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View Full Version : what should I know about guinea hens BEFORE buying keets?



brymble
March 3rd, 2009, 10:08 PM
We have a serious tick problem in our yard, and I am thinking about investing in guinea hens, if the landlord ok's it, which is likely. I won't be ready for them right away, mind you, but I figure it's never to early to start learning.

What do I need to know about raising and caring for them? How long until the keets mature? Can we get edible eggs from them? What do I need to know about building a predator-proof shelter? How many should I invest in to keep our big yard tick-free and provide a few eggs for my family?

banondraig
March 4th, 2009, 12:22 PM
May I ask why guinea hens rather than standard chickens?

brymble
March 5th, 2009, 09:52 PM
I've heard they're better for tick control. We have a problem with ticks, and I've already had lyme disease twice. Will chickens eat up the ticks to keep our yard adequately safe, too? Which are more affordable and easier to keep? Eggs are a very important secondary concern, but for the weight of any decision I make, the ticks have got to take the priority. Ticks bite, and lyme disease sucks.

banondraig
March 8th, 2009, 12:32 AM
Ticks also suck.

My father keeps chickens, but they eat chicken feed, and most of his land and the immediately surrounding land is cleared, therefore not a super-huge tick area. I really couldn't say whether chickens or guinea fowl are better for tick control.

brymble
March 8th, 2009, 10:45 AM
I talked to the landlord about it last night, and not only did he ok the idea, he was really, really enthusiastic about it. I think he might be thinking of guineas, too. Most likely we'll both end up with a mix of chickens and guineas.

I'm wondering how much land a single guinea can keep clear of ticks. Will I need more than one?

Sea-Sin
March 8th, 2009, 02:03 PM
How much land do you have that the guineas will be on?
Also how much of it is clear and how much has brush or is wooded?

Wooded land is going to need more guineas to clear it of ticks than cleared land.

brymble
March 8th, 2009, 03:05 PM
I don't know square footage, but I can find out. (Or as Sarah Palin would say, "I'll get back to ya on that...") It's a pretty large yard, and there is a lot of brush. We're on the edge of a wetland, and I worry about them wandering into the swamp.

materra
March 9th, 2009, 11:17 AM
Please know that Guinea hens are loud. Very. Our nearest neighbor had them and they were 5 miles away. They sound like creaky gates. They are great watch animals too. They occationally came and visited us. Louder in person that from 5 or so miles away. I understand they needed a larger coop and area to hunt in.

MidnightFire
March 9th, 2009, 05:52 PM
Please know that Guinea hens are loud. Very. Our nearest neighbor had them and they were 5 miles away. They sound like creaky gates. They are great watch animals too.

Materra is right about their being loud. Definitely not an animal if you want to stay in good standings with your neighbors. They can also fly quite well. As for the eggs, they are certainly edible. Collect and store as you would chicken eggs. The only problem here is that hens like to create secluded nests, most often you won't be able to find them.

I would say stick with chickens IMO. Less noisy and they tend to nest where they roost.

Hope that helps.

banondraig
March 22nd, 2009, 11:29 PM
According to Mother Earth News the hens are noisier than the cocks. The upside is that neither sex of guinea fowl scratches as much as chickens do.

banondraig
March 31st, 2009, 01:58 PM
Here is a useful-looking book I found:

http://www.amazon.com/Gardening-Guineas-Step-Step-Raising/dp/0739202502/ref=pd_ys_ir_b_4

BearDancing
September 16th, 2009, 02:13 PM
did you get the guinea fowl...............ticks live in grasses..........so if you can mow lots..........better for ticks........if your yard is more wild......the guinea fowl are better than chickens............my chickens did not go into the long grass..........stayed in the short

guinea fowl will eat many more bugs and stuff than chickens........

Wood Nymph
November 3rd, 2009, 09:54 PM
I had guineas years ago. Now I just keep chickens.

Guineas are very, very, VERY loud. The only birds I have experience with that are as loud or louder are peacocks and parrots. The up side to that is that no one will ever approach your house during day light hours without your knowing about it. You can consider them an early warning system, or adjunct burglar alarm.

Guineas are more difficult than chickens to train to go into a coop at night, in my experience. And thus, their lives are often shorter as the raccoons and other evil beasties eat them.

Guineas wander more than chickens and seem more prone to becoming road pizzas unless you live quite a long way back from the road, or you keep them penned up (which would somewhat defeat the purpose of ridding your property of ticks).

Guineas lay eggs. The eggs are plenty edible, but not as large as a large breed chicken would lay. They do not lay as prolifically as a chicken either.

I have never had both chickens and guineas at the same time, nor on the same homestead. Therefore, it is difficult for me to determine which is better at tick control. I can say that there are pretty much no bugs in my back yard, of any type, due to the voracious appetites of my chickens.

Guineas are a dark meat bird, not unlike pheasant.

Guineas are a flock bird. A single guinea would be a sad bird indeed.