

    Usually they won't go over a fence but if there is a building next to it they will get on the roof and end up over the fence.

    I think they lay every day. Their eggs are hard to find and people say they taste good but I've seen over a hundred and never seen a fresh one. (Maybe one when they laid in the chicken nest).

    They do go broody a lot but they wouldn't be good for chickens. Maybe if you took the chicks away when they hatch but they're not good mothers - they sort of forget what they're doing.

    They eat the same as chickens at that age. They'll eat a couple of times a day and spend the rest of the day looking for bugs.

    I really enjoy mine and know several other people who do too.
     
  3. robin416

    robin416 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2007
    And I'm going to tell you that your plans are going to be full of aggravation. Guineas are a flock bird, one that needs numbers to be balanced. Female Guineas as a rule will not attack chickens but males will. Having just four guineas in the same coop with chickens will eventually be trouble. They are a powerful, argumentative bird with their own kind, if their own kind is not there then they will focus on what is there, your chickens.

    Guineas on nests do not want any one messing with their nests. Move an egg and chances are it will be abandoned, same with adding eggs. Guineas and chickens have different languages and completely different ways of raising their young. Chances are very high that any chicks will not survive a Guinea hen. There is also a reason their egg shells are so thick, they have to be able to tolerate all of the abuse they have happen when being incubated by the heavy, powerful Guinea hen.

    If they are kept confined for a couple of months age doesn't matter. They will learn where their coop is. But if there is a Guinea flock within hearing distance chances are they will leave to join the larger flock.

    No, they can not be fed layer. They need a protein level higher than chickens. As keets it needs to be in the 26% range for the amount of growth they go through and after that should be in the 24% range.

    I don't have stink bugs here so either the Guineas are eating them or they are not an issue here.

    No, they do not go broody a lot. They will build a nest, get any where from 15 to 25 eggs in the nest and then decide its time to hatch. I have never noticed any of my Guinea hens go broody more than once a season.
     
  4. dmdhart

    dmdhart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would I be better getting just a flock of females? What size flock would be the best to have?
    I do have chick starter here for my younger chicks. It is non medicated for specialty flocks. Not sure of the protein level, I'll have to check. What brand of food do you give them and is it labeled just for guineas?
     
  5. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

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    Quote:Mine come up on high protein chick feed or turkey starter and do fine. They free range. I never specifically feed the guineas after they are done with the brooder...they find their own food. They stick their little beaks up at layer feed and go grab a bunch of bugs..yes stink bugs included as far as I know. I'd get all females unless you want keets, besides the males keep everything in an uproar half the time. Very loud birds [​IMG] I got them to eat ticks. EXCELLENT at that!
     
  6. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

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    I buy game bird feed for my guineas - not sure of the brand, but it's from Agway. The few chickens that are in with them eat it too, but they all free range so it's just a supplement.
     
  7. dmdhart

    dmdhart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2009
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    I may just get females then. However, if I do get some males, should I just get one? Or should there be one male for every female?
     
  8. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

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    Quote:JUST ONE...trust me! They fight like CRAZY and honk incessantly, chase each other and just go nuts if more than one male. We had 3, and that is why I swore off guineas for a couple years afterward until I figured that out! Now we have 6 young keets...turns out 4 of those are males [​IMG] so by next week or so, we'll be down to 3 guineas [​IMG]
     
  9. robin416

    robin416 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2007
    This sentence: "They fight like CRAZY and honk incessantly, chase each other and just go nuts if more than one male." says something big. Because if there are no other males which birds do you think that single male will go after? They are genetically wired to be what they are and to do what they do. They are not chickens, their flock dynamic is not that of chickens and is very, very different.
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Having just four guineas in the same coop with chickens will eventually be trouble. They are a powerful, argumentative bird with their own kind, if their own kind is not there then they will focus on what is there, your chickens.

    Yes, trust me, she is right. She knows the trouble I had when I had 10 chickens and 4 guineas. Had to rehome the guineas before I got my first egg from them.​
     

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