To get Guineas or not?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by jingles, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. jingles

    jingles Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 31, 2015
    To cut a long story short, I have a broody chicken who has successfully raised chicks in the past and it is Guinea season here in Perth, WA. I was thinking or giving her some keats or eggs and letting her do her thing, but have been told from elsewhere in the forum to look here as they are an acquired taste!

    I have 3 heavy breed hens and one heavy breed juvenile rooster who are in a 10m X 15m electrified pen (foxes have been a problem) and have a small coop for night (must build a bigger one!). I'm paranoid about getting more chicks as no one sexes them here and I am a veggie and will not eat the roos or sell to eat. So I thought I could give her Guineas and create a new flock which will ultimately free range on the property (12 acres). We have a lot of ants and ticks, so I'm thinking they'd help with this.

    So I guess my main questions are:

    1: is there a problem with keeping all Keats regardless of sex - i.e. Can I have multiple males without issue (I don't want to have to re-home or eat any birds)

    2. I've read they can terrorist chickens, but my girls & boy are massive (Orpington, Australorp and Sussex). Are they still likely to be an issue?

    3. How many eggs/ Keats should I give her. They sell eggs by the dozen which sounds like a lot to me.

    4. I'm about to get a bee hive, so I'm hoping the Guineas will eat the ants that threaten the hive. But will they also eat the bees (probably a stupid question).

    5. For all you Aussies out there - how noisy are they really? We live in the bush with v noisy frogs & kookaburras, so constant noise all around. Are they worse? Do they shout through the night?

    Sorry so many questions,

    Cheers heaps,

  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    1. Males usually don't fight - if they do, the problem can usually be solved by application of pinless peepers.

    2. Guineas don't care how big your chickens are. I watched one of my guinea cocks latch onto the tail of a 30lb. turkey and chase if clear across the yard last week. Males usually display behaviors of divebombing both chicken hens and cocks alike and tearing away a mouthful of feathers. They will teach this behavior to the guinea hens as well. Again, pinless peepers are your friends. They reduce attacking behavior by 70-80%, which is very manageable.

    3. Rarely do all eggs survive to hatch, especially under a broody hen. Some will break, some will be infertile, some will die for the various reasons that they do, at which point you can candle them and remove the duds. It's not uncommon to see guineas themselves sharing nests of 20-30 eggs - they like to hoard before they brood. The eggs are not particularly big.

    4. I've heard that guineas will stand outside a bee or wasp nest and eat the buggers as they come flying out. I've never personally seen it and earlier this year I stepped on a ground wasp nest smack in the middle of my run's manzanita grove, so I don't know how much truth I would put into that notion. Then again I have seen them eat some weird things and they are quite dumb I wouldn't put it past them to eat bees

    5. I'm American so I have no clue what "noisy" constitutes out there but I can tell you that my guineas are without a doubt the most obnoxious and annoying of my 8 species (including my peafowl). The hens "gawk" all day, at about the same volume as a person yelling. Occasionally they will see something they disapprove of and start alarm calling which is even louder. They sometimes do these things during the night as well. If your coop is anywhere near your house, a garden, a workshop, or somewhere else you have to spend a lot of time, then I hope you are very tolerant of annoying loud noises repeating for hours on end.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  3. shoetou

    shoetou Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2015
    my guineas are just not nice to my chickens I read you suggest pin less peepers I looked at my guineas air holes and I don't think they will go in there or will they ? has any body really used them on guineas
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Using pinless peepers on guineas will ruin their ability to catch bugs. You will have to make sure they have access to feed at all times or they will starve.
  5. jingles

    jingles Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 31, 2015
    Thanks for all the info guys. I was planning on having semi-wild Guineas to deal with my ticks & ants so pinless peepers wouldn't work for me. My main reservation at the moment is the noise. I am a vegetarian, but my husband is not and is less tolerant of noise than me! Also, I don't want to upset the neighbors (who live 100m away). If they really are as noisy as everyone says I'm going to give them a miss this year & get more chickens. Maybe if she is broody again next year I'll rethink. I think they are amazing looking and interesting birds but seem like they can be a whole heap of trouble :).


  6. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    They do go in, guineas have much wider nostrils than the chickens that peepers are designed for! You can tell they are in correctly because they will be set in the nostrils, not clamped, and when you touch them they will wiggle a bit. But always buy the application pliers with peepers, I made the mistake of thinking I could just manhandle them onto the birds, I've got pretty strong hands ya know, but it's just not a good idea. You end up pinching the bird too much trying to get them on.

    @enola I've seen my guineas catch bugs with the peepers on. Granted their abilities might be diminished, but I have seen them forage for greens and insects relatively normally with peepers on. They did turn their heads to the side a lot before pecking.
  7. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    I had to rehome mine because I had a flock of all males and only one female and those males were JERKS lol... I even beaned one in the head with a cucumber trying to get it away from my young roo...

    And yes, they are LOUD, reason number 2 for rehoming them to my mother's ha-ha ;)

    They would probably be more docile and less territorial if they were brooded with a chicken, but do keep a close eye on how many males there are; they can come into maturity hard and fast and very aggressively...

    All that said, they are one of the best defenses as far as keeping insect populations in check, especially problem ones in my area; ticks and grasshoppers ;) And they can alert you to EVERY thing that's out of place, including the sneaky foxes ;)

    Here's a cool video I stumbled across a while back; its what convinced me to try again this coming spring, I really do like them, I just needed more experience with them first ;)
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  8. PinkyLee

    PinkyLee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2014
    My gunieas are only noisy if something irritates them. They r a distance from my cabin. When they hear my voice they yell because they relate me to food. My big purple one was out in the yard and a hawk came down and was thinking on picking off another smaller guniea until the purple one chased the hawk! I think gunieas add an element of protection to a flock of chickens. I have 13 with I believe 3 males and as long as they know the pecking order they all get along.
  9. blkjak

    blkjak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2014
    Manitoba Canada
    My guineas provide hours of entertainment. Better than Chicken TV.
    Mine love to sneak into the garage when the door is open to make their chatter even louder.
  10. PinkyLee

    PinkyLee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2014
    I like the sound of their chatter. My coop is not next to my cabin so I hear them in the distance. I let them out for a little bit and they do come to the door because they hear me. I think they think I am their mamma and food wagon. To get them back in the coop I wait till almost dark and put treats in the coop, they all go in and then I lock em up. I plan on ordering 30 on my next order and letting these out to free range.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by