Guinea Fowl 101

Raising helmeted Guinea fowl is becoming  more and more popular with homesteaders, farmers and backyard chicken keepers. Raising Guineas is a lot like raising chickens, but in a few aspects they are different. I have had Guinea fowl since 2009. I started with 3 guinea hens and now have around 60....ish. My original trio were the standard pearl Guineas, but I now have Guinea fowl in 7 different colors.

This page is where I have linked all the articles I've written about Guinea fowl to make them easy for you to find. Guinea Fowl 101 will be updated frequently to contain links to all my posts specifically about Guinea hens (no, they're not all hens, but for some reason that's how many people refer to the whole lot of them!) Just click the underlined titles to go to whichever articles you wish to view.

Raising guinea fowl. From keets to breeding

Guinea Fowl


13 Reasons why you should raise guinea fowl: Guinea Fowl aren't for everyone. However they have several redeeming qualities that make farmers and backyard poultry keepers alike big fans of this silly looking bird. I started raising Guineas a few years back because of our tick problem but since have found a whole bunch of reasons why I think everyone should get a few Guineas...

14 Reasons you should NOT raise Guinea fowl:  Guineas are interesting birds. They are poultry, but not really. They look like little helmets with clown face makeup on. They act like idiots and they eat ticks and bugs like it's their job. Guineas are pretty awesome and there are lots of reasons why you should get Guineas, but do you know why you shouldn't? Here are my top 14 reasons why you should not raise Guinea fowl...

Are Guineas Cold Hardy? I get asked all the time how my guinea fowl and chickens handle the cold and snow we get every winter here in western Pennsylvania. The guineas especially since they're originally from Africa. Plus, guineas are quite a bit different then chickens as they like to sleep in the trees. In fact, I've even seen them sleeping with an inch of snow on their backs.....

Guineas eat stink bugs! Thank goodness something eats stink bugs because the chickens don't like them! Luckily guinea fowl seem to love stink bugs and spend all day chasing them all over  the yard!

Don't touch the snow:  Natural born camouflage! How Guineas blend in with the trees in winter. Although only the pearl guineas have this great camouflage properties, there are almost 30 colors of guinea fowl! Check this post and see if you can spot the guinea fowl in the tree.

Train guinea fowl to be friendlyGuinea fowl are not well known for being friendly. Some people can't get anywhere near their guineas! This seems a little strange to me, after all my guinea fowl follow me around everywhere I go. It's quite easy to train them to be friendly with you though. Just follow these steps.

How to tell the guinea hens from the guinea cocks


Sexing Guinea Fowl by sound: One of the most frequent questions I get asked is how to tell the males guinea fowl from the female guinea fowl. I usually respond that the females all have red leg bands on, but I'm pretty sure that's not what they mean! lol The only sure way to tell the male Guinea cocks from the female Guinea hens is by the noise they make. The females call is quite distinct, but unless you know what to listen for you might not recognize it. Luckily, I have video...

The Guinea wattle myth:  Guineas can be really hard to tell apart. The male and female guinea fowl look almost exactly alike. I've heard several theories on how to tell them apart. The only theory that I've heard that even comes close to being accurate is the one about their wattles being differently shaped. Unfortunately it only works some of the time

Guinea Hens


Guinea Hens: Everything you need to know:
Want to know about the egg laying, mating and brooding habits of the female guinea fowl? Check out this post for everything you need to know about guinea hens.

12 tips for finding Guinea nests:  It's that time of year again....the Guinea hens are laying and I'm out there hunting for their nests. Guineas are ground nesting birds and like to hide their nests among fallen branches and tall grasses. They can be very hard to find but it's imperative that you find them! 

If you don't find the nest, inevitably the Guinea hen will decide to hatch the eggs. Many Guinea hens don't survive the setting period because of predators. If you're lucky the predator will only be after the eggs and the hen will run off. If not...well...you need to read this post!

guineas hide nest

Finding a Guinea nest with a thermal camera: Desperate times call for desperate measures and sometimes when a guinea is hiding in the woods on a nest I need to do whatever it takes to find her...or else the predators will! I took a thermal camera out to hunt down guinea nests....

Are you my Mother? Guineas are notoriously bad mothers, but I still want to hatch some keets each year and don't feel likes messing with a brooder. What is the perfect solution? Chicken hens. Keeping guineas and chickens together works out especially well when the hen raises the guineas from keets!

Raising Guinea Keets


How to raise guinea keetsYou've decided to raise guinea fowl and like most people, you've decided to get started with guinea fowl keets rather then adult guineas. (smart move!) Guinea keets are about the cutest little things you will ever see. They have bright orange beaks and legs and scurry around like crazy little bugs! Luckily raising guinea keets is almost the same as raising chicks so if you've raised chicks before, keets will be just as easy.

The only white baby bird: Did you know that white Guinea keets are the only poultry that the white birds hatch pure white and not yellow? They are not albino, just pure white. Chickens, turkeys and even ducks & geese all hatch yellow.

guinea fowl colors white

Guinea Fowl Eggs


If you're thinking of raising guinea fowl for eggs then you'll be very interested in this article! Comparing different types of eggs pits guinea eggs against chicken, duck, goose, turkey, quail and even ostrich eggs! I crunched the numbers and made a few charts so you can see at a glance which eggs have more fat, protein or calories. 


If you're not sure exactly what Guinea fowl are (other than an awesome, spotted, chicken-like bird from Africa) check out the complete definition of Guinea fowl here. I will add more Guinea specific posts as I write them. Feel free to comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer in a post or directly.

~L

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16 comments:

  1. I have a rather sensitive question. We have a guinea that needs to be put down. He is suffering. We've never had to do this before and are having a really hard time doing it, much less figuring out the best way to do it. Any suggestions that would make it humane?

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    1. I'm sorry to hear about your Guinea, it's always hard to say goodbye to a pet.

      I believe the most humane way to put down a Guinea would be the quickest. For me that is removing the head. I use a pair of tree branch pruners to cut the neck....severing the head from the body. Sorry, I can think of a delicate way to put it....but basically just put the neck between the blades and squeeze. When the handles are completely together and the blades are closed then it's done. I usually just open the handles and walk away at this point. The body will spasm but the life is over. Watching it hurts me, the bird no longer feels it.

      You can email me also if you have other questions. MuranoHatchery@Gmail.com
      ~L

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  2. Hello there,

    We have almost 20 Guinea Fowl on the property and they are all in a pen to keep them safe from predators. On some occasions there have been a few that escape and hang around the pen. We would really like to have the free to roam the property but they will escape and disappear into the jungle. Any idea's how to have them come back to roost in the same pen every night so that we can lock them in and then let them out the next morning like the chickens? Thanks!

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    1. I train mine to come in at night with scratch...but, when the weather is warm they would much rather roost in the trees. When winter sets in they start sleeping in the coop again. I can't guarantee they will go inside, but once they know where home is they should at least come back and sleep in the trees close by.

      Good luck,
      ~L

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    2. We keep about half of our 13 guineas in their enclosure and let half free-range. It seems that keeps them from straying too far (off of our property).

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  3. I live in SE AZ. I have 3 adult females and 1 male. Is it possible that none will go broody? So far, they all come in at night. I lost one last year to not finding her nest....

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    1. It's possible. I have some that have never been broody....in fact in the Guinea house (non free-range) there are probably 20 females and I only get maybe 4 broodys a year. I would guess about 1/2 of my free range Guinea hens go broody yearly. While it is possible, it's probable that at least 1 will go broody. If you find the nest, remove only a few eggs a day and they'll keep using it. (always leave at least a few) That way if one goes broody, you'll know where to find her! Good luck!

      ~L

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  4. Replies
    1. I've found mine a few acres away in the woods. They always come back, but they do wander kind of far.

      ~L

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  5. Hello, I need some advise please. I have a hen that is not doing well. She keeps her head tucked in and is very inactive. She doesn't seem to eat or drink. I have looked over her and she has no symptoms of a respiratory infection (no mucus or drainage). Her vent look healthy as well. She does walk around for a few seconds and then looks at the ground and falls asleep. Do you have any ideas what it could be? It's been 3 days and no improvement. Have you ever experienced that in your flock? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Kelsey

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    1. Hi Kelsey,

      Sorry...I just saw this! How is your hen now? How old is your hen? Does she seem to want to be in the best boxes a lot? Have you checked her for mites? Do you ever give her anything for worms?


      ~Lisa

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  6. I live in rural suburbia (if you can imagine such a thing). I have wanted guineas for several years, but after watching youtube videos of the racket they make coupled with the third-hand complaints about my roosters crowing I never got any. Now, all the youtube vids were of large flocks (say ten or more) of guineas "going off", but I haven't found anything on the internet about how disturbing/annoying only one or two could be. Both my neighbour (grape farmer) and us (various crops, mostly home veggies plus hops and tobacco, all decimated by aphids, slugs and earwigs - neighbour by a specific caterpillar and leaf-borers) have been suffering greatly by various insect pests, and we're both organic (refuse chemical pesticides). My chickens turn their noses up at earwigs, can't be bothered by aphids, and only young chicks go for the (millions of) ants that farm the aphids and don't have much appetite for slugs (they prefer rodents, frogs, flying bugs and june bug larvae). Do you think that employing only one or two guineas (perhaps 3) would help, without making too much of a ruckus that the neighbours might complain? They would be raised and housed with my chickens, but free-ranged/foraged over an area of approximately 2-3 acres. I have dogs that will keep them from going beyond the boundaries to the other neighbours' properties, so they would essentially be confined to mine and the one neighbour.

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    1. An "edit" button would be helpful :p I should have specified that my dogs are Hungarian Kuvasz. They are very particular about "order", and have taken to protecting the neighbour's grapes from raccoons. While they allow our chickens to go to his property, they do not allow the chickens to go into the back woods, the front yard nor the other neighbour's property.

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    2. Hi Agnes. Agreed on the edit button, I wish there was a way to add one! When I first started with guinea fowl I had 3 and they weren't nearly as loud as a whole flock. They will eat earwigs and almost any other bug except ladybugs. 3 guineas can definitely handle 3 acres! They covered about 5 acres for me. I'm not sure if guineas will go after aphids though. Have you considered releasing ladybugs for the aphids? Ducks are excellent for slugs, and I let mine into the garden quite often to eat the slugs. They love it! It's sounds like your dogs are excellent with your chickens. Good luck and let me know how the guineas work out!

      Lisa

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  7. I have a older guinea that just showed up on my property. It roams the neighborhood but at night he roost on my car and in the morning my car has a mess on it.

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    1. Guinea fowl are awesome birds to raise but unfortunately they do like to roost high and that often means they will perch on top of the car or even the house! You could try chasing him off when he firsts lands there at night. Make sure there's still enough light for him to find a new perch though! A few nights of this and your guinea should start roosting somewhere else. Good luck!

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