A New Home for the Guineas

| 4/22/2015 3:37:00 PM

Jennifer QuinnAbout a week ago I finally finished my guinea shelter, and within a few days had them all happily relocated there – or so I thought. (Watch for my post on guineas problems!) In any case, I thought I’d share my creation at this point, since it felt like quite an accomplishment.

When I bought the place I had inherited a chain-link enclosure, up the hill behind the house, which people said was probably used as a puppy pen. About 12 feet long, 7 feet wide and maybe 5 feet 9 inches tall, it had an open top and was reinforced with rat wire around the bottom. Though the rat wire was in dilapidated condition, I saw this structure right away as a possible shelter for guineas or chickens, with a few modifications.

First I found a big branch and a couple of small ones to use as perches, inserting them through the chain link, and wired them to it so they wouldn’t shift. I then covered the top with 4-foot strips of 2-inch chicken wire, wiring the strips together as I went along. I also wired the edges to the chain link, making them as tight as I could.

Then I covered the south end with clear plastic, thinking this would help with heat retention in the winter. It only comes down a few feet from the top, so I plan to add another strip before winter, but I think for now it’s better to have it open and airy. To cover the remainder, I used a 10-by-15 woven plastic tarp, tying it to the chain link with twine. I knew this type of tarp wouldn’t be very durable but thought I’d give it a try since it would be so much easier to work with than a heavier one. I was able to throw it over the top and arrange it by myself without getting on a ladder, which was a big plus!

Guinea Shelter 

Guess what I used to secure the clear plastic to the chain link, and also to the tarp in places – basting pins! Those are the giant safety pins that are used in quilting and other kinds of needlework. I didn’t know what they were called until I ran across them in a craft store, after searching unsuccessfully in other places. I’ve used them a lot for things like fastening plastic netting around garden beds (more on that later). I wonder if anyone else uses them in the garden?

5/12/2015 3:57:24 PM

No problem! Glad to be able to share a solution that has saved me lots of time. Love the guineas. BTW been wondering where our cat goes when it disappears for 3-4 days at a time, looks like he visits your place... Jerry

5/12/2015 3:34:48 PM

Thanks, Jerry. I've been meaning to reply to your comment for some time but haven't been able to log in. I think it's fixed now. I'll have to try the hog rings sometime--I'll bet they're a lot stronger than basting pins! Not sure what they look like, but one of the local hardware stores probably has them. Jennifer

4/23/2015 12:58:39 PM

I'm all about using "found" objects to avoid having to spend money, so I think your coop is pretty cool. Never tried basting pins before, I've usually got a pretty good stock pile of bailing wire that I use for things like that. I luxury that I have succumbed to is using hog rings to attach my strips of chicken wire together. I lap the two strips over about 6 inches and then I clip the two together with the rings. They are fairly cheap, easy to use, and a rather speedy solution. Jerry