Guineafowl Guineas??

Discussion in 'Gamebirds' started by ChickenCrazy01, May 8, 2016.

  1. ChickenCrazy01

    ChickenCrazy01 New Member

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    We are thinking of adding some guineas to our hobby farm. I have a couple of questions.. Are they nice to chickens? Can they live with chickens? Good with people? Easy to care for? Personality? Are there different breeds of guineas or just different varieties? Lifespan? Some people say they ward off small predators (for chickens).. ? And others say they are good snake control? Also any advice..tips..input.. etc. are GREATLY appreciated! I want to learn as much as possible about them if we decide to get a couple. Thanks in advance!! :D
     
  2. seminole wind

    seminole wind Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure others on here have guineas but I don't. I heard they make good warning alarms. Welcome!
     

  3. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I almost passed this by because I still miss my Guinea flock terribly. Truthfully, and they are going to get me for this, I liked my Guineas more than my chickens.

    Until I had a flock of about ten Guineas they were a problem with my chickens. Guineas spar for dominance and they do it up big. The sparring can go on for hours between two birds, sometimes three.

    To really get to understanding them and being able to live with them, you should forget most of what you know about chickens. Guineas responses very often to what we would normally do with chickens is not usually what you are expecting.

    Guineas are trainable to a coop. I used millet to train mine. They will have a fit at anyone they don't know but that can be remedied by calling them to their coop for a treat. They don't do much with large snakes but they will stand there and stare at them. They will go after predators, large and small. I watched mine have a standoff with a doe more than once.

    My Guineas and my dogs got to where they understood each other's language. If it was trouble then the Guineas and dogs would join up and go after the trouble.

    My flock was at about 25 when we moved. I never had to worry about them terrorizing my chickens because there was plenty of sparring partners during the Spring and Fall pairing up seasons.
     
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  4. ChickenCrazy01

    ChickenCrazy01 New Member

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    Thank you so much for the information!! :D
     
  5. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    If you do it right, alter your expectations, Guineas are amazing creatures to have around. Just remember their genetics are very much those of jungles they came from.
     
  6. nannypattyrn

    nannypattyrn Well-Known Member

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    Will the guineas room and board with the chickens?
     
  7. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    If there are enough of them. After much discussion with a whole batch of other experienced Guinea people we came to the conclusion that having 8 or more is best if they are kept with chickens. That pretty much assures that there are enough Guinea sparring partners and won't try to use the chickens as sparring partners. If they do, the chicken will lose every time.
     
  8. nannypattyrn

    nannypattyrn Well-Known Member

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    Yikes, I'm glad I asked then. I have though about it for tick control, but I've heard that they roost in trees too high for predators. But, I know absolutely nothing about them.
     
  9. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    They will roost in trees but they are not safe from predators no matter how high they roost. That's why mine were trained to return to their coop each night. Before I had the extra numbers I couldn't allow my chickens to free range because guaranteed a male that couldn't find a Guinea sparring partner would go after one of my chickens. They'd go for a rooster if one was available, if not a hen was a good substitute.

    Watching the chase was a hoot. It was even crazier to watch one taunt another so they would give chase. They would run round and round the buildings or trees and it would go on forever. Spring time when breeding season really gets geared up the females never shut up. The males are chasing each other to the point of exhaustion, yet some how there were always new keets.

    I watched a fawn come in to the backyard just before we moved to play with the Guineas. They ignored it but that didn't deter the fawn, when the Guineas moved around the house it followed them until Mom signalled it to return.

    And they do recognize the loss of one of their own. I had a sick female that I knew I couldn't help, her mate stayed with her until she died. I checked for hours to see if he had finally left her side. The the next to last time I went to the coop to check I found several other birds holding vigil with her mate. It was enough to break your heart.
     
  10. chickenqueen

    chickenqueen Well-Known Member

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    I had Guineas and miss them terribly.They were the best flea/tick control in the yard.If something strange came into the yard,they raised a ruckuus that was probably heard in the next county.They were not lovable like my chickens even tho they were raised with the chickens from the start.When they got older,some stayed in the coop to roost and the others left the coop and roosted in trees.I would have some now but you have to buy 30 at a time(from the hatchery-they must be as young as possible) and I don't want or need 30.I know I could sell some but I'd feel guilty.Guineas are very territorial but roamed further than the chickens.
     
  11. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Why would you feel guilty selling half of the order? If they're young enough, like still in the brooder young, it won't be an issue. That's what I did when I wanted to introduce new genetics in to my flock.
     
  12. BarbaraR

    BarbaraR New Member

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    I am thinking about getting Jumbo Guineas (or Giant Guineas). These are larger birds than the usual. Will the behave similarly to other guineas? (other than being more ground bound).
     
  13. chickenqueen

    chickenqueen Well-Known Member

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    I've never dealt with giant guineas so I can't help you but I would assume they'd have the same basic behaviors or they wouldn't be guineas.
     
  14. Frank Alvarez

    Frank Alvarez New Member

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    I have 7 now but started with 10. They pick on the chickens especially at feeding time and pull out their tail feathers then spit them out ( it is funny but the chickens do not think so). They lay eggs from around May to October(?) in Florida( not sure elsewhere). I keep finding nests with 20-30 eggs and when they are ready they will sit on them continuously to hatch them, if a predator does not get the eggs first. From my limited experience of 2 years with guineas, they hatch about 50% of the eggs once they start sitting on them but only sit on 1 of 3 nests which they start laying on. Multiple birds will lay in each nest but as far as I could tell only 1 or 2 birds will sit on the eggs. Of the 50% that hatch, very few will survive to adulthood. The mother guineas do not wait around for the newly hatched or young birds and if the grass is over several inches tall then the little birds can not keep up with the mother. I once tried to catch the little ones and put them back with the mother (about 50 yards away then). That is the last time I will attempt that, as the mother attacked me as I bent over to gently put the babies down. I had cuts on my ears, cheeks, arms and scalp. Needless to say but I have not been able to make "friends" with my guineas, unlike my chickens.
    My guineas were raised with the chickens from the time of hatch on and they all roost together in their coop and they will free range together in the day.
    Guineas are not at all as intelligent as chickens. Guineas will run up and down a fence for hours even though one may fly over the others do not seem to learn . Chickens seem to learn this trick much faster and will do it readily, whereas the guineas do not.
    Even at night when you can safely handle even the most honorary chicken, if you pick up a guinea, you had better be ready for a fight(wear thick gloves!).
    Guineas will eat the same feed as chickens but I have read that they do best on game bird feed but if they free range I do not think you need to feed them at all. Feeding keeps them as friendly as they can be .
    I have 18 keets now in the brooder that I hatched(gestation is 28 days and I used the same protocol as chickens) out from eggs I took off one of the nests that I found. I have been feeding them meal worms daily several times , in addition to free choice chick feed , to see if that makes them more friendly.
    Their eggs are good eating but smaller and more uniform than chicken eggs. They are good for eating( I only eat one if my dog kills it but my dogs have finally learned to leave them alone, but the guineas still walk, all screaming in unison, right up to the dogs ( did I mention the guineas are not bright).
    Hope you enjoy them.
     
  15. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Frank, I've had Guineas for many years. They have intelligence separate from chickens. My Guineas are only housed with other Guineas, never with the chickens.

    They will only be so friendly. Mine will follow me down the drive when I go to get the mail. Will come when I call. And race to the door when they see me come out looking for some millet.

    Your dogs and Guineas just might end up working together. I know mine did. I had the same issue with training one of my dogs that the Guineas were part of the pack. He finally understood and as time went on I realized the dogs recognized when the flock was after something and the dogs would run to join them. Or there was a certain bark that the birds recognized and would come running to see what was up.

    Yep, Momma will rip you up. Sometimes Dad is there to give her a hand at protecting their young. My pair hatched nine out. I herded her and her keets into the Guinea pen, Dad joined them and was not interested in coming out for a week.