Uneven number of guineas?

StephJuno

In the Brooder
Jul 15, 2020
18
15
41
Hi! I have 5 guineas that are about 6 mo. old. 3 females and 2 males. I think they’ve paired off. The odd girl out- Poe- is now constantly being chased away (especially by one of the other females) or left behind. I feel so bad for her and she makes such a racket when alone.

Do you think I need an even number of guineas to make this work? Or is this normal behavior and they’ll all settle down soon?

If it matters- I’ve raised them to be very tame. They come when called, rarely wander, are very comfortable around me, etc.

Thanks in advance! I know chickens, but this is my first foray into guineas.
 

red horse ranch

Crowing
7 Years
Jan 24, 2014
2,224
2,499
372
Buffalo Wyoming
While it would be ideal to have an even number of each sex it's not always possible to end up that way. I've often had uneven numbers and an extra female usually gets bred. An extra male just tags along anyway. The fact that your extra hen is an 'outcast' isn't at all unusual. There is one in every flock even with even numbers. Just the nature of the birds..:idunno
 

StephJuno

In the Brooder
Jul 15, 2020
18
15
41
While it would be ideal to have an even number of each sex it's not always possible to end up that way. I've often had uneven numbers and an extra female usually gets bred. An extra male just tags along anyway. The fact that your extra hen is an 'outcast' isn't at all unusual. There is one in every flock even with even numbers. Just the nature of the birds..:idunno
It’s good to know it’s natural. I know the pecking order in chickens, but they’re less ‘group-minded’ I suppose. Thanks for this!
 

Sydney65

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
1,401
2,940
266
Indiana
While it would be ideal to have an even number of each sex it's not always possible to end up that way. I've often had uneven numbers and an extra female usually gets bred. An extra male just tags along anyway. The fact that your extra hen is an 'outcast' isn't at all unusual. There is one in every flock even with even numbers. Just the nature of the birds..:idunno
I'm much better at remembering info than where I got it from. Somewhere, regarding behavior, I read that there are alpha & beta couples. The alpha of course, are dominant, beta serves alpha but 2nd in line. The others may or may not couple or mate, but they serve as guards, protectors.
Some find that hogwash, but I can only speak from what I watched last yr. When I think of "Alpha" I think dominant, ruling. So my "presumed alpha" is based on exactly that, who ruled the roost. Lucy ruled the roost and no one ruled her except PJ, the male.
There was no question who was the alpha male and female, but though they started off seeming "together", they swapped mates before nesting began.
Presumed Alpha female built her nest in the field behind us. I could walk out to where she had her nest in the field & see her on the nest, her mate beside her, & the other 4 formed a ring around them abt 4-5 ft away from the nest.
She stayed on the nest all day. They, including her mate, would take breaks to come back up in the yard to eat or "chat" before heading back out. But if they were away longer than she approved of, she wld call & all 5 wld rush back to the nest.
Then came the day the Beta went off on her own to make her own nest, leaving the others guarding the Alpha. (This is where it starts sounding fantastical, so if you'd like you can look up "week #3 under Sydney to read it as it happened.)
So presumed Beta went off to make her nest, Alpha was on her nest, & the remaining 4 came up into the yard for a break. I was sitting w/them, giving them millet. Alpha began to call, the 4 stopped, looked, & began running toward her nest in the field behind the house.
Before they cleared the yard, Beta began calling from the front. She had built her nest in the field next to our neighbor's front yard. The 4 froze, SEEMED to look back & forth at each other.
Then 1 "guard" went w/the mate to the back while the other went to the front.
Beta's guard stayed w/her, but the other guard wld come up to sit w/her @ times before returning to his station out back. As before, I was able to walk near enough to see all of this w/o upsetting them.
This was how it went during the day, but all wld return to the coop before dark. It was their first season, almost like little kids playing house. They were laying eggs, but leaving them overnight.
The guards had always stayed together and cont to do so when not "on duty". I thought they had a nest, but going back later to look, it was just a comfy spot, no eggs.
Anyway, this is all counter-intuitive to what my mentors say regarding flock behavior, and it may very well be the result of having such a small "flock", but this was how their first season started.
(And there went using the pandemic as an excuse for how much time I spend watching these birds!)
 

red horse ranch

Crowing
7 Years
Jan 24, 2014
2,224
2,499
372
Buffalo Wyoming
It’s good to know it’s natural. I know the pecking order in chickens, but they’re less ‘group-minded’ I suppose. Thanks for this!

This year's outcast may be accepted by the group next year. But another one may then become the 'outcast'.
I've read that guineas mate for life but That has happened very few times in my flock over the years. Sometimes the mate swapping happens several times thru the breeding season. :old
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
3,712
9,010
676
Stillwater, OK
This year's outcast may be accepted by the group next year. But another one may then become the 'outcast'.
I've read that guineas mate for life but That has happened very few times in my flock over the years. Sometimes the mate swapping happens several times thru the breeding season. :old
Yes, my core harem that had stayed together the previous year (when there was only one male) stayed together, but the newer couples and trios did some swapping. I was surprised that you when a hen went broody, her male left her and found another female...
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
3,712
9,010
676
Stillwater, OK
Hi! I have 5 guineas that are about 6 mo. old. 3 females and 2 males. I think they’ve paired off. The odd girl out- Poe- is now constantly being chased away (especially by one of the other females) or left behind. I feel so bad for her and she makes such a racket when alone.

Do you think I need an even number of guineas to make this work? Or is this normal behavior and they’ll all settle down soon?

If it matters- I’ve raised them to be very tame. They come when called, rarely wander, are very comfortable around me, etc.

Thanks in advance! I know chickens, but this is my first foray into guineas.
I’ve had several outcasts. I differentiate “outcast” from “fringe birds” as they seem to have different roles in my flock. The fringe girls are driven away from the core flock but are still members. I postulate that the fringe girls serve the flock as sentries, and are chased to a distance so they set up a perimeter. My “outcast” is one that is barely tolerated or not tolerated by the flock. These are the ones that I worry could be killed by the flock. So far, my outcasts have been allowed back in the flock after a few weeks. I didn’t know why some are suddenly considered to be “outcasts”...
 

Sydney65

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
1,401
2,940
266
Indiana
I’ve had several outcasts. I differentiate “outcast” from “fringe birds” as they seem to have different roles in my flock. The fringe girls are driven away from the core flock but are still members. I postulate that the fringe girls serve the flock as sentries, and are chased to a distance so they set up a perimeter. My “outcast” is one that is barely tolerated or not tolerated by the flock. These are the ones that I worry could be killed by the flock. So far, my outcasts have been allowed back in the flock after a few weeks. I didn’t know why some are suddenly considered to be “outcasts”...
Nugget, ofcourse, is my outcast- the one the rest enjoy chasing round and round the house (it's kind of like the Indy 500 from my youth, when you could actually see the cars when they went by).
But - where as I said Lucy & PJ were the dominants, Lucy "dumped" PJ for Nugget when it came to nesting. He was a horrible nest-mate. He'd stay for awhile then wander back up to follow me around (I was working on cleaning out flowerbeds during that time). He didn't spend much time at all mourning her. Rosie was doing her wandering & crying out, not coming in when the rest did bc she'd head for Lucy's nest again. PJ wld stay inside the run pacing & calling, but he wldnt come out. So every night this went on, it was Nugget who wld come back out and chase her back to the coop. He always seems to have a scowl on his face anyway, so it was comical to watch. He never showed any inclination to take over as her mate or join in on guarding her nest, either. Ofcourse she went into lockdown shortly after.
Now, he won't go in until everyone else is in. He reminds me of
20201216_102147.jpg
 

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