Will chickens learn bad habits from guineas?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by TexGardenGirl, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. TexGardenGirl

    TexGardenGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I've got one flock of 10 chickens (9 hens + 1 roo) that are about 1 1/2 years old. They free range on our 2 acres and so far no problems. (We did lose a few to hawks and/or raccoons, but that's when they were much younger and still penned in the electro-net fence. Since being fully free-range we've had no losses.)
    Now I have a new mixed flock of 16 chickens and 6 guineas. They are almost 9 weeks old and currently have daytime access to an electro-net pen, uncovered on top. So far we've caught a few chickens out of the fence (when a small portion of the pen had only poultry net, not attached to the ground - I think they crawled under), but the guineas have all stayed in. But they can certainly fly high enough to easily clear the fence - just haven't figured it out or wanted to. They all roost together at night and mostly I think they don't realize yet there are two different species in the flock.
    So, they'll be turning 5 months in early January, so I imagine the chickens might start laying a little earlier than the guineas, but probably not much. I'm a little worried the chickens won't figure out the nest boxes if they see the guineas laying on the ground. Plus, I'd really like to let them out into the rest of the yard, or at least a larger pen including the garden, by early spring so the guineas can start eating bugs in the garden, and the chickens tilling it for me before planting time. But I'm worried they'll start trying to roost in the trees.
    Am I just being paranoid? Any comments?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    I didn't have chickens attempting to roost in trees but I did have to lock everyone in the coop for a few days every now and then because the chickens would start laying random places with the guineas.
     
  3. TexGardenGirl

    TexGardenGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! Did they eventually grow out of it with adulthood?
    Anyone else have any experiences to share?
     
  4. Backyard_Chicken_rancher

    Backyard_Chicken_rancher Chillin' With My Peeps

    First time Guinea owner myself so I am learning as I go as well but what I have learned is that they will come back to the coop/roost at night they will do it on there own (or follow the chickens to it) so you wont have any worries of roosting in the trees.... Now as for them laying everywhere make a Guineas nesting box in a dark safe spot in your coop although if they think they are chickens they may go into the chicken nesting boxes as for the chickens as long as the older ones know where to go they will teach the young ones they need to go to the nest boxes to lay, at least mine are plus I keep fake eggs in the boxes for them to know where to go one day I took one out for cleaning and they layed the egg on the ground in front of the box so it does work.. So you may want to try that with the Guineas that is exactly what I plan to do and if that doesn't work then I will be building them a nest on the ground in the coop, providing I have any hens at all..

    Good luck to you and I hope this helps in some way.
     
  5. TexGardenGirl

    TexGardenGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Backyard chickenrancher - Thanks for your comments!
    Does the guinea nest box need to be different from chicken boxes? Lower to ground or something?
     
  6. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    If a guinea doesn't start out laying in a nest box odds are they won't just grow out of it. Many if not most guineas prefer not to use nest boxes and quite frequently hide nests in the yard. All the breeders I know in the area keep the birds they want to collect eggs from for selling or hatching penned up and just let the extras free range since otherwise they would never find any eggs. Raising guineas with chickens seems to help as well as keeping them close to the coop until they start laying so they get in to the habit of laying in the coop before they have access to other tempting areas to lay but it's not guaranteed that will work either. My chickens were established as laying in the coop for 2 years before the guineas corrupted them so that also doesn't guarantee such problems won't occur.
     
  7. TexGardenGirl

    TexGardenGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How's this for timing? Just yesterday I got home and decided I needed to look for my red lantana bush, which gets overshadowed by the pink-and-yellow lantana bush, so I pull the huge branch aside, and on the ground under the bushes by the house are 5 eggs (from the original flock which has been free-ranging for a month or so)! 3 were just shells, but from different eggs, and 2 were whole. So first thing this morning the electric pen was reinstalled and the chickens confined to a bush-free area (thank goodness I didn't need to work today!) Didn't need any bad guinea influence at all...
    So I guess total free-ranging is not practical unless you're willing to lose some eggs. It's a shame, cuz it's fun to watch them explore - they just finally started coming around to the other side of the house and now they have to be locked up again. Oh well. [​IMG]
     
  8. Nyxish

    Nyxish Out Of The Brooder

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    my birds aren't laying yet, tho they are getting close. i have 5 chickens and 3 guineas (tho one is hurt and kept apart, so the active flock is 5 hens and 2 Guineas). So far while the chickens are all much much more friendly and cuddly and personable then then the guineas (who seem to be seriously prone to hysteria, if you ask me, especially ...dear...darling... Pipkin) and all of them have shown no interest in rooting anywhere but in the coop. (they free range when i am home to let them out, otherwise they will have the coop and a small run...which i need to finish)

    i guess we'll see what happens when laying time comes around.
     
  9. laturcotte1

    laturcotte1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can I say, I am waiting for my guinea fowl to learn how be guinea fowl. I bought my 3 hens, 1 rooster, 2 guinea at a about 3 weeks old. They eat, sleep together 24/7 and free range together everyday. My guineas have never attempted to fly in a tree, on a roof or over a fence. They sleep on the roost with all the other chickens including the rooster. They're two boys so can be real clowns chasing each other, slamming into things, knocking chickens over. I told my husband to climb the ladder stand on the coop and flap his arms maybe they will join them. My guineas don't have any guinea bad habits because they think they are chickens!! A hawk was flying over head yesterday and when I went out to rescue them I found them hiding with everyone else QUIETLY in the bushes!!! A guinea quiet, go figure.
     
  10. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "Will chickens learn bad habits from guineas?"

    Yes..........I didn't have much luck with my first batch of guineas, they flew the coop. I learned to raise chicks with the keets, I even incubate guineas eggs and place chicken eggs in with them 7 days into the incubation in order for them to hatch together. Once I raised them together, the guineas learned to stick around and some even roost in the coop with the chickens. The guineas fly out of the Run during the day for bug/tick patrol (the whole reason I want and like them) then come back to roost in or near the coop. Unfortunately, some of the chicks raised with them also flew out to roam untill they fatten up.
    I've never had guineas lay in the coop nest boxes, I have to hunt in the field for guinea eggs to hatch. The chickens mostly lay in the coop nest boxes, (mostly)
     

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