Sunday, May 15, 2011

Free-ranging Guineas

I figured it was time to start letting the guineas earn their keep.  As I had read on Backyard Chickens, I only let 3-4 of the six guineas out at once.  That was supposed to keep the free-ranging guineas close to the coop.  It actually worked really well.  A little too well.  I don't think the guineas went more than a foot from the outside of the fence.

Over the next few days, I let a few of the guineas out each day.  I have a couple guineas that have started to be mean to my chickens, so I tried to get those out of the run each day and have them free-range.  The thinking was two fold: 1) Having the mean guineas out of the run would protect the chickens and allow them to enjoy their day without being harassed by the bully guineas, and 2) If the dog, a hawk, owl, raccoon, skunk or possum decided to go after the free-ranging guineas, at least I would only lose the mean ones.  I know, it is kind of rude, but if I was going to lose a guinea in this learning process, at least it should be a mean one.

At my last bee club meeting, I mentioned to a couple people about my mean guineas.  The solution I received took me by surprise.  "You know, guineas are all dark meat!"  I guess that would be one way to address the problem, but it would reduce my tick patrol force, so I was hoping to avoid that solution.

They stay pretty close together as a pack, or flock since they are birds, and don't like to get separated.  They have started to move further from the coop and run, but not much more than about 10-20 feet.  The flock does like to go over to my burn pile which is about 20 feet away from the coop and stare into it.  Then they usually start squawking and all at once turn and fly back towards the run, and proceed with their marching around the run, while the two or three left inside the run follow right along.

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