February 28, 2016

Keeping Guinea Fowl

I think I am a bit different and not necessarily a follower. I am strong-willed enough to take a risk and go my own way. This may be why I have always wanted Guinea Fowl. I did my research and I kept hearing of stories about guinea fowl perching in trees at night and living quite happily until one day in a single file line walking to the driveway of their home and leaving. Yet this did not deter me. I wanted Guinea Fowl! Finally a friend had some keets (babies) and gave me two. Gerome and Gemma the Guinea Fowl came to me as teenagers.  They lived happily with the chickens until after some time they started harassing the rooster. I have read that they sometimes will not allow roosters feed or water. After a while the relations with the rooster and the Guineas seemed to be getting worse so I separated the chickens from the Guinea Fowl. It is like they wanted to be in charge of the hens and do not like the competition from the rooster.

Gerome and Gemma (Helmeted Guinea Fowl)

Gerome and Gemma (Helmeted Guinea Fowl)

Facts about keeping Guinea Fowl

  • Colours – Many colours exist. Lavender and Pearl are the most common.
  • Varieties – There are three types of Guinea Fowl in captivity: helmeted, crested, vulturine.
  • Feed – Feed guineas the same as chickens.
  • Perching – Guinea Fowl perch up high, just like chickens. If they are given the opportunity they will perch up in trees which is safe from foxes, however eventually the female guineas may go broody in a nest on the ground which a fox is likely to find. My guineas have spent a night in the trees when I couldn’t get them back into the pen for some reason. Guinea Fowl are very good flyers and if given the opportunity will perch very high or just get up high for the sake of it (maybe to check out the view).

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  • Noise: Guinea Fowl do a loud noise but this may be once a day or once a week, depending on what sets them off.
  • Ticks – Guinea Fowl are known to consume insects and ticks in tick areas.
  • Snakes  – I have no experience with this but Guinea Fowl are known for keeping snakes away. I have seen videos where they harass the snake enough that anyone would move away. They seem to be very observant and constantly tilt their heads so I am sure they would be the first to notice snakes.
  • Chickens and Guinea Fowl – Hens and Guineas can live in harmony together although if you have a rooster be aware of the signs that he may get bullied by the Guinea Fowl.
  • Personality – Guinea Fowl are flighty birds and hence can be neurotic. Mine are very quiet but in saying that, they are not fond of being caught and held.
  • Gender – Male Guinea Fowl have gills which are like wattles in chickens. They puff out and appear round.
Gerome showing off his gills which are unique to males.

Gerome showing off his gills which are unique to males.

Why keep guinea fowl you ask? There are many different reasons to keep these quirky birds. Some people keep them for insect control, others snake control and for meat and feathers but I keep them because they are different. They are quirky and cool within their own right.

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Germone and I 🙂

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