Thinking of getting guineas. Buy babies or adults? How many?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by fastrnrik, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. fastrnrik

    fastrnrik Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 13, 2012
    First of all, I know nothing about guineas except that my grandma had them when I was a kid. They slept in the trees and were noisy LOL. I have been thinking about getting some for our place to use as alarms and just because I like watching goofy animals. They will free range, and we have a large barn they can roost up in. After reading on here it seems there are several different kinds of guinea? The ones I remember as a kid were grayish with spots. I've seen them at the local swaps and they seem to be the same as I remember. A friend of my parents tried to give me some keets awhile back. I think she said they were blue? She acted like they were "special"? I dunno. At the time I didn't want guineas so I didn't pay attention LOL.Should I be looking for a specific breed? I don't need anything fancy. Should I buy adult birds or keets? There are some month old keets for sale locally and adult birds are fairly easy to come by locally as well. I ask because I read that adult birds like to run off, which I don't want. Can the month old birds can fly enough to roost, or will they have to be penned up? And finally, how many should I get? It seems whenever I see guineas there are several in a group? Just curious to what seemed to be a good number to keep them happy. Thank you for any info.
     
  2. Lmoreau70

    Lmoreau70 Out Of The Brooder

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    By no means am I an expert. This is my first go with guineas. I think the ones your g-ma had were the same as mine. Pearl guineas. At a month old they will NOT be able to get up into a tree to roost. Mine did not learn to do that until one of their siblings was eaten by a fox! As for how many you get I think it depends on how much land you have for them to roam. We have 10 acres. I started out with 6 and am now down to 4. They makes their rounds every day and do a great job of pickin ticks and bugs. I know there are several different types of guineas and I got the pearls just because of where I am. You have to consider what kind of predators you have in your area. If I got bright purple guineas they would stick out like a sore thumb up here in northern WI! Just yesterday I found a nest with 16 eggs in it. I took 10 of them and marked 6 so that when I go back and check I will know which ones are fresh. I think they share a nest and take turns laying on them. I checked today and there were not any new eggs. I am hoping they didn't find a new spot to lay. They are sneaky.
     
  3. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No matter what age you get them, 1 month or 1 year, you're going to have to keep them confined in a pen for six weeks so they learn where "home" is. If you bring them home and open the door to the great outdoors, they'll run away, or fly away - - most likely. Letting them roost in trees is fine, except that you're increasing the risk of being taken by predators. Having them free-range during the day, and cooping them at night tends to be the best happy medium for keeping them safe, and happy, and having them do their jobs of eating bugs and sounding alarm calls.

    Mine would sound an alarm call at what seemed to be nothing. THEN they had an alarm call that told me something was really going on, and I'd go see. I learned which call was which in fairly short order.
     
  4. fastrnrik

    fastrnrik Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, that's exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Thank you very much for the replies. I have another question..... How far do they free range from their "home", as in where they roost? I ask because I have been watching our different birds to see their patterns. All of our birds are out during the day. The little Mille Fleur bantams literally stay within 10 feet of the pen, and are quite content to do so. The Golden Phoenix rooster & hen will venture out a little further to 40 or 50 feet. Enough to mess up my landscaping LOL. We have 2 ponds for the ducks & geese, one quite large and a smaller one seperated by about a 30 foot wide strip of land. All of the ducks stay primarily in the large pond (their pen is beside the large pond), and occasionally venture to the other pond, and almost always a goose goes with them. The geese are the most adventurous. They stay in the large pond a lot, but I see them grazing up to a couple hundred feet away from the pond quite often. Anyway, the point of all that rambling is that I'm trying to figure out where to make the guineas "home". Up at the barn or down by the house, which is about 500 feet apart. It would kind of depend on their range that they like to travel? And do they roost in the same tree or same spot in the barn every night? It seems like I remember the ones my grandma had would be all over the place, but I honestly don't remember..... I don't worry too awfully much about predators. We have a pair of Catahoula Leopard dogs on patrol and they will kill any of the land based predators in our area D-E-A-D, and they do fairly often. We had a coyote visit our wildlife feeder and try to sneak in on a doe & fawn. I blinded him with the spotlight and the leopard dogs ran in and literally broke him in half LOL. We still have to contend with red tailed hawks and the occasional bald eagle, but not much can be done about them I guess. Anyway, thanks again for all the info.
     
  5. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    The Guineas will be everywhere as soon as they are comfortable with their new home. Not 10 or 50 feet away either, Guineas roam far, period... it's how they are programmed: Roam/range and eat bugs, seeds and weeds. I agree with Jleigh, no matter the age they will need to be confined to their new home/goop/run set up for 6 weeks (then conditioned to come back to that coop each night, and it be made their normal routine). So if you are planning on conditioning them to come back to the coop and be safely locked in each night (which is highly suggested if you plan to sustain a flock and not feed the predators) I also highly suggest that you build their coop/covered run as far from your house as possible. 500 ft away at the barn is ideal. Believe me, this will more than pay off on the days that you have to keep them penned up for whatever reason, need to catch one, collect eggs... etc, and also by the amount of Guinea poop you won't have to clean up off your deck, porches, sidewalks etc. They will still visit your house, porch, sidewalks and yard areas etc, but you don't wan't your central area to be their central area. If you catch my drift.

    Guineas are flock birds, and until you know your predator load and how efficient your dogs are (dogs are of little help if you have a high owl population in your area, which happen to very efficient at plucking Guineas right out of their roosting trees at night or early AM in my area)... so whether you may or may not be able to consistently stick to establishing the cooping up routine for your flock of Guineas I'd start off with twice as many as you eventually want free ranging your land. (I originally started with just 7, then increased to 28 for tick and snake control, and I ended up with a consistent 12 full-time free ranging on 10 acres... but also have cooped/penned breeding flocks that part time free range too tho). You can always re-home the extra birds (or send them to freezer camp) if you find that have too many for your acreage, but speaking from LOTS of personal experience I can tell you that it's way easier to get rid of a few than it is to integrate a few more/replenish an existing but dwindling flock. Guineas are very territorial and do not like newbies. The newbies take a pounding and sometimes get driven off to the point they quickly become dinner or breakfast for the predators.

    As far as kinds or types of Guineas go... the common, affordable type is the Helmeted Guinea Fowl. They come in many colors/varieties tho. Pearl Grey and Royal Purple seem to do the best for a lot of people (because they are dark colored), but if your dogs are as good as you think they are, and you coop your flock each night then IMO color makes no difference. Every color and type of the common Helmeted Guinea Fowl eat bugs, ticks, weeds, seeds etc, lol.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  6. fastrnrik

    fastrnrik Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 13, 2012
    Thank you for the info. Very helpful. I had thought they covered a lot of ground, but wasn't sure. I for sure don't want my home to be their home haha. I think I will start with 10 or 12 normal ol gray spotted guenias and see how it goes. I see them for sale locally quite often. As far as the predators go, I am a realist and know that where I live there are predators, and eventually the occasional bird will come up missing, be it guenias, chickens, ducks, etc., no matter how well protected they are. The dogs do a good job of keeping the land based predators at bay, but they can't be everywhere at once, and obviously don't help with hawks, owls, etc. Interesting sidenote... we had a large hawk trying to catch a wild rabbit in the yard a few months ago, and the dogs ambushed it and killed it while it was on the ground preoccupied with its rabbit hunting. They're not so tough on the ground hahaha. Maybe if I get all birds of prey to land first? LOL. Thank you again for all the info, it was very helpful.
     

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