Guinea hens vs. "regular" hens : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Someone told me that guinea hens are more hardy than regular hens and do not need a henhouse. They apparently roam around and are not suseptable to dogs/cat/other preditors because of their larger size. Anybody have info/experience concerning this?

-- a (a@a.a), March 16, 1999


I went to the flea market today and spoke to a woman that had several guineas for sale. In fact, there were a lot of fowl for sale. I do not know amything about chickens and have to ask a lot of questions.

She told me that guineas, once they become accustomed to their new home, can run free. You just need to put them up for a short time and feed them. After that, let them go and they will come back to their permanent feeding place. At night they will fly into the tops of tress to roost.

She said they are excellent guard animals and wil raise a fuss when a car or stranger approaches. She also said that they eat ticks and that she has had few ticks around her home. She compared herself with a neighbor that did not have guineas but had terrible tick problem.

I have heard it is very hard to find their eggs as they will go to great lenghts to hide them. And I have never heard of anyone eating a guinea.

-- Linda A. (, March 16, 1999.

As a young child I was exposed to guinea hens kept by various aunts and uncles. I'll add what I can recall from those days gone by.

Guinea fowl roosted in trees during the milder months. In the winter they should be put into the henhouse with the chickens. BTW, Do Not stand under a tree full of roosting guinea fowl and make a loud noise. You Will Not Enjoy The Result! (Learned by my cousin with a cherry bomb.;))

During the day, the guinea fowl would roam the yard eating bugs. This was opposed to chickens, which have to be kept out of the flower beds and vegetable gardens.

Guinea fowl make a racket when there is movement in their territory. Not as load a peacocks or geese. But loud enough on a quiet farm for the farm family to know something's going on.

I can't recall what the eggs were like, if any guinea fowl eggs were used at all. I had more small child problems with duck eggs. Since guinea fowl were kept primarily for insect control, I don't remember anyone using one for food. In my dad's family, guiea fowl were kept like peacocks, for bug and weed control and ornamentation, not food.

As far as defending themselves against cats and dogs. Most cats learned their lesson after one round with a guinea fowl or peacock. Dogs on the other hand, especially larger breeds do pose a threat to the birds. The dogs need to be disciplined and trained not to go after the birds. At the same time, you need to provide roosting trees and refuge trees for the birds.

Enjoy your flock!


-- Wildweasel (, March 16, 1999.

Through my research in the last 10 months, I assumed that guinea fowl were chickens, and geese and the like...Is there a difference somewhere I didn't understand? Brooding hens make eggs and noise...geese do likewise...what is the difference?

-- Donna Barthuley (, March 16, 1999.

Hi, a!...Use your search engine (I prefer 'ASK JEEVES'), and search for Guinea hens...There is a wealth of information out there about the subject. (And pictures, too!) Happy hunting........TTYL

\/\/illis in OKC, OK on 03/16/1999

-- Willis (, March 16, 1999.

Guinea fowl do make excellent guard "dogs". They make a lot of noise when strangers come around and they are very curious. I have always heard that in order to keep them on your place that they have to be raised there, I don't know how true that is but they love to run the fields and they love to dig in the flower beds. We had less ticks when we had guineas so there is some truth to that. They don't like snakes and they let you know when one is around. Guineas have all dark meat and I have heard that they are very good to eat. Oh yes, they will lay there eggs out in the fields or just about any secluded place they can find, and their babies have a hard time surviving if they are left in damp fields so if you have chickens you might want to put the guinea eggs under a setting hen and let the hen raise them for a time until they can take care of themselves.

-- Rose (, March 16, 1999.

I bought a book called "Chickens in Your Backyard, a Beginner's Guide" by Rick & Gail Luttmann. I haven't yet built the coop or bought the chickens, so, I can't tell you how ACCURATE any of it is. But I read it, and I can tell you it was written very directly, simply, seemed to have lots of good advice for makeshift necessities, and talked about the misc. problems they had when they began this, etc. Kind of like getting a lot of good advice from a neighbor who does it. Just in case anybody's interested.

P.S. In case the city folks don't know, chickens don't generally lay in the winter time -- they won't be doing you any good egg-wise until Spring.


-- PJ Gaenir (, March 16, 1999.

Started out with 25+ guinea hens, kept them locked in the coop till they were big enough to let out. Within days we were down to 5 hens. Would wake up nights to the stupid things getting murdered by foxes, owls, bobcats or coyotes. Only reason I have 5 left is the hens were hiding in the barn. Two red tail hawk were perched in a tree right above them waiting for lunch. Got the guineas into the coop and won't let them out. Don't want to feed the wildlife on my nickel.

Chickens have the goood sense to come back to the coop in the evening but the guineas wanted to roost in trees and would not return to the coop.

-- freeman (, March 17, 1999.

a@aa-my experience with guineas is that they are as dumb as rocks and tend to run in the road and panic when cars go by, resulting in flat guinea. And as a former farm girl turned 'city slicker', I can tell you that chickens DO lay eggs in the winter time. We let the chickens into the yard during the day, fed them feed from the local feed store and put them in a chicken house (larger than a coop, more chicken 'stuff' to shovel on weekends)at night. They layed (laid?) eggs an average of 250-300 days per year. Perhaps they would have layed fewer eggs if they had relied on bugs rather than prepared feed. Linda

-- newbiebutnodummy (, March 17, 1999.

Chickens do lay eggs in the wintertime, unless stressed by rain and wind. Guineas lay one season's clutch, the young are really cute, put chicks to shame. Guinea meat is dark and tastes like bird, depends somewhat on what they are eating, just like chickens - don't remember the fat content (pea fowl have a big white meat breast with almost zero fat). Geese are better first alert birds, way better - and they don't dig up flowers. Guineas have a high volume, daytime, "ratchet" call that they will repeat literally over 100 times, so if roosters bother you..... think about it. Guineas free range further than chickens. Ours went back to the roost at night when we were free ranging all the birds. Dogs can kill a guinea just as fast as a chicken - train the dogs. Cats aren't going to bother any big bird once they are past the kitten stage. Unlike chickens I have never seen guineas kill each other.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, March 17, 1999.

From -

We have domesticated hens who lay nearly all year round - eggs get a little sparse in the winter. Advise you to get Rhode Island reds or similar - better eating, lay nice big brown eggs and they can't fly after they are grown (too heavy is my guess). If you want to keep your flower beds and garden, do not get bantys. We have some escapees from our neighbors and they multiply in the woods like rabbits and are very brave. We also raise emu which give us big green eggs (about a pound each) in the winter and when slaughtered, give us about 25 lbs. of red meat per bird - BBQed rare on the grill - just like a New York steak and no cholesterol to speak of. Makes wonderful jerky too 'cause there is no fat in the meat and they take, by far less feed and less room than a cow to raise.

-- Valkyrie (, March 17, 1999.

Our chickens also laid really well all this winter. I'm getting a batch of Pilgrim goslings in a month.

My sister bought some guineas as adults and they all flew away so I guess it's true about needing to raise them from chicks to keep them around. I'm going to get a couple for insect control. I've read that they also will help keep rats out of the barn; does anybody know about this?

Valkyrie, tell us more about the emus.

1) Where do you get chicks/eggs?

2) What do they eat?

3) How do they need to be contained?

4) Are they aggressive?

-- Franklin Journier (, March 17, 1999.


Re: Emus

You can get chicks and eggs from any emu grower. They are raised in all 48 of the lower states and their products are available all over too. They eat an emu feed that can be got nearly everywhere there are emu. They also get along quite well on a combo of chicken pellets,rabbit pellets and a protein supplement like Vigor Plus. They lay from 40 to 60 eggs in a season (Nov. to April-May). They lay an egg every 72 hours. Fencing wise, they need a strong fence - we 6 ft/. chain link and they can do quite well in a pen that is 30 by 30 or 40 for a breeder pair although ideal is about 25 by 80. You can incubate the eggs for more production or let Papa do it and get 10 to 15 chicks which when grown out is more than enough for a family. The only time they are aggressive is when you are trying to physically move them from one place to another - we use a harness with a 6 ft. leash and sort of steer them when moving them from one pen to another. They are so dumb that when you catch one for slaughter, they will come up to see what you are doing. Otherwise, they are quite gentle, friendly birdsThey kill and eat small rodents, snakes and I have had an occasional "pressed chicken" when one got in the pen. Also, make beautiful leather from the skins.

-- Valkyrie (, March 17, 1999.

Agree with Valkerie re Emus being tame except when being moved. Take a look at their feet, the emu's. The first thing I thought was "Raptors" from Jurassic Park. My neighbors were moving theirs and an emu kicked out and cut a 9 inch slit right thru the guy's bluejeans and opened up nearly as long a cut in his thigh! The meat is delicious, very similar to beef.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, March 17, 1999.

Mitchell -

Funny you should mention the Raptors in Jurrasic Park - emus and their feet and motions when running were the models for the Raptors. Emu are one of the closest things to a dinasaur you will find. they've been around for aboout 80 million years and are more closely related to dinasaurs than anything else. That's why we call it the "original red meat".

-- Valkyrie (, March 17, 1999.

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