Presentation on theme: "Guinea Fowl By Kimberly Neild. What are Guinea Fowl? Domesticated birds originally from the Central African plains Have been used as a source of eggs."— Presentation transcript:
What are Guinea Fowl? Domesticated birds originally from the Central African plains Have been used as a source of eggs and poultry meat as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans. Most owners today keep them for pest control and an additional source of eggs The most common breed of the species is the Helmeted Guinea Fowl, named for the bony protrusion that looks like a helmet They have many different colors and variations in their feathers Common varieties of the Helmeted Guinea Fowl include pearl gray, white, and lavender
Males vs. Females Males over 1 year old are called Guinea Cocks Large, cup shaped wattle that hangs from their head below their beak. Slightly larger helmet than females Warning call is one syllable: “Chi- chi-chi-chi-chi-chi…” Cannot imitate female sound Start to practice sounds at around 8 weeks of age, but not necessarily just as an alert call Warning call of mature Guinea Cock means that he has spotted something unusual in the area Females over 1 year old are called Guinea Hens Smaller wattles and helmet compared to males Warning call is two syllables: “Buck-Wheat, Buck-Wheat, Buck- Wheat…” Females can imitate male sound with one syllable “Chi-chi-chi-chi- chi…” Guinea Hens are noisier than Guinea Cocks, tending to make their warning call more often Both males and females are a little less prone to shrieking after their first birthday
Why get Guineas? Interesting new pet or addition to a small farm Can be kept with chickens –Chickens learn that warning call of guineas means that a predator is nearby –They don’t destroy flower and vegetable beds like chickens –They can be fed basically the same diet as chickens and can be kept in the same coop –Guinea guano is not as offensive smelling or as plentiful, meaning less coop cleaning Guineas eat most insects and weed seeds without damaging plants They act as “watch dogs” for the yard Very little time and money is necessary for their care
Where would I put Guineas? Shelter –Protects them from predators at night –Keeps them dry and warm during inclement weather Requirements –3-4 square feet of floor space per bird –Several perches of varying heights –Double-walled but no insulation –Some type of bedding such as straw or wood chips on floor
How do I care for Guineas? Guineas can eat chicken mash (not pellets) if they are housed with chickens If you have guineas alone, they should be fed a turkey breeder mix with a protein content of 22-24% Food should be kept in a poultry feeder that is somehow secured to keep it clean During warmer months, guineas will get most of their diet from insects and weed seeds Guineas can be offered alfalfa and cracked corn on occasion Fresh water should always be available. Keep water heater or replenish several times a day during winter In the coop, guineas should have access to oyster shell and grit at all times. Oyster shell helps with egg formation, and grit helps with digestion Use white millet seed for training. Offer as a treat, such as incentive for them to come inside in the evening
How do I purchase Guineas? Keets (birth-12 weeks) can often be purchased locally with a little research Eggs and day old keets can be purchased from a hatchery and shipped overnight Older guineas can sometimes be purchased from a farmer that wants to thin out her/his flock Try to find a guinea owner in your area. They can help with buying guineas, where to get supplies, and offer suggestions for housing and training.
What age is best? Eggs Must be incubated for 28 days in order for keets to hatch Keets must then be moved to a brooder, a confined area with a heat lamp Young keets Must be kept in a brooder for 6 weeks before moving to outside coop Can be trained to trust people if handled several times a day from birth Need to be separated from older chickens & guineas initially Older keets & adults Will need to be kept in coop for a minimum of 6 weeks before letting them roam in the yard Proper floor space in coop is essential for their well-being during their confinement Guineas that have not been handled since birth may not be tame They will learn to accept members of the family that they see frequently, but they will most likely not want to be picked up and petted
More Information Read Gardening with Guineas by Jeannette S. Ferguson, 1999. Jeannette Ferguson also has a helpful website: http://www.guineafowl.com/fritsfarm/guineas/
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