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I learned a lesson!

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I learned a lesson!

Post by Harvey_Birdman on Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:57 pm

So I bought 2 Guineas for $8 each. Took them home, and put them in with the chickens. They were about the same size as my dommers, maybe a little bigger. Then I got ready and went to Chruch, went to my mom's house for a bit after Church. When I came home, I checked on the birds, and to my suprize the chickens had killed, plucked, and partly eaten the guineas! I was afraid that the guineas would be the trouble makers.

I guess I should have put them inside a small cage in the lot until the chickens got used to them? Or maybe kept them seprate all together until they were grown? What do you guys think?

God bless,
Chad
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Re: I learned a lesson!

Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:20 pm

They were seen as invaders.  The best way to integrate a flock is when they are all babies together.
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Re: I learned a lesson!

Post by 12acrehome on Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:09 pm

FF is correct, the introduction of any new creature to an established herd, pack, or flock upsets the existing hierarchy and causes distress for all involved. 

IMO Guineas should not be kept with chickens...except on free range pastures (or yards), chickens are just too mean towards outsiders.

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Re: I learned a lesson!

Post by Sonshine on Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:11 pm

We learned that lesson when we were given some roosters that were only a couple of months old.  We planned to raise them to butcher and put them in with our flock.  We watched to see the reaction and realized our main rooster wasn't going to have it and started attacking them.  We separated them and never did put them together.  However, a couple of months ago we got 4 3month old marans and put them in the coop.  We watched to make sure the older Buff orpington hens wouldn't hurt them.  To our surprise, the Buffs were actually afraid of the Marans, even thought they were half the size of the buffs.  It was funny watching them creep up to investigate, only to run away the minute the maran would look at them.  They were accepted rather quickly to the flock though.  The only problem we had was our Buffs decided to quit laying eggs for awhile.  Now everyone is back on track though.

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Re: I learned a lesson!

Post by Farmfresh on Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:59 am

Their are a few tricks of the trade as far as integrating new birds into the flock is concerned.  Using a temporary anti-peck bit is the best one I have come across for small personal flocks.    Rather than get into all of the details here I suggest checking out the lesson about this on my website.  Pecking Order Issues

I have raised mixed flocks several times, both turkeys and guineas with chickens.  It takes a bit of extra care, but in my opinion the result is well worth the efforts.   For example baby turkeys are lots smaller than a baby chicken, so I often order the turkeys a week or two ahead of the chicks so they don't get stomped.  As they grow the turkeys soon surpass the chickens in both height and weight, so they need a special place to roost higher in the coop.  Turkeys also require more protein in their diet than a chicken, so I often place high protein feeders hung high enough that the chickens have a hard time accessing them.  Guineas need similar concessions.   The benefits of a mixed flock are many.  A few turkeys free ranging with your hens seems to make a hawk think twice before swinging by for lunch.  Guineas in the mixed flock not only warn of predators in advance they will also team up and attack snakes, rats and other invaders that might other wise have a chicken dinner or slither into the hen house for an omelet. 

Be warned however a mixed flock can also be a nightmare if you have certain diseases, like black head, present.  Disease like that are incubated by one species and deadly to another.  As long as the birds are healthy there is not a problem.
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Re: I learned a lesson!

Post by Guest on Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:29 am

I knew better but we bought 50 little hen chicks.  We started them alone and then at about 2 months old put them in with our 6 old hens.  We had the same results as Sonshine.  They did fine.  The old hens haven't bothered them at all.  Maybe the number was overwhelming.

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Re: I learned a lesson!

Post by Sonshine on Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:54 am

mom12700 wrote:I knew better but we bought 50 little hen chicks.  We started them alone and then at about 2 months old put them in with our 6 old hens.  We had the same results as Sonshine.  They did fine.  The old hens haven't bothered them at all.  Maybe the number was overwhelming.

I'm not sure about the number, because we only introduced 4 new hens.  I think their size may have made a difference.  They weren't as big as the Buffs, but still not little either.

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Re: I learned a lesson!

Post by Farmfresh on Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:47 am

And sometimes it just depends on the individual birds and the situation.  

I have had some flocks that wanted to fight everything and anything and others that just seemed to get along.
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