Time to release the Guineas!?! Many questions!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ElginGuineas, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. ElginGuineas

    ElginGuineas Hatching

    Nov 15, 2008

    I am new to this forum as a "poster" but I have read and utilized the many ideas when we built our "Guinea House" after the surviving chicks were ready to leave their brooder! (the "house" is a two level 4 ft by 8 ft house with solid walls (with ventilation and mesh "windows") on the second level and chicken mesh on the bottom level)...

    We have four Guineas that survived to make it to the "House" from the initial 10 eggs we incubated . The egss were from the wild Guineas that roost in our tree at night. They are terrible caretakers and kept leaving their eggs to the racoons/snakes.

    The chicks were born in early July and are now about 4 months old. They are healthy and active...but we are worried that when we let them out of their "house" they will fly away! OR will they not be able to fly at all and get attacked by predators? Also, the wild Guineas (there are 6) still hang out..will they "scare" the younger ones away? Will our raised Guineas take off and never come back once we release them? How far will they wander off? Since they haven't any experience, will they be easy prey?

    Are all of these fears unfounded?! When is the best time to release them?...do we just open the upper and lower doors of their "house" and leave the doors open so they can go and come back as they please?

    Sorry-so many questions! We can't believe we were able to raise 4 healthy guinease to this point and we hate to lose them! But, we know they need to roam! We want them to roam and eat the pests next spring! We live in central texas so the weather doesn't get too terrible here.
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I don't have a lot of experience with guineas. Mine were raised with my chickens and always stayed with my chickens, coming home to roost with them every night.

    Your situation seems a little more difficult, as far as keeping them 'home'. First, they should be locked in their coop for a minimum of 8 weeks before letting them out. That helps them to know that they should come back there each night. It sounds like yours have been locked up at least that long?

    Since you have wild guineas I think there's a good chance that no matter what you do your four will see the wild ones and follow them.

    Give them some special treats every day for at least a week, in their coop, before you let them out and maybe they'll come back for those treats. I'd give them in the evening and use a special word to call them over to get the treats. Maybe they'll learn to come back when you call in for them in the evening to get their treats?

    Good luck, I'm hoping someone who's been in your situation will see this and respond with more true experience.
  3. wren

    wren Songster

    May 27, 2007
    St Augustine, FL
    Chirpy gave some really good advice there. I agree that it will be hard to keep them in their house. Do everything that Chirpy mentioned. Keep everything the same no new anything in the coop-no new person out choring nothing new. Just open the door at sunrise and back away. Give Black Oil Sunflower seeds or white millet as a treat one hour before roosting time in the coop and close the door when they go in for the treats.

    They might not leave right away. They might look out and be too scared to go out for awhile. Just give them time to do it on their own. I think that they will join the others. They will stay if they are wild. They also might choose the coop if it suits them better (spacious, food, water, good roosting).

    The others will chase them and peck at them but they will probably integrate somewhat during the day. But at night those treats might make the difference. Ringing a bell or saying treats to call them in is a must.
  4. farmgirlie1031

    farmgirlie1031 Songster

    Apr 26, 2008
    When we first got ours as young chicks we clipped their feathers on one wing so they could not fly and they stayed inside their pen for a week. We then let them out feeding them each night were we wanted them to come inside to. They now can fly again as the feathers grew back out so they play around on the barn roof around dark but then they always go in right at dark to their pen at the barn. I think as long as they know that is their pen and you fed them each night they would come back to the pen each night.
  5. txchickie

    txchickie Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    I would keep them locked in a run/pen for about 8 weeks minimum. We have a flock of 15 right now and they left their pen at 9 weeks and have not been back in since, but they know this is their home and they will not leave. I CAN get them in there with some scratch, but they roost in the trees at night. They lose their minds if you try to keep them cooped at night.

    IMO, they will probably mix with your flock of wild guineas. Which should be fine, as long as they stick close to where you want them to. I would start feeding them morning and night to keep them around. There may be some scuffling and fighting while the 2 flocks try to combine.

    As far as protection from predators, I would think that the wild guineas may help your hand raised learn some awareness. I know our guineas are super fast and aware of what is going on and our dogs are no where near capable enough of catching one. Now if you have bobcats or something similar around, you might need to worry about that.

    If it were me, I might just keep them in a run until spring and then release them.
  6. sweetshoplady

    sweetshoplady Songster

    Feb 4, 2008
    Venice, Florida
    My guineas followed me down the road today. I had to go give them some corn to distract them while I left.

    Yes, feed them morning and night is very important. Mine like corn, (even popcorn), and cheerios, and birdseed. They get gamebird breeder feed AM/PM.

    That's wonderful that your babies are ready to move into their house. It's amazing how attached you get to them.

    Mine hang out in the garage during the day, then go out for adventures and come back in.

    Good luck with them. [​IMG]
  7. Tad

    Tad Songster

    Jul 16, 2008
    South TX on the border
    I have about 30 guinneas, I got them from Ideal as keets, we moved them from brooder to a pen and a run, at about 4 months we started letting them out during the day, and penning them back up every night, after about 2 months I forgot to pen them up one evening and they started roosting on top of one of my shadehouses (I have a palm nursery)
    they stayed out after that, they are about 9 and 10 months old now, they roam all over the farm but stick close to the pen area. since thats where the feed is.
    I have some that are older by about a month and they sorta run together but a little seperate from the majority.
    If you keep feeding them they will roam around but will come back to that spot in the afternoon evening, I set up a deer feeder to scatter scratch grain in the afternoons and they already have the timer down,
    Good luck!
  8. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    Do you have chickens also??

    I would think that they will not hang with the other guineas, I have 3 that hang with the turkey they were born with and want nothing to do with the other guineas(I dont think they realize they are guineas), I have 6 of the original ones, and 4 others that stayed close to mom(an americana hen) for almost 4 months, even after she had went back to being a chicken(no longer broody) they would follow her. They have just started trying to follow the older guineas from a slight distance.

    I never kept mine in but they were raised by chickens, so learned to go in at night.

    Are you wanting them to roost inside at night?

    I would let them out a little before dark, and increase that time dailly till your letting them out in AM, and they should return to same spot to roost.
  9. ElginGuineas

    ElginGuineas Hatching

    Nov 15, 2008
    Thank you to everyone for the replies. It all makes sense. I do feed them every am and pm. In the pm, I add white mullet and BOS seeds to the game bird scratch I give them. I call "guinea, guinea, guinea" everytime I feed them. My husband thinks it is funny---but, see.. it will help afterall!

    We are going to begin letting them out next weekend and see how it goes. The wild birds don't stick around at all during the day---they use us during the winter to eat the seed I put out. They use our front tree when they can be bothered. Hopefully, the "tame" ones will stick around more...if not, then we'll just see how it goes. We only have these guineas and this is our first time "rasing" birds. I think chickens would not make it very long on our property, due to the dogs and coyotes.

    Thanks again for all the advice and input. Very useful to us and makes us a little more confident.[​IMG]
  10. OklahomaJamie

    OklahomaJamie In the Brooder

    May 10, 2007
    Rural Oklahoma
    You've probably already let your guineas out. How did they do?

    In case you didn't, or for anyone else reading, here is what I did with our guineas.

    We got them as babies in April. When they had winged out completely, we put them outside in a metal dog crate with grids close enough together that they couldn't get thru. I kept them in the crate for 3 weeks, feeding and watering them in there. At the end of 3 weeks, I would let only one out for the day, as it will not go far away from the others. Each day, for another 2 weeks, let only one guinea out each day. At the end of the 2 weeks, you can let all of them out (we had 3). In the evening, call them (I do the here guinea guinea guinea thing too - sounds like I'm saying here kitty kitty kitty my son says) and pour there food in the cage so that they will go in to eat it, then shut them in for the night. My guineas are about 7 or 8 months old now and they sleep in their dog crate every night. I have a comforter over it to keep them from getting too cold at night. They come every time they hear me hollering here guinea guinea guinea. They follow me when I go somewhere. They are characters!

    As for the wild guineas, I have no clue. Your guineas may decide to flock with them and in that case, I don't have any ideas.

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