When Can You Let Guinea Fowl Free Range?
Like with other poultry, you can let your Guinea fowl free-range regularly or even all the time. However, it is vital to know how and when to let free-ranging to young keets and adult guinea fowls as well. Free-ranging can expose your birds to a whole range of challenges compared to those kept indoors.
Before anything else, remember that some experts consider guineas as one of the farmers’ best friends. For a long time, these hardy birds have had an impressive reputation for keeping pest infestations in check.
In addition, they are famed for their effectiveness in keeping the compound clean through their prowess in eating up all sorts of weeds growing within the yard. Moreover, they provide entertainment for humans when they scare off rodents like ferrets and cats from the garden.
As we all know, these peculiar-looking birds lay a considerable amount of nutritious rich eggs. You can also keep them as a regular source of sumptuous meat. With all these impressive attributes, it comes to no surprise that there has been a steady increase of guinea fowl farmers all over.
Therefore, if you want to keep this social bird as part of your family, read through vital information on free-ranging below.
What Age Can You Release Guinea Keets?
The best time to let your guinea keets free range is when they are about 12-14 weeks old. At this age, the keets are still very young and flighty, so you need to oversee them. Start slowly by allowing them to free-range for 30-60 minutes daily.
Another option is to let them wander not too long before their bedtime. That way, the birds may not have plenty of time to roam away from their enclosure. After your keets become accustomed to the new surroundings, consider increasing the time limit for a couple of hours.
Altogether, guinea fowls are not always what people expect. Though similar in various ways to turkeys, these elegant birds never entirely became domesticated. Still, they remain a beautiful addition in any home or garden alike. In some instances, inexperienced individuals mistake them for chickens because of their almost similar personalities and habits.
Nonetheless, you should take into account that guinea fowls are expert fliers who love perching high on trees. Therefore, even if you allow your keets to roam around, ensure no escape routes around your yard. More so, this also keeps your birds free from predators like dogs and foxes.
The first step would be letting them out of the enclosure at least 30 minutes before their usual bedtime. This technique allows minimal rooming for your birds before they become pros in the game.
How to Free Range Guinea Fowl?
It can be tricky keeping your guinea fowl to roam freely and safely around your property because of their flighty nature. However, with the right routine, such as cooping up and feeding at night, you can have great success with free-range guinea fowl.
That said, keeping your birds safe even when free-ranging is critical. The first thing you need to consider is that they are not always domesticated animals.
Hence, some guineas might get lost or fly away from their owners, which makes free-ranging an entire risky business. Even with all precautions, there is still some probability that some birds might slip away in one way or another.
For this reason, keep following as we define some of the safest ways to introduce free-ranging to your birds.
– Coop up at Night
Naturally, guinea fowl seek shelter in the trees when darkness strikes. This is an innate instinct that keeps them away from predators at night in the wild. In your yard, strictly stick to these routines and only allow them to free-range during daylight hours. Once the sun starts to set, drive them back to the safety of their coops.
Remember that a delay in doing this can lead to your feathered friends spending the night up the trees. Unfortunately, getting guineas down from trees at night can be a nightmare. This can be fatal during the winter or rainy seasons. The best remedy is to coop your birds approximately an hour before sunset, or else you will find them missing.
– Feed at Night
Guinea Fowl are known as habitual feeders. In short, this means that they can strictly stick to a particular feeding routine with no trouble. Most impressively, once they master the routine, it lasts with them for a long time. Amazingly, you may notice them running for their meal treats immediately when they spot you.
It may take a couple of weeks for some birds to develop this pattern fully. Note that others become accustomed faster than others. Thus, be patient with the flock still young at heart or inexperienced on feeding schedules.
All in all, the idea of feeding at night encourages discipline at all times. Also, it must entice them to come back to the coop at night which enhances the security immensely.
You can easily achieve this by feeding your guinea fowls on crumbles and mash. While some individuals recommend pellet feeds, most experts advise guinea keepers to steer away from them. Above all, supplement the diet to keep your birds healthy. Most preferred options include leafy plants and fresh selected fruits.
The advantage of free-ranging is that it allows the birds to scavenge on worms. These African native birds also tend the ground while keeping pests away.
– Setup the Coop Properly
If you want to keep your Guinea Fowls happy, consider placing them in the right environment. Naturally, they prefer high-up places with natural roosting spots. If their coop doesn’t offer this type of accommodation, adjustments can easily be made by providing new perches for a more comfortable sleep.
You can also install an extra enclosure to use any existing space inside the available outside run/yard area.
Be aware that these birds require plenty of room, whether free-ranging or not. At all times, keep clean water accessible since guinea needs easy access every day, especially in a hot climate.
This reduces the risk of diseases spreading between individuals due to their inability to walk long distances during hot weather conditions seeking much-needed water. If the sun becomes too hot, you can provide shelters for your birds to rest.
– Start with Guinea Chicks
It is easier to train Keets on free-ranging compared to full-grown birds. However, don’t give up on older Guinea fowl just yet. With the right approach and patience, your adult guineas can slowly learn the ropes. The bottom line is that full-grown guinea fowls imprint less easily and will likely still prefer their own.
On that note, it becomes complicated, mingling with other bird species like chickens or turkeys. Sometimes, growing from day one without other species around can make it almost impossible for them to interrelate well with others during free-range. The secret is to start early for a seamless transition.
– Do Not Stress Them
No living thing thrives in a stressful environment. Guinea fowls are no exception and may behave in a weird manner when agitated. In most cases, stressed guineas may refuse to feed well or end up seeking shelter in the trees or other high places around their home-the coop.
The thumb rule is to be kind and gentle with your pet birds. Do not alarm them in any way but strive to maintain their living enclosures within the required measures.
Where Will Free Range Guinea Fowl Lay their Eggs?
Most Guinea fowl hens lay eggs in secluded nests on the ground. Usually, when kept in free range they lay their eggs in some of the darkest hidden corners. In season, she will produce an egg a day in the secluded area and come back to join the others.
This routine continues until there are about 20 to 30 eggs in a clutch. At that point, most hens go broody and start preparing for the arrival of their babies.
Healthy guinea hens lay 80-160 eggs per year. These fantastic figures signify the importance of keeping your beautiful birds for egg production. Unfortunately, guineas face a significant challenge with predators who feed on their eggs.
As a result, take extra precautions when allowing egg-laying hens out of the coop. In short, walk around the yard checking on any hidden eggs in dark corners. If you do not want to breed your birds, collect the eggs for consumption or sale.
Guinea fowl count as some of the noisiest birds, but they are pretty intelligent birds and a sight to behold. In most cases, these little chickens run around making noise everywhere, constantly disrupting everyone’s lives. However, they form very close-knit families and will often nest together in flocks.
Before investing in guinea fowl, it is essential to understand that they often get lonely by themselves. Therefore consider adding more in your flocks if possible but not too many. The idea is to keep your pet bird content with similar companions throughout the day.