? about guinea hen keets establishing 'home'

deanna_in_nh(5a/4b)July 29, 2010

We have guinea hen keets and I'm trying to find out how long it takes them to establish "home" so they can be set free to roam. I've searched the internet and the forum but haven't found much info. My local seller said a few days, and one internet site (the only one with info) said 6 weeks. Big difference! I don't want to set them free too soon and watch them fly fly fly away.

These keets are 5 weeks old and were brought here at about 2 days old. They started in our house but weren't handled much. Our chickens are juveniles and range free in the yard. With our very hot weather up here we began putting the guinea keets inside the coop run area (door shut) while the chickens were outside roaming. We did this for several days. The chickens and guineas saw each other through the cage wire and then the keets were put back inside our house before the chickens retired to the coop. Now the chicken and the guineas are both in the coop. The chickens are alpha now, but do not bother the guineas. The guineas just seem very skittish around the chickens. That has made things easy because each morning the chickens crowd the door to be let out while the guineas crowd the back to stay away. I easily let the chickens only out of the enclosed coop, allow them to leave the coop run, and then am able to let the guineas out of the enclosed coop to stay locked up in the coop run. At evening I have to catch all the guineas and manually put them in the enclosed coop. Then the chickens can enter the coop run, followed by the enclosed coop.

(Is there a technical term for the enclosed area of the coop?!)

So, the chickens and guineas peacefully cohabit in the coop now. The guineas have been out there for 10 days.

When will the guineas be old enough to be set free? If they are old enough now, how long before they have established our area as "home" and can be set free?

Thank you in advance!

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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

The keets should not be turned loose until they can fly, Once they are out, you are probably not going to catch them again, so they have to be able to get up into the trees to get away from predators.

I call the enclosed portion of chicken housing "the hen house". The open (fenced) area, would be "the yard".

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 11:20PM
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Naomi Miller

Ahhhh.. something I actually know about, lol.... we raise guineas every year and started in the 'dark' several years ago with no info to be found on this subject.....first of all, the common terms used for the enclosed portion of a chicken house is the coop and the outside , the run.... that said,lol, your guineas are too young to be let loose as of yet... they will be prey in no time...keeping in mind that in nature, they have their mother until 6 - 8 weeks of age and they are under constant supervision by her... our usual routine is to grow them out in shelter; we brood them under light for almost 6 weeks then move them into a separate outdoor shelter where they live until they are completely feathered and able to roost successfully.. we usually keep them contained until they are at minimum 3 - 4 months old... and they will come 'home' to roost in the evenings. The way we 'train' them is to release ONE keet for several days and by nature, it will not venture far from the roost... then release two for a couple of days ... and finally release them all. Of course, we have lost some to predators but usually during the day such as neighborhood dogs or cars.... they roam all ten acres and successfully take care of the ticks and mosquitoes and normally will not venture the acre up to the road but occasionally??? That being said, every evening when we go out to lock up the chickens, ducks etc, they come to the barn to get some scratch and roost in the rafters....so yes, they will return; however, they will not be as easily shut in a coop like chickens.. if they do not have an open, free choice area to roost near their previous 'home' , they will seek trees and often that is when they are lost to night time scavengers.... I wish you luck with them, I would not be without them in my 'clan', lol.. I find them interesting and amusing as they scuttle across the land ...

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 1:35AM
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Great info! Our yard/run is roofed, so when they are out there they can't fly away. I should have mentioned that. When you release the one keet for several days, do you try to bring it in at night? If you do bring it in at night and the re-release it in the a.m., does it need to be the SAME keet?

We do not have a barn, so if they are not fond of our small coop (about 18 sq ft) being shared with chickens then I guess they'll roost in the trees. My husband was wondering if we could build some kind of tree house to protect them when they roost. Ever heard of somebody doing that?

Again, some great information. Thanks to both of you!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 9:42AM
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I will be receiving 30 baby guineas in June, I need to know the dimentions for a coop that will house 30 keets.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 7:07PM
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