Guinea fowl, also called guineas, are game birds that are becoming popular among backyard poultry owners.
They are indigenous to Africa and one of the oldest gallinaceous birds. Guineas are largely disease-free, hardy, and vigorous birds.
Do guinea fowl lay eggs?
Guinea hens lay eggs but not during the winter months. Laying for the year commences in the spring and continues through the summer and fall. Guinea fowls usually stop laying eggs when the days start getting shorter.
Except when broody, a guinea hen can lay an egg daily during her laying season. This can yield 6-7 eggs a week per hen.
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Do Guinea Hens Lay Eggs?
Guinea hens lay eggs once they mature. The hens lay their first eggs in the first spring of adulthood.
Every day for the first 3 years, a guinea fowl will continue to lay eggs.
Guineas are not particular about where to lay their eggs. Once they find a suitable spot, they make their nests start laying.
Guinea hen nets are usually hard to find. Guineas prefer to nest in long grass, woods, or any place that gives them protection from predators.
When guinea hens are laying their eggs during the day, the male usually acts as a lookout keeping an eye out for predators.
Guineas can sometimes become communal layers. They will lay their eggs in one nest until the number of eggs is sufficient.
Sometimes, this number can be as many as 50. The hens also practice communal brooding, as they take turns sitting on the eggs.
How Many Eggs Do Guinea Hens Lay?
When guinea fowl mate in the wild, they do so in pairs. Domesticated guineas may also adopt this breeding style if there is an equal number of males to females.
These pairs typically wander off as the breeding season arrives to search for good nesting sites.
Guineas are known to be seasonal egg layers. They can lay eggs daily between April and October, with the frequency depending on their location. You can get an egg on most days during their laying season.
The number of eggs laid by a guinea hen is usually around 90-130 eggs per season.
On average, one can expect 100 eggs per season. For some prolific layers, like the Black Star and Rhode Island Red, you can expect around 300 eggs a year.
When compared to chickens, guinea hens lay eggs for a shorter period. Also, around 3-5 years of age, their egg production begins to slow down.
How Big Are Guinea Fowl Eggs Compared to Chicken and Duck Eggs?
Guinea fowl eggs are smaller than the eggs of a chicken or a duck.
On average, 2 guinea fowl eggs together add up to the size of a single duck egg or a large chicken egg.
Guinea fowl eggs are usually creamy with light brown spots. The small end of the eggs is more pointed than the egg of a chicken or a duck.
The yolk to white ratio of a guinea fowl egg is higher than that of a chicken egg. The eggshell is harder to crack open than that of a chicken egg.
At What Age Do Guinea Hens Start to Lay Eggs?
Guinea hens start laying eggs around 20-32 weeks of age. They usually lay their first eggs during the spring after they are hatched.
Guinea hens start laying eggs when daylight hours increase and the temperature starts getting warm.
They are seasonal layers, and they only lay from spring through fall. In the offseason or the fall of the year they hatched, some young hens may lay a few random eggs.
Do Guinea Hens Make Good Mothers?
Unlike chicken hens, guinea hens do not make good mothers.
While this might sound harsh, here are some reasons why they don’t make the best parents to their young.
- Before all the eggs hatch, some guinea hens tire and are not broody. Some moms move their keets to a new nest without waiting for their remaining eggs to hatch.
- Some moms stay until the hatch is complete and then get tired of motherhood. They will abandon their keets, who are left alone to die.
- Some guinea hens end up taking the keets across a damp field where they get wet, freeze, or die.
- When a guinea hen makes her nest inside a safe henhouse, the eggs will remain unharmed, keeping the keets dry and safe from predators. However, it may allow the rest of the flock to put the keets through a brutal pecking ritual, which they may not survive.
- When in a coop with other adult birds, keets are exposed to contaminated bedding, worms, and coccidia.
- In some cases, keets can end up drowning in water without the adults trying to save them.
- You can discover a guinea hen nest with 50 eggs or more without a broody mom. Predators like snakes, raccoons, or skunks will find the nest and destroy it, eating all its contents and breaking the rest.
- A mom can accidentally step on her keet, crushing it in the process.
- Keets often go unwatched or without nurturing, and if they wander from the nest they are left to die.
Some guinea hens still make good moms. They do this by protecting their nest of eggs and keets the best way they can.
Some guinea hens will try to protect the nest when there is a predator attack. They will hiss and dart at a predator that is bigger and stronger than them.
In some cases, a guinea hen may even die from a predator attack if she is broody outdoors.
How Long Do Guinea Fowl Eggs Need to Incubate?
The guinea fowl egg incubation period usually lasts between 26 to 28 days, which happens to be similar to that of turkeys.
Since guinea hens do not always make good mothers, you can get a chicken to brood around 25 guinea keets in your backyard.
Guinea fowl lay eggs, but they are not usually kept for their egg production.
They give around 100 eggs per year, which is significantly below what chickens produce.
If you are rearing guinea fowls for other reasons, having them lay eggs is a plus.
Guinea fowl only lay in warm seasons, so you should only expect eggs from them from spring through summer.