Which kind of guinea?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by Raine530, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Raine530

    Raine530 Out Of The Brooder

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    I am getting ready to order some guinea keets...but I can't seem to find much information about the different varieties. What are some recommendations? Mine will be free-range, raised with chickens and ducks. I want them mostly for bug control. Thanks!
     
  2. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My favorites are the Pearls and Royal Purples. The Whites I didn't like at all. They tended to be runty, less vigorous, predators got most of them, and also one died when the temperatures got below zero one winter (the only guinea we've ever lost to the cold). Plus they're plain ol' boring white. I like the Lavenders too, but the predators do seem to favor them over the darker-colored Pearls and Royal Purples.

    Our guineas are semi-feral. They roost in trees and the barn rafters and forage for their own food. We only give them some feed (a couple handfuls of cattle grain) when there's snow on the ground for more than a day or two. We have them for bug control, especially for the ticks (they do a fabulous job!). If you'll be keeping your guineas in a predator-proof coop overnight then Lavenders would probably do just fine for you. If it were me, I'd get a colorful mixture of Pearls, Royal Purples, and Lavenders. If I had to pick just one kind, I would pick Royal Purples. Royal Purples are in my opinion the most beautiful variety, and they're also the least common of the three, so there may be demand for keets and hatching eggs. I've found there to be quite the market for keets in my area for $3 each so long as they're not white (nobody wants the white keets for some reason, unless they're free). I also find guinea eggs to be easier to hatch than chicken eggs... Just a thought! [​IMG]

    BTW, I drove right by West Fork back in 2005 (to avoid the toll roads in Oklahoma). The area was very pretty! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  3. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    You probably don't want to pay the price for Crested or Vulturine Guinea Fowl, so you'll be looking at ordering Helmeted Guinea Fowl...

    If I was going to order keets, rather than buying them locally from someone who has a flock and raises them that you can actually look at before buying keets... then I'd order Jumbos. They are Pearl Grey (typical wild-type color/markings), and there's more meat on them than the normal size Helmeted Guinea Fowl, so they have the added benefit of being a better sized bird for the table, as well as bug control.

    If you don't process your own birds then just get a mix of the colors/varieties you want to see running around in your yard. You can check out pics and descriptions of all the different colors/varieties available here and here .

    Also, wanted to state that I don't have any issues with my pure Whites being runty, or less vigorous. IME, too much inbreeding and bad breeding stock causes those issues, not their color. And in my area pure Whites (and Pieds of all colors) are very popular. Obviously things can vary from area to area...
     
  4. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North Georgia
    In my area (Georgia) I have two types of customers: those who want the darker color (Pearl Gray and/or Royal Purples) and those who don't care. So unless you want to sell guineas, just get what pleases you color-wise.

    I'm hoping to get a Chocolate craze going in the SE. Wish me luck! [​IMG]
     
  5. Raine530

    Raine530 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 6, 2012
    West Fork, Arkansas
    Wow thanks for all the great info folks! Does anyone know what is meant by "French" guineas? Are there different colors within that catagory? And has anyone noticed any difference in temperment between the different varieties?
     
  6. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know anything about French guineas, but I doubt there is much difference in temperament between the helmeted guineas. Feel free, anybody, to correct me if I'm wrong.

    Some guineas have calmer, quieter and more easy-going personalities than others, and others are bullying, ear-splitting jerks. Guineas have common behavioral characteristics: easily spooked, dumb as rocks, most are noisy sometime during a day, they roam pretty far, almost blind at night...but you'll find there is one (or more) guineas in your flock that are more, shall we say, boisterous, than others.

    You'll get to know your flock.
     
  7. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    French Guinea Fowl were bred/developed to be a bigger table bird (you could say the are the Guinea Fowl version of a meat bird I guess)... but supposedly because of their size they have issues breeding/reproducing. As far as I know the only color they are available in is the Pearl Grey.

    Jumbo Guinea Fowl are basically an American version of the French Guinea tho (bigger bird)... and from what I have read about them they breed/reproduce just fine if allowed to free range. I have seen pics on another forum of Brown and Chocolates that were supposedly Jumbo size, but as far as I know you can only order the Jumbos in Pearl Grey. I have never owned any French or Jumbos myself tho, so I'm just going by what little research I have done on them.

    Temperament can vary from Guinea to Guinea, no matter the variety (a Guinea is going to be a Guinea, no matter the size or color, lol)... but the bird's sex, amount of coop/pen space, flock dynamics, how much they were handled as keets and how they were raised etc will all factor in... same as with regular Helmeted Guinea Fowl.
     
  8. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    x2

    Plus they're also bred for year-round egg production (https://secuservices.com/ideal/newideal/selectproduct.aspx?qty=1&ID=FK&Product=184). Regular guineas are seasonal layers and in most areas only lay from March/April through September/October. Personally, I'd stay away from the French guineas for no other reason than because they require artificial insemination for acceptable fertility (according to what I've read). That would be an extra pain in the rear that I could do without. Course, if you don't intend to hatch any keets, then this wouldn't be an issue for you.

    I've only had the varieties/colors that Cackle Hatchery carries. I do really like the looks of the Cobalt Blue guineas, they're SO pretty. If I can ever get myself to fork over the extra money for the rarer colors, I'd definitely get some Cobalt Blues! To be quite honest though, the original Pearls are actually very pretty too, with their dark grey white-dotted feathers and the iridescent purple sheen around the bottom of their necks. If it wasn't for their unique heads/faces and all the noise they make, people would be raving about how pretty guineas are!

    As far as a difference in temperament, I haven't noticed any trends for any certain varieties. They're all just loud crazy guineas, LOL! Although my favorite guinea, "Dunya," a Royal Purple, is my favorite because she successfully raised keets in our environment with no special care. She lost half of them early on from a summer rain storm, but she and several body-guard males successfully raised and protected the remaining five keets to adulthood. I tried to get some pictures of the keets when they were little but wasn't able to. As soon as I got close enough for pictures I would be too busy dodging air-born angry guineas to get any pictures at all! Guineas are very protective of their babies!
     
  9. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cobalt Blues? I've ever heard of or seen that color/variety. Do you mean Coral Blues? If so, those aren't rare [​IMG]

    Or maybe are you talking about the Vulturines, that actually have very bright cobalt blue plumage on them? They are rare, and spendy (somewhere around $500 a pair). And they don't fare well in cold weather... typically they need supplemental heat and/or heated perches to prevent frostbite during winter. Spectrum Ranch breeds and sells Vulturine hybrids (and hatching eggs) that are Vulturine and Helmeted crosses for a lower price, but they aren't as brilliantly colored or as pretty, IMO.
     
  10. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry! Yes, I meant Coral Blues. [​IMG]

    I was going off of memory and still had the Cobalt Blue Mbuna (aquarium fish) stuck in my head from years ago...

    By "rare" I guess I meant big hatcheries such as Ideal and Cackle don't carry them. I'm really tempted to order some from "Guinea Farm" but their 30 keet minimum, multiplied by $4 each, plus shipping, adds up real fast... Even though their pricing is quite reasonable it's rather expensive compared to me incubating a nest of guinea eggs I happen to find in the tall grass. I may take the plunge next year, at some point I need to introduce some new blood into the flock anyway. But this year I want to get my long-awaited Muscovy ducks! [​IMG]


    BTW, I had to LOL at your signature! (The "5 1/2 horses" part!)
     

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