As members of the Numida family, guinea fowl are more intently associated with birds like pheasants, turkeys, and different game fowl species than they’re to chickens. Keeping guinea fowl needs much attention and care for successful result.
Keeping Guinea Fowl – Essentials You Need to Know
In this article, I am going to talk about keeping guinea fowl
Some people consider that guinea fowl have been raised way back to historic Greek times!
Believed to have originated around 500 BC, these creatures have been introduced again to the Romans from the native area of Africa.
After many semi-successful and semi-failed makes an attempt at raising guinea fowl, it turned clear that you may raise guinea fowl with reasonable success – however, you won’t have the ability to tame them.
It’s because guinea fowl are inherently wild birds. Native to Africa, the birds are rampant here, working wild in large flocks.
They’re additionally considered a part of the pure landscape of recent Jamaica since they have been introduced here within the 1800s in the course of the peak slave trading era.
Brought to Europe within the 1400s, the guinea fowl finally made its solution to America on the ships of a number of the earliest settlers.
There are many types of guinea fowl, however, normally, people who you see working around barnyards are helmeted guinea fowl.
The most common domesticated kind of guinea fowl, his hen has a knob on its head that provides it a helmet-like look.
One other common kind of guinea fowl is the Crested Guinea Fowl. These birds are sometimes regarded as probably the most aggressive kind of guinea.
They’ll chase people down indiscriminately -attacking even their homeowners. These birds are identifiable by curly mops on the tops of their heads.
Different less-common kinds of guinea fowl include the White-Breasted, Black, Vulturine, and Plumed Guinea Fowl.
Distinction Between Different Varieties of Guineas
To break down the differences:
White Breasted: This hen is discovered principally in West Africa. It’s listed with a standing of “vulnerable” in keeping with the International Union for Conservation of Nature attributable to in-depth habitat loss.
Black: One of these guinea fowl can solely be present in central Africa.
Vulturine: The most important of the guinea fowls, this hen has a placing look and is likely one of the tamest species. It must be raised in giant teams with a purpose to be wholesome.
Plumed: This can be an uncommon species of guinea fowl, which might solely be present in central Africa. Little or no is understood about it.
Even supposing guinea fowl are available in every kind of sorts, shapes, sizes, and colors, there are some traits that they have a tendency to share.
Common Guinea Colours
As an example, these birds will be present in quite a lot of colors. Widespread shades and patterns covers:
Not all of these colors are acknowledged by official requirements, with solely the Helmeted Guinea Fowl acknowledged formally in the United States.
Here, the formal colors include pearl, white, and lavender. Different countries, like Australia, recognize different shades, together with cinnamon and pied.
In regards to the dimension of a big rooster when totally grown, the Guinea Fowl will weigh about 4 kilos.
It has a neck and head which can be naked of feathers, which is designed to assist the hen to regulate its core physique temperature in its native area of Africa.
It has pores and skin that’s colored with crimson, blue, and black, making it look speckled and nearly clownish. The hen is formed like an oval with blunt, rounded wings. It has a curved, quick beak.
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Male vs. Female Appearance
There’s some sexual dimorphism between females and males – males have bigger wattles however remember the fact that not all guineas have wattles, to start with.
Guineas don’t attain sexual maturity till the second year that they’re alive, making it a problem to accurately sex most birds.
Nonetheless, as soon as they’ve reached two years of age, you possibly can simply inform the two apart as a result of they make different noises.
Females make noises that sound just like the notorious “buckwheat, buckwheat, buckwheat” name you will have heard that guineas make.
Males don’t make this noise, as a substitute vocalizing a noise that sounds somewhat like “chi, chi, chi.”
Highly social creatures, guineas get alongside the greatest with members of their own kind. They move in teams – if one travels, the others are more likely to comply with it.
If one will get lost, the others will name out to it relentlessly till it finds its way back (or till the remainder of the flock finds it).
Be Careful of Aggression with Other Species
You’ll be able to raise guineas with birds of different species, like chickens or geese, however, you want to be very cautious in doing so – particularly with reference to males.
The reason for this has to do with their tendencies in the direction of aggression.
Think of probably the most aggressive rooster you may have ever had. Then, multiply this by ten!
In actual fact, guineas will be so aggressive that they will run off the hardest rooster in your flock! Male guineas are notoriously territorial and can bully others within the flock.
The pecking order amongst guineas is quite brutal. They won’t limit their domineering conduct to members of their own kind however will bully indiscriminately.
If you’ll be able to raise your guineas as keets with a group of younger chicks at the same time, you will have better outcomes.
Challenges with Confinement
Elevating guinea fowl presents a number of different challenges, too. These birds are mostly wild, in order that they don’t normally do well in confinement.
Chances are you’ll discover that they generally tend to roost in trees or different high areas at nightfall as a substitute for inside the coop.
You’ll be able to finally train your guinea fowl to come back inside the coop at night by attractive them with some fresh water and a combination of cracked grain and feed.
They aren’t keen on coming into dark locations, so hanging a light bulb within the coop can assist encourage them to come back inside, too. You’ll be able to all the time flip off as soon as evening falls.
Keep in mind that the same guidelines relating to chickens and personal space apply to guineas, too.
Be sure to give them no less than two to three square feet apiece – any lower than that, and also you’ll discover that they develop into pressured and gaunt-looking.
If you’ll be able to present them an additional area for free-ranging, that’s all the higher, however, you’ll nonetheless need no less than two square feet of area inside the coop per hen.
One of the many issues that individuals love probably the most about guinea fowl is that they mate for all times when residing within the wild.
These birds are monogamous, and supplied with the correct male-female ratios, will stick to at least one associate for his or her complete life.
Try to preserve a ratio of 1 male to 5 females for best outcomes.
Are Guinea Fowl Good for Eggs?
As seasonal layers, guinea fowl can lay eggs all year long, laying about one egg per day between March or April and September or October.
That is dependent on your local weather and placement, after all, however, normally, one guinea hen will lay about 100 eggs every season.
These eggs are smaller than these of chickens and are typically pale brown in color. They usually have speckles and are very hard-shelled.
Eggs of a guinea fowl
One of many richest sorts of eggs you possibly can eat, they’re usually in comparison with eggs of different types of poultry, like ducks.
Guinea hens are communal layers, with all hens laying in a single nest till there are dozens of eggs.
Additionally, they are likely to brood communally, which is why they pile eggs – they’ll take turns sitting on the nest as soon as it’s time to brood.
In contrast to chickens, guineas are usually not fussy about the place they lay an egg.
They’ll do it wherever the mood strikes them, however, usually, they’ll select a location that’s considerably protected from predators.
Males stand to look ahead to the hens, keeping an eye out for hazards in the course of the hazardous daylight.
You may discover guinea eggs nearly anyplace in your property, together with within the forest, within the long grass or hay, and even under structures.
To stop them from “hiding” eggs on you, you may wish to preserve them locked up till noontime.
They normally lay in the morning, so in case you can preserve your birds contained until then, you’ll have a lot easier time finding and gathering the eggs.
If you wish to hatch your personal guinea eggs, don’t fear – this may simply be carried out. You will have to maintain them within the incubator for anyplace between 26 and 28 days.
In case you are counting on a broody guinea hen to do the be just right for you, know that after hatching, the guinea keets will comply with their mother again to the flock.
It is rather common for guinea keets to die within the wild. They usually endure cold, moist circumstances and are also subject to predation when they’re under the age of 4 weeks old.
Nonetheless, in the event that they do make it previous the four-week mark, there’s a superb probability that your birds will develop into wholesome adults!
Are Guinea Fowl Good for Meat?
Many individuals select to raise guinea fowl for pest control or as pseudo-guardian animals, however, they can be raised for meat.
In actual fact, guinea fowl are recognized for being lean, flavorful, and fairly tender. White like a rooster, guinea meat has a singular style like a pheasant but without the intense gamey taste.
With much fewer fats and less energy than a rooster, it has a heavier breast and smaller bones, too. Subsequently, despite the fact that a guinea may look to be the same size or only a tad bigger than a broiler rooster, you’ll yield much more meat.
Size and Meat Production
The common guinea dresses out to 75% of its dwell weight, which is greater than 70% you may get out of a chicken.
Mature hens will weigh about three kilos and cocks will likely be roughly 4.
You’ll be able to decide whether or not a guinea is prime for consuming by feeling the flexibleness of its breastbone.
The youthful and more tender it’s, the more versatile its breastbone will likely be, too.
One of the best guinea meat will be from 12-week old birds that weigh about two kilos. That is when you can be on the optimum ranges of feed conversion in addition to when the meat would be the most tender.
In terms of dressing and getting ready for the hen, you’ll comply with the very same steps as you’ll if you have been butchering and cooking a rooster.
Health Problems with Guinea Fowl
As guinea fowl aren’t easily domesticated!
In consequence, it has been difficult – if not not possible – for people to “improve” upon the species by any means by means of selective breeding. On the flip side, although, guinea fowl have only a few well-being points.
A hardy hen in most environments, the guinea fowl does greatest in a warmer climate. Native to Africa, it prefers heat, dry, and draft-free surroundings.
Guineas tend to battle during excessive cold, snowy, or moist circumstances.
Attempt to not catch these birds by the legs. They aren’t like chickens that may be dealt with on this means – they generally tend to show round rapidly and may simply break or dislocate their legs.
Raising Guinea Keets
Raising guinea fowl begins with raising guinea keets – or younger guinea fowl.
These birds want high-protein feed as children, simply as chicks do. Till they’re 5 weeks old, it’s best to feed them a high-protein ration of about 24-28%.
As soon as they attain 5 weeks old, you possibly can cut back the protein to 18-20%, and as soon as they’re eight weeks old, you possibly can drop even further to 16%.
No matter what you do, attempt not to feed pelleted feed.
They’ll have a harder time digesting this. You should also keep away from feeding medicated feed because it’s poisonous to guinea fowl.
Whereas it would be best to begin your guinea keets in a brooder, just as you’ll with child chicks, you possibly can later transfer them out to pasture.
In case you permit your guineas to free-range, they’ll spend most of their days foraging, working as a group to devour something that comes into their paths.
Guineas additionally prefer to scratch, similar to chickens. Whereas it’s much less more likely to dig up your garden than a chicken is, it’s vital to concentrate on the place you home them in order that they don’t scratch and dig up areas you don’t need them to.
Benefits of Raising Guinea Fowl
Listed here are a number of positives of raising Guinea Fowl:
Guineas are low-maintenance poultry
Though they aren’t as pleasant as different sorts of birds, they require little or no care, since they will principally fend for themselves.
They’re almost completely disease-free and may adapt to all however the most extreme climates.
You don’t need a lot of a shelter
In actual fact, shelter is actually only vital to protect your flock of guineas in opposition to threats from predators like foxes, dogs, coyotes, and owls.
An easy three-sided shelter is all you want, so long as it has a draft-free perch space and a wire front. Ideally, about seven inches of roosting area per hen is desired.
Feeding guinea fowl is simple
In case you permit your flock to free-range, you will discover that almost all of their dietary wants are met.
In any other case, you may simply want to offer them water and some handfuls of grain to get them inside in the evening.
Hatching keets is normally an easy job
If you wish to hatch your own guinea keets, you’ll have good success.
Egg fertility is never a problem. So long as you preserve the suitable cock-to-hen ratio, you’ll enjoy almost 100% fertility!
Guinea fowl kind shut bonds with one another. Hens are protecting their infants and can lead their offspring wherever they should go.
Males are protecting, too. If a mated hen and cock are divided throughout feeding, the 2 will panic till they reunite with one another.
Guineas present great pest control
Many individuals get pleasure from elevating guineas due to the worth they add in having the ability to take away pests like ticks, snakes, and different creatures from the yard.
They’re wonderful at pest management, and can even assist guard your flock with their piercing cries. You won’t have any guests show up unexpectedly – that’s for sure!
Add in the truth that guineas will be raised for eggs and meat alike, and you’ve got a nearly good yard poultry breed!
Challenges of Raising Guinea Fowl
One of the many greatest challenges of raising guinea fowl that many keepers have to handle is that managing them is considerably different than managing chickens, geese, or different sorts of poultry.
For instance, it may be extremely robust to catch a guinea hen.
It’s best to catch a guinea after darkish, however, you want to be fast. You’ll be able to catch considered one of these birds by their legs, both – in case you do, the hen runs the danger of breaking a bone.
One other distinctive concern with elevating guinea keets has to do with their inquisitive nature.
These birds aren’t afraid of a lot, and can spend a substantial amount of time getting into hassle on your farm! In case you keep bees, ensure you protect the hives.
Guineas will sit outdoors or on high of them and eat bees as they emerge.
Remember the fact that guineas can mate with chickens!
This isn’t essentially problematic – the birds look fairly odd however are in any other case wholesome – however, do result in sterile offspring.
Lastly, guineas are usually a problem to boost in that they don’t seem to be quiet birds.
When you’ve got close-by neighbors or just don’t wish to take heed to their constant chattering day and night, these may not be the birds for you.
Are These Birds Right for You?
Though guinea fowl have been raised in captivity for thousands of years, they’ve but to become actually domesticated species.
Not a cuddly or supper-friendly hen, the guinea fowl doesn’t prefer to be picked up and isn’t more likely to develop into your next new pet!
Nonetheless, they provide a great deal of entertainment.
Not solely are they enjoyable to observe as they patrol your yard, however, they will also do away with pests like snakes, rodents, ticks, bugs.
They’ll let when an intruder is current and may even preserve sure predators away out of your flock.
Whereas the guinea fowl is unquestionably an acquired style, there are many individuals who completely love raising them. You may be one of them!
I hope this article on Keeping Guinea Fowl – Essentials You Need to Know was worth reading.
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