Guinea fowl belong to the Numididae family, they are related to pheasants, turkeys and other game fowl.
Guinea fowl originate in Africa and were first introduced to Europe back in the 1400s.
Frequently used terms and their meanings:
Guinea cock- male guinea fowl
Guinea hen - female guinea fowl
Keets - young guinea fowl
Confusion - a group of guinea fowl
A little bit on Incubation:
The incubation period for guinea fowl eggs is 26 to 28 days
Before incubation, guinea fowl eggs can be stored pointed end facing downwards in a cool room.
Stored eggs should be turned daily before putting them in an incubator.
Temp in the incubator should be 100oF in forced air incubators and 102oF in still air incubators.
Humidity should be around 30-45%
The final day of guinea fowl rotation is day 25 (lockdown) humidity should be raised to 65-70% during lockdown.
I prefer to hatch mine with a broody chicken. As I like to have them raised naturally by a mother hen.
I don’t allow my guineas to sit and raise their keets as they do not make good mothers, risking the life of themselves sitting out on a hidden nest being exposed to all sorts of predators,
Or she could survive the odds of being caught by a predator, hatch her keets and then take them through a damp field where they’ll get wet, chill and die.
So your keets have hatched, what now ?
Baby Guineas require a brooder temperature of approximately 95 degrees for the first week, dropping 5 degrees every 3 days until the end of the brooding period.
Watch them to make sure they’re comfortable in the brooder.
If they huddle on top of eachother under the lamp, they are too cold.
if they stay far away from the lamp and pant, they are too hot
and if they range all over the brooder, they are comfortable.
Guinea keets require a 28% protein starter feed.
Feed them a starter feed for approximately 6-8 weeks, then gradually change over to an 18% protein all-purpose ration.
Full grown guineas can eat non medicated chicken food but still will require some extra protein.
Water: don’t give keets cold water as they may become chilled and die, give Luke warm water to guinea keets only.
Guinea keets can get really messy with their water so you’ll want to change it very frequently.
Treats: I feed my guinea keets scrambled egg as a treat as it is high in vitamins, proteins and minerals.
They are very fragile when they are young and must be kept warm and dry. The brooder will have to be cleaned out regularly to keep them happy and healthy. Once they are fully feathered, they are very hardy and it’s very unlikely for them to catch Diseases or become ill.
Guinea keets can be moved to their outdoor coop at about 6-7 weeks of age.
So your guinea keets are ready to move out of the brooder into their house.
Given the chance your guineas will live happily in the trees, but it’s best if they can be persuaded to live in a secure house.
Mine sleep up high in the trees, but we don’t have any night time predators that are capable of getting that high up to get at them.
We have also installed roosts onto the trees to encourage them to use those instead of using a weak branch which would give them the risk of falling off.
Photo of the roosts in the tree:
Guinea keets should be kept in their new house for 6- 8 weeks to imprint them onto your property. This should also increase the chances of them returning to their coop as opposed to roosting up in a tree.
There should also be a small pen attached to the coop to allow them to look out and see their surroundings.
They should be herded into their coop Every night to train them to go back in.
Sexing guinea fowl:
Although males will have larger wattles, the only way to tell male from female guinea other then getting a DNA test done at your vet is vioce sexing.
Males will make a “chin, chin, chin” sound and females will make a “buck wheat” sound.
Guinea cock sound:
Guineas lay small light brown pointed eggs, The egg shells are very hard compared to a chickens egg.
Will my guineas use the nest box ?
It is very unlikely your guineas will use the nesting box, guineas prefer to lay wherever they want. They are great at hiding their eggs, so great that sometimes they’ll even forget where their nest is and make a new one. So if you’re into Easter egg hunts, this is the right bird for you
How many guineas should I have ?
The recommended number of guineas is 10, they do best in large flocks.
What are guineas typically kept for ?
I keep mine as pest control, they free range through the field eating all the ticks, insects and mice.
They’ll also sound the alarm when a predator comes to get my chickens and ducks.
Despite that horrible noise they make, they’re lovely to have around.
It’s great watching them free ranging around the garden on a hot summers day.