Having a mixed flock can give your backyard a splash of color and character. One of the most common birds chicken owners want to add are guinea fowl. These fun birds are fascinating to watch and can have several benefits. But are guinea fowl good with chickens? How are they different, and what would their care look like? Let’s explore this together.
Are Guinea Fowl Good With Chickens?
We are going to start by telling you, Yes! Guinea fowl are great additions to any chicken flock. They can add variety, personality, protection, and even extermination. With a few modifications to your routine, guineas thrive with chickens. But we are getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s first talk about the fantastic qualities of guinea fowl.
Guinea Fowl Temperament
Chickens are flock birds, but guineas take the flock mentality to a whole new level. They all move together as one and don’t stray far from each other. Guineas are mostly docile, even if a little ditzy.
Guinea fowl often get lost, which causes them to call out for the flock’s help. And many owners claim that they are incredibly prone to predators as they don’t have a strong preservation instinct.
Guinea fowl are also not the most people-friendly. You will find that your guineas are very untamed no matter what you might try. But there are plenty of reasons why guineas are the perfect addition to your chicken flock.
Many chicken owners love guinea fowl because they eat the bugs that chickens won’t touch. A guinea fowl’s main diet is foraging for insects, which means your house will never have an infestation again. They aren’t picky either. Guineas will eat roaches, grasshoppers, ticks, and even flies. Your guineas will earn their keep in no time with this trait alone.
Guinea Fowl And Snakes
If you think that a guinea fowl’s bug appetite was impressive, wait until you see this. Guinea fowl have no qualms eating a snake or two. They love to chase them and have surprisingly excellent hunting skills.
And chances are, if you have snakes, you also have mice. Your guineas will love to eat the mice as well. Not only will you be getting rid of the snakes, but the problem at its source also.
Guinea Fowl Alarm
One reason most people want guineas to coexist with chickens is to use them as an alarm. Guinea fowl sounds are loud and almost constant. But you always know the difference between a warning and normal clucking.
At first, your chickens may be frightened by all their noise. Any time your guineas start a ruckus, it will spook your hens and send them in a frenzy. But after a few weeks, your hens will start to learn the difference as well.
Can you eat guinea fowl eggs? Yes, you can! And you will love the flavor. You can use guinea fowl eggs just as you would any chicken egg. Guinea eggs are slightly smaller and more pointed. And they tend to have more yolk compared to chickens. But the flavor is almost identical.
Your guinea fowl will give you an egg a day during warm seasons. But since guinea fowl originate in Africa, you won’t see any eggs during the winter. But from March through October, you can count on seven eggs a week.
If you are wondering how long they lay eggs for, we have good news! Guinea fowl lay eggs regularly for three years before they start to slow down.
Guinea Fowl Meat
When most people buy guinea fowl, they don’t think about if they are good to eat. But you would be surprised to know that guineas are delicious. They have a similar taste to quail with lots of moist, dark meat. Most people don’t get these birds as dual-purpose because the process can be tedious. But it is possible, and you will love the outcome.
Guinea Fowl Types
Another excellent reason to get guinea fowl is that they come in so many different varieties. Guinea fowl colors come in anything from the standard black and white to purple and blue. They even come in different sizes. The largest breed is the Guinea Fowl Vulturine that has a beautiful, striking blue chest. You can add a pop of color to any chicken flock for an exciting bunch.
How Is Their Care Different?
Are guinea fowl good with chickens? Yes, and they contribute so much to your backyard flock. But before you add a few to your coop, there are a few things you need to know. Here are a few tips and tricks to get them to coexist with chickens.
Check City Laws
The first thing you should do is to check your local laws. Because guineas are so loud, they aren’t legal in every city. They are also usually banned in HOAs because of noise disturbance.
It’s also a good idea to be courteous for people who live in suburban areas with close neighbors. Talk with your neighbors about your new additions and possible noise levels before getting guineas. If they are ok with your hens, they will likely be ok with guineas as well.
Start With Keets
Baby guineas are called keets. It is best to start with guinea keets to allow them to imprint on the coop and chickens from a young age. If you attempt to add adult guineas with your hens, they won’t see them as part of their flock. They will segregate themselves from the hens, and you won’t have some of the benefits of a mixed flock.
Males guinea fowl can have a little aggression during springtime. Mating season usually intensifies this aggression, and they might try to mate your chickens as well. Rarely are they successful, and the young are sterile. Nevertheless, your guinea fowl male will protect his women from everyone.
And if you have a rooster, the outcome can be deadly. Your guinea fowl male will attack the rooster and prevent him from eating. It is best to stay away from males unless you intend to breed and have no roosters.
Guinea Fowl Food
Guinea fowl prefer to free-range and forage for their food. But you will have to feed if they aren’t able to graze. But they can’t eat the same foods as your chickens. A guinea fowl diet mainly consists of insects, seeds, and crumbles found in-game bird diets.
An excellent option for young guinea food is to use a turkey starter. Turkey starter food usually consists of 21-23% protein and is perfect for the first four weeks of life. Afterward, you can switch to a turkey and game feed that has 18% protein.
During the winter, you will also need to supplement their diets. You can find crickets, mealworms, and hornworms at any pet supply store. You can also order them in bulk and breed them yourselves. These treats give your guineas and chickens added protein and entertainment that they don’t have anymore.
Guinea fowl are not a domesticated bird and are hard to tame. Because of this, it isn’t natural for them to roost in the coop. Guinea fowl prefer the heights of nearby tree branches. But this isn’t safe in most places.
Starting your keets from a young age is an excellent start to imprint them to the coop. But you might need to make a few adjustments to make them feel more comfortable. For instance, guineas don’t like going inside of dark places. So adding a dim light inside the coop helps them feel comfortable going inside.
Another adjustment you might make is the type of roosts you have. Giving your guineas branches that are perched higher up mimics their instincts. They will feel right at home in a safe coop if you give them these few things.
But even after these adjustments, your guinea fowl will still put up a fight. The best way to get them all in the coop every night is with a little bribe. Giving them a nice treat inside the coop encourages them to go inside without a fuss. They might even pick up on your routine and look forward to going up at night for their snack.
Guinea Fowl Nesting Habits
One of the good things about guinea fowl is that they don’t need fancy nesting boxes. The downside is that they like to lay their eggs outside the coop in natural divets in the ground. If you aren’t careful, they will lay their eggs all over the yard.
To prevent this, you can provide them with the perfect nesting areas. Digging a shallow dip in a secluded area of the yard are ideal nesting holes. And top them off with a generous amount of dry hay. You don’t need many of these nesting areas since guinea fowls use one communal nest and take turns watching over them.
The last part to consider is the run. Guinea fowl coexist with chickens, but they hate cages. They do better when they can run free. But this poses a risk to predators and your guineas from flying away. Many owners have luck free-ranging their guinea fowl and chickens, but it’s not always possible.
If you have guinea fowl and can’t free-range, we recommend having as large a run as possible. If the run is large enough, they won’t feel closed in and fair well. But don’t forget to cover that run as well. Otherwise, they will fly out without an issue.
What Do You Think?
Are guinea fowl good with chickens? Of course, they are! The better question is, are they good for you? Guineas aren’t the best option for every situation. But they have excellent benefits for those who have them.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!