Guinea Fowl pro or con?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I have heard a lot of opinions on the guinea subject. Do they eat fire ants? Will they tear up my garden like chickens would if they had the chance. Good to eat or not? Best type to get? I know it is a love hate relationship with these birds. I have chickens and ducks seems like the next step. Thank you for your advise.
-- Marmerduke (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 27, 2000
Hi Marmerduke, I have guines, and I do not have a problem with them tearing up the garden. They will some times tear at the leaves of plants, but that is only to get bugs. I don't know if they will eat fire ants (we don't have them in this area) but I do know that since they have been running around the property that we sure don't have a problem with bugs. Ticks being the worst. They can be agressive with chickens, since chickens are not 1/10 as agressive as guines, mostly just chasing the chickens around once in a while. That will calm down when the birds get a little older. Tehy are good to eat, alot of dark meat. I personally like guines, they can be a pain in the butt sometimes, (noisy) but you can always tell when something is on your place that shouldn't be. And last but not least I have pears and lavenders, you could spend more on the other colors, but it seems to me that there isn't much differance between them. Hope this helps a little. Kathy
-- Kathy O (email@example.com), March 27, 2000.
I cast a vote in the YES! to guineas. Yes, they are noisy, but they are worth their weight in gold if you have grasshopper, tick or cricket problems. I have also noticed a decrease in snake sightings since having them. There are still snakes, tho'. They don't eat fire ants, they don't scratch like chikens do, but I have my garden fenced to keep the chickens out. Don't eat meat so can't tell ya how they taste- probably like chicken!!HA! I like the Pearls as I have a lot of predators (coyotes, hawks etc.) and it seems that the darker ones stay around longer.Have fun with them! Doreen
-- Doreen Davenport (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 27, 2000.
I for one don't like guinea's. I got some guinea chicks one year and put them under a banty hen to raise. She raised them up fine. But they were so mean to my chickens. They would chase them down and peck them very hard till they drew blood! I don't know if they thought, they were guinea's or chickens. But I couldn't handle the meanest of them. It went on all the time. So the guinea's went.
-- linda hess (email@example.com), March 27, 2000.
We had our guineas right in with the chickens. Here's what I learned: 1. If you raise them from chicks, such as putting guinea eggs under a broody hen, they "identify" with chickens and seem to think they are chickens. 2. Even if you do that, they will be the meanest (maybe most dominant) "chickens" you've ever seen - they will all be at the top of the pecking order. 3. If you don't do that they will beat the hell out of your chickens if you keep them together, even free-ranging as we did. 4. If you free-range, they will refuse to come in the henhouse at some point, preferring to roost in trees. 5. Raccoons love to eat birds that roost in trees. 6. Free range guineas will NOT lay eggs anywhere you can find them. 7. Foxes and raccoons are better at this - they will find the eggs! 8. Guineas are very vocal, and "recognize" who should be there and who should not. They will sound an alarm for any stranger, whether 2 or 4 legged. 9. They do not do this at night. 10. Guineas have a peculiar call. We referred to them as "be-guakers", which pretty much describes their call. Now, remember that they will not come in at night (free- range), and get up early, and that we in Maine have daylight much earlier than most of you, and you'll realize that they awakened us between 3 and 4 in the summer! I am a morning person, my wife is not. 3:30 is too early, even for me! 11. They taste somewhat like pheasant. 12. Do not free-range. You'll get no eggs, no chicks, and the foxes will love you. 13. Keep them in a pen separate from the chickens. 14. GO FOR IT!! Until you try them, you won't know how YOU feel about them. They're fun, relatively inexpensive, and something new. At their very worst, assuming you have only 40 or 50, they are incredibly more manageable than ONE teenage human child! Good Luck!
-- Brad (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 27, 2000.
I never thought of them as inexpensive. They are some of the highest priced birds in the catalogs. I had 15 young and old mixed for less than 24 hours. My dog and the neighbors dog spooked them in their pen and killed the ones they set free. The survivors hit the woods never to be heard from again. Very fussy and flighty. I really wanted to like them. Maybe I will try again when I don't have the dog anymore! He's a GREAT worker other than his taste for free ranging birds!
-- Anne (email@example.com), March 27, 2000.
We have had guineas, but currently have only 1 because I did not know that you must confine them from keets till mature or they will not stay. The one we have now is a male and free-ranges with the chickens. We have not had any problems with agressiveness, but the guineas were always a minority which may have helped. We miss having more and really enjoy having them around. They haven't caused us any trouble, just spend their time hunting bugs. When we had more guineas, we did have a separate pen. We didn't have trouble getting them to go in at night, but we do not have a lot of trees either. An interesting web site is www.geocities.com/heartlandmeadows/9463/raising.html#pictures. I vote for getting guineas!
-- Jean (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 28, 2000.
Once upon a time ago my mother wanted quinea fowl. So when we ordered chicks one year I surprised her with guinea,s. I ordered 12 (the hatcheries minimum) One week later we were down to six. Seemed to be if you looked at them wrong they dropped dead. By winter 4 or 5 had survived to adulthood. Our poultry has the run of our barn so on nice days when door was opened poultry would run free. Chickens would always come back in to roost. Guineas would roost in trees, on top of barn roofs, etc, etc... There were many nasty nights I was out slogging through snow chasing them with my bass net cause I felt bad about leaving them out. In summer they would make nest off in deep grass and we never found them until they appeared with a troup of screaming keats following. After chasing keats through the grass and finally penning them up I would keep them confined for 5 or 6 weeks. They do taste good and keep down on bugs, but they don't give a darn about your ideas for their health and well being. I guess that may be because they haven't been bred for anything except color variation and are not nearly as domesticated as chickens. After 5 or so years of chasing the insane things the last of them went in the freezer. But you never know until you try something!
-- Leslie Ann (email@example.com), March 28, 2000.
Leslie Ann - my wife read your last sentence and said "My sentiments exactly!" They were fun for a while, but their bad habits got too much for us after a few years. Can't say either of us misses them yet. And by inexpensive, I was talking in comparison to other "odd" critters you might end up with. And ours were free anyway - got eggs from a friend and started from there. I wouldn't be surprised if someone reading this might have some eggs they would ship to you in exchange for something or other. Good luck!
-- Brad (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 28, 2000.
We presently have two guineas and plan to get more this year. I agree with all the above; they are very noisy, won't stay on the property and roam the neighborhood, and won't stay penned. They make good mothers, eat every bug we have, like to dust themselves in the garden, and are great watchdogs. I like them. If you find you don't like them after having them awhile, they are mighty good eating.
-- Mary (email@example.com), March 28, 2000.
Marmeduke, we had 2 guineas. They had been raised by a 11 year old girl and were very gentle. They would just stand near us wherever we went and make noise. One of the best days with my fowl was when we gave the guineas to a man several miles away. It was like peace in the valley around here when they were gone. I guess some people like them and I respect their desires but for me, Probably, they are real nice and I just didn't know how to raise them but right now, I'd rather get a root canal once a month than to have a guinea on the place. Eage.
-- eagle (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 30, 2000.
We don't have guineas, we don't have to because our neighbors, who are down the road 50 acres or so away, have them. They are all over the road, they are all over everywhere. So I guess if you don't pen them they don't stay home. My hens wander a great deal, but always come home in the evening. Our dogs kill anything that doesn't belong, but they don't seem to mind the guineas. Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh (email@example.com), March 31, 2000.
Well, all that wandering is why I haven't tried guineas again. Every old-timer here has told me that letting them have the run of the place is a good thing and they'll look after themselves. I can just see me explaining that to the neighbors just acres away when they're roosting on the top of their one-story homes!
Once upon a time I had to help near neighbors catch the two ducks of theirs that had been terrorizing all of the surrounding homes. They thought those ducks would be a good idea too, for about a year. I guess I really need more than the 22 acres we've got so I can try having more free-range birds!
-- Anne (HealthyTouch101@hotmail.com), March 31, 2000.
So Marmerduke! What's your readout on the blatherings of us respondents? Some yes, some no. I encourage you to try some (read: a few!) and see what you think. From the cognitive position of a depression baby that has the questionable position of "I can do anything myself, and NOTHING should be thrown away!", I must say that you can digest the opinions you see here, and make a decision thereby. But until YOU try it, it's only other's opinions. I would probably have them again, but divorce seems a little too steep a price. I also have things to do that I haven't tried yet, like pheasants and "odd" quail. Already been there with the "bob- whites"! Fun, but I got over it. Gonna try something else this year. Bottom line - give 'em a try! Live! If it doesn't work for you - invite friends over for a "pheasant" supper! Good Luck.
-- Brad (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 31, 2000.
I have 3 hens and a cockbird. I like them, but they have been terrorizing my chickens. They been out all winter(N.E. Pa) and did very well. They won't stay off my deck, and have been leaving aundant droppings. I have since caged them, which I do not like to do, and am considering selling off. I would put them in the freezer, but I would rather see them go on foraging somewhere else. jeff
-- Jeff S (email@example.com), April 01, 2000.
INTERESTING RESPONSES SO FAR. HERE IS MINE:
GUINEAS ARE LESS NOISY WHEN HATCHED FROM EGGS AND ONLY CHICKENS AROUND.
YES, GUINEAS WILL FIND THE TALLEST TREE (IT SEEMS AS CLOSE TO YOUR HOUSE AS POSSIBLE!) ARE ROOST THERE FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.
GUINEAS DON'T KNOW WHAT A PROPERTY LINE IS!
GUINEAS THINK THEY HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY ON THE ROAD. THEY WILL NOT MOVE AND WHEN THE CAR PULLS TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD TO GET PAST, THE GUINEAS MOVE RIGHT WITH THEM!
I DID HAVE 12, BUT AFTER QUITE A FEW ROAD FATALITIES, AND A FEW MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCES, I'M DOWN TO 0. DON'T GET ME WRONG, I REALLY ENJOYED THEM, BUT MY WIFE AND NEIGHBORS WEREN'T SO THRILLED. WE LIVE ON A 128 ACRE FARM, BUT A ROAD GOES THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF OUR PROPERTY, HENCE THE ROAD FATALITIES, AND THE HOUSE, BARN, COOP, ETC ARE ON THE EDGE OF THE PROPERTY, HENCE THE NEIGHBOR PROBLEM. THEY ARE REALLY FUN TO HAVE, AND I WOULD SUGGEST TO GO AHEAD AND GET SOME. IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND, YOU CAN SELL THEM (IF YOU CAN CATCH THEM!) AND IF NOT YOU CAN TRY GUINEA SOUP! GOOD LUCK!
-- MICHAEL W. SMITH (KIRKLBB@PENN.COM), April 02, 2000.