** We SOLD THE FARM ** as of June 2016 - we no longer have animals for sale -- this web site is here for information ONLY ..
Do you have a tick issue? - Get a Guinea Flock!
Do you have grasshoppers? - Get a Guinea Flock!
Need a watch dog with out the bite? - Get a Guinea Flock!
But don't count on them to chase a dog, coyote or unwanted guests away or to even move out of the path of an on coming vehicle or take off in fear for much of anything. This African Pheasant that we know and love has the stubborn streak of a Irish-German fighter from the old country.
True Story: When we moved to our place we had a ticks crawling up our pants legs when you walked through the field, grasshoppers in waves; as if wading in water. We had an all around bug problem. After introducing a fair number of free range Guinea's to the place we have slowed and in some cases stopped the bug issues we had the previous year.
Our birds free range from the first tick sighting to just before the snow. We confine our troops in a large net covered flight pen through the winter. They are eager to make their way out into the pasture and fields in a carniverous sweep for bugs, mice, grub, snakes and seeds of all kinds in the spring.
Guineas come in a variety of Colors: The wide variety of colors that these birds can be, offer the land owner an appealing selection for personal touch. Beauty and function, like moving art and the benifit of their insatiable appititie for exoskelitable creepy crawlies, catterpilars, grubs, snakes, small mice and who knows what else for sure. Guineas will consume a fair amount of green vegitation and seeds. Our guineas enjoy the occassional bucket of scraps when offered to the chickens, eagerly picking over tid bits of meat, fresh vegitable trimmings and aged salads from the catering company up the road.
At one time we free-ranged over 265 birds and our neighbors weren't sure that this was for them until they noticed that their horses and cattle no longer had ticks and the bug infestations that once bothered their gardens were no longer much of an issue. Sorry but flies, gnats and mosquito's don't seem to be of much interest to these birds. You'll have to have a different plan for those night time pests as well; guineas are night roosting birds and prefer a high point or house to roost in safely away from owls and climbing preditors.
There is a down side to these fowl: They can be very vocal and LOUD. Their active nature does have a tendancy to draw in preditors that they can fall victim to such as coyotes, fox, hawks, eagles, owls and stray dogs and the occassional brave or foolish cat. A nesting hen is more vulnerable to racoons and opossums, fox and night staulkers. Though the guineas eye sight is exceptional during the day, at night they are nearly blind and judge only by sound and feel. Nestled down on a nest of 20 to 40 eggs in a clump of tall grass limits their abilities and desire to take off. A stray guinea can sometimes be picked up by a human under the cover of darkest with little fight.
Again a safe place for them is very important. If you live on a parcel that has no trees, barn or high roost in a shed or shop you need to consider a place that they can rest safely at night.
As far as parenting - some are better then others at parenting. We have found that "They are their own worst enamy" another adult will seize the opportunity to kill a keet that lags behind with one or two swift pecks for unknown reasons. Several thoughts surround this behavior; My theory is that the keets appear to be like a mouse or simply the nasty instinct to bring the hen back into season. Nature is not always kind and a band of male bachlor guineas are the worst.
We suggest incubating or if you choose to natural hatch, once they begin to hatch capture them to increase your flock rather then allowing the hen to raise them.
Seriously, if you ever witness the brutality you will thank me for this suggestion as your blood pressure will go thru the roof! Oh and have a mentioned that Guineas are good eating? An adult guinea butchers out just like their Japanese cousins; the Ring Neck Pheasant.... Yes, they are no different and are an African Pheasant. In fact the only way you can determine a Guinea keet form a Pheasant chick is the color of the legs. Guineas have bright orange legs as you can see in the photo above.
If you are looking for healthy, hardy, bug eating machines we offer keets FOR SALE normally beginning late June and July through September of every year and adult guineas at the end of each season; normally around October. The keets you purchase this year will be your foundation for the next summers bug control.
These birds required an enclosed sheltered area with a high roost to feel safe. A tall room with plenty of space to roost is best. Plan for a night light on a timer that runs long enough after sunset to allow the birds to settle in for the night.
We are blessed to have a seperat house for our Guineas and another for the chickens, allowing us to free range our guineas during the warmer months and confine everyone during the harsh Nebraska winters. Housing protects them from hawks, fox and owls. All of whom have had a taste of our flock from time to time.
NESTING: Guineas do not nest like chickens, a set of nesting boxes is fairly pointless. A guinea will place and egg in a nest box if they are confined but rarely will they go broody and carry through with hatching. Guineas prefer to nest on the ground, near a tuft or weeds, under athe overhange of a bunch of poorly stacked limbs, a hidden spot of their own choosing.
Most of the guineas will select a depositor place for the first few weeks of egg laying; a depository is a nest that will not be set on, it is only an orginized location to releive the daily body funtion of egg production. Soon you will find nests in a variety of places; setting up shared nests with other females in the troop.
Once they establish a favored spot, several hens will deposit eggs about 20 to 40 eggs are set and someone or two hens descide to brood. In about 29 days you will have baby guineas called keets, some will die and others will survive.
MOTHERHOOD: We have found that in our situation the guinea hens are very poor mothers. The will protect against some things but not against their own kind. It is by natures law that "they are their own worst enemies". Other memebers of the flock (mostly males, often females as we have observed) will "plink" the heads of the new keets, killing them in a single blow or violently killing them if need be for unknown reasons. Keets also falll pray to cats and dogs as the one stragler just can't keep up with the group. You hatch of 30 may drop to 10 in very short order and finally to 2 or 3.
Because of this issue we rarely allow our hens to raise their own keets. If a female shows up with keets and we have the room in a brooder pen, WE TAKE THEM and raise them under a brooder light and optimum conditions. -- Eye protection s recommended when kidnapping keets -- Be prepared for a small fight as she will aim for the eyes as you collect her brood; but the keets will do better and actually suvive if you take charge and care for them for her.
She will go brood again and bring you another group in about 60 days. It's the nature of the beast.
I have had several people ask me if they can house guineas in the same house as the chickens. I think as long as you have enough roost space and a big enough yard with placed up high for the guineas to flit up to they should be fine.
We raise our hatched together in hopes to help out the mixed house buyer. If the guineas never see a chicken they may become more agressive and combative toward them. We have had that issue in the past with new adult birds we have introduced to the flock.
Since Guineas are very active and loud they can be disruptive to the hens. There fast moving behavior and constent chatter can cause your hen to stop laying; almost like a protest. But if the grow up together the hens will not know the difference and will carry on with the call of nature to lay eggs daily.
Many families have a mix of chickens and guineas and have no problems with them housing together. We prefer our birds to have seperate houses and yards since there are times we want to release one group to bug hunt and not the other.
Since our birds have been house next to each other, we have never had an issue with them bickering or fighting. Issues of the guineas getting into heated battle with a rooster happens normally if they are not familiar with each other.