Guinea fowl, while capable of short flights and excellent gliding, are ground dwelling birds. They have numerous predators; including dogs, coyotes, raccoons, bobcats, hawks and humans are the most common predators of the guinea fowl. Ideally they will have a coop to go in at night, but most guineas prefer to roost in trees.
There are several kinds of guineas, but the common guinea fowl in the U.S. has a bald neck and head with a hard "helmet" which makes the guinea fowl a very distinctive bird. They come in many colors and color combinations including pearl gray, royal purple, violet, bronze, slate, coral blue, lavender, copper, chocolate, white, buff and pied pearl gray.
It is hard to tell a male from a female guinea, and the most reliable way is by the sound they make. The hens make a two syllable call that sounds like "Buck-Wheat or Come-Back."
The female guinea fowl lays between 8 and 15 small eggs which hatch after an incubation period of around a month. The guinea fowl chicks, known as keets, remain with their mother until they are big enough to fend for themselves. We collect our guinea eggs and place them in an incubator. When the keets hatch they go into a brooder that keeps them at a temperature of about 100°F. A giant plastic tub with a small light bulb works fine. The water supply for the young keets needs to be lukewarm, and setup so that the keets cannot get into it and get wet or drown themselves. We feed our Guinea fowl keets medicated chick starter, oatmeal and Ultra-Kibble. They soon get mealworms as a treat which helps to make them less afraid of humans.
For complete information on how to successfully raise Guinea fowl keets, visit the Guinea Fowl International Association's forum at: http://www.guineafowlinternational.org.
The guinea fowl is a large wild bird that originated on the African continent. Today, the guinea fowl's popularity has scattered to various countries around the world. The guinea fowl spends much of its time scratching around on the ground in search for something to eat. Voracious insect eaters, land owners in our area love them for their insatiable appetite for dangerous ticks, grasshoppers and other insects, as well as weed seeds and grains. Guineas will also eat small mice and snakes, making them very popular around barns. Guinea fowl make a great alarm system, since they make quite the noise whenever something is different in their surroundings.