In a world where guinea pigs get all the glory, it’s about time people learned a little more about the guinea fowl. Why raise guinea fowl? Guineas are the unspoken heroes of the poultry and farming world. While your chickens, turkeys, fruits, vegetables and whatever else you have are soaking up the sun; the elusive and tireless guinea is always on the prowl. If you are thinking about joining the thousands of people enjoying the benefits of the guinea fowl, here are 7 reasons why you should:
The top 7 reasons why you should keep and raise guinea fowl.
7. Pest control
Guinea fowl act as a natural pest repellent. Being arguably the best feature about guinea fowl, this chemical-free defense system is the gift that just keeps on giving. Instead of dousing your plants in pesticides or constantly worrying about potential predators, you can have peace of mind in knowing that your guinea fowl are on the case. These guys can protect against insects, rodents, birds, and even snakes. They work in packs when it comes to hunting or defending against larger pests. Guinea fowl aren’t just efficient hunters, but also smart hunters. They are your garden’s Navy Seals.
6. They’re easy to maintain
So these birds aren’t going to crawl up to your bed and snuggle you at night. But you’re trying to maintain a farm or garden, not a bed and breakfast. Guinea fowl are going to mind their own business most of the time and leave you be. You guys will wave when you pass each other in the halls but they’re not going to stop and chat you up. They do not want to be confined and you don’t need to hold their hand. The guinea fowl have work to do.
5. Guineas are almost completely disease-free
Going off our last bullet, guineas don’t take kindly to being confined and they don’t work well in a massive commercial farming operation. Because of this, they’re yet to be mass-produced or exploited in that type of setting. That means these free-range guineas develop stronger immune systems after potentially being exposed to more minor infections and pathogens. More genetic diversity in the free-range guinea population (as opposed to a commercially farmed flock of chickens,) provides for greater resistance to possible diseases and infections that could threaten the livelihood of your poultry.
Guinea Fowl can live and thrive in almost any type of weather environment. Unless you are in the harshest of climates, chances are your guineas are going to adapt to the conditions. Shelter isn’t even completely necessary for guinea fowl, though some type shelter against larger nighttime predators is never a bad idea. They only require 7 inches of space per bird for roosting so any type of shelter would be fairly small.
3. They’re a great alarm system
These guys are vocal little birds. Their sounds and chirps can do wonders to scare the living daylights out of a potential predator. Not only can they scare off a predator but they also alert chickens and other rather defenseless birds to any danger that might be near. Sneaking into a barn unseen or unheard by a guinea fowl is a difficult task. Trust us we’ve tried.
2. Egg fertility is rarely a problem
Though domestic and wild guinea hens lay seasonally, egg fertility is something you will almost never have to worry about. Maintaining at least 1 cock under 3 years old per every 4 or 5 hens will ensure that you have an almost 100% fertility rate. This is something that isn’t quite the same for other types of poultry. Guinea fowl are not only low maintenance, but they are almost completely self-sustaining if you manage them correctly.
1. Guinea fowl are absolutely delicious
To wrap things up about the wonders of the guinea fowl, let us just discuss how delicious they are. Guinea fowl meat has oftentimes been compared to pheasant meat. The guinea fowl’s fewer tendons in the leg and thigh make it a more valuable and cost-effective choice for most chefs. It’s richer than chicken meat but at the same time contains less fat and fewer calories. Their smaller bones and larger breasts compared to the chicken make the animal up to 5% meatier. As it is with most birds, the meat from the hen is more delicious than that of the guinea cock. Young guinea is the cream of the crop when it comes to meat. 12-week-old keets provide the sweetest and succulent cuts and can be broiled, roasted, and yes, even fried. Just butcher and dress your guinea fowl as you would a normal chicken!
Please visit Mother Earth News for more great information on guinea fowl. Want to get an order in for some guinea keets (which is what they call the chicks of this bird)? Check out CackleHatchery.com for awesome guinea availability.
Do you raise guinea fowl? Why do you do it? What are the benefits? Let us know in the comments!