Guinea fowls are birds that can be raised in a free-range environment. They have never been totally tamed and have behaviors that are very similar to turkeys.
They are wild birds that prefer to roost outside, especially if housed in a coop.
If your guineas are going to be raised in a free-range style, using water and feed will allow you to draw them back to the coop at night.
Free-range has different benefits they bring to a farm. For example, they are an excellent alarm system that will alert you to any activity in your home.
However, raising them as a free range has a downside. They cannot protect themselves whenever they encounter a predator, which can decrease your flock.
However, free range style has its drawbacks. They won’t be able to defend themselves if they come across a predator, which will reduce the size of your flock.
Foraging is all they do in a free range breeding style. They move as a flock, eating everything they come across as they navigate from grass to grass.
We will be discussing how to free range your guinea fowl and still keep them safe.
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Can you Free Range Guinea Fowl
One thing to remember is that guinea fowl aren’t exceptionally bright. Because they don’t use all of their brain cells, it’s critical to keep them secure.
The fact that guinea fowl panic so easily makes keeping them safe such a challenge.
They lose their minds and start running when this happens, eventually encircling themselves and becoming easy targets..
Before releasing them to be free range, they have to be cared for.
It’s advisable to start raising your guinea from keets, enabling them to become familiar with the environment.
Keep your keets in a brooder for the first four weeks as this is the time they are most vulnerable to predators and infection.
After the first four weeks of their life, you can transfer the keets to their coop, where they will be trained for another four weeks before releasing them to free range.
Related: Here is an article I wrote on best waterer for guinea fowls
When will Guinea keets be able to fly?
The majority of guinea keets begin when they are four weeks old.
If they’re locked up, however, you might not be aware of this new ability.
Use the next three weeks to train your keet to spend the night in the coop.
Guinea Fowls on the Free Range
Guinea fowls aren’t domesticated animals. So they can get lost while foraging, fly away, or are preyed upon by predators.
So free-ranging your guinea fowl can be dangerous if you don’t do it right.
Also, there’s no guarantee you won’t lose any with time, even if you do everything right.
Tips on raising guineas
- Don’t raise them in the city
Guineas and urban areas are not a good mix. One of the reasons for this is that they can fly away at any time, and also, their loud noise will be a nuisance to the neighborhood.
Suburban areas have so many hiding places where your guineas could fly into. Also, they can get eaten by your neighbor’s dog or run into traffic and hit a car.
To be on the safe side, don’t try raising your guinea fowls in a free rage style in the urbanized areas.
Guineas are free and wild birds that require an ample amount of space to be comfortable. Therefore an urban settlement doesn’t cut it.
- Get a Guinea Fowl Coop Suitable for their Needs
Getting the right coop for your guineas plays a long role in their comfortability. Guineas prefer to roost in high places like trees with natural roosts.
So putting them in a small coop sounds like punishment. However, you can make some adjustments by creating high perches for comfortable sleep.
You also don’t need to be concerned about their nesting boxes.
Guineas find small holes where they create a communal nest and deposit their eggs.
Provided your farmyard is big enough for them to run around, you won’t need to adjust your coop.
Also check out this article I wrote on the best incubator for guinea fowl eggs
- Start Raising your Flock With Keets
We all know that training an animal from a young age is ideal for raising any animal. It makes it so much easier.
To free-range your guineas, the amount of training they have plays an important role.
It is far easier to train keets than a mature guinea fowl.
Older Guinea fowl will find it difficult to cohabitate with chickens in their environment if used to relating with only Guineas. It is preferable to start young.
- Release them One At A Time
Guinea fowls belong to a flock. When they become separated from the rest of the group, they sound the alert and search for the others.
However, note that you can’t release all our guineas at once. It will only cause chaos.
Rather do this one at a time. Since the rest of the flock is still in the coop, your guinea won’t go far.
Keep repeating this process daily, releasing some till the whole flock is out and about.
- Free Range Only During The Day
This is another important consideration to free-ranging your birds. Only allow them to free-range during the day.
Once the sun starts to set and the guineas aren’t in their coops, they will most likely seek shelter in a tree, which can be annoying as you have to exercise patience before they come down.
I know you might think this isn’t a bad idea, but can you guarantee that your area is free of predators. Not likely.
So ensure your guineas are in the coop before the sun sets. It saves you a lot of headaches.
- Feed them At night
Night feeding is a great way to get your guineas into the coop.
Guinea fowls mostly forage throughout the day, so enticing them with treats like mealworms is a great way to ensure they return to the coop.
Guinea fowl have a strong sense of routine. Once they’ve gotten used to the pattern, they’ll happily run to the coop for treats.
- Do not Chase your Guineas
I don’t think anyone likes to be chased, both humans and animals.
This can be hazardous for your guineas as they will fly up into trees or next door. You won’t know where these birds will go, or they might fall prey to predators.
So if you’re having trouble moving them into their coop, just leave them, and they will come back eventually. Do not chase them.
You can free-range your guinea fowl. All you have to do is be patient and provide the requirements for their comfortability.
Your Guinea will get rid of pests and may even provide you with wonderful eggs.