As our guinea keets approached their 6 week-old birthday we were looking forward to letting them spread their wings a bit more, literally and figuratively. When our chickens reached that age, they were able to leave the house and move into their chicken coop. After about a week in there, we let them out in the attached fenced-in area (which later got taken down when they were ready to free range).
While the guineas started out in the coop, inside a dog crate, we started letting them have run of the whole coop at times (keeping the chickens out). We thought when they reached six weeks, around that time we could put the fence back in and let them outside to get used to things slowly too.
One evening when trying to get them back in their cage, this happened:
There’s no way that fencing we had would keep them in. We would have had to build a whole deal with a roof on it, and that just seemed like too much work for what would only be a matter of weeks before they could free range too. We had the added issue that one chicken was showing signs of getting ready to lay eggs, and we needed to get the nesting boxes up in the coop, which meant we couldn’t let the keets fly free in there, and let the chickens have access too.
We definitely needed a Plan B, so we had to get our wheels turning. From what I’ve learned, the chickens will lay before evening, so we could still close up the coop for a couple hours in the evening, let the keets fly free, and then put them back in their cage before “bedtime”. Even though the guineas have been raised right there with the chickens, I read it was better to not let them together until the keets are closer in size to the chickens.
We also wanted the keets to start getting used to being outside and going back in at evening time, so this is what we ended up doing, when we need to keep the coop open:
We now alternate between putting them outdoors and letting them loose in the coop. If we give them their food when back in their cage inside the coop, hopefully they will learn, like the chickens did, to head in there in the evening once they are free ranging. It’s said the guineas are a little more difficult to train for that. Hopefully I don’t have to get out the broom and herd them in like I sometimes do when they’re loose in the coop (it probably won’t work as well when they have more places to escape from me to!).
They are 7 weeks old now, and are getting bigger, so hopefully they’ll have that freedom soon. Fingers crossed that our plans work, and we don’t have to find a Plan C to get them in at night!