There are many benefits to raising guinea fowl. On farms and house backyard, they are valuable because they eat ticks--in fact, ticks are their favorite food, and a flea-infested property can quickly become tick-free with their help. They also provide delicious eggs and tasty and nutritious meat. Adult guinea fowl are fairly low-maintenance, although raising baby guineas is much more involved. If you decide to raise guineas, make sure you know what's involved before you get started.
1) There are many benefits to raising guinea fowl, but there are also a few downfalls to keep in mind when determining whether or not these birds are right for your property.
They are noisy, so your neighbors might not appreciate your new flock.
It is possible to keep guinea fowl penned, but they much prefer to roam freely.
They are not as tame as chickens, and they are hard to catch if you let them roam.
2) Have a coop, make sure you have a fully enclosed chicken coop ready before you bring your new guinea fowl home. They can fly, so they will escape if they are not kept in an enclosed coop.
Even if you plan to let your guineas roam freely, you will need the coop to get started.
Your coop should provide at least three to four square feet of space per bird. You should provide more space if you do not plan on allowing them to roam freely after the training period.
Be sure to provide food and water in the coop, as well as clean bedding on the floor and perches for your poultry birds to roost on.
3) Consider providing a night-time shelter. Once your guineas are free-roaming, you do not need to provide them with a shelter, but doing so can help protect them against predators like foxes and owls. If you don't provide a shelter, your guineas will roost in the trees at night. A shelter is different from a coop in that it allows the guineas to come and go as they please.
4) Choose your birds. Once you have a space designated for your guineas, it's time to choose your birds. You can buy them from local breeders, feed stores, or online sellers.
1) Be prepared to intervene, guinea fowl are not very good at taking care of their delicate little keets. They are fierce protectors, but they will walk through grass with morning dew on it and expect the keets to follow. They do, but getting wet is death to keets. Though a grown guinea can endure rain and snow and other insults, guinea keets are very delicate, so you will have to put in some work to raise them.
Guineas sometimes will abandon a nest even after the hen has gotten broody and spent several nights sitting on the eggs. If you notice that a nest has been abandoned, move the eggs to an incubator right away.
Once the keets hatch, you will need to care for them until they have fully developed feathers and are strong enough to hold their own with the rest of the flock.
If you also raise chickens, a broody hen can be used to hatch the eggs and raise the keets.
Turkeys can also make suitable replacement mothers.
2) Create a safe home for the keets, you will need to keep the keets contained in a brooder box for the first six to eight weeks.
Keets are very delicate, so be sure to provide adequate space for them to prevent trampling.
Keets can escape through very fine wire mesh, so it's best to keep them in a container with solid sides, like a sturdy cardboard box.
They will be jumping in no time, so make sure you cover the box with a screen.
Keep the box lined with clean paper towels for the first week or more, and then switch to wood shavings.
3) Keep it warm, keets need to be kept nice and toasty, so use a heating lamp to maintain a constant temperature in their container. It should be 95 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week. You can then lower the temperature by 5 degrees each week until the temperature in their box is the same as the temperature outside.
4) Keep the light at one end of the brooder box. That way, the keets can move to a cooler part of the box if they get too hot.
5) If one keet seems more sluggish and droopy than its siblings, don't panic. Try this: Put a hand towel or cloth in a clothes dryer only long enough to get it warm. Then pick the keet up with the warm towel, loosely wrap it around the keet, and snuggle with the baby against your chest. Sometimes the sluggishness is just a sign that one keet needs more warmth than the others.
6) Provide food, feed your baby birds with crumbles rather than pellets, for the first couple of months. What’s a important should be to hand feed the keets to get them used to you.
7) Provide water, be sure to provide your keets with a steady source of fresh, warm water. They don't tolerate cold water well. Newborn keets are susceptible to drowning, so provide water in a shallow chicken water bowl filled with marbles at first. The keets will climb on the marbles and drink the water between them. After the initial period, providing a chicken waterer with a watering base will be a great way to make sure they always have enough water to drink and that they never have enough water to drown in.
8) Keep them clean, keets may get dried feces stuck to their feet or bottoms. This can cause a variety of complications, so be sure to clean them right away. To do so, wipe the area with a moist cotton ball or soak the area in warm soapy water.
1) Acclimate your guineas. Your guineas will need a little time to get used to their new home before you allow them to roam free. Keep them in the coop for at least a couple of weeks. Give them scratch or millet shortly before sundown. Once they've acclimated, they will return to their home if you make it your practice to throw scratch to them as their reward their returning.
2) Offer food and water. Guinea fowl are very easy to feed, although their dietary needs will depend upon whether you keep them penned or free-range.
When allowed to roam, guinea fowl will eat all sorts of critters in your poultry backyard, including ticks, grasshoppers, spiders, and small snakes. Then you don't need to provide them with any additional food.
If you keep your guineas penned, breed them some poultry feeds, probable one pound per day for every six guineas. To increase egg laying quantity, switch them to a higher protein feed formulated for turkeys and wild fowl.
Your guineas will also rely on you to provide a constant source of fresh water. You can buy a poultry waterer for them, which holds a large amount of water and dispenses it little by little into a small dish.
Collect eggs. Because guineas roam free, they can build their chicken nests and lay their eggs almost anywhere.
3) Guineas make their poultry nests on the ground, but they like to try to conceal them by choosing areas with tall grasses. They also share nests with other guinea hens frequently and sometimes share "sitting" duties as well.