Guinea fowl

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by doc623, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. doc623

    doc623 Well-Known Member

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    May be the wrong section, however, would like information
    from those who have and/or have had experience with raising and
    having Guinea fowl.
    Am considering these as an addition for insect control as we seem to have
    more than our share of ticks.
    Any and all information would be apprecitated.
    Thanks in advance.
    Doc

    Ps - got the mouse.
     
  2. MoCrafter

    MoCrafter Well-Known Member

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    Doc,

    We used to have guineas. If you don't like lots of racket every time something disturbs them, you would be better off with other poultry. If you don't mind their noise, they are good insect controllers. They are also hard to keep penned up. They like to roost in the highest tree. Mine also went into my garden and destroyed my newly planted broccoli and cabbage plants while dusting themselves. Ducks are good at getting ticks, but are so messy. I have decided to just let my chickens have free range. They seem to control the ticks for us. Hope this helped you some.

    Winona
     

  3. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    My parents have had guineas for about 3 years and they have done a good job of keeping the ticks down. Unfortunately, foxes have also done a good job of keeping the guineas down.

    -Jack
     
  4. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Unapologetically me Supporter

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    I love having guineas around, but if you don't like noise, there's probably better birds for you.
    We have 10 right now, and you should hear them when they go in the metal shop and start yelling at each other. :haha:
    They are also good to keep snakes away.
     
  5. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    I have a dozen
    free range chickens. They keep the unbelievable tick problem down better than i ever imagined. They do eat some plants here and there, but it's worth it for the eggs, the tick control and the entertainment. I hear that guineas only eat bugs so they aren't as hard on plants. I found that when i worked the ground for any reason including planting seeds or seedlings, it encouraged the chickens to come check it out (as if another chicken had found good stuff there and worked the area over once). The result would be that they would dig up and eat everything. Now whenever i work the soil, i spread mulch or leaves, etc around to make it look as if nothing has been going on there. It works very well.
    I wouldn't expect them to do well with predators, but for some reason the chickens do well while all neighbors with guineas have a hard time keeping their numbers up. I really don't understand how it can be, but that is our experience.
    ray
     
  6. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The guineas I had loved to eat plants...they would gobble up grass faster than the chicken. Unfortunately, my last one fell over dead the other day. She was a powder blue and I have no idea what happened to her. She probably panicked and beat herself to death against the chicken wire.

    Three things you need to know about guineas:

    1. They are stupid.

    2. They are loud.

    3. It is impossible to hit one with your car if you are trying to run over them to get them to shut up. ;)
     
  7. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    I religiouslty hit one twenty two times on the way to work lasty summer. I even tried to miss the first twelve times
    they are stupid.

    but regardless i felt bad for the first few times, but after i consodered the alternitaves like swerving in to a tree at 60 MPH it was just fine



    The poof of feathers is amazing,
    I swear they are all feathers and no meat.......


    _Neal


    LOLOLOL






     
  8. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    I've found that free-ranging chickens work better than guineas. Guineas generally take off for the closest trees and go wild.

    If I ever again see any of the four dozen ungrateful guineas we had ... I'm going to find out what they taste like!
     
  9. brosil

    brosil Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've had guineas on and off over the years. They usually left my plants alone but ate every strawberry I had until I covered them. We found that one guinea per acre of corn eliminated all the ear worms and borers. Something usually killed them but they were a great expendable insecticide.
     
  10. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    My experience is it is best to get hatching eggs and hatch them yourself. Getting keets from a hatchery would also probably work. This seems to eliminate alot of the noise being they aren't raised around other guineas. I once got 4 of them and only had them for a 2 weeks because they wouldn't shut up, but these were adults probably raised by guineas.

    Only get guineas if you have alot of land. Guineas do roam.

    If you have a public road, guineas are daredevils and dare the traffic. (They don't win.) :no:

    Guineas are great entertainment to watch. They move around like a small army of tanks relentlessly looking for bugs. :haha:

    Guineas tend to want to roost in the trees instead of in the chicken coop. Owls like that idea! :waa: Woe be the person who has guineas roosted outside their bedroom window!! :no:

    They are fun to have around, but noisy, and also stupid. They stand in the middle of the road and watch the cars come and hit them!! :eek:

    Bethlaf, are you sure you live in Arizona?!? ;) I had about 15 guineas 2 years ago, and they kept getting hit, until I was down to 1 smart girl. She died last year, so I'm looking for some keets or hatching eggs.
     
  11. twohawlks

    twohawlks Member

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  12. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    I have 6 guineas left of the original 30 keets I got last summer. They are much less hardy than chickens which stands to reason since they are originally from Africa and North Idaho is really not the climate they are adapted to. We brooded ours and raised them in a coop by the barn, and now they call that area home, so we don't have to deal with the noise as much. Their call sounds something like the word "buckwheat" and I when I go out and call, "Buckwheat!" they come running. They will follow me around as I do my chores, yakking at me.
    Theyare incredibly dumb. They are terrific flyers, but when our Great Pyr pup decided that they looked good to eat , they just ran around till they were eaten. The pup has been convinced of the error of his ways since then, and he a nd the remaining 6 coexist amicably. They are supposed to be very good eating, much like pheasant. The book "Gardening with Guineas" is an excellent resource.
    All in all, mine have grown on me and I'm getting kind of attached to them. They're so dang ugly, they're kind of cute!
     
  13. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They're all dark meat...taste like chicken! (My mother has been known to toss a guinea in the stew pot.)
     
  14. papaw

    papaw Well-Known Member

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    GREAT INFO :haha: :haha: :haha: :haha: :haha:
     
  15. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Good points with them:

    They start laying between 12 and 16 weeks and are ready for the pot at about 16 weeks

    Decent layers, about like a heavy breed chicken -- mine lay all summer. Maybe 150 eggs/bird/year. Eggs are smaller than a chicken egg and have a really tough shell, but are tasty -- pretty close to chicken egg in flavor, but a little richer. I like them.

    Good bug eaters.

    Mine have never roamed, but I start with keets in a pen, then start turning one keet loose a week at six weeks, until they're all loose. The first few keets loose learn to stick around the pen with the other guineas in it, then sticking around becomes a habit.

    Bad points:

    They make chickens look smart. I do not know how guineas survive in the wilds of africa; they're certainly not able to survive in the wilds of Arizona.

    Noisy. (Though the one hen I have left has had laryngitis since she was a keet ... I've got to find out if that's hereditary, but I don't have a male right now! But yeah, I have a quiet guinea hen ... pretty cool.)

    They are WILD -- I've lost birds because they've flown into a fence when I was trying to catch them for doctoring. I've had them dislocate hips struggling once I do catch them. I've had them kill themselves by flying into the ROOF of the chicken coop when I startled them by accident, and it's an 8 foot roof.

    On the other hand, they're tasty.

    Leva
     
  16. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    We've had guineas and chickens together for about 4 years. We got all of them when they were young and raised them in the same chicken house. The guineas get the highest roost in the barn and the chickens take the man-made angled roost on the floor. When we let everything out..the 18 guineas head for the tree row and fan out across the pasture. They look like an army lined up marching down the pasture looking for bugs. They are used to going in the barn at dusk...so they do come back where they have food and water and roost in the barn at night. They do get up in the trees ..but looks more like they are playing a game...what one does..they all do. They are noisy...but only when they see something different on the place...whether its a person, piece of equipment, DH with a new hat! But they settle down pretty quickly. I like it because when I'm working in one of the barns..I always know when I have visitors. I have seen them surround and kill a snake..and I don't have any mice or rats in my chicken house! We love the guineas...they are fun to watch! They won't tear up your flower or vegetable gardent because they don't scratch...they just peck for food...and they do have incredible eyesight! They can spot a bug on the wall way across the barn! Buy some youngsters this spring and raise them with some chickens...you'll love them. They come in lots of colors....mine are lavender and some are blue. They are prolific egg layers...but only lay in summer and spring. If you decide to let one nest....watch out..they are vicious mothers! Good Luck :)
     
  17. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    I agree with most of what has been posted - but it IS possible to coop them up, to keep them alive - The best thing is to start with baby keets and raise them to be cooped up at night. If you start them that way, they will always think of the coop as "home", and come back at night. We keep our chickens and guineas together in one big coop. They guineas all fly out of the pen at sun-up, roam around all day, and come back to the coop at night. Only a couple of chickens can fly out, most of them stay in the pen unless we open the gate.
    We have definitely had less ticks since getting the guineas, but I believe chickens do a good job with them, too, but the guineas roam the fields more, and get the ticks in a larger area.
    I prefer not to think of them as "stupid", just different :rolleyes:
    They are much more like "wild" creatures than chickens. They are very skittish about unusual things, people, and events. They will come to recognize the person who feeds them, and will even come when you call them to eat, but usually don't like to be handled. I find them kind of endearing, although they can also be infuriating when you want them to do something THEY don't want to do ! If you decide to get some, I suggest start small, maybe about 6 of them, till you decide if you like them or not.
     
  18. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    ok , since my husband confessed the error of his road killed guineas ...( in missouri, near branson)
    i will share my exp with them
    we had keets that we bought with our chickens, i brooded them with the chickens, they freely wandered my ND farm , they ate bugs like crazy, if the flock got seperated they would squak to beat the band till they were all together again ....
    they are TERRIBLE mothers, they lay communal nests, of 2-3 dozen eggs, if you can find the eggs and nothing else has .....and have a willing hen , they will hatch them out, then the hen is momma , and ive been told they make better guineas , stay round and may even roost with the chicken at night

    yes they do make good eating , for humans or owls .
    cooked they are similar to pehasent ,
    i cant say how they winter in ND ,i left , and my ex husband shot all the birds and fed them to the dogs ( dont ask what he did with the llama)

    this is why i am now on hubby 3 ( hes doing well so far, i nearly have him housebroken ;) )
    Beth
     
  19. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    We had guineas when I was a kid. Mom loved them. Dad worked shift work...he hated them. One day, when mom was out shopping, and they wouldn't let him sleep, he shot them all, hid the evidence, and mom didn't find out until last year!

    Last year...when I got guineas, because I loved them, too! I bought grown guineas, kept them locked up for a week, then let them out during the day, and locked them up at night. They were constantly underfoot!!

    Then they started attacking my chickens, even several of them ganging up on my roo. 40 free range chickens that pay for themselves win over a handful of mean guineas, no matter how many bugs they eat.

    Now, the guinea flock that belongs to my neighbor a quarter mile down the road comes up here and pick on my chickens! <Sigh>

    Meg
     
  20. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I had a small flock of guineas roaming about the field. Started with about 20 day old keets that grew nicely lawn and pasture bugs, etc. They were attracted near the road (highway) in the mornings, to which one old neighbor complained that they were a 'hazard'. None ever got run over, but the predators did get them one by one at night when they roost in the trees.
    They squack loudly, and when separated in tall grass will find each other by constant yelping until they gather. Plenty of room here, so that didn't bother me, but in a place with close neighbors it could be a problem. They do alert the other fowl of danger and eat lots of bugs, so those are their good points.
    They lay their eggs haphazard and well hidden. Once I found about 50 abandoned in a pile in the high grass pasture and none of the hens attempted brooding them. Maybe it was because of the large 'free range' they had at the time? :confused:
    Guineas love to eat slugs. If you flip over a board, stone, or log in our climate the slugs are numerous and the guineas come running to devour them.
    The feathers are attractive. I hear the white guineas are a better bird to keep as they are easy to follow where they lay their eggs. They also are better for butchreing cleanly for the restaurant trade if that is a possibility, though are easy prey for hawk or eagles and such.