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Are guinea fowl right for you?


 Wikimedia Commons/Notjake13

If you are considering adding guinea fowl to a current flock or starting a new flock, here are some thoughts to keep in mind.   Guineas are free ranging birds that are commonly kept to help with pest control, eating all kinds of insects and ticks and helping to scare away small rodents and snakes.  Guineas are known to be good watch dogs; they have a voice and know how to use it, alerting you whenever there is a disturbance.  Even if you are not getting them for their watchdog abilities, you will hear them anyway, so if you do have close neighbors or think you may not like hearing ‘buck-wheat’ all day, the sound they make, they may not be the bird for you.  

Guineas are quite an easy addition to your acreage, all they need is a coop to call ‘home’, they normally will return to the coop each night for roosting, a supplemental food source, normally a chicken crumble, with reduced amounts in the summer time so they will hunt for their own food, and a water source.  Let's not forget their entertaining abilities, they have interesting personalities accompanied by forgetfulness, which can make you chuckle or shake your head. 

If this all sounds like what you are looking for, you next question may be where can I get some?  If you are going to start with keets, there are many creditable hatcheries that can be found online, but make sure to find out what their minimum order is.  Keets normally ship well, so do not worry about travel.  It is a good idea to check locally, you can visit your local online classifieds to see if there are breeders in your area.  If you find a local breeder, it is a good idea to go to the breeders place, if possible, that way you can see where and how the keets are being cared for and to assure you they are coming from a good clean environment.  Do not be afraid to ask the breeder if they have their birds tested regularly for diseases.   You can also check with your local farm and home store, they sometimes know of breeders in the area or they can order keets for you.  If you are looking to purchase adults, you can find them through some of the same resources as the keets, just keep in mind, they are a little harder to get established.  Make sure you read up on establishing guineas, if you bring them home and let them free range right away, you probably will not see them again.  Whether you decide on keets or adults, make sure you are prepared for them before bringing them home and let the bugs be-gone. 
For more info: Guinea Fowl International Association


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