Guinea Fowls are charming and fascinating birds that can be an excellent addition to any backyard flock. But how do you decide how many guinea fowls should I get?
They are also noisy and disruptive birds that often generate mixed emotions. There is no standard limit for the number of guinea fowl that you should keep at any given time.
However, some factors can influence your decision. This article will discuss everything you need to know regarding raising guinea fowl. Read on to learn more.
Ways To Decide How Many Guinea Fowl To Get
It can be challenging to decide on the number of guinea fowl you should get. If you are not sure of how many guinea fowls to get, you can consider the following things to help guide your decision.
Raising Guinea Keets Vs. Buying Adults
The circumstances surrounding buying adult guinea fowls differ somewhat from those surrounding raising guinea keets. When you buy adult guinea fowls, they are likely to fly away or be noisy. Therefore, if you are buying adults, you should buy several of them.
It is not advisable to buy a single adult guinea fowl. When you have only one bird, it will keep calling out for others and cause unrelenting noise. Raising guinea keets means you can easily train and control them.
Reasons for Ownership
Another important factor that you need to consider before bringing guinea fowls home is the reason why you want to buy them in the first place.
Do you intend to breed your guinea fowls or use them for pest control? Do you want them for ornamental purposes?
If you are buying them for ornamental purposes, you can get just two birds: a female and a male. Having two birds will be fun and affordable because you will not be looking for extra value.
You will also be able to offer them the necessary companionship. If you want guinea fowl for breeding purposes, you will need at least one guinea hen and one guinea cock.
You can buy more, but this is the minimum. If you are buying guinea fowl for pest control, you can get as many as ten. It will depend on what you can afford for their maintenance and care.
When you have several guinea fowl in your backyard, they will look out for each other when foraging.
Restricting Their Numbers
You can raise just one guinea fowl, although it is not advisable. Having one guinea fowl can cause a lot of noise than keeping several of them. Lone guinea fowl are usually more stressed and noisier than in a group.
If you want guinea fowl for breeding purposes, you can get at least two: a guinea hen and a guinea cock.
You can also get several guinea hens for a single guinea cock if you want several chicks. A guinea cock can mate with up to six to eight guinea hens.
Guinea hens are not considered prolific egg producers. Therefore, if you want a steady supply of eggs from a domestic bird, a guinea hen should not cross your mind.
Turkeys, ducks, and chickens are more prolific layers compared to guinea fowl. However, this does not mean that you can not raise guinea fowl for eggs.
In comparison, chickens lay more eggs per year than guinea fowl. Therefore, you will need to get several guinea fowl to match the egg productivity of chickens.
Under good care and proper diet, a healthy backyard chicken can lay about 270 eggs per year. On the other hand, a healthy guinea fowl can lay an average of 120 eggs per year.
You will need around three guinea fowl to match the average egg-laying rate of one chicken.
According to a report by Washington Post, an average American consumes up to 279 eggs in a year. This means that a family of 3 will need around 850 eggs in a year.
You will need around four chickens if you want 850 eggs in a year. If you are getting guinea fowl to give you the same number of eggs in a year, you will need about 8 to 10 of them.
The space available for your guinea fowl to roost is also vital. Keeping your birds in a restricted or small area means that they will be stressed. Your guinea fowl will be noisy if they get stressed.
When designing their coop, you will need a space that offers about 3 square feet per guinea fowl.
You can determine the number of guinea fowl you need to get by measuring the area of space you have in square feet. You can then divide the value by 3 to get the number of birds you need.
Housing Guinea Fowl
Given a chance, a guinea fowl will live happily in the trees. However, you can ensure that they are safe and live longer by keeping them in a secure house.
Tree-dwelling birds are usually victims of attacks from flying and climbing night-time predators.
Suppose you get your guinea fowl while still young (keets); it will be possible to get them used to live in an enclosed room or house.
You can use a shed or outbuilding, which is more likely to succeed than a normal chicken coop.
You will need to allow more space than for backyard chickens and create extra room for on the perches. The higher the perches, the better your guinea fowl will like it.
You can provide two pop-holes or make the doorway large enough so that bullies do not keep out the lower-ranking birds.
Unlike backyard chickens, the shyer guinea fowl will not wait for their time to get into the coop. Instead, they will fly upwards.
Guinea fowl do not like going into dark places. You can help them by sticking a battery-powered cupboard in their house.
Nest boxes are not necessary as your guinea fowl will not use them. These birds like to make their secret nests. Your only challenge will be finding them.
Another alternative is to keep your guinea fowl in a large run so that they have no other choice but to live in safety.
You can give them as much space as possible, although you will need to roof the run, so they do not fly out.
Some guinea fowl keepers have said that the fertility of these birds is likely to drop if they are kept confined. Therefore, they will be happier if allowed to free-range.
Obtaining Your First Guinea Fowl
Older guinea fowl are usually difficult to settle in a new environment and are more likely to remain rather wild. Therefore, it is usually advisable to get hatching eggs or young keets.
Guinea fowl eggs usually take 25 to 28 days to hatch. You can incubate them the same way as a chicken’s eggs. Guinea fowl eggshells are strong, although healthy keets will hatch easily without any difficulty.
You can brood guinea fowl keets naturally with a broody chicken or under a heat lamb like chicks. Guinea hens do not make great mothers, although you can substitute with a turkey hen if you have one in your backyard flock.
Keets can be fed on a game bird starter for the higher protein content. You can also give them chick crumbs.
Since they have delicate legs, they need a non-slip surface to prevent splaying. In addition, guinea fowl keets are agile and lively.
Therefore, you will need to ensure that their house is escape-proof and cover it with a mesh, so they do not jump out.
It is impossible to tell females and males apart until they start calling at around eight weeks.
Males usually have one shrill note, while female birds make the classic two-tone sound (“go-back, go-back, go-back”), likened by some people to a saw cutting metal.
Sometimes, females can call on one tone. Therefore, you will need to listen carefully before deciding which is which.
Mature male guinea fowl are usually large-sized with bigger wattles and head furnishings. Depending on the prevailing weather, you can move the keets to their outdoor quarters when they are fully feathered (around seven weeks).
You can feed them on growers’ pellets. Keeping your birds confined to their pen for a few weeks will encourage them to come home to roost when given a wider range.
You can leave a feeder in the house and offer them a treat when they cove to roost in the evening.
Keeping Guinea Fowl With Chickens
Guinea fowl can be bullies with other birds and will not tolerate newcomers. They also tend to pick on the cockerels.
If you are adding them to an already existing flock of chickens, you must ensure that you have enough space. Unless they have been well integrated, providing the guinea fowl with their quarters is better.
Guinea fowl are charming and fascinating birds that can be an excellent addition to any backyard flock. Several things will determine the number of guinea fowl you need to get. They include reasons for ownership, space, etc.