The Joys of Raising Guinea Fowl
Kevin Felts 12.14.16
For those of you not familiar with Guinea Fowl, they originate from Africa and are a member of the Galliformes order. Galliformes are ground dwelling flightless birds that can glide for short distances. Members of the order include turkeys, guineas, chickens, and pheasants, to name a few.
Guineas are excellent foragers, who eat a wide variety of bugs and seeds. They sit on their eggs and hatch them, but tend to be poor mothers.
Males have a large wattle, while females have a smaller one. “Wattles” are the red bags on both sides of mouth. They also have a “helmet,” which looks like a horn.
Guinea Fowl are noisy. They seem to take great joy in making as much noise as possible. If you go to the chicken yard, there seems to be a contest to see who can make the most noise.
Before buying guineas, it is recommended you talk to any neighbors within a quarter mile. Some neighbors may say, “Sure, I love guineas.” Anyone who says they “love guineas” is either lying or deaf. The only word that describes the human-guinea relationship, is “tolerance.”
Your closest neighbor is a few hundred yards away? No problem. The guineas meander their way over to your neighbors house and will announce their presence with great pleasure. They will raise their voices to the heavens and sing to your neighbor the song of the guineas.
Expect to get a phone call from the upset neighbor asking you to come get the guineas. The first call will probably be nice. Tenth or twelfth phone call, probably not so nice.
Between the large wattles and helmet, guineas are what some may consider “ugly.” To someone who has never seen a guinea, it may seem that creatures from the depths of hell are walking the earth.
The guinea head is the stuff of nightmares. Cold sweat, wake up and afraid to open your eyes kind of nightmare.
Guineas like their space. Any chicken that dares to venture too close will be jumped on and chased away. It is not enough to chase a chicken away, guineas also chase each other away.
I saw a guinea and a full grown Rhode Island Red rooster tie up in a fight. The rooster gave up and started running, The guinea chased the rooster all the way around the chicken yard.
The smallest infraction is dealt with in a vicious manner. Whether it is a hen, rooster, or another guinea, it does not matter. The fight is on.
Why Keep Guineas
One of the big reasons to keep guineas is they eat bugs, including disease carrying ticks.
There is never a dull moment with a flock of guineas. They are always moving, making noise, scurrying around, something.
Even though they make a lot of noise and are ugly, no farm would be complete without a flock of guineas.