Guinea fowl are awesome but strange-looking birds that are fun to see in a barn. They originate from the southern Sahara desert in Africa.
Though guinea fowl are not tame nor easy to train like chickens, they are great birds for your barn.
If you decide to acquire guinea fowl eggs, you will be looking for ways to care for the guinea keets when they hatch.
Should you allow mother guinea fowl to raise their keets or should you intervene?
In this article, you will learn why you should intervene and raise guinea keets yourself, how you can raise guinea keets and everything else that you need to know about raising guinea fowl.
Raising Guinea Fowl from Keets
Even though guinea hens are attentive hatchers, there is an important reason you should intervene.
Raising guinea keets i simple just like chickens, but you have to provide the basic needs of the keets.
It is also a bit tricky to introduce growing guinea fowl to other adults, so we will be discussing how.
Why You Should Intervene
Here are some reasons why you should raise your guinea keets by yourself:
- Morning Moisture: While guinea fowl can move through grass freely, the moisture on the blades of each grass can encourage sickness in the fragile keets. To prevent this, make sure that you do not have grass in their area or raise the keets yourself.
- Different Region: As you already know, guinea fowl are from the south of the Sahara, which is a tropical region. Even though guinea fowl are hardy, their keets need time to adapt to temperate seasons.
- Sufficient Diet: The best way to know that your guinea keets are eating is when you feed them yourself.
As you can see, it is important to raise guinea keets by yourself.
Requirements for Raising Guinea Keets in a Brooder
Just like chickens and ducks, you will need a brooder for your guinea keets.
How warm should the brooder be? How often do you need to feed the keets?
Temperature is a key factor when raising guinea keets.
Check the chart below for the required temperature of guinea fowl (depending on the age)
|Guinea Fowl Age||Temperature (°F)||Temperature (°C)|
|After Week 5||Room Temperature||Room Temperature|
From the table above, note that guinea keets need at least 95°F in their first week. You can provide sufficient temperature by using a heat lamp.
Note that the table above is not suitable for people who live in tropical places because the guinea fowl present there have different temperature requirements.
What do you feed your guinea keets with? They can eat many things like mixed grains, worms, etc.
You should give the store-bought chicken feed. The table below shows you how much feed you should give to your guinea keets:
After about six weeks, your guinea keets should be ready to eat what adults eat (we will discuss this later).
What’s more to say? Always provide clean water to your guinea keets. You should change the water daily so germs do not grow in it.
For their first week in the brooder, you should line the bottom of the brooder with newspaper or paper towels. Just use any material that will discourage them from pecking it.
After the first week, you should use sawdust, wood shavings, or other rough-surfaced dry materials.
5. Wire Mesh
You should cover the top of the brooder with wire mesh because in no time, your guinea keets will start jumping and you do not want them to leave the brooder just yet.
If you care well for your guinea keets, they will leave the brooder in about 6 weeks (or whenever they are fully feathered).
What happens next?
Guinea Keets Becoming Adults
Are your guinea keets 6 weeks old or are fully feathered? Congratulations. It is time to leave the brooder and meet other adults. What should you know before you raise adult guinea fowl?
What You Should Know
Here are some important considerations you should make before you raise guinea fowl.
1. They Are Noisy
Guinea fowl are very noisy. This is one reason why it is difficult to raise guinea fowl in the city.
But, on the bright side, guinea fowl make great guard birds because they are quick to alarm other birds and farm animals on impending danger such as a predator.
2. They Are Free-Range Birds
Though possible, it is not a great idea to fully pen your guinea fowl.
They love their freedom and are very happy when unrestricted.
Later, we will discuss how to train your guinea fowl to return to your coop.
3. Guinea Fowl Are Monogamous
How romantic! As monogamous birds, you should always have a 1:1 ratio of males and females so that each guinea fowl can have a mate.
Guinea fowl do split the parenting, but as you already know, they need your help.
4. They Are Not Tame Like Chickens
It is easy to chase and catch chickens, but not so easy for guinea fowl.
Guinea fowl are also aggressive parents so you need to be careful when going close to keets that they are raising by themselves.
5. They Are Not Expensive to Raise
This is true especially when you allow your birds to roam freely. When allowed to roam freely, guinea fowl will eat:
- Other small invertebrates
They make great pest control because they eat insects such as termites, ticks, ants, and wasps.
People who raise guinea fowl do not worry so much about food, but you can also add mixed grains and chicken feed for faster growth and egg production.
Ready to raise guinea fowl? Continue reading.
How to Raise Adult Guinea Keets
Here are a few ideas for you:
1. Introduce Young Keets or New Birds Gradually
When your keets are ready to leave the brooder (or you get new adults), take them into the coop, but separate them from other adults with wire mesh for a week or two.
After the temporary isolation, existing adults will get used to the new additions and will not fight them.
2. Provide a Coop or Night Shade
Guinea fowl, though wild and hardy, need a coop, or night shade where they can roost and be free from predators.
How do you encourage them to return to their coop at night?
It is easy. After the gradual introduction of the young adults for 1-2 weeks, they will recognize the coop as their home and will not go too far.
In the evening when the young adults return home, give them grain to reward them for returning.
If you continue giving them mixed grains for a few weeks, they will always return.
3. Search for Eggs and Collect Them
Remember that guinea fowl are monogamous. At around noon, a pair will search for a suitable place to build a nest.
They usually choose a place with taller grasses (to cover the eggs). While the hen is laying, her mate will stand guard.
After laying some eggs, they may leave the place in search of food.
When they leave the nest, collect the eggs—just half of them at a time though, so that the pair do not lay somewhere else.
Raising guinea fowl is easy, right?
Guinea fowl are easy to raise from when they hatch until they become adults.
Remember to feed them regularly and give them sufficient temperature when they are keets.
Adults will be happier if they are allowed to roam freely, so give them enough room to explore.