I could write a book about them.. well, maybe a page..
they can be the wildest things on your place, or mild as chickens.. It all depends on how well you are at training them..
they are useless as tick control if you keep them penned.. they like to roam, your one or two acres will not contain them..
you have to lock them in each night and not miss a night.. If they spend one night in a tree, that is where they will go until an owl gets them all, one by one.. they are owl magnets..
if you are going to free range them, start off with quite a few.. they WILL disappear during daylight hours also.. foxes, hawks, the usual predators.. they are magnets for them also..
their eggs are good to eat, smaller than chicken eggs, ratio 3 guinea eggs to 2 chicken eggs, and the shells are tougher.
guinea mothers are the worse, if you let a hen hatch her own chicks, be prepared to be there when they hatch or you will be lucky to end up with two out of a dozen..
It is best to collect the eggs and put them into your incubator.. they are very easy to hatch..
the keets have to be kept dry and warm, something the mothers seem to fail to do..
one way to tame a guinea is to let a chicken raise it.. not all hens have the ability to handle keets.. keets are very independent right from birth and strike out on their own.. they will stay sort of in their bunch, but not really follow their mother..
another way to tame a guinea is to raise it yourself, with a batch of chicken babies.. I prefer this method.. a guinea will bond to whatever it is raised with.. I have one out of my 30 who sticks right with the turkeys..
about once or twice a day, the flock will have a shouting match.. anything or nothing will trigger it..
I have a long driveway, if a car pulls off the blacktop onto my gravel, the guineas are the first to notice.. this is an occasion for a shouting match..
the guinea hen makes a two syllable call, the male makes only a one note.. however when excited, the hen makes the one note also.. so if you are sorting them out, do it slowly and calmly or forget it..
you can also tell a male from the females by the crown on their head, and the wattles on their cheeks.. the males are slightly larger.. However the birds have to be about the same age, because an older hen might have larger crowns and wattles than a young rooster..
since the guineas are free rangers, their meat will be tougher when cooked.. but it is delicious,,
I prefer their soup to chicken or turkey soup..
in some restaurants, guineas are substituted for pheasant.. I don't know how they pull that off..I just read it somewhere..
guineas will start laying eggs when it warms up in the spring, and the days are longer.. they will quit laying around September.
these are just my observations with my guineas.. I feel I wrote as accurately as I can..
as with anything, there are exceptions..
guineas kept in pens have a better chance of raising their offspring.. guineas who nest along the edge of the woods will loose most of their chicks and many times the hen will die on the nest from predators..
Edited by jvls1942 - 3/3/12 at 8:11am