Percent protien for older keets?


9 Years
Sep 25, 2010
My 6 week old today keets have graduated from the tractor to the coop and run. I have 3/4ths a bag of 20% Purina left but need to plan early for getting my next bag. Plus the 21 birds are going through feed faster and faster.

One source told me to reduce them (specifically Jumbo guineas, which they are) to 16% at 8 weeks. This seems a hair fast to me. I know too much protien is bad, but what do other sources suggest for meat guineas??
Personally, I have no experience with raising or feeding Guinea Fowl that are raised specifically for meat birds. I do know they are not at all like chickens raised specifically for meat birds and do have different nutritional needs tho. And knowing what I know about what Guinea Fowl eat in the wild and what they need as far as protein content in their diet at each stage... if I was going to eat those birds, I would feed them the best stuff possible (meaning high protein, proper levels of amino acids and not too much fat) so they develop a substantial amount of meat (not fat) on their bones in a short amount of time.

Under normal circumstances Helmeted Guinea Fowl keets need a high protein diet (around 28%) up to 6 weeks of age, then around 20-24% as a grower ration and then they can eat a 16% layer ration at 16 weeks of age when they are considered mature (most meatbirds are slaughtered before that age tho). JMO based on what I have researched and what I have observed with how MY birds develop, but I am sure plenty will argue. I know everybody feeds their own Guineas according to their preference and convenience... altho not it's always what the birds need (which is MY personal preference because I want healthy breeding stock since I am a Guinea Fowl Breeder).
You're the second person to suggest lower fat. I purchased a bag of feed partially b/c it had an extra percent of fat (3.5 vs 2.5%) and was thinking of fattening them on sunflowers. I know (from reading) that guineas are a lean meat, but why not a little extra fat? Does it mess up the quality of muscle they put down?

Considering how much grass and whatnots they eat (along with bugs ofc), I'd be tempted to keep them on the higher protein and watch for leg problems.

Thanks for the post. Any idea where you read 20-24% until 16 weeks?
I guess if you are eating the birds and they won't be laying and reproducing for you then there would not be too much concern about health issues down the line from too much fat in their diet. Usually Guinea Fowl is appreciated for it's leanness, but if you like a little fat on your Guinea's meat, then by all means, have at it, fatten those babies up all plump and juicy, lol.

I can't remember exactly where I read the protein requirement for Guineas up to 16 weeks of age, but it wasn't just one site... A lot of Guinea Fowl sites, books and breeders/hatcheries have articles and info that specify feeding a Turkey Grower for that age range, and most Turkey Growers are in that 20-24% protein level range. I've also read feeding instructions on bags of several different brands of Game Bird feeds that I've used over the years and they usually list a general age of when to switch to a grower feed for Guineas, Pheasants, Turkeys etc (which all have very similar nutritional requirements) usually at 6-8 weeks old and then they list feeding a layer feed or all purpose poultry feed with 16%-18% protein at 16 weeks when they can normally start reproducing.
Good question..........

I was kinda wondering the same thing about my 3 month old guineas. I have been feeding them 30% protein since they were born and was wondering if they should always be on 30% protein or do I need to lower the protein. If so, what is the best protein level to keep adult guineas on.

Your thoughts PeepsCA?
I would not keep them on 30% past 4-5 weeks. Too much protien can be a very bad thing and cause leg problems and such. At 3 months I would get a 16 or 18% and mix it with the old stuff for a few days and then feed only the new stuff.
Keets do absolutely fine and grow at the proper rate on 30% Purina Startena up to 6-8 weeks of age. They need 28% to grow and feather out at the proper rate until that age anyway. Whatever protein their bodies do not use will be passed with no issues (excess calcium how ever does create leg and bone problems in developing Guinea Fowl). Lack of protein definitely causes problems for Guinea Fowl both immediate, and down the line. It slows their growth, they feather out slower, can develop fatty deposits on and around major organs, shortens their reproductivity, and their lifespan.

You can always contact one of the major Guinea Fowl Breeders like Ralph Winters that owns the Guinea Farm and ask him what they feed their keets, both the regular Helmeted varieties/colors and the Jumbos (which is one of the many Guinea Fowl varieties they originally developed).
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Adult Guineas don't utilize more than 16% protein in their diet (16 weeks is considered adult age since they can reproduce at that age). Sure you can keep them on higher protein feeds and they will do just fine (and I do this during the cold months, I use 24% and 22% game bird pellets and crumbles), but they usually do not need it and just pass the extra protein (and my $$$ in the process lol). Right now you could ween them over to a Turkey Grower feed or even Purina Flock Raiser if you want, and come springtime you can put them on any poultry layer feed before they start laying (or you can put them on layer feed sooner, it's up to you).

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