A year ago, we decided to try our hand at raising guinea fowl, and it was an eye-opening experience.
I’m not saying that I’ve grown to adore our guineas; I’ve just had to get used to them.
As a result, I’ve decided to provide you with a list of advice that I wish someone had given me before bringing them home.
1. A Guinea Is Not A Chicken
You’ve probably said, “Obviously!”
However, they are not even in the same league.
Chickens have become incredibly domesticated. They may be cooped, free-range, or a mixture of both.
Both are acceptable for chickens.
It’s important to understand the differences between guineas. They will get out of the coop unless their wings are clipped extremely short. Even if you don’t need them for meat or eggs, having them is a good thing.
Guineaas have a strong presence as well.
Don’t be alarmed if they take over your coop as a result. Our guineas have taken over completely.
When you look out and even the rooster is in the nesting boxes trying to get out of their way, you know your chickens have been adjusted eventually.
Don’t let the fact that your chickens and guineas might be kept together discourage you. When Guinea fowl are exposed to chicken companionship, they become more tame.
2. Guineas Know No Boundaries
Chickens are aware when they’ve stepped out of their territory, if you haven’t noticed. They somehow manage to do it.
So, unlike guineas, they are not easily irritated.
That is not at all the case.
No, not at all.
Guineaas will believe that they own the road when they approach it. If they so choose, they may take over the yard of a neighbor.
They have no regard for borders.
My neighbor would enter his coop and discover my guinea rooster roosting in his coop on most Saturday mornings, when I went out to feed the animals.
However, my neighbor would go into his coop and discover my guinea rooster roosting inside his coop on most Saturday mornings I went out to feed the animals.
He’d capture and toss over the fence to me in the middle of feeding animals. It’s a little embarrassing, isn’t it?
Animals, on the other hand, have their own mind, as any homesteader knows. As a result, our neighbors’ goats visit us on occasion, and our guineas go up to visit them.
3. They Are ‘Chatty Cathy’
The Guinea fowl is called Chatty Cathy.
They spend a lot of time together.
The hens make a clucker noise, which means “come back.” The roosters create a “Chi chi chi” sound as they say, “Come back.”
The most obvious way to tell males and femen apart is by looking at them.
They talk a lot, not only loudly but also publicly.
This is a point that I’ll never forget.
Guineaas are boisterous creatures. You can choose to accept it or not, but if you don’t, guineas aren’t your cup of tea.
I’ve made the decision to accept it.
4. Who Needs ADT When You Have Guineas?
Owning guineas has the added benefit of
I didn’t realize how watchful our birds would be of our homestead until I saw them.
Our home isn’t overrun with predators, but we did have a stray dog issue.
We raise meat rabbits, and stray dogs had discovered them. We were at the point where we had to go outside every morning to check if a hutch was destroyed or a rabbit had gone missing.
We tried for days to catch them in the act, but we never succeeded. The canines became more daring and began appearing in the middle of the day as time went on.
They moved swiftly. They would be gone as soon as we walked out to look for them.
We got guineas afterward.
The first few days on the property, I could hear the guineas going nuts. Sure enough, one of those stray dogs was standing outside, checking out what was going on.
Our dog issue stopped because it was so afraid of them.
Our hens were stalked by a few stray cats as well. One day, our guinea rooster was stalked by a cat, and he allowed the cat to pounce on him.
The guinea flew over his head and attacked him as soon as the cat pounced. A stray cat issue has also been resolved.
The guinea flew over his head and assaulted him as soon as the cat pounced. We no longer have a stray cat issue.
For this reason alone, they’re fantastic to have.
5. You Don’t Need The Orkin Man—You Need Guineas
We used to have a completely wooded property. We were able to reclaim a lot of it once we began homesteading, but we still had a pest problem.
We were covered in ticks, and every year in June, we had to fight June Bugs in our garden.
One day, our middle son returned home with a huge tick on his body. We went to the doctor for antibiotics after he put a band around the bite.
That was when we discovered guineas. My spouse made a professional judgment, and we were the proud owners of our first guinea only a few days later.
We haven’t had any bugs since we’ve had guineas.
They roam the woodland, visiting various animals’ territorys, the garden, and even the yard.
Bugs don’t stand a chance.
The fact that you own guineas comes with added benefits.
6. Guineas Must Be Trained
Guineaas, as previously noted, are not particularly domesticated birds.
They don’t need a coop in the traditional sense. The birds will roost in the trees.
They will, however, need a coop in order for them to come home and roost.
You raise keets the same way you would a baby chick or duckling if you decide to begin with them. A brooder box and starter feed are required.
During the first few weeks, they must be sheltered from the wind and kept comfortable.
Adults of Guinea fowl may also be raised.
Both have been accomplished.
Both have been done.
Our first go-round with guineas we raised day old keets. We raised them all the way up until they were ready to start free-ranging, and we messed up big time.
We raised day-old keets our first time with guineas. We raised them until they were ready to go free-range, but we did a horrible job.
We let them all go at the same time.
Guineaas travel in small groups and, if they aren’t trained that this is their home, they’ll be gone once they’re all out and gone.
Guineaas travel in packs, so if they aren’t trained that this is home, they’ll be gone once they’re all out and gone.
We only purchased adults the next time round.
They were cooped for almost six weeks. After that, we released them one at a time. Every few days or so, we’d release a new guinea.
They had to keep coming home to roost because they wouldn’t leave each other.
They knew this was home by the time all of our guineas were released.
Providing them a coop with food, water, and roosting sites will encourage them to return home more often than if you merely allow them to roost in the trees.
Providing them a coop with food, water, and roosting sites will encourage them to return home more often than if you just allow them to roost in the trees.
7. Guineas Are Poor Mothers
Guinea fowl are swift, flighty birds that need a lot of attention.
Seasonal layers are another layer. Unlike chickens, they prefer to nest on the ground rather than in boxes.
To produce a full clutch, guineas spend around 26–28 days incubating.
They’ll build a nest in the woods on occasion. It’s a good idea to relocate the nest back to the coop if you discover it.
Setters are a common type of Guinea in the wild.
The difficulty is that the moms are gone once the eggs hatch. They expose their infants to damp environments, which can lead to hypothermia and mortality.
So, if you want to raise guinea chicks, what do you do?
You have two options:
- Place the eggs underneath a broody hen. She will treat them as if they were her own children.
- Raise the eggs as though they’re day-old keets you bought. Incubate them and hatch them.
Sadly, the keets will not survive if you leave things in the hands of a guinea hen.
8. Fly Away Little Guinea
Have I shown you how different guineas are from chickens yet?
So they don’t exist.
Chickens don’t have a natural ability to fly. They can jump a little higher with their wings, but they don’t fly.
I’m referring to literally taking flight.
Our guinea fowl flying over our home is insignificant. They have no problem sitting on our fence posts.
They’ll just fly right over anything that scares them.
My guineas have even walked across our yard from my mother-in-law’s home, which is opposite of ours.
They got bored of hiking up the walkway and decided to fly over our home and into the far corner of our yard without any issues.
When we received them, I was unaware of this. I imagined them flapping their wings like a chicken.
It was amazing the first time I saw them fly over our house.
As a result, be ready for them to fly further distances than you may anticipate.
9. Guineas Are Excellent Gardeners
Guinea pigs are fantastic at consuming insects, as I previously said. The June Bugs have spared our garden from destruction.
I am grateful for everything!
Even more astounding is that they don’t ruin your garden.
Chickens like to eat insects, but they also scratch up the earth around your plants and devour your crops.
Ducks, like chickens, are exceptional bug eaters. Their feet are also large enough that, if the plants aren’t sufficiently big, they’ll squash them in the process of swallowing the insects.
Ducks, like humans, appreciate certain plants.
That doesn’t happen with Guineaas.
They consume the bugs, are sensitive to plant touch, and do not scratch the earth.
Guineas are a fantastic tiny weapon to use against those unwelcome garden pests if you’re like us and want to grow as much of your own food as possible.
10. Guineas Are Crazy Fast
Forget about catching your guineas if you need to.
They are fast.
If they are cooped at night, you have the best chance of catching them.
Even then, you have just one opportunity. You won’t be able to find them later that night if you blow it.
So how do you capture them?
You’ll have to wait until they’re cooped before you can do anything.
After that, you’ll need to grab them by their wings. We don’t hurt them because we use a net.
Guinea fowls have extremely thin legs. They’ll whip around on you and break their leg if you reach for them by their leg.
As a result, it’s recommended to catch them by their wings or use a net to capture the whole bird at once.
When you need to capture them, prepare to chuckle at yourself. It quickly becomes a source of humor.
11. Guineas Are Free Entertainment
Chickens were described to me as amusing. They were spot-on with their assessment.
Goats were said to be amusing by people. They were right on the money.
No one has ever described the amusement of watching guinea pigs.
When they’re searching for insects in and out of the garage, it’s a hilarious sight to behold.
It’s a hilarious sight to watch a Guinea outwit and then run away from a cat.
While you’re on a homestead, Guineaas just adds one more amusing thing to watch. It’s a gift from Mother Nature.
12. Guineas Are Low Maintenance Birds
There is no need for a coop in Guineaas.
They feed on forage while looking for food.
Nesting boxes are not required for guineas.
As we previously discussed, a coop is a fantastic idea.
Guineas, on the other hand, are incredibly low-maintenance. There are no large coops to maintain, and no nesting boxes to clean.
They’re simply delighted to fly about and devour your insects.
That is about as low-maintenance as it gets.
Your homestead will have a full feeling if you include these beautiful birds.
Of course, they have their benefits and drawbacks, but I haven’t found a better guinea than the one I have.
They’ve been far more valuable to us on our farm than a bother.