BackYard Chickens › Breeds & Supplies › Other Poultry › Other › Pearl Guinea

Pearl Guinea


Pros: Eat cubic meters of ticks, good alarm systems, monogamous, flock well, pretty

Cons: Free range well but must free range, noisy, like to get into neighbor yards, may sound alarm unnecessarily

"Watchmen" and "Guard dogs" are their #1 purpose on farms, in my experience. Oh, they're pretty birds, lay tasty eggs, taste pretty good themselves, eat cubic football fields bare of ticks and other nasty creepy crawlies, are hilarious to watch, and all kinds of other groovy things can b e said about them... but most people keep guineafowl for their hair-trigger screeching (their best and worst single feature). After all, if you want eggs, get Leghorns; if you want tender, juicy, bountiful meat in artificially low times, get BBWs and Cornish Xs, but if you're looking for a super-inexpensive, self-maintaining and perpetually growing population of tick-eating alarm systems that won't let a hawk, snake, person, predator or anything red get anywhere near your house without their express permission, well, look no further than guineas.


They're faster growing, cheaper, more prolific and easier to maintain than peafowl, while still being great guard animals. Like geese, they're also monogamous (from my experience), but unlike geese, I've never heard of a guinea breaking human long bones, eating all your lawn or pooping in the water dish as soon as it's changed out. Turkeys, while decent flock guardians in some respect, simply don't have the volume when they're threatening something. Turkey threats are just too darn quiet to be proper alarm systems. 


My experience has been that they're genuinely entertaining and exceptionally useful animals to have around, and an absolute necessity in woodland settings. I hate ticks, but guineas thrive on the little baznastards and peck 'em up like ambrosia, spilled straight from the cups of Olympus. They aren't the brightest creatures God has ever created, but they're pretty wily in their own right and not prone to predation (pretty well camouflaged, all things considering). They will roost about as high as they can possibly get (which is pretty darn high). Younger guineas sound the alarm unnecessarily more often than adults, and guineas in general may (or may not, depending on individuals) sound off more than geese (who are smarter and don't tend to sound off for stupid reasons). Maternal instinct is spotty in the guinea, and I've heard more of the negative reviews (that they're too stupid to properly raise their own young or even sit on the nest for the required time). Most people I know who raise them put found hoards of stolen guinea eggs in their incubators or let broody chickens/turkeys/geese/ducks/whatever's handy do the job for them. Oftentimes, the guinea will lay eggs into the nests of other birds


They're also difficult to sex (but you can leave them to sort themselves out). Easiest way to sex them is: 1)  wait a couple months, 2) listen in on them. Girls make a two-syllable call; boys only have the one one-syllable call. I think the girls sound prettier, but in a way that is either more humorous or haunting, depending on the mood of the person listening. 


If I ever get the space to get some, I'll have guineas again. Our guinea cock was hilarious to watch and generally well-behaved (and everyone walking around anytime after dusk knew to avoid our house or that bird would dial it up to 11 and possibly shatter some windows). 


Unlike most other common varieties of fowl, guineas as not rapacious jerks. I'm sure someone else will chime in, but in general, I've found them to be pretty reliably well-mannered with other fowl, and especially with their own hordes (and you want a horde because, when disaster strikes at guineas, it strikes really, really hard, and you go from 40 to 3 pretty fast). Guineas are fairly resistant to learning, in my experience, and if they don't hatch with the knowledge of what to do in a given circumstance, they are far less likely to adapt a new strategy or "think on their feet" than other types of fowl. For this reason, it's very helpful to have guineas free range with quick-thinking,flight-ready, adaptable birds like Leghorns. Guineas will generally follow another bird's lead (big group thinkers and conformists like that). 


Pros: They eat lots of tics, good layers, good meat.

Cons: Noisy, annoying, not smart, tricky, bad overall, ugly, not nice at all, terrible mothers, lay small eggs, and much more...

These dumb guineas make me want to pull my hair out!:somad All they do is scream, eat ticks, and get themselves killed! They aren't smart one bit, surprises me they even have a brain in those heads! I was so excited to get them until I found out how bad they were, not smart, almost worthless:/. At least I didn't have any tics on me but they scream all day, lay tiny eggs, it surprises me people make money selling those things. They ALWAYS fly in trees and cause trouble! Terrible mothers also! A mother guinea and other care guinea helpers had 16 in all, then after their bad instincts they only have 5 left!:hit This is the worst bird ever to imagine! Good meat though:/... 


Pros: eat ticks, pretty, don't fight each other often

Cons: noisy, always flying over in someone else's yard

  Guineas are great for eating ticks and other pesky bugs. The only cons I have about them is is that they can't stay in the yard, and then when they want to come back in mine they don't have the sense to fly over the fence. I have to make them fly over the fence. They are a little noisy when they start to cackle, but there calm peep is nice to hear. Male Guineas don't fight each other often, so I don't have to worry about them getting hurt. They get along with the other poultry and goats just fine. Occasionally one will chase a cat around.

  My guineas roost in trees at night and are free-range. I have a flock of about 14 right now. Usually when people come over and see the guineas they think they are turkeys, lol. :gigBut I do have to admit that they sort of look like young turkeys.

  My guineas have hatched out plenty of keets. When we had problems with foxes and some of the mothers were killed, our two cochin hens raised them.

  Currently I have about 13 guinea cocks and 1 or 2 guinea hens.


Pros: Pest control, watchdogs, flock protector

Cons: Noisy, wild, flighty

The Guinea Fowl in general, is a very good bird. They will warn us about suspicous characters around our property and warn the other fowl about hawks, neighborhood cats, and other predators. They are very noisy when they do this though. They will also eat bugs, lots of bugs.I have seen them just roosting on a fence and eating wasps that are flying around! And if you like gardening, these might be the birds for you, they eat bugs, won't scratch up the soil like chickens, and their droppings won't 'burn' your plants, it's actually a fertilizer.  They do lay well when they are in season, but they make nests all over your yard. They don't go broody very often and if you want keets you'll have to incubate them. About the eggs, they taste very good and the shells are VERY hard to crack. As for the meat, I've never tried it myself, but I have heard that it is a very expensive and fine quality meat. We have our guineas with our chickens, they never have any problems disease -wise or pecking order-wise. They won't make a great handling pet, but they earn their keep. While writing about this, I might suggest that if you have or are getting guineas, invest in a male guinea, he does keep the guinea flock together and hushes up the noisy females. Overall, I recommend that you have a couple guineas in your flock if you have predator or bug problems.


Pros: eat ticks, lays eggs, fun to have around

Cons: loud at times.. sounding like a bunch of monkeys in a tree, hard to keep around

We have 15 keets coming in a few weeks.  This is our 3rd attemp at raising Guineas.. the 1st time was in 2001 and we really didn't know what we were doing.  The 1st time we let them out of the coop we gave them free range.  After the 1st day they were in our yard, the 2nd day they were in the field across the road, the 3rd day they were in the farm field and that was the last we ever saw of them.


So, we did much research and in May 2010 decided to try again.  This time we had a coop and fenced area all setup for them.  Late in the fall a racoon was getting into the coop and so we put up an electric wire around the top of the fence.  I think the Guineas did not like this.. by Spring of 2011 they were gone.. again  :-(  About 6 months later our neighbor said that this strange looking bird showed up in his yard and couldn't wait to get into the coop with his chickens.  Yes indeed.. that was 1 of our Guineas.


So we are now trying it again.. This time we are building a perch above the electric fencing so the Guineas have a perch but no other animal can get in.


From what I understand it can be difficult to keep this bird as part of your flock.  Hopefully this time we will have better luck.



Pros: Eat ticks, good watch birds, fun to watch, lay eggs

Cons: Dig holes for dusting, get kiiled on the road if you live next to one.

They are great tick eaters, and are good for alarming when danger is near. They do tend to dig holes for dusting in the lawnhmm.png  Lay eggs spring, summer and fall. I suggest having them to free range during the day, coop at night to keep them safe. The eggs are the best!



fall guinea.jpg


Pros: Alert, good foragers, eat many types of pest bugs

Cons: Noisy, can be aggressive to other fowl.

My Pearl Guineafowl are great. They are loud but I love the noise they make. They have saved my chickens more than one time with their calls.


Pros: eats: ticks, bugs, snakes, mice, and weeds. Feathers are pretty.

Cons: You have to have a large yard for free ranging, noisy, small eggs, not the friendliest.

I'm going to be honest. Guineas are not for anyone. Most of the time, guineas are antisocial, noisy jerks. If you handle them from keets, though, you can get them to let you hold and play with them. They are noisy and will NOT shut up, so I suggest a coop not attached to your house. Also, the neighbors might object to the noisiness...:rolleyes: However, if you live in the country, with lots of pests, the guineas will be perfect. They will kill snakes and mice as well as ticks and other pests. Some people think they're the ugliest things on the face of the planet, but to a guinea person, they are adorable. They are fun to watch when they run around the yard in a little flock. They are FAST!!! I use their feathers for projects, like making Christmas ornaments. Not city birds, but I think they are great. If you're not a guinea person, though, they can be annoying and obnoxious. Gotta love em, though! :D 


Pros: Eats lots of bugs, ornamental, interesting to watch, eggs.

Cons: Very wild if not trained well, not very bright, loud, aggresive towards other poultry, overall annoying.

Guineas are very unique, I think they look very cool, but some people may think they are some mutated mini turkey. All jokes aside when it comes to insect pests, they are machines, like a bug vacuum. Things to keep in mind: They may attack any animal not considered guinea friends (can likely result in death, they are strong), they stick a bit more than chickens but its manageable, they are very loud especially during warmer seasons, they love to nest outside the coop, any disturbance may trigger a ear blistering wave of screeching, and they are very flighty. We have 6 guineas, I never had the time to tame them but they still let me get within 2-3 feet without running away. They are very dumb at times but they may surprise you, mine cannot usually get over a 2 foot obstacle without yanking at it and screeching, instead of flying over it, they can easily clear 200 feet no sweat. My guineas were raised alongside my chickens but they turned on everyone of the chickens except the rooster. Guineas can be surprisingly vicious, they have tried to kill my chickens on multiple occasions, and when I pick up some of the guineas they scratch and peck at me. If I were to start over I would set aside more time to tame them, raise them only after my chickens are mature (so the chickens can defend themselves, they were small when the attacks started), and have more of them so they would feel safer separating. Final words, do not get guineas if you have anger issues, have neighbors within 250 yards, live close to a road, or enjoy peace throughout the day. Other than that they are decent birds and are very wild at times.


Pros: Eat lots of bugs, friendly, fun to watch

Cons: They hog the glider swing, they stand at the door and want to come in all the time.

I have 2 pearl guineas and I love them.  They are much tamer then my ducks and chickens.  They love to sit on your lap and get a good back rub.  I have a fenced in yard and knock on wood they haven't flown over the fence one time.  I do keep their wings clipped, we live in the city.  They are noisey but I like their voices.  


They go into the chicken coop every night and I don't have a problem with getting them inside.  I would highly reccommend them to a friend.  

Pearl Guinea

Pearl guinea fowl are related to other game birds including pheasants, turkeys, and partridges. They were domesticated from the helmeted guineafowl found in Africa.

Breed Colors/VarietiesGrey with small white dots
Breed SizeLarge Fowl
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Breed Details:

Their eggs are thick shelled and harder to break than most chicken eggs. Pearl guinea fowl are valued as natural pest controllers. Many people raise them to help control the deer tick, which is a carrier of lyme disease. Their diet consists of various insects, including ticks, wasps, bees, grasshoppers and many other garden and lawn pests. They also eat a variety of seeds, grasses and grains. They will also eat chicken feed when offered, and are often fed a game bird feed. Only female guineafowl can make the two- note call that sounds like "buck-wheat". Both male and female guineas can make the single note call. Males will also have larger wattles than a female, but it's often difficult to tell the gender of the bird by looking at the wattles. They are often kept with other fowl because of their high alertness and awareness. They are flock birds and are very social. They do better when kept in a moderate to large size flock than they do on their own. Adult pearl guinea fowl are very hardy. Pearl guineas are great lookouts and are often the first to spot a predator. When they sound the alarm they are very noisy and everyone close by will hear it. When they feel threatened, they will form a tight group and stick together. Sometimes they will follow and harass whatever they feel is a threat. My pearl guinea fowl have saved my flock three times from hawks by letting us know with their loud, harsh calls. The incubation period for guinea fowl is 26-28 days. Young guineas should be kept dry and warm.


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