View Full Version : Guinea Hens

11-30-2005, 09:09 AM
We are starting 3-5 Honey Bee hives next spring, however we are already raising Guinea Hens as they are great at controlling snake and insect populations.
Book on raising Guineas states they eat bees, Book on raising Bees doesnt list them under conflicts with other domestic animals. Local beekeepers around here really dont know.
Currently we have about 20 Hens that freerange thruout the warmer months. The Hives will be about 150 yards from the henhouse if that matters (Guineas get around) and will be elevated 24 inches on a stand.
Has anyone had any conflicts? I dont want to loose the investment to poor planning.

11-30-2005, 10:48 AM
One of my neighbors has a 20 - 25 hen flock of guinea hens that roam around my place at will. They have never bothered my bees. They do have plenty of other stuff to eat. If you live in a sparce area it may be a different story for you. My hives are on cinder blocks, so they could certinly reach them. If they did eat my bees, I would have to put them on my "hit" list along with the woodchucks and rabbits.

Bill S

power napper
11-30-2005, 01:03 PM
Hello Irsqu911-Years ago we raised guinea fowl to eat insects, especially ticks and potatoe beetles. Love the guinea eggs and miss them. The guineas will eat a few bees off dandelions and occasionally I have heard of a guinea standing at the bottom board of a hive and eating away at the bees. If the bottoms are elevated or if you use top entrances the problem should be eliminated.

Michael Bush
11-30-2005, 02:45 PM
I' had great luck with top entrances to keep the skunks and opposums from eating them (and the mice out and not having to mow and not having to shovel snow). That's what I'd do. I've had chickens around mine for the last 31 years and only occasionaly seen a chicken eat a bee and the chicken usually looked like it regretted it. smile.gif

11-30-2005, 07:30 PM
One farm that I keep about 20 hives at has 10 or 12 guinea hens. They are loud but they are no problem with my hives.

12-01-2005, 06:26 AM
I have another question?
Can guineas survive where coyotes roam?
I like the idea of the birds controling the ticks (they are geting thicker in our aera) and snakes and have been told they are good watch "dogs" I just don`t know how the neighbors would like the extra noise.
How about street traffic do they cross the road?

Michael Bush
12-01-2005, 09:18 AM
>Can guineas survive where coyotes roam?

They are much wilder than chickens and SOME of my chickens have survived the coyotes. Although most dissapeared a long time ago. smile.gif Guineas roost in trees and do quit well. If you can stand the noise.

>I like the idea of the birds controling the ticks (they are geting thicker in our aera)

My chickens keep the ticks down pretty well. Guineas are even better at eating bugs.

>have been told they are good watch "dogs"

If by "watch dog" you mean a dog that barks at everything that moves....

> I just don`t know how the neighbors would like the extra noise.

They probably won't.

>How about street traffic do they cross the road?

They wander a bit afield (more so than chickens) but not too far. If the road is close to where they are, they will probably cross the road. If there is a lot of traffic, you'll probably lose a few now and then.

12-01-2005, 09:26 AM
Thanks for all the advice, I will try it and see how it goes, I anticipate they will snack on a few but not so many as to be a problem.

Honeyman, we have lots of coyotes around. they are simmular to a pheasent i guess. They are rocket fast on the ground and outrun our cats (they just dont chase them anymore) and dog. Occasionally you could loose one to a dog as our neighbor's snatched one about 5 years ago.
They spend the day on the ground roaming around eating snakes and bugs. Some say they eat up to 5000 ticks a day each. I can attest as when we didnt have any birds, ticks where bad. Couldnt walk to the barn and back without picking 1 up. 2-3 weeks after we let them out you could roll in the tall grass carefree.
At night ours go inside unless its really warm out then we let them roost in trees. They are incredably dumb though and do stand in the road squalking at cars that roam onto "their" turf. As they come from Africa they are instinctivly scared of snow and will not walk where snow is. Which is bad as they will go to tree and not come down...freezing to death. We keep ours in a coop with a small covered yard they can play in.
And, yes they are noisy. And, will get up on a strange car that comes into the driveway sometimes and squalk loudly telling you someones here. (they dont scratch though)

They are the one thing I do know more about then Bees. I do recommend them and if you have anymore questions please ask. I will recommend a really good book when I talk to her later today.

[ December 01, 2005, 10:29 AM: Message edited by: Irsqu911 ]

David Stewart
12-01-2005, 06:04 PM
I wouldn't be as concerned about coyotes as I would be about road traffic, irritating the neighbors and midnight predation by owls once the guineas abandon the "hen" house and take to roosting in the trees.... Before I got tired of the racket they make and got rid of mine I lost more to owls than anything else.


12-01-2005, 08:47 PM
I talked to my wife and she gave me this website= Guineafowl.com...She goes there with all her bird questions.
She is the one who told me they will sit at the entrance of the Hive and eat the bees as they come and go. I think we could solve that problem by raising the entrance as you all suggested.

Strange, we have a few owls around and we have never lost one to them. During the day if a hawk flys over the guineas will squalk and run for cover.

power napper
12-02-2005, 12:36 PM
Great horned owls is what put us out of the guinea business.

Michael Bush
12-02-2005, 01:16 PM
I've had a family of those living here for a long time. That might explain some of the missing chickens...

power napper
12-02-2005, 04:51 PM
Yeah the Great Horned Owls can do a number on roosting guineas in the trees, even large pine trees are not a safe haven from the owls.

12-08-2005, 03:42 PM
MY guineas picked off a few sluggish bees this spring, but when things warmed up a bit, I saw a couple of them running around and rubbing thier ugly heads on the ground..After that they left the hives alone. Mine free range through the day, but still prefer to roost with the chickens.

I did have some of this years decide to roost in a tree one night this fall. It rained, a cold hard rain. They have been back in the hen house every night now.

12-09-2005, 08:17 AM
I read the same info that guineas will sit in front of a hive and eat bees. This is my first year with guineas, they are housed about 700 feet away from the hives. One of the guineas has a clipped wing so the other three have not ventured far outside the chicken pen. If they start eating my bees I will enjoy roasting one.

Michael Bush
12-09-2005, 09:10 AM
>MY guineas picked off a few sluggish bees this spring, but when things warmed up a bit, I saw a couple of them running around and rubbing thier ugly heads on the ground..After that they left the hives alone

I have had friends who had guineas but they didn't have bees so I haven't had the opportunity to watch them. But that description is pretty much the most I've seen the chickens interact with the bees over the 31 years that I've had both.