Ticks are horrible this year! Out of desperation, I've arranged to pick up 6 guinea keets from a breeder nearby. At what age can I start letting them free range? When they are full grown? How old will they be at that point?
I started mine out at about 12 weeks when they were pretty well feathered out. They mostly hung out near the house and the inside of our garage as they didn't fee safe otherwise. As the months went by they explored further and further. While they are sill little give them plenty of any ticks you find and grasshoppers, grass seeds, anything you want them to eat when they go out. Just no parts of flowers or something you want them to stay away from. Good luck with your keets and enjoy!
I start letting mine out at 12 weeks too, mainly because they don't have much brain matter upstairs before that point. But if you have a safe cage that you can transfer them into to bring them outside on nice days (and babysit them while they are out there so nothing knocks the cage over or anything!) while they are growing they'd love that (once they've gotten their feathers in at around 3 weeks). Just make sure they have access to water and grit, to be able to digest all the grass and bugs they may eat when they are outside.
I put my guineas(7) outside in grow out pen at 6 weeks. They immediately squeezed through the fence. I put them in a smaller pen inside the grow out pen for two more weeks until they were too big to fit through the fence. I let them out hoping they would stay in the grow out pen for the recommended 6 weeks but this time they just flew over. I decided to just chance it (THIS WAS MY MISTAKE AND THE REASON I AM POSTING ON THIS THREAD). The next day two were dead. Two days later two more were missing. The remaining 3 have found their way over the fence and into the chicken yard where they have stayed safe, but useless for a week. I don't want my guineas lounging in a coop all day. I want them out eating bugs! I hope they will move on and explore when they are ready, if not I'll have to boot them out. I have 4 more keets in the brooder right now so I'll let the 3 freeloaders stay put until the 4 babies are ready to join the flock. So far guineas have been an expensive experiment for me. They are $5 each at Atwoods and I have a 57% rate of loss. I'm very hopeful that the rest will make it and maybe I'll even get some eggs to hatch out.
wayouttahere....you just convinced me to build a guinea tractor. mine arrive in 3 weeks and I am already tired of the bugs this season. i want them eating ticks, ants, mosquitos, deer flies, squash beetles, tomato horn worms, etc. as soon as RIGHT NOW! (fortunately I am a patient man).
We already have our garden fenced for our climbing veggies. I think I will put snow drift fencing across the top and let that be their first bug eating experience.
How old can they be when you put them outside on warm days (to return to the brooder at night)? Some websites say 8 weeks, some 4, some 2.
I was frankly hoping for 2 weeks, but there goes that patience thing again.
I have 4mnth old Keets that have been outside in a secured pen(so i thought) for sometime. I started off with 10. Just the other day i woke to find 2 had disappeared. This morning i woke up to the rest of the flock disappearing only to find them meters away from their home. I only have 6 now as they just wandered off and did not return. I had older Guinea fowls that were 6mnths and then released them only to have them walk away and never return. I have done almost everything that advises on how to raise Guinea. They are becoming expensive. So who really knows when its a good time to release them!!!
Guineas are great for pest management but you should buy adults 2-3 months before you actually need them for that purpose. If they aren't allowed to acclimate they will wander off and/or die. Adult guineas require 6-8 weeks of acclimation minimum. In my experience I traveled 80 minutes to get my guineas. Because the trek was so long, should I dare say, they only acclimated for 2 weeks and this was fine as I had acquired an already broody hen. She was determined to lay. With those 2 variables I managed to keep the flock from running off. Baby keets will need 12 weeks in coop to acclimate or it will be money down the drain but I have no experience with keets. Its just what I have read and been told. I was recommended adults for pest control then let them produce their own keets for future purpose so thats where I am at.