Guinea fowl are special hardy birds that anyone can raise. Though they are easy to raise, you need to keep them in the right environmental conditions, especially when it comes to temperature.
The summer months can have days when the temperature will get too hot for your guineas.
How can you keep guineas cool in the summer months when it gets too hot?
You will learn seven useful tips in this article. However, you first need to know how to tell if your guinea fowl are hot.
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How to Tell If Your Guineas Are Hot
Guineas will give you some signs that they are hot. You just need to be observant.
1. The Guineas Pant Heavily
Birds do not have sweat glands as we do, so they release excess heat from their body by panting. The more intense the panting looks, the hotter your guineas are.
This means that you want to look out for panting in your guinea fowl and pay special attention to those that are restless.
2. The Coop Feels and Smells Stuffy
If you can enter the coop, you may notice that it is stuffy. A stuffy coop has a lot of moisture and a weird smell.
A cool and ventilated coop will feel dry and smell mildly like birds. Guinea coops usually get stuffy quickly when the birds are overcrowded or when it is a hot summer day.
3. The Guineas Hold Their Wings Out and Flap Them
There are a lot of blood vessels in the wings of guineas and other birds. When you see them trying as much as they can to keep their wings far from their body, it could mean that they are trying to keep cool.
4. Decreased Appetites
When the temperature is not right for guinea fowl, they will not eat as much as they should.
If you see a decrease in the rate at which your guineas finish their daily rations, you can tell that the heat is affecting them.
5. No Productivity
Lack of eating will cease the growth of your guinea fowl, and they will also stop egg production, as they will only lay eggs when they are at their best.
If you observe that your guinea fowl are getting lighter and thinner, you want to keep them as cool and comfortable as possible.
6. They Look Very Weak
When guineas do not eat as much as they should, they will become weak.
Also, the heat will limit your guinea fowl movement, as they can get hotter when they leave the coop.
Looking at the birds, you will see them sitting and their eyes will look almost closed as if they are sleeping. This is because they are weak due to the heat.
7. The Guineas Move Into Shaded or Cool Spots
This behavior is typical of many birds. If you see all your birds trying as much as they can to leave their coop and get out of the sun, you can tell that they are too hot.
Tips to Help Guineas Stay Cool in Summer
If your guineas are hot, you must do whatever you can to keep them cool. Here are some things that you can do:
1. Give Them a Steady Supply of Water
Ensure that your guineas always have cool water to quench their thirst. They lose a lot of water when they pant, so they need to replenish it.
Cool water helps to reduce the heat as it cools your guineas from within. You just need to provide water for the guineas and they will drink when they need to.
You may also make them a rock pool if you have the space and resources.
A rock pool is simply a pool of water filled with rocks and it will keep your guineas cool from the summer heat.
Adding rocks to a pool is a great idea, as guineas do not know how to swim like ducks. The rocks will help them to leave the pool whenever they want.
2. Install a Fan
If there is no fan in the coop, add one when summer approaches. A fan will not just keep the coop cool, it will also keep it dry from excessive moisture caused by panting.
You need to make sure that there are windows in the coop so that cool air can get in and hot air can get out.
Please note that using a fan in a coop can encourage a quick spread of disease, as the spores of microbes can now easily find new guinea hosts due to the movement of the air.
To minimize this spread, ensure that the coop is always clean. Also, isolate your sick guineas from the healthy ones.
3. Ensure Proper Ventilation
There should be an air vent or windows in the guinea coop so that cool and hot air can easily enter or leave the coop without much effort.
If you do not want your guineas to leave the coop, you only need to install a wire mesh on the window so that you can leave the windows open.
Consider putting a ceiling in the coop, as it can significantly reduce the temperature inside the coop.
One major reason why guinea coops may be hot is if the heat of the sun passes through the roof to reach the guineas.
With the addition of a ceiling (a layer of material between the roof and your guineas), your guineas will not feel the sun’s heat as quickly or intensely.
4. Provide Extra Shade
How big is the coop? Something that you should consider is that guinea fowl can quickly spread disease if they are all in the same place.
Even though you are trying to keep them cool in the coop, you also want to consider the health implications.
To help you solve both problems (heat and the spread of disease), you should provide extra shade in the yard.
With extra shade, some guineas can stay in or around the coop while others make use of the new shade. A tree or temporal wooden construction can be all the shade that you need.
5. Only Feed Them Grain at Night
While you should continue feeding your guineas no matter the time of the day, you want to limit their grain diet.
Grain like corn keeps guineas warm, so farmers usually give their guineas a lot of corn in the winter months.
If the nights are cold, you can give the birds some grain. Guinea pellets contain a lot of grain. It’s best to give your birds these pellets when it’s cooler.
6. Give Them Cold and Hydrating Treats
One healthy and recommended way to keep guinea fowl cool is to give them cool and hydrating treats throughout the day so that they do not get hot.
As for seeds and other types of treats, try keeping them in a freezer for some hours before you give them to your guinea fowl.
If you choose to use frozen treats, you can add these treats to the guinea pellets.
Mix the treats and pellets so that your guineas can get as many nutrients as they need and keep cool throughout the summer months.
7. Use Ice and Water for Guineas and Their Keets
If you have guinea keets and the heat is too much for them, ensure that you make use of every tip above.
You should also keep a block of ice in a bucket of water and keep this cool water very close to the keets. If the keets get too hot, they will go close to the bucket and keep cool.
Remember to replace the water and ice regularly.
Remember that guinea keets need higher temperatures to grow, so make sure that there is still a heating lamp somewhere in the coop. When the keets feel too cold, they can run toward the lamp.
Your goal is to keep your guineas at the right temperature.
How Hot is Too Hot for Guineas?
To prevent your guineas from getting too hot next time, you need to first know the right temperature for them. According to the age of your guineas, here are their temperature requirements:
|Age of Guinea Fowl (Weeks)||Temperature (Fahrenheit)|
|Zero to one||95°|
|One to two||90°|
|Two to three||85°|
|Three to four||80°|
|Four to five||75°|
|Five and above||Room Temperature|
So long as the temperature does not exceed the requirements of your guineas, they will grow just fine.
Also, you should try to split your guineas so that younger ones (those that need higher temperatures) can be separated from older ones that need lower temperatures.
It is best not to wait until your guineas start showing the signs of heat stress listed above before you start preparing to cool them.
Surely, everyone can raise guinea fowl because of their hardiness. However, ensure that you put their temperature and other needs into consideration so that you can keep them without any problems.
Immediately after you see your guineas complaining by showing the signs of heat above, make sure that you act quickly to cool them.