It’s a game bird… that’s been domesticated. So it’s not as wild as say Quail or Partridges, but it has more wild instincts than chickens and turkeys. Originally from Africa, the Guinea Fowl was brought to Europe by Portuguese traders.
Guinea Fowl can be purchased in three forms. You can buy hatching eggs and try your hand at incubating, order day-old keets or even find adults if you look hard enough. The easiest option is ordering day-old keets, less time consuming than hatching your own and easier to acclimate to you and your property than adults.
Why Guinea Fowl instead of Turkeys or Chickens?
- Predator Resistant
They may not be as tame as chickens and turkeys, but this can be a good thing. Guineas are constantly alert for predators and once one is spotted they erupt into a raucous alarm that can send a hawk on its way. Guineas will still need a coop and pen to return to at night, this takes some encouragement and training at a young age. Placing a light in the coop helps as Guineas don’t like going into dark buildings.
- Pest and Weed Eating Machines
Guinea Fowl are excellent free rangers, perhaps one of the best in domesticated fowl. The Guinea flock will march through a property wiping out a whole slew of pests including but not limited to: snakes, rodents, ticks, scorpions, grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, beetles, ants, June bugs, spiders, weevils, grubs, bees, hornets, and wasps.
These high protein eating habits also can cut back significantly on feed requirements, that is if you have enough pests for them to eat. (Side note: if you raise bees on your property, make sure to keep them at least 1/4 mile away from your guineas). Not only to Guineas love insects, but they love weed seeds, particularly grass, preventing the spread of said weeds into your crops or garden. They are also excellent defenders of fruit trees as they can fly up and take out pests up high.
Color Varieties of Guinea Fowl
Getting Started with Guineas:
- You will need all of the same brooding equipment that is required for chickens. Guinea Keets will begin jumping very high at a young age, so it will be necessary to cover the brooder or they will start jumping right out.
- Guineas need a coop larger than chickens, about 3-4 sq. ft. per Guinea. They will also need a covered run if you live in an area with snow, Guineas will not trudge through snow.
- The best option for feeding Guinea Keets is Turkey Starter Feed, or a specific high protein game bird feed if you can find it. Later on, adult guineas will prefer whole or cracked grains to corn.