Do Guinea Fowl Need a Coop?

It’s not necessary but it is best to keep your Guinea fowl in a coop.  Being from the same family as pheasants and turkeys they prefer to roost in the trees but in order to keep them around and find the eggs easily you really need to provide them with a house and train them in it's use. It is useful to be able to catch them occasionally and penning them up for part of the time, especially the mornings will help prevent them from becoming totally wild.

I keep an egg flock of 27 guineas in a 10 foot by 8 foot shed with the roosts 8 foot off the floor. It does not need to be elaborate in any way, just a shed with sand on the floor will be fine.

The guinea fowl housing requirements are:

1. Height- Guineas like to be up high so you need to provide high spots.
2. Nests - Secluded area with shallow dips filled with dry grass.
3. A secure coop, and a fenced and covered run. To keep them in and predators out.
4. Two pop holes. Guinea can squabble like politicians over nothing for hours.

Guineas need a tall coop if you are to have any success, a small chicken coop will not work. The best guinea fowl coops are large sheds with eaves for the birds to roost in. If they can't go high they will find another location where they can. The usual style of perches over a droppings board is difficult to achieve as they prefer to be a little spread out so you need a lot more perching space, as much as 2 foot per bird.
guinea high up on natural perches
Guinea fowl houses really need to have an attached run, the birds will need to be kept in for their training which will take at least 4 weeks.

Mine seem to prefer natural wood perches so go for branches in the coop.

Will guinea fowl fly away when I let them out?

And more importantly, will they come back at the end of the day? Yes, they do fly and will often fly up into trees or rooftops to roost. You can either have them pinioned as keets, or clip their wings, and this will restrict their flying.

But it’s important to train them from young to think of the coop as home. This ensures that they will return when they do go wandering. This is most easily accomplished by raising them with a hen, she will teach them some chicken ways and make the easier to keep.

Clip one wing of it's primary flight feathers a few days before the planned first free ranging, this will unbalance them in flight.
guinea coop with roosting birds
By keeping them in their intended home for at least a month it is possible to persuade them to return to a shed each evening in order to roost. The Guinea-fowl owner who is lucky enough to have an out-building attached to their property will find that birds will prefer to roost on any exposed rafters or beams. You can help this by putting a few branches in the beams.

Food helps here and by feeding them in the coop or run in the morning before release and in the evening before roosting it will help bring them back.

When releasing young Guinea fowl from the coop for the first time, just let half of them out. Their strong flock mentality will ensure that the ones on the outside will stay close to the coop.

Eventually they will all learn that the coop is home. They are flocking birds and tend to follow what the bulk of them do, if most roost in the coop, the rest will tend to, but not always, follow.

Do Guinea fowl need a nest box?

Left to her own devices, the guinea hen would, like most birds, lay a clutch of eggs and then go broody. By collecting the eggs it isn't unreasonable to expect a hen to carry on laying until she has produced as many as 160 eggs. 

Chicken style nest boxes are totally un-necessary and will be ignored in favour of a stubbornly self-chosen, well-hidden nest. Or a shallow basin like depression in the ground or coop floor bedding.

The best thing you can do is create artificial nesting spots that are easy for you to get to and hope the Guinea hens choose them as their preferred spot to lay. Some logs or branches carefully constructed to enclose a dry sheltered spot where you can make a shallow dip and put a few pottery eggs in as a decoy.

Unlike with all other poultry take care  not be seen when removing the eggs from the nest. Always do it when you know that the bird is not around to see you and never remove them all otherwise the hen will find somewhere else to lay. then you have to go through the bother of finding the new location. Pottery eggs or golf balls work just fine as nest egg substitutes.

Where should I put the coop?

At least 100 yards from human houses. In some parts of the world there are minimums set in law for distances poultry must be away from habitation. Guinea fowl are noisy and really make a surprisingly large amount of noise over the greater part of the day.

An enclosed run should be sheltered but have sunshine and fresh air. Cover it if you live in a very wet or snowy part of the country.

Guineas can be trained to use an out building. It is much better than letting them sleep outdoors in a tree.  Out buildings are clean, dry, provides protection from the weather elements, and most of all, offers overnight protection from predators.

Will Guineas upset my neighbours?

Quite possibly, They are noisy and roam far and wide and fences do not keep them in. They just go over the top.