Raising guinea fowl
Guinea fowl are like watchdogs. Whenever anything – a car, person, or animal – comes down the lane, they’ll probably make a racket. But, you’ll love them because Guinea fowl control all kinds of creepy-crawlies including ticks, grasshoppers, and flies.
Jeannette Ferguson is the founder of the Guinea Fowl Breeder's Association and has also authored a book on raising them. She advises starting with young birds, called keets, because adult Guineas are known to literally "fly the coop" in search of the place they came from. If you want to add adult birds, they should be confined away from other poultry at first.
"Once you're sure that they are healthy and safe, you'd move them into a holding pen inside your adult coop, a house that's dry, draft-free, and safe from predators with roosting bars, and a place where you would keep their feed and water," says Ferguson. "You keep them in there for six-weeks in a holding pen so that they get used to their new home, and they learn that that is where they are to eat, drink, and roost."
As much as guineas love bugs, Ferguson says their diet also requires a 16-percent-minimum protein feed, so she recommends a chicken layer ration.
Your guineas will likely make a lot of noise, especially during their first year of life when they see something that's unusual to them.
"Whether it be a cat that they've not seen before, a hawk flying across, a strange dog on the property, a neighbor that comes over to visit that they've never seen before, a hot air balloon going over head, the first time they see a leaf fall from the tree," says Ferguson. "That first year of life everything is new to them so they're very talkative birds."
Guineas will quiet down once they're older, but Ferguson says it's very entertaining to watch their antics.
Learn more about guinea fowl and what others say about raising them
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