I have an 8 x 12 shed with a loft to make into a coop for French guineas. I want to provide a door into the loft from the outside so the guineas would have to fly into it to enter the coop. I plan on making a platform for them outside the door and another inside. Will they be able to do this, or do they have to walk into the coop like chickens do? My keets are 5 days old, and I want to get the shed ready before moving them to the coop.
Transylvania County North Carolina
Response from our guinea fowl specialist:
"It would be much easier to have the birds walk into the coop than fly into it. You will have to train them to fly in. Likewise, if you construct a platform for the birds to walk on to enter the coop you still have to train them, but that is much better than having them fly in."
Thank you, Dr. Jacquie Jacob, for your response to my question. My reason for wanting them to fly into the coop was so as not to have a door low to the ground that might make it easier for predators to enter. I was considering putting an electric fence wire just below the opening to the loft door to shock any climbing critters and leaving the door open so the guineas can leave and re-enter at will.
You said it is "much better" to have them walk into the coop rather than fly. Can you tell me why?
Also, perhaps you can tell me what to do about excrement starting to accumulate around the butts of some of the keets. I tried using warm water and a cloth to remove it, but it is very hard. Will it eventually fall off as their feathers develop?
Another question: Is it OK to give them dried mealworms (53%+ protein, 23% fat) which they prefer far more than millet?
I haven't heard back from the guinea fowl specialist, so I don't know why he suggested that, but I would think it had something to do with the training of the guineas. I would also assume that any opening that the guineas can get into, a predator could too. The accumulation of fecal material near the rear end might have something to do with what they are eating. You inquired about mealworms rather than pearl millet - what else are you feeding?