How do you raise baby guineas

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by NancyinArkansas, May 19, 2005.

  1. NancyinArkansas

    NancyinArkansas Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2002
    I know they are not like chickens and how big are they when you let them in the yard-do they have to be in a fence at night and can they run with dogs and cats -if they are raised with them -will they let them alone-they did nt bother my chickens when i had them--do they scratch up flower beds like chickens-i need some advice from people who know about guineas-thank you all-Nancy
  2. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2002
    The keets are raised similarly to chicks except they are given a higher protein starter. When they are fully feathered, and when the brroder temp has dropped to meet ambient temps, they can be let out of the brooder. I keep mine in a flight cage until they are several months old. After that I let them loose to scrounge for bugs. At dusk, they return to the flight cage they were raised in and that makes it easy to put them up at night. In my experience, not much will surpirse a guinea adult- they are excellent alarms: strange dogs, cats, birds, and the phone ringing will get them going. Adult male guineas may kill adult roosters by running them to death. It has happened with three of the four adult guinea trios I've had. It doesn't happen all the time though. The latest guinea pair made friends with a third string roo and let him hang out with them even as they chased my dominant roo to kingdom come. Other than not being as people-oriented as some chickens can become, they pretty much act like chickens with really good flight and voice capabilities. I can't answer the gardening questions. I've always kept my garden area fenced off.

  3. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 26, 2003
    South of DFW,TX zone 8a
    Use game bird starter.
  4. Conni

    Conni Well-Known Member

    Apr 29, 2005
    First of all Nancy, I am in Arkansas too!! Nice to know you. :)

    I have been thinking about a Guinea myself. I dont even know where to get one? Which probably sounds stupid. I sure dont know how to raise one. I was wanting to get some for our property that we dont live on yet-- is that possible? Can they make it without me everyday? IS that cruel? Sorry if this sounds dumb. But I dont know anything about them. :)
  5. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    HI Nancy and Conni - I too live in Arkansas -- North Central to be exact. We've been here 8 years and Guineas were the first thing we got. You can order guineas from McMurray's in Iowa -- or you can check with your local feed/farm supply store. We get ours at Race Brothers in Harrisons. The babies/keats need to be kept in a brooder (which can be a cardboard box, kept out of drafts, with a light bulb. They become get escape artist at 2-3weeks so your brooder will need a cover. Some straw or hay in the bottom of the box - I've heard people use sand but I've never done that myself. Just keep in mind that they will eat whatever you use in the bottom of the box and choose materials accordingly. The new borns easily get what is called spread leg, so you have to be careful about not putting them on smooth surfaces. They start out at 90 degrees, then you can drop the temperature 10 degrees a week until they are fully feathered. This is done by raising and lowered the light. Keep fresh water available -- I start with clean rocks in the water to protect them from drowning. Might just be a myth by I've never been brave enough to risk otherwise. I start mine with chick starter -- from Tindles.

    You can put them outside this time of the year as soon as they have their feathers -- just make sure your coop is predator proof. The biggest problem I've had is with king snakes -- they can wipe out an entire flock of keats in a single night. And they can get in though the smallest of holes.

    I've never had a problem with cats, but dogs are another story. Most of them will chase and kill guineas unless you can teach them not too.

    If you wish for them to be put up everynight - you have to keep them contained for 4-6 weeks. Offering them a treat of white millet just before dark at the coop helps to train them to come "home" where they belong.

    Old timers here often mention that they've never kept guineas in coops just let them roost in the trees ... coyotes get ours even during the day and owls are said to get them in trees at night. I have two left from our first flock (they are suppose to average about 6 years). They like to nest out in the field, and being native to africa they are not smart enough to know not to bring the newly hatched keats back to the house though wet grass, so I try to gather the eggs and either sell or hatch them out myself.

    They are always loud when something new is in their territory. They have a wide range of guinea speak - some of which can get on your nerves in a hurry. The first year they seem to do the nerve racking noise the most.

    They are terrible about dust bathing where ever they can find a inch square of dirt - so I'd keep them out of the garden, or protect the plants. I do the later -because they are so great with insect control.

    One last thing -- the darker birds are not as easily seen as the light colored ones - you might want to keep that in mind when choosing. The hawks and such with get the white ones first.

    Best of luck to you,