Guinea Fowls are an unusual choice but are adored by nature lovers. These wild birds originated in Africa. Once you start keeping them, they become very tame and will give you hours of pleasure. They truly are one of the quirkiest birds around. They have got style and are not afraid to make a bit of noise. Their beautiful chi-chi chieeck sound will grow on you. In case of a predator or snake approaching this sound will also serve as an alarm. The males make a one syllable sound whereas the females produce a distinctive two syllable call. The easiest way to determine the gender of your Guinea Fowl is to listen to the sound of their call.
Guinea Fowls tend to feed in one spot until there is nothing left for them to eat. They swiftly eradicate grasshoppers, ticks, fruit flies, fire ants and other kind of bugs, beetles, and insects from their roaming area. Mice, rats, and snakes quickly disappear when they hear the fearful call of Guinea Fowls. Because they are expert foragers in your garden, you do not have to feed them as much as chickens. They can eliminate the need for toxic garden sprays almost entirely. Feed them some extra chicken feed just to ensure that they get enough feed. If you are planning on breeding Guinea Fowl, do not give them any shell grit as it will make their eggs unnecessarily hard and crunchy. This will make it hard for the keets to peg their way out of the shell.
As Guinea Fowl prefer warm and dry conditions, they might lay for longer periods of time in Australia than in other climates. The hens are not renowned for being great mothers and will not necessarily sit on the eggs until they are all hatched. The eggs take around 27 days to hatch. If the mother is not really interested, you can use a broody hen or an incubator to do the job. The youngsters are very feisty and agile, so you need to keep them in an escape proof chicken tractor. Make sure that they have a non-slip surface to run around. Guinea Fowl eggs are a good substitute for chicken eggs, but they produce fewer than a 100 eggs per year. The eggs are smaller than those of chicken, but the shells are much tougher. The eggs contain a higher proportion of yolk to white and are tastier.
Guinea Fowl wil grow to more than 1 kilogram (1-1,5). Their flesh is very tasty, somewhat like pheasant I am lead to believe. It is richer in taste than chicken with the bonusof less fat and fewer calories. It has marginally more protein than chicken or turkey.
Coops for Guinea Fowl
Guinea Fowl tend to be wilful and determined and may initially reject the coop, as it does not resemble their initial home environment. The coop will be their new home with you. If they are adult Guinea Fowls when you get them, you must train them persistently to get use to their new home. They seem to have remarkable inbuilt radar which they can use to lead them back to where they were born and raised. The best advice is to keep them confined to their coop (4 to 6weeks) to get used to their new area. Let them out one at a time, while the rest are still inside the coop. They will eventually get used to their new home. Additionally, having a place for your Guinea Fowls to roost is vital to ensure that they are calm and relaxed. It may take them some time to realise that they can roost inside the coop, but so long as you keep them shut in during the evenings, they will eventually work it out. A lot of Guinea Fowl lovers prefer to get them when they are baby keets, as they find it easier to accept their surrounding when they are young. If you can trust your Guinea Fowls to wander and explore your yard, it is likely that they are going to build secret nests to hide their eggs. By teaching them that their coop is the new home, they will eventually lay their eggs in the coop.
Guinea Fowls are flock creatures by nature, and it is essential that you keep a minimum of two together. If they feel isolated and alone it is likely that they will act-out or try to run away. To be on the safe side try to keep at least four Guinea Fowls. Guinea Fowls are hardy and will survive winter. In fact, they seem to cope with extreme climates better than many chicken varieties. The keets however are overly sensitive to cold weather and the cock will help to keep them warm in freezing temperatures.
Guinea Fowls and Chicken
The noisy and sometimes fearsome presence of the Guinea Fowl deters many predators away from your yard. Therefore, the presence of Guinea Fowl has huge benefits for your chicken and other poultry, simply because they are expert protectors of all those that belong in your garden.
The Guinea Fowl cocks are as butch as birds come. They can be very domineering and bossy. This kind of macho behaviour normally occurs when they encounter other male birds, like roosters. Spring is the mating season for Guinea Fowl, and it would be better to keep them away from other species of male birds. If there is a dispute in the coop, the Guinea Fowl is going to win every time. If the Guinea Fowl keets are raised with chickens, they tend to be gentler and less aggressive. It may also be wise to keep the Guinea Fowls and chicken together in a larger enclosure, so that everyone can keep their distance from each other. Most of the times the chickens will quite willing surrender authority over to the Guinea Fowl. In the event of serious harassment bythe Guinea Fowls, it might be advisable to have an extra coop for the chickens. So long as you monitor the situation and act if things do not seem to be going well, you should be able to keep all your precious feathered friends safe.
Get in touch with your local council to obtain all the rules and regulations to keep Guinea Fowl. There are also rules relating to where coops must be placed (minimum distances from boundaries). Once you have adhered to all the rules and regulations you can start with your new venture.
Peace of mind
Enjoy the wonderful qualities of your Guinea Fowls. Their crazy antics, the constant chattering communication among the flock and the fiercely protective love between a cock and his hens have won many converts.