Guinea fowl farming: One of the oldest gallinaceous birds are guinea fowl. Domesticated from helmet guineafowl they are related to game birds like partridges, pheasants native to Africa. Startup funding depends on farmland, stock, housing, feeding.
Steps to Raising Guineafowl
- Learn about the Birds( they are hardy, noisy, wild)
- Build a coop
- Provide shelter, pasture land
- Select bird ( keets, young adults, mature birds, type)
- Pairing, hatching
- Raising keets
- Housing keets
- Grow outs
- Provide Food
Why keep Guinea Fowls
They are kept for meat, egg production and natural pest control mechanism. People enjoy the lean meat rich in protein low calories. The eggs attract good price, meat eaten in restaurants, fast-food outlets and hotels.
The birds are noisy so proper licensing and zoning is required. A commercial venture can register the farm as a limited liability entity. There are tax considerations, health safety regulations, housing requirements.
The amount of funding depends on the size of the enterprise. Source funds from private savings, friends and family. Seek small business loans, crowd funding, partnership and core investor.
Types of Guinea fowls
Four Genus are Genus Agelastes, Genus Acryllium, Genus, Guttera and Genus Numida. Species are the crested, plumed, helmeted guinea fowl. Others are black, white-breasted, vulturine guinea fowl.
- crested guineafowl
- plumed guineafowl
- helmeted guineafowl
- black guineafowl
- vulturine guineafowl
|What they Eat||Types of Guinea fowl||Geographical locations|
Distribution and Habitat
Black guineafowl is found in dense forests while plumed guineafowl common to west–Central Africa. Some are well adapted to savanna regions or sub–Sahara Africa.
In North African you will find the distinctive looking vulturine guineafowl. The most popular species helmet guineafowl is found in many geographical locations.
They are common to United States of America, Britain, Eastern Africa, India, West Africa and West Indies.
- Central Africa
- Savanna regions
- sub–Sahara Africa
- North African
- East Africa
- West Indies
The birds are kept for meat, egg production. They are good foragers with a choice of insects, small rodents and greens. Any visible signs of reduced egg production, color, feeding, drinking could indicate infection or disease.
Physical signs include weight loss, discharge from nostrils, eyes, swelling. Other signs are pale legs, sores, unpleasant smell, swelling or inflammations. Guinea fowls are wild animals so handling requires expert veterinarians before medication is administered.
It is important introducing grits, stones to their diet. This helps in digestion, processing of food eaten.
They are susceptible to common bird diseases like coccidiosis, fowl cholera, avian influenza. Others are Newcastle disease, marek’s disease, Coryza.
- fowl cholera
- avian influenza
- Newcastle disease
- marek’s disease
Guinea cocks are smaller than the hens and weigh 800-1500grams average length 68 cm. They are ground nesting, omnivorous and feed on various types of insects, seeds
The bird has a distinctive black crest with featherless head, black or grey plumage. Some spot white dots while others are plain. However the nape of vulturine is downy brown.
Naturally monogamous they display polygamous behavior in captivity. The flock birds are good foragers, feed on insects, invertebrates.
The choice of bird selection depends on your geographical location, purpose. New birds should be restricted to pen for 14 days to get used to the environment. Purchase keet’s or adults according to your requirements.
Approach local farmers, online breeders, open market for the birds. You have a choice of 12 week guinea fowl offspring’s, young adults, and mature birds.
Although they pair in nature stock one male to four female birds. A hen will lay between 100 to 200 eggs annually while incubation period is 28 days.
The eggs are small thick shelled lightweight. Mark 5 fertilized eggs remove new ones and use a chicken to seat on the eggs.
Raising and Brooding
A Brooder is a temperature controlled pen to raise chicks. Prepare a brooder house similar to that used to raise poultry chicks. Provide adequate heat, light, protection from predators, water source. The keets are susceptible to dampness or cold and will die without adequate heat.
Ideal temperature for newly hatched keets is 95% for 14 days. Use electric or stove heating lamps to provide heat source. Avoid over stocking, provide litter, a thermostat to regulate temperature. Once fully feathered the birds became hardy and tolerate to weather changes.
The bigger size, body weight of guinea hen is attributed to the large egg cluster, organs. They lay an average of 28 thick-shelled, small darkish eggs in hidden nests. Fragile chicks immerge after 28 days of incubation.
The birds has lean fat, low calories rich gamey flavor. The diet contributes to the protein content lean dry meat. Found in savanna regions, open pasture they eat a variety of food.
Common diet includes invertebrates, insects, bugs, small rodents. Food includes scorpions, insects, flies, ticks, worms, maggots. They eat vegetable, greens to aid their digestive process.
Feed them poultry grower/layer food provide adequate clean drinking water. Protein requirements progressively reduces as they grow older. Young fowl need starter feed 25% protein, young adults 20% protein , full adults 18% protein.
What they eat
- Millet grain
- Poultry food
Building a Coop
The bird loves to roam around a pasture feeding on insects, vegetables. However keeping them in open pasture might result in loss of stock. The birds have agility and are able to fly.
There are some tricks to pasture raising of guinea fowls. Free range or caged the farmer needs to build a coop. The coop is used to train young keets and encourages adult birds to return home in the evening.
The coop should have clean bedding, adequate space. Space requirement in the coop is 400 square feet for 100 birds. Provide perches to encourage roosting, make sure coop is totally enclosed.
A solid coop is a good deterrent to predators. If you operate the free-range farming make sure to provide a shelter. Things to add in the enclosure are light source, two entrances, nest boxes, perch and clean bedding.
Free-ranging is a system whereby the birds are allowed to roam. To prevent flight the farmer can clip their wings. Free-range is cost effective, easy to run with few challenges.
To encourage breeding add secluded areas on the farm. You need a high perimeter fence to keep out dogs, fox and wolves. It is important to add a shed for the roaming birds to use at night.
Sell the eggs, meat to restaurants, hotels, food vendors. Other sources are open market, neighbors, fast food outlets. Use traditional marketing strategies, word of mouth, advertisement. Reach customers through online platforms, social media and blogs.
How many eggs does guinea fowl lay in a year?
A breeder hens have good longevity, live three to five years and produce 100 eggs per year.
Do they keep snakes away?
The birds deter small snakes by harassing the reptile till it leaves.
Can they survive winter?
Yes, the birds are hardy and are able to maintain body temperature in cold weather
What age do guinea fowls lay eggs?
They start laying eggs from 6 months of age
How long do guinea fowls live
They have good longevity and live for 10 to 15 years.
What do they eat?
They eat insects, invertebrates, worms, greens
How to tell the female from male
The only distinguishing feature to identify the male is the large helmet, prominent wattles.
How long before a fertilized egg hatches
It takes 28 days before the egg hatches