Thank you, Sara, for your reply. I was grateful for the encouragement. The keets made the 2 hr. trip home just fine.
Not having prior experience with Guineas, I had no way of knowing how, um, discerning, a bird they are! Firstly, the place I picked them up from was a little overwhelming for me, let alone them. There were 50 or so 10 week old keets in a 4X4' plywood enclosure. They were very wild, and the two caught for me which I brought home bear battle wounds from having been pecked on their backs. They have begun healing, as there is no longer any pecking going on!
I got them home and realized that my plan to quarantine them was not going to be as workable as I had thought. They were much larger than I had anticipated. Since, I have discovered a website where someone has very thoughtfully posted weekly photos of Guinea keets - gives you an idea of how large they are. Their size, coupled with their absolutely unmanageable flightiness led me to cast good judgment aside; I released them into the chicken run/ coop. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone! And I will NEVER again do such a thing. Chalk this one time up for experience... Quarantine is the only prudent course.
It was Sunday afternoon last when I got them home. They have come a long way in a short time, and I will admit I am amazed at their progress. The six week old chicks have shown them the ropes. There has been some slight animosity - a few passes made, but no contact. The first three days, I kept the gate & door to the run/ coop closed so the keets couldn't range. The chicks/ chickens were stuck out during the day, though they had safe roosting areas, feed, & water available. Late in the day, I let the chickens back in to mix with the keets. The first two nights, I had to physically place the keets in the coop, putting them through the hatch at the top of the ladder from the run side. By the third night, they popped in on their own with a little encouraging.
Thursday, I left everything open. The keets made a few cautious laps outside from coop door to run gate. They obviously felt safe in their new home. As of today, Friday, they are making forays with the chicks. They like to settle in to the fern & tall grass along the side of the garage, a favorite spot of the chicks. They return to the coop for water & crumbles, and maybe for a short roost in the coop before going back out. I read somewhere that Guineas are easily moved by driving them with two long sticks. By driving, I mean slowly walking behind them, using the sticks to guide their course. This works perfectly!!!
At night, they roost with the chicks/ens on a 2X4" 7' long roost (with the 4" side up). When they first arrived, they were incredibly clumsy, which was probably partly from fear & perhaps some due to the very basic environment (read: they've come from hell to heaven!) they had come from.
They are growing on me, and I seem to be growing on them. I'm not sure what the consensus is among the chickens, though. I'm debating on whether to build them their own snug quarters for this winter. My coop doesn't have as much floor space as I'd like. I have six juvenile chickens, two bantam hens, and the two Guineas, and only 30sq' of floor space. This works fine now, but what will it be like for them being cooped up throughout the winter, I wonder.
Also, the flock eats the same feed. I have decided to mix the 20% game crumbles with lower protein layer crumbles I have. This, and they get cracked corn; millet; ETC. So far so good. The flock has access to a real variety of seed, grasses, and creepy crawlies now. For winter, I will have to make sure I provide them with the right mix for their nutritional needs.
Ok, that's all for now on the keets! Oh, and I think I might be hearing an occasional two syllable call from one or both...but not sure yet.
Thank you again for your support & interest!
Kind regards, Maureen