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Country of Origin: Africa, Central African plains
Primary Use: pest control, hobby, eggs, meat
Bird Size: Adult male – 3 to 3.5 lbs. Adult Hen – 3.5 lbs
Egg Production: Can begin as early as 16 weeks.
Egg Size: the shell is small and shaped like a top
Egg Color: Egg shell color varies depending on which hen lays it.
Comb Type: Guineas have a helmet, commonly called the casque;
Hardiness: Winter hardy as long as they are not exposed to drafts or dampness
ALBC Priority: N/a
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Guinea are seasonal layers. Eggs and keets are generally available from May to September.
The Guinea fowl belong to the Numida family – they are related to pheasants, turkeys and other game fowl. There is some evidence to suggest that Guinea fowl were known as far back as ancient Greece around the 5th century BC. The Romans brought them back from their African campaigns and tried to domesticate them. They were semi-successful in this venture, raising them on farms. Romans were able to raise them but never really tame them. The home of the Guinea fowl is Africa where they run wild in large flocks.
Some were taken to Jamaica about 200 years ago, during the slave trading era and they became part of the landscape. To this day you can find Guineas running wild in Jamaica! Guineas were first introduced to Europe back in the 1400’s and made their way to America with the early settlers and slaver ships. In the US only the helmeted variety is recognized and domesticated.
- A natural alarm system and guardian bird – sounding the alarm whenever anything unusual occurs.
- Consume large amounts of insects. Natural Lyme disease prevention!
- Don’t typically bother your garden or flowers, but get those pesky bugs without destroying your garden!
- Are easy and inexpensive to raise, resistant to many diseases.
- Fend for themselves, living on insects, seeds, and grasses. Lower feed costs.
- Because guineas feed on ticks/bugs as a food source, it’s a more natural (greener) way to control the insect pest population, allowing reduced use of chemicals and pesticides. Guineas will kill rats, mice and snakes.
- Eggs – did you know their eggs have more protein than chicken eggs? 15 g of protein compared to 6g of protein. Great for a keto diet!
- They are very tasty! Make a great table bird.
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Tips and Tricks
Guineas are highly social with their own kind; where one goes, they all go. If one gets lost it will call out until the flock comes to find it.
They can co-exist with other species such as chickens, ducks, etc but typically like to be the “boss”, more so the males. Keets can be raised with other fowl but once they mature a bit then you will need then to be in their own space. They love roosting in trees or other high places, in your coop place your roosts high. Guinea need a coop to go into. If left out at night they have a high chance of getting killed by aerial predators.
Guinea are gamebirds and need that diet when feeding.
Our trick to entice them into the coop each evening is a call we use every day (trained since the keet stage) and millet. Try to do this before dark they seem to dislike entering a dark place, so a low output light bulb should be kept on until they are all settled in. If you do decide to keep your guineas in confinement, they need 2-3 square foot space per bird. Any less and they are likely to become stressed, these are semi-wild fowl and do not generally thrive in confinement. These birds are monogamous and mate for life in the wild. A good ratio of male to female is often 1:5 and this seems to generally work well. They are loud, please remember this for your neighbors. Check local zoning laws.
Pre-ordered adults and hatchlings may be picked up by appointment. To safeguard our birds from exposure to disease brought in by visitors, in accordance with the provisions of the National Poultry Improvement Plan, areas where birds are kept are off limits. However you are welcome to look at all the breeds and interactions, it is a site to see.