Helmeted Guineafowl

Average User Rating:
5/5,
  1. jsp28504
    5/5,
    "Great Hawk Deturant"
    Pros - Less blood sucking bugs, Great watch "Dogs"
    Cons - Tend to be Flighty, and sounding false alarms
    I had bought six from a local auction in NC as 2 week old keets, I had never had them, but my husband had while living on his dad's farm. We had a little over 90 acres at the time and my husband kept saying what good watch dogs they were, and I wanted something to protect my silkies and gold star laying hens since they free-ranged everyday while we were at work (only about 8 minutes away). We had gotten a Lavender, Piebald, speckled? (Like the piebald with no white) and three whites. While they were growing and feathering out, we kept them in a brooder with lamp. I tried to handle them everyday to get them used to us, as keets they would eat meal worms out of our hands and flit around like it was something spectacular. As they got older we realized we had four males and two females, so three of the males went back to the auction (2 Whites and the Specked) We then moved up to the main house on the farm and put the now 6 m/o keets in the layer's pen since it was further from the house. One night, we heard a terrible racket coming from the laying coop, both guineas and chickens creating a horrible ruckus, armed with a 9mm pistol on myself and my husband with his newly acquired Henry .45, we went to check on them. What happened was one of our Nubian goat had escaped its pen (in the same barn) and was scratching at the chicken door. Thankfully a false alarm.

    Fast forward a few weeks....

    Now out of the winter housing situations, the guineas were moved to the smoke house turned silkie grow out and brooder pen, which free ranged everyday now since the freezing rain had subsided. I came home from work one afternoon, watch as all the chickens scattered from my car except the guineas, who where circling around it and challenging the car for invading their turf (they see, sit and poo on this particular car everyday, must be something about the color red...) I get out and they launch an all out attack on it. Kind of amusing to watch, it was just a beater car, so it didn't really care, it was free entertainment, they gave up after about five minutes when the car wouldn't fight back. I go inside, change out of my uniform and hear another bad racket. I walked out onto our back porch and see the lavender guinea flying from in between the corn crib / silkie breeding pens and the husbands Man-cave followed close behind by a red tailed hawk. I ran back inside grabbed the pistol, again, ran back out side fired a warning shot and see the hawk fly off from in front of the well house. I run down there to find my poor lavender guinea, upside down, head tucked under his wing, breathing rapidly, like in shock. I scooped him up and brought him to our picnic table, set him upright, wrapped him in an old towel, to look at him a little better. Just had a puncture mark near his ear with little blood but was alert and squawking while doing my exam. His ruckus had sent the silkies and gold stars running for cover and kept them safe.

    I also never found a tick on me or my dogs while out in the yard thanks to those three. I highly recommend these bird if you live off the beaten path with little to no neighbors, because of the noises they make.
    Overall:
    5
    Purchase Price:
    5.00
    Purchase Date:
    2012-03-15
    minaayindra likes this.
  2. Davidlonghair76
    5/5,
    "newbie to Guinea"
    Pros - very good watchdogs for my chickens
    Cons - likes to roam far on free range time
    great article a friend of mine give me 3 guinea about two days after i got my first chicks.I didn't know anything about guinea at the time I had focused all my research on chickens.I put them in with chicks since they were same age as the chicks about 4 days old.There is no sexing them until 15 or 16 weeks.Now they are 16 weeks and i have 2 males and 1 female and not exactly on the bottom of the pecking order.They share The Coopdeville with my Silverlaced Wyandottes and know when to come home at night.Maybe because they were in that coop at 8 weeks and i did not let them out for 3 weeks.I do a supervised free-range.I caught them one day 3 yards over and found myself rounding them up and putting them in time out.that works sometimes .I know that without them my chickens are less prone to roam far .My chickens feel secure around the guinea ,well secure enough to roam far with them.While they are in the yard though Can tell the guinea are the alphas.You have to work with them everyday like dogs,but overall they are good fowl.Mine have not laid eggs yet still waiting for that to happen.I'd post a pic but I haven't got a recent one yet
    Overall:
    5
    minaayindra likes this.
  3. Cappsfamily
    5/5,
    "Love them- they are so cool!!!"
    Pros - Let us know when someone comes in the yard, bug control, fun to watch
    Cons - loud
    Our Guineas are awesome! We have raised them with our chickens so they will roost in the chicken coop at night. Today we checked on them and the female that we have has started laying eggs, in the nest box in the middle of the chicken eggs!!!!! I am so excited. I think we will let them sit on them from now on. I'm not sure how long it would take them to hatch their eggs. Our birds are wonderful at keeping bugs and ticks away, they let us know when someone comes into the yard, they pretty much take care of themselves. We feed them the same food as the chickens. Right now we have 5. We had more but a dog killed some. I cannot wait to get more.
    Overall:
    5
    minaayindra and Nathaliexx like this.
  4. NorthCoastChick
    5/5,
    "Wouldn't Be Without Them!"
    Pros - Tick and bug control, cheap entertainment, cold-hardy, great photo subjects
    Cons - Noisy, dust baths in garden, **** on deck
    I love my guineas. Started out with 7 lavender keets last July. They were a breeze to raise (first birds I ever had). I didn't have a coop when they were young, and they decided to make my deck into a roost. Never lost one off the roost but lost at least two to neighbors' dogs. Lost 1 when he/she was just released from the brooder but now they are a lot more predator-savvy. I have a large dog that probably keeps some predators away, also. '
    My guineas free-range 24/7 and cover a lot of range. I have 5 acres, but they visit neighbors on all three sides of my property. Fortunately my neighbors are bird- and livestock-friendly and I knew that before I got my keets. Even with only 4 left they are excellent tick control. When I had seedlings in the garden I had to fence it off because they would build dust baths and trample the seedlings, but now that the plants are more mature the guineas don't disturb them at all. However, I have cedar chip mulch on my rose bush, and if I don't surround it with chicken wire my birds will scratch and overturn all that mulch to the point of exposing the rose's roots. I also have the same mulch on false indigos, and they don't mess with those at all. Weird.
    Mostly I don't mind the noise at all, but I can see if my neighbors were directly next door or not bird-friendly guineas would definitely be a problem! If a hawk flies over, or a car pulls in, or if an ant crawls by, they yell, and yell, and yell! Just at dusk it is all but impossible to have a conversation on my deck. I am sure if I had penned them up when they were younger I could have trained them to roost in a coop but since I didn't I have to put up with them on the deck, and shitting all over the deck rails. Under the rail where they roost I put a big plastic tote, and I empty that on the compost pile frequently.
    I would say the main reason I like them is the tick control, but I will always have guineas because they are hilarious and cute (yes, I think they are cute). I do wish I would have banded them when they were younger 'cause I would like to be able to tell them apart; now they would be harder to catch. They have cool little personalities. Every time I fed them as babies I yelled "hey, chickens!" and now they come literally running when I yell "hey, chickens!". I feed them game bird crumbles and pellets, incidentally. When I take my dog for a walk the guinea flock will follow me if I keep calling them. My Great Dane plays at chasing them and they are good sports. They know he will not hurt them so they let him grab them sometimes. If another dog is near, though, they fly up into the trees. They are smart if they need to be.
    In the northern Minnesota winter I kept a heat lamp on in the coop but the guineas stayed on their deck roost every night, through rain, snow, wind, anything. Some mornings they would be covered in snow but they survived just fine. I fed them supplemental cracked corn in the cold weather for extra carbohydrates. They didn't range as far in the snow, but it didn't seem to bother them, though I had read that some guineas can't stand snow.
    Now in June either my birds haven't started laying or I just can't find the nest(s). Guinea ownership is still a learning experience for me. Can't wait to get some coral blue keets maybe next spring!!

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    Overall:
    5
    Purchase Price:
    4.00
    Purchase Date:
    2011-07-04
    minaayindra likes this.
  5. Lothiriel
    5/5,
    "Lovin' my guineas!"
    I've had my 7 guineas for 8 weeks now. They are amazing. At first I was worried they'd be crazy and wild and never come near me, etc. But careful training on my part has given me some sweet and friendly little critters. They're not as friendly as my chicks, and I never expected them to be. But they will eat out of my hand, run around my feet when I go into their pen, and let me pet them while they eat.

    They are definitely not as loud as I was expecting, either. In fact, my hens (chickens) are louder than them! I find their sounds very sweet and entertaining. Their antics are adorable as well.

    I've wanted guineas for years now, and am thrilled to have them. I can hardly wait for them to be old enough to get out and free range! (Though I currently do have that one worry that they won't come back when I let them out... They probably will since they love their millet and I have it.... but that little nagging voice still is there.)


    Here's my Buff Dundotte, Helen...
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    Overall:
    5
  6. ChixMagnet
    5/5,
    "Interesting little creatures"
    Pros - Great bug eaters, tasty little eggs, can be tame
    Cons - DUMB!, call takes getting used to
    These birds are fantastic at keeping the yard clean of ticks and other pesky bugs. The will lay about one egg per day and are about half the size of a normal chicken egg. Very hard shells make them resilient during handling/transportation.

    In the spring it takes about a month to remind the guineas where they're supposed to roost. I had to herd them back to the yard from over a half mile away! It seems like if they're let out early in the spring, they'll try and find new places to roost to start laying eggs. But with a little persistence, by late spring they'll be letting themselves in at night.

    The male call is a little annoying when you first get them, but after a few months it blends in with other sounds of the farm. The female call is kinda cute once you get an ear for it. The males like to chase each other around, but no one every fights or draws blood. Just make sure the enclosure at night has enough room for everyone.

    The birds are a little skittish, but if you make your presence known you can get pretty close. Handling them as chicks will help with handling as adults. But with some persistence, the adults will come to accept your presence.

    Great little birds to have around to spruce up your flock!
    Overall:
    5
    Purchase Date:
    2011-04-01
    minaayindra likes this.
  7. amberflea
    5/5,
    "Great birds"
    Pros - tick eater, healthy birds, good watch dogs :0, great eggs
    Cons - dust bathing holes in lawns
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    Overall:
    5
    minaayindra likes this.

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