Guinea fowl are unique in the poultry world. Anyone who has ever kept guinea fowl will know exactly what I am referring to. If you are wondering if there is a specific formula for keeping guinea fowl safe with XYZ, let me assure you, they are not like most animals. So, let me tell you the biggest secret to keeping guinea fowl safe. Always remember that they are short 99% of their brain cells. Keeping them safe is up to you, they cannot in any way protect themselves. They cannot out think a predator. A team of guinea fowl is always better than having just a couple, but really if you free-range them, you can expect your flock numbers to decrease on a regular basis. They are a great alarm system, and will immediately warn you of anything on your property such as the mail man, dogs, people, hawks, etc. This makes them a great asset, however, it stops there. Once they have told you about the danger, it is time to protect the flock. They will either get cornered or, if you are lucky, you will find them all hiding in the trees, screaming their lungs out.
Daily guinea fowl care is also important, and learning how to raise guineas on your farm is probably going to be the best option. We have done both, purchased adults and hatched our own guinea fowl, once in an incubator and once using a guinea hen. I must say that the ones hatched here seem to be much tamer than those purchased. We have also trained them to return to their coop and follow us, most of the time. This makes guinea fowl care much easier.
What makes keeping guinea fowl safe such an issue is the fact that they panic so easily. When this happens they just lose their minds and begin to run, eventually cornering themselves somewhere and becoming easy prey. We have lost several of our free range guinea fowl over the years, and with our last hatch, we decided not to free range them anymore. They now have their own territory that is completely fenced in, top and bottom. They only free range when we can be there to protect them. They also are locked into their coop every night, even though they want to roost in the trees.
When we decided they needed their own coop, separate from the chickens, we had to decide whether we were going to build a coop or buy one. Honestly, raising guinea fowl isn’t any different than raising any other type of poultry, and you can integrate guinea into your existing coop and flock easily. However, we had already built one coop, and decided that we wanted to purchase one this time. After much research and debating, we discovered a coop that had almost everything we wanted. There were a few minor changes, and I was delighted to learn that the company we chose adapted the coop to meet exactly what we wanted!
In the following photos, you can see how these items can be added to an existing coop to make it more secure, used in building your own coop, or requested if purchasing.
Our number one request was that all openings, windows, and ventilation holes be secured with 1/2 inch vinyl coated wire that was screwed in from the inside. This wire is so small that predator hands cannot reach through it. Vinyl coated means that it is not going to begin rusting out, and screwed in means it is not going to be forced open by a determined raccoon! Also, attaching it from the inside, not the outside of the windows, ensures that it cannot be pried open. There are no edges for predators to attempt to grasp.
Next, our new coop has two windows, two doors, a ventilation window in the back, nesting boxes, and a storage cabinet. We requested that all the hardware be changed to have a two-step latch. Single hooks are too easy to figure out, but all entry points into the coop now have a two-step latch for added security. Once again, we are trying to outsmart any of the genius raccoons that live in our area.
Finally, once the coop was completely secure, we decided to fence in the surrounding area that would now belong to the Guinea Fowl. We used one-inch vinyl coated wire for the entire fencing. As you can see, the fenced area is top and bottom, giving the guineas room to fly to the top of their coop during the day if they want. We buried one-inch wire around the entire perimeter to keep anything from being able to dig underneath and access their area.
Now, once we had the coop as safe as possible from animal predators, we took one final step to secure them. We purchased padlocks and keys, and we lock both doors heading into the coop area. The reason for padlocks is very surprising, but right after we got the coop, someone let themselves in and made quite a mess. (Don’t worry, no guineas were harmed) So, the padlocks are for protecting and keeping guinea fowl safe from human predators.
We have always been passionate about protecting our animals to the best of our abilities. Sometimes, we have gone to the extreme, but so far, we have been very blessed that nothing has broken into our coops.
Do you keep guinea fowl? How do you keep them safe?