Some questions about French Guineas.

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by The Chickeneer, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. The Chickeneer

    The Chickeneer ~A Morning's Crow~

    So for the past year we have had the regular guineas, and they fly all over the place and are good at pest control and all that. I recently just bought some more guineas, they are bigger and heavier even though they are way younger than my regular guineas. I noticed they cannot fly because they are too heavy, and they don't roost with the others, instead they sleep on the floor. I think they are French, also, they are solid pearl color, although some of them have two or three white flight feathers.

    So heres the thing, I have a person wanting to buy some guineas from me. I am not selling my original flock, so it's the french guineas that are going to be sold. The lady i am selling them to has 5 acres and she wants them for pest control. Are French guineas apt enough to live a wild kind of life? Do they forage well like regular guineas? Do they breed naturally or artificial insemination? I have heard Jumbo guineas reproduce naturally. I am not sure if these guineas are Jumbo or French. How do you tell? and If I decide to keep a few, can the regular guineas breed with them? I am hoping that if they need to be AI, my regular guineas can breed with them naturally and have keets that will be heavy but still able to fly. So many questions, I know... Thanks for any info
     
  2. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the guineas are free range they should be able to breed naturally, even if they are the French variety. Although unless you specifically bought them as french guineas, they are probably jumbo. Either way they will interbreed with your regular guineas and the cross should be larger than the normals and probably smaller than the big ones. I know of no way to differentiate between the jumbo and french guineas. No guineas will survive the wild kind of life. Unless they are protected from predators,especially at night, your loses will decimate the flock. They will forage but if they are unable to fly, they will be even more susceptible to predation than regular guineas. Their desire not to roost may be learned behavior.
     
  3. The Chickeneer

    The Chickeneer ~A Morning's Crow~

    Thanks. I am glad to hear they will interbreed. I am still wondering weather or no they should be allowed to roam free on a bigger estate (with a coop of course). Guineas are wild animals, well at least the skinny kind are. I've had guineas fly away higher in the sky than a telephone pole, and return weeks later perfectly healthy. I know that guineas can live without people in the wild, but the french/jumbo seemed too accustomed to people, and plus are unable to roost and are obviously domesticated and flightless. Will the french/jumbo go broody and set on eggs? I know for a fact that all guineas are horrible mothers, so I'l make sure the keets are brooder raised.
     
  4. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As long as they are cooped for safety at night, free ranging will benefit the french type guineas. But let me ask, do you have chickens? Do you allow them to free range during the day? I don't believe that the French guineas would be more susceptible than chickens, try treating them the same way. If you want them to breed you need them to be "up and running" If they are confined all the time, they are going to be/get fat ,lazy, and probably harder to breed. For the owner, tamer is easier. Because guineas aren't considered good mothers, overall. If you can convince them to lay their eggs and nest in the coop or even a safe run, you will be much better off encouraging them to go broody and hatch their own. By artificially incubating eggs, we are at best, decreasing the broodiness of guineas and at worst breeding out broodiness.. It sounds like someone has spent a lot of time and trouble taming your french guineas and it would be a shame to waste it.
     
  5. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they have white flights, they probably are not the true French variety.

    I don't own or breed the French variety, but I know that breeding a Jumbo with a Standard Guinea Fowl does produce a bigger bird, but not by much. 3 yrs ago I kept 9 Hens that came from a Jumbo X Standard breeding. (There may be a more substantial size difference on the males, but I only kept Hens). These Hens are maybe only 1/2 lb heavier than my Standard Hens, but they do lay a noticeably bigger egg. They also produce offspring that are slightly bigger than Standards, that grow quicker.

    If your larger birds do breed with your Standards, then by keeping the largest offspring from your hatches and breeding them back to the parents the following year (and keep doing that each year after that) you will gradually increase the weights of the offspring.

    As for them not roosting... have you tried putting lower roosts at different heights in their coop that they can jump up on, then work their way to the higher roosts? They may have never learned to roost as keets, which is why they do not roost now. And if they were pen raised birds, that explains them not being able to fly.
     
  6. The Chickeneer

    The Chickeneer ~A Morning's Crow~

    I do have chickens, and ducks as well as a lot of other animals......,the ducks, guineas, and chickens all share the same coop. They free range the yard during the day and all go back to sleep at night. Like PeepsCA said, I think they never learned how to roost as keets, because the chickens that are bigger than guineas still fly up to the roost at night easily, the roost is only about 4 1/2 feet high. Im going to try adding some lower roosts.

    Although they were cooped up by their previous owner, they seem to integrate with the rest of the guineas very well, and i see them foraging in the grass and running around. They only look about 4 months old, so Im not expecting eggs from them yet. I did hear once before that French are only pearl, I though they might still be french since only two or three flight feathers where white. But if French guineas only come in strictly pure pearl, then Il consider these as Jumbos.

    Heres some pictures I took. The ones in the grass are the regular guineas.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The "jumbo" ones were hanging out in the dirt with the regular white guineas when I took the picture
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
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  7. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmmm from these pics they really do not look that much bigger than your Standards, but I do see a size difference. At 4 months they should be full grown/full size tho... have you weighed them by chance? Jumbo (or French) males should weigh somewhere close to 7lbs, Hens at least 4.5-5lbs.

    White flight feathers usually reflect that the bird is carrying a touch of the Pied gene... Pied is common in the Standard varieties, not the Jumbos or French as far as I know.

    Your chickens and the other Guineas may teach them how to roost, and maybe even how to fly.

    I would keep them all (but I hoard Guineas, so don't listen to me, lol).
     
  8. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Peeps, are you the same Peeps as in the guinea forum? Some of my guineas may be crossed with jumbo, as I have some Jumbos, but my guineas don't seem to reach full growth until at least a year old. There is a noticeable difference in size between my last summer's hatch and my older ones. I would be really careful about close inbreeding. Unless you cull mercilessly you end up with all sorts of nasty problems, including breeding problems. These type of problems are especially prevalent in peas, due to the inbreeding to set new colors.
     
  9. The Chickeneer

    The Chickeneer ~A Morning's Crow~

    They do look about the same size, your right about that. Still the Jumbo French Whatevers are slightly larger, and they are very noticeably heavier that the regular ones. I'd say they are about three pounds heavier at least. The regular ones are going on a year old, and the french/ jumbo guineas are only a few months, and are slightly bigger, as well as significantly heavier. They still can't fly (probably never will) , but they are very active foragers. I put each one on the roost tonight, with the rest of the guineas and chickens. Chickens are easy to put on a roost(whenever I have to take them down from the neighbors tree)and just sit right on there. Guineas however...you try to put them on the roost and they push off with their feet, keeping their legs straight. It took me a while, but they are all sleeping on the roosts now.
     
  10. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Trefoil, I used to post on a couple different Guinea forums... so I am probably the same Peeps [​IMG]

    That's interesting your Guineas take about a year to fully mature. Excluding the occasional runt, by 5 months old even the last of the stragglers from my late season hatches are full grown. Maybe it's the climate, maybe it's the feed, or your breeding stock that accounts for slow growth of your Guineas [​IMG]

    I've been told by a couple long-time Guinea/poultry keepers that a closed flock of Guineas can typically do fine inbreeding/line breeding for up to 5 generations, before there are any obvious issues. Most issues I was told to watch out for were obvious at hatch (leg/toe problems, cross beaks and other deformities etc), no mention of breeding issues tho. I personally am not a fan of inbreeding/line breeding and do try to avoid it, but when working on a specific project and working towards a specific outcome from the hatches it can sometimes be a very necessary part of a breeding program. Line breeding (inbreeding) has been a common practice in the poultry/livestock/animal world for eons.

    I have a closed full-time free range flock that have never had any new blood introduced, and they have continued to lay/bred/reproduce reliably for 7+ yrs (doubt I have any of the original birds left due to predator loss tho). They are definitely interbreeding/line breeding each season... but I have had no breeding and/or other issues with them. Unless you count asymmetrical wattles, which the original 7 all started out with anyway (which is also why they are my free range flock, and not a breeding flock).

    For my breeding flocks I have 3 separate blood lines that I have raised/kept separately over the years. I mix and match birds from each blood line each breeding season. I have had no nasty problems or breeding issues with them to speak of either, nor have any of my keet customers reported back with any issues.

    Whenever I need to cull birds from my flocks it's usually my extra males for the freezer, birds with incorrect wattles, or since I have so many Pieds in my flocks I tend to get a lot of solid birds that will feather out with a few White flights, but I am working on reorganizing my flocks and breeding away from the White flights.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013

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