are all guineas escape junkies? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 07-31-2010, 01:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If so, I am DONE with guineas. They were the best little grasshopper catchers I'd ever seen in my garden. Beautiful. Didn't once scratch up a plant or peck a tomato on "accident" like the chickens. But I swear, every. single. chance. they got to escape, they would! We started with 10, then we had 5, then we had 3, then the last 3 flew the coop last night. Our chickens have never given us this problem. Did we do something wrong? Is there a trick to keeping them say, in the garden instead of in the trees - anything besides massive amounts of chicken wire overhead fencing? Because IME, they will search until they find the teeny little hole you didn't know was there and then poof! They're gone.

This is very frustrating. They seemed so useful, but not if we can't keep them in place. Any advice?

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#2 of 12 Old 07-31-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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Around here most people buy a ton of them because they escape like that. You start with 20 to end up with 4. We have 2, they go in at night, but free range during the day. I expect them to last at least a year, anything after that will be bonus to me.
Sorry.

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#3 of 12 Old 07-31-2010, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So does that mean that a small percentage *will* stay by choice? Or is it an age thing - like they have to be a certain age before they might come to the coop on their own? I am feeling done with trying to control or contain difficult animals in general right now. But the guinea babies are super cheap. If my odds were pretty good that a few would come back to the roost at night on their own at some point, i might give it a go again next year.

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#4 of 12 Old 07-31-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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This is my 2nd summer with guineas. They are so good at eating ticks that I keep replacing them. Yes, they run off to the woods. I have given them a barn with a light and that helped keep them around a lot longer. Right now I have 1 adult left. The rest quickly disappeared. I have 13 babies which are being raised in the pen/run area and they can't get out yet. I'll leave them in there until next spring, then I'll let them out. I have found that giving them a light and a roost really helped keep them around longer. And still... they leave.

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#5 of 12 Old 08-01-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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Huh. That's interesting. When I was living on the farm in CA we let them have free-range and they stuck around for two years. They would go off to the neighbors for awhile during laying season and then come back. I will have to see how they do here when I get some again, but didn't have the problem with them totally run off forever. Hmm... Neighbor had a ton of them and has had them for years. She has a website if you all want to check it out. http://www.guinealady.com/

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#6 of 12 Old 08-01-2010, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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cathy, that website was incredibly helpful - thank you!

alivia, mama to sunshine dd (2003), snuggly dd (2009), & bonus baby (due 06/2010), homesteader, homeschooler, writer, lifelong learner
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#7 of 12 Old 08-01-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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They really love roosting in trees, so they'll do anything to do it.

They are interesting little critters (when you're not listening to their demonic voices!) but they don't seem to have the survival instinct or maternal instinct other fowl have. I remember one guinea of mine would hatch an insanely big number of chicks, like 20, and half would be dead by the first night!
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#8 of 12 Old 08-27-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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We had a guinea who lived in the house we moved into who we called "Tchwan Wan." He would roost in the trees at night but then always return to sit outside the sliding glass door and stare at us. We weren't really giving him much to eat or other incentive to stick around, but he was certainly very at home and faithful to our spot. I think he'd been here since he was born, so maybe that helps.

We ended up feeling sorry for his lonesome lifestyle and got a bunch more keets and one adult. They stuck around for about a month before running into the woods, old Tchwan Wan included. I think they may have come back, but our neighbors picked 'em up and shipped them off to her aunt (I learned much after the fact).

So I guess I'm saying that it seems like a pretty mixed bag.
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#9 of 12 Old 08-30-2010, 01:03 PM
 
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We've had guineas for years. Occasionally we'll have a predator issue and some will disappear. Several months back we bought 35 or so new ones because we only had 4. Then our 4 promptly surprised us by hatching out 22. Then a chicken hen hatched some too. Anyway, of the 35 we bought, half were for a neighbor across the road. We brooded them and when they were old enough, the neighbor took them to put up w/her chickens. About a week later, we noticed that they had all joined together again and now just roam the neighborhood as an army, lol. But they all come back here to my house to roost at night. We kept them locked up for 3 or 4 weeks. We have lots of chickens, too, and they like to come flying home at eatin' time, lol.

My mom has over 200. Definitely no problem keeping them there. They do have the occasional predator issue, too, but I think that if you have lots of bugs and keep them locked up for a few weeks, there should be no issue w/them coming home at night. Oh, and be sure you have lots of roosting space.

I just thought of something....We have very few trees around our house. Our trees are in our back 2.5 acres (we only have 5). Maybe that helps them want to come to the chicken roosts at night? I dunno....

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#10 of 12 Old 08-30-2010, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well, we have 2 of our original 10 left, but it looks like they'll stick for awhile since they're here by choice. They come and go, but have started roosting with the chickens at night.

I want more next year. They are lots of fun and pretty low-maintenance.

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#11 of 12 Old 08-30-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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If they roost w/your chickens you are probably good then!

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#12 of 12 Old 09-06-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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My parents still have 5 acres of their farm, but it is dedicated to their tree nursery. The farm next door to them has inadvertantly supplied them with a huge flock! LOL My parents have over 20 on their farm. In the winter my Dad takes some of his more sensitive ornamental trees into the greenhouses. He'll leave a small door open for them, and they spend most of their winter in there! Last time I went up, one little one was following him around the farm. I think he got bopped on the head, but he sleeps on their deck with the cats. We've never had any type of fowl growing up, so I do not know their technical terms, but it great to see my Dad watching out for his flock of Guineas.

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