Let's talk about guinea fowl sleeping arrangements for a second.
If you have guinea fowl, where do they sleep at night?
My guineas always have roosted outside in a tree.
The guineas were raised in a coop, some of them were raised by chickens, some raised by humans, but all lived in chicken coops when they were keets. All keets were released to the chicken pen when they were big enough to survive random pecks by curious chickens. And all keets wanted to sleep outside in the trees in the chicken pen. The ones that were raised by a mama (chicken) hen waited until the mama stopped mothering them and they stopped sleeping under her wings, then decided to sleep outside in the trees. The keets raised by us humans, with no mama hen's help, decided to sleep in the trees on the very first night they were released outside into the chicken pen (versus being locked up in the chicken coop).
It seems to be natural for guineas to want to sleep in trees.
At least that's my opinion.
I want the guineas to sleep inside the guinea coop, but we have 5 adults guineas who sleep out in the trees and there's no telling them that they're going to sleep anywhere other than where they want. They are free birds and do what they please. They are fully free - no fences contain them. It seems that predators attack at nighttime or in the late evening after the guineas have gone to roost in the tree or in the early dawn before the sun is fully up. The guineas are blind when it's dark, they are easy prey.
My idea is if I could make them sleep in the coop, I could close them in and keep them safe overnight, then let them free in the morning. But that means someone would have to be home when the sun set every night to close the guinea coop door, locking the birds into the safety of the coop overnight, and open it in the morning. The coop would have to be checked every eve to ensure no predators were waiting inside or got locked inside. We have lots of random animals very closeby on our farm that may enter into the guinea coop, from opossums, woodchucks, raccoons, and fox to curious stray cats. We've also seen mink less than a mile away. If I put up a timer mechanism that closed the guinea door automatically at nighttime and opened it in the morning, my belief if that the coop still needs to be checked for safety before being closed.
And I don't want to make it impossible to go on vacation and don't want to bring additional work on us.
My husband's idea is that the birds should be free. Let them sleep in trees. That's what they want, that's how God made birds, to roost in trees.
What do you think?
So, lets discuss my current guinea keet flock. I have 18 young keets who were released into the chicken pen last week. On their first evening outside they all roosted in one of the trees inside the chicken pen, even though every other night of their life they roosted in the guinea coop (they had always been locked in the coop). And so, at 8pm, as the sun set, I went out there and chased and caught all the keets and put them into the guinea coop. It took an hour, maybe more. I was frustrated. The keets all made it in and were locked in the guinea coop till morning.
The next morning their little guinea door going from their coop into the chicken pen was opened and they walked out into the chicken pen themselves like grown-up birds. That second night they all roosted in the tree in the pen, and I again worked hard and got them all locked up in the guinea coop. Do you know what it takes to catch 18 birds that can fly in a HUGE pen? It's not easy. But they were locked up for the night.
The third evening I went out to the chicken pen, ready for my evening job, and wonder of wonders, all the keets had put themselves away into the guinea coop themselves! Yeah! I locked them in and gave them treats in the coop. I was so happy. I also had a very bad cold at that time and was a walking, coughing, miserable zombie, so let me tell you, I was happy they put themselves away.
And for the next 4 nights the keets mostly put themselves away into their coop, but every now and then a few would have to be caught. Then last night, after one week, they all were out in the tree again. It was a struggle to coop them. They really want to roost in the tree.
My husband continues to tell me that nature is nature, let the birds roost in the tree. He tells me that once the keets are adults, and we release them into the wild with the 5 other adults guineas, that the keets will roost in the trees with the other guineas. Why go through this struggle if they are going to sleep in trees like they want anyway? I'm starting to agree with him.
Please let me know your opinion.