Can Guinea Hens and Chickens Peacefully Coexist?
Some folks ask me if guinea hens and chickens get along. It’s sort of like cramming a bunch of relatives into Grandma’s house during Thanksgiving. Everyone's family is different and it's hard to say for sure if they will all get along or not.
Generally speaking, most of our customers also have other poultry (such as chickens) and they usually get along. But it’s not that uncommon for quarrels to arise in the coop so let’s figure out how to help guineas and chickens to live together.
Guinea fowl have very wild instincts and will be more independent than chickens, stubbornly so at times. They will typically go do their own thing during the day but may hang out with the chickens if they feel like it.
How do I make sure guinea hens and chickens get along?
The best way to get guineas and chickens to get along is to raise them together. Start your keets and your chicks at the same time and they will likely get along much better. (Buy day old guinea keets here)
If you raise keets to several weeks and then introduce them into the chicken flock, they probably will fit in just fine. However, as they grow and mature, the dynamics in the coop will change because the guineas are much more wild and high strung than chickens and the pecking order will be upset. If your leader chickens step aside and submit to the guineas, you'll likely have peace and prosperity. If not, fights will probably break out.
Guinea fowl mate in the spring unlike chickens which mate as frequently as the roosters are inclined to do so. This means that as spring approaches, guinea males will start to become more bothered, anxious, and territorial. This may be a good time to get your guinea flock separated from your chickens so your chickens aren’t the victims of domestic abuse.
If quarantining isn't an option (ever try catching a guinea?), give both flocks more space. This means building another coop or simply extending it's borders so the chickens and guineas aren't stuck in close proximity to one another. Now, if you take adult guineas who were in a coop all their life and just let them outside, you'll likely never see the whole flock together again. Click here to follow some guidelines so your guinea fowl stick around your property.
Will guinea fowl mate with my chickens?
It's not likely but it's possible. If you have a very lopsided ratio of males to females in your guinea flock, the males may look elsewhere for "companionship." If a guinea male does mate a chicken hen, it will produce sterile offspring.
Do guinea fowl make my chickens more aggressive?
When guinea fowl get into fights with chickens, they always win. This will make your chickens either more submissive or it will make them hot and bothered and get them in a lot of fights with the bossy guineas. It does not seem to make chickens more aggressive towards humans, however.
Again, the best way to peace between the species is to raise them together.
What if my guineas and roosters keep fighting?
Guineas can be hard to tell apart. Next time your coop breaks out in a squabble, mark the offending guinea with a shot of white spray paint on the back. Also take note of the rooster. Then, over the next few days, see if the fights involve the same perpetrators. If they do, the easy solution is to get rid of the rooster or get rid of the bully guinea.
It may be easier to get rid of the rooster. Guinea fowl are monogamous and pair up in relationships. If you get rid of the guinea, it's mate will become distraught and will actually mourn. It's also far easier to find a rooster than it is to find a male guinea. Plus, the chicken hens won't care if the patriarch of the coop is gone missing. They most likely will just accept the bully guinea as head honcho of the coop and move on with life.
Is it worth the bother of raising guineas with chickens?
Many homesteaders find that guinea are in a league of their own when it comes to eating ticks and other pests. Guineas even control small mice and snakes, although rats and big snakes can be too much for them too handle. Guineas aren't great layers though and if you want a predictable and reliable egg laying machine, chickens are a far better choice. This is why homesteaders like to have a mixed flock of guineas and chickens. Chickens lay a lot of eggs and guineas are a great predator warning system since they make a racket whenever a strange animal or person is around. The chickens quickly learn to utilize this alarm system and run for cover when the hear the guineas raising a racket.
We'd be delighted to provide your homestead with the highest quality French guinea fowl keets. We ship nationwide (except Hawaii) and guarantee a safe arrival. Shop here.