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Let ‘Em Loose

>28 September 2011
 
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I decided to let the guineas out today. They’re still relatively small, but I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I wanted to see them free, happy and pecking at the grass!!

When I first opened the door they weren’t sure what to do. It took them like five minutes to hop down to the ground, one by one, and begin exploring the world around them. But once they were out they were happy as can be! There’s a certain joy in watching animals being freed from their captivation, to enjoy the fresh air and dirt beneath their feet!

I still can’t tell which might be males and which might be females. They all look identical. They were so funny to watch though. They all stayed huddled tightly together, and moved as a group around the yard, never straying more than a couple of inches from each other. The chickens weren’t sure what to think about them, and would occasionally peck the poor little guys.

Big bullies.

They were surprisingly easy to catch! Even Xia was able to scoop them up a few times, which absolutely delighted her.

I wasn’t sure if they’d go back into their coop at sundown like the chickens do, or if they’d roost in the trees. When nightfall came, Jerry went to check on them and found all six guineas huddled together between a garden box and the fence. I gently returned them to their coop, and locked them up for safe keeping until morning.

I already love having guinea hens. If nothing else, they’re a crack up to watch!

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10 Comments »

  • Pat said:

    I understand that they will roost to keep away from predators?
    Also, they (as most chickens) will eat grasshoppers?

    I hope to have chickens some day. May be sooner than I think.

    Loved your photos.

    Pat

  • Michelle said:

    Wow! You’re braver than us.

    We purchased a pair of masked guinea fowl this spring and have yet to let them loose. Mind you they were in quite a large outdoor pen. A couple of weeks ago we clipped their wings and put them in the pen with the laying hens & turkeys. They are fearless and even take on the big tom turkeys.

    We have a LOT of predators way up here (northern Alberta), especially as we live out in the bush. Coyotes, foxes, wolves, weasels and black bears are the four legged ones, then there are all the birds of prey.

    This was a really good year for us fowl wise, we lost a very few fowl to predators.

    At present we have; 75+ laying hens, 9 roosters, 10 turkeys, 2 guinea fowl and 1 rabbit all living in the large chicken pen. In addition we have 2 miniature chickens and 4 Pharaoh’s quail chicks in the house. We have 1 mama and 3 chicks that are Belgian quail. Oh, and I just about forgot the 5 Muskovy ducks that are still living in their pen .

    We will be butchering the turkeys probably this weekend, and 7 of the roosters. I hate to butcher the roosters but we just can’t keep them all. I have given away 5 already.

    Good luck with your guinea’s!

  • Cesar Diaz said:

    How are guineas different from chickens on how they are processed and how much meat/eggs you get from them? Do they need less space than chickens since they are smaller?

  • Emily said:

    If you don’t mind Kendra, this is to Cesar…guineas will not be very meaty birds. Their meat also tends to be on the tougher side but it is flavorful. They do not lay as many eggs as say a buff or red rock. We get almost next to none in the winter and we are doing VERY good if they lay every day in the warmer season. Average is more like every other day. Their eggs are a bit smaller and the shell is harder than a layer hen. They are loud squawking like a watch dog. They let you know when someone or something is approaching (they are super sensitive in this respect). Like Kendra stated they are bullies, very feisty things. I would say they require a bit more space because of their energy. They seem to like to fly around more and well be free. Fencing was an issue for us in the beginning days. Before our electric 64 inch fence we had to clip their wings often. And once they are free for some time catching them makes for a bit of entertainment. My oldest son even raised one and in attempts of it being more pet friendly, ha! Their diets seem to require more protein than a layer hen but they also work harder for their food.
    HTH,
    Emily

  • Emily said:

    Oh I am sorry I just re-read your post Kendra and you were calling your layers bullies. (embarassed)
    They are probably trying to establish pecking order so you may find that changes as time goes on. Here the guineas will chase the layers off when scraps are put out for their first picking, even towards the rooster and tom.

  • Meredith said:

    love that you have guinea fowl. I am tracking you from Ethiopia! and we just had 3 across the street from us! It is rare to see them around since they are considered a tasty feast here! I took pictures and a movie. They were large and beautiful! ARe you raising them for meat or the eggs?

  • Shirley@Blue Gate Farm said:

    I purchased two guineas last April when I got my chickens. They all get along very well and they go into the chicken house at dusk with the chickens.

    I have enjoyed very much watching them. They are so funny, so skittish and so fast. They are their full adult size now and their faces are now in full color. I love that they have polka dots on their feathers. They are great at sounding the “alarm”!!!! I thought I had a male and a female, but heard, what I thought was a male give the two beat call like the other one. Not sure what I have but hope to get it figured out soon. I hope that you enjoy your guineas as much as I do.

  • Cesar Diaz said:

    Thanks, Emily

  • Tami Lewis said:

    i , again, am jealous! lol i plan on having guineas too, if i EVER get my land. i am allowed hens in an enclosure where i am at and i have 7 of those but i long for my own homestead!! got any land to sell? :)

  • Lauren-Mae Cook said:

    Wow! Seeing the picture of your daughter with them sure makes them look very small.

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