Time of day to free range? aka how to free range while working a FT job

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by SilverPenny, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. SilverPenny

    SilverPenny Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 28, 2015
    Olathe, KS
    Hi everyone! I'm new to all this, and have been mostly posting over in the Peafowl section. However, I am getting guineas as well as the peafowl next spring/summer, and am still doing my research!

    This is a rather different question than the typical 'how old to free range' question. My job requires long hours (10-12 hr shifts), and I do want to free range the guineas during the day. But with a full time job, how do you manage this? Do you let them out before you leave in the morning, when it is still dark (aka winter) and hope that nothing will get them? Do you wait until you get off work when it's already dark and let them out for a little bit before putting them back? Do they just stay cooped up in the wintertime?

    Granted, this is more of a question during the shorter sunlight hours, but on the days that I work longer, how do I ensure that the kiddos get time to forage?

    Any and all input is welcomed!
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Personally I'd let them out before you go to work as i am sure they will find their way back to the coop as darkness falls. An automatic coop door may be worth considering.

    CT
     
  3. ElliottAcres

    ElliottAcres New Egg

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    I was going to make the same automatic/timer door suggestion! I am afraid to let mine out before true daylight due to the risk of foxes still hunting at dawn or overcast mornings. If you don't have any foxes around, then you may be okay letting them out early.
     
  4. SilverPenny

    SilverPenny Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 28, 2015
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    Thanks! I totally didn't even think about a timed door. Duh!
     
  5. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A timed door will work well to let them out but guineas are real good about NOT going back to the coop at night, so you would probably be locking them out if you use it at night. Owls,eagles,hawks, and raccoons are my worst predators, all are night predators, coons usually not too long after dusk and before dawn. If you put a timed light in the coop, you may be able to convince the guineas to come in at night, maybe raise them with a couple of chickens?
     
  6. SilverPenny

    SilverPenny Out Of The Brooder

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    Good point. I was pretty determined to not have chickens, but this may be food for thought. Thank you!
     
  7. SilverPenny

    SilverPenny Out Of The Brooder

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    Actually, do you think having a timed feeder in conjunction with a timed coop door would work? As in I put millet in one of the timed dog/cat feeders inside the coop and have it click open shortly before the coop door closes?
     
  8. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    Mine are very good at making their way back to the run about half an hour before dark, and then I go out and lock up the run. I do have three chickens too but they don't really hang out together. The chickens head into the coop around the same time the guineas come back to the run, and the guineas head to bed right at dark. I have a $13 solar powered light in my coop facing a wall that seems to help encourage them to head in and find their way up to the roosts. I don't let them out of the run until at least am hour after sunrise. Foxes are bad here. So I'm getting ready to expand my run so I can keep them cooped on the days that are short and I can't let them in our out at an appropriate time, or when we go out of town. My run is 10x15 for 13 guineas and 3 bantams, but my goal is to increase the size by 2-3x.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  9. DeAnzaJig

    DeAnzaJig Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't have any chickens...only Guineas and have had no major problems getting them in the coop at night. I kept them locked inside the coop for 6 weeks to train them to know where home was and put a light on a timer to go on in the evening so they could find home.

    I let mine out around 7:30-8 am in the mornings and shut the door around 7-7:30 pm at night.
     

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