7 Reasons You Should Keep Guinea Fowl
The addition of guinea fowl to your existing flock is a sound idea if you love a variety of birds roaming your homestead. Different types of guinea fowl exist today-both in the wild and as domesticated birds. As such, you need to take your time to find out exactly which species of guinea fowl will suit your needs and budget.
Also, you need to make up your mind as to whether you intend to keep male or female guinea fowl. You must as well consider the number of birds that you can keep at once depending on available space and resources. Otherwise, keeping guinea fowl is quite a resourceful hobby and a rewarding investment. Even though these lovely birds are loud, their benefits are well beyond this trait.
While there is a negative side to raising guinea fowl, there is also a positive one. In fact, the advantages of keeping guinea fowl outweigh the disadvantages by a huge margin. So, if you are planning to add a few guinea fowl to your flock, then you should expect the following benefits that come with these beautiful birds:
1. Guinea Fowl Lay Many Eggs
Laying many eggs is one of the top reasons why you need to keep guinea fowl in your backyard. Guineas are excellent layers and their hens can lay eggs about every day.
You just need to confine them in a coop or run so you can have an easy time collecting their eggs on a daily basis. But if you have your guinea fowl on a free-range you may have a difficult time finding or even collecting their eggs.
Those who have so far tasted guinea fowl eggs admit that they are extremely tasty. Some go the extra mile to prefer eating guinea fowl eggs to chicken eggs. Only that they are relatively smaller than the normal size of farm fresh chicken eggs. You can use your guinea fowl egg in cakes or homemade sandwiches for breakfast.
However, you must be very careful when breaking guinea fowl eggs since their outer shell is hard and extremely difficult to break. So, make sure to apply caution every time you want to break them.
2. Guinea Fowl Meat Taste Good
Apart from delicious and nutritious eggs, guinea fowl boast tasty meat. No wonder the popularity of guinea fowl meat is increasing by the day. That is the main reason most poultry owners are turning their attention to guineas.
Typically, guinea fowl meat is a little bit darker than chicken meat and has rich tastes. Those who have so far tasted their meat admit that it tastes just like pheasant meat. You can cook in the same way you cook the chicken meat.
Most restaurants and hotels serve guinea fowl meat as one of the top delicacies with customers coming back to have some more. Even some families find guinea fowl meat to be delicious.
If you are looking forward to raising several guinea fowl, make sure to provide a conducive environment for each bird to thrive. Secure their living areas and do not allow them to wander far away when free-ranging in your backyard. Always keep a close eye on them, especially when they are about to start laying eggs. This is the time guinea hens might disappear to lay or go broody.
The average adult guinea fowl can weigh as much as 1.4kg. Due to its lighter bones, a typical guinea fowl looks smaller than chickens but it is meatier than you would expect. Compared to the chicken lightweight meat of 70%, guinea fowl meat is about 75%. Once processed, it can be enough to feed a small family.
The guinea fowl meat is usually lean with low cholesterol levels and rich in essential fatty acids. It is recommended to contain and feed your guinea fowl on protein-rich poultry pellets to produce tasty meat.
3. Guineas are Good for Pest Control
If you keep guinea fowl on your farm, you will be able to control some pests. In their natural habitat, these birds spend their time alongside big animals such as rhinos, picking ticks and bugs off their skin. Rhinos, however, provide protection around them, creating a symbiotic relationship.
On the farm, these birds can also eliminate pests and small predators such as snakes, rats and mice. They go as far as eating bugs such as earwigs, fire ants, grasshoppers, stink bugs, and beetles. Unfortunately, they don’t feed on adult tent worms and ladybugs.
This is how guinea fowls obtain most of their food. In this regard, it will cost you less to provide the right food for them than other types of poultry who depend solely on grains as their ultimate source of food.
4. Guinea Fowl Are Easy to Keep
As mentioned above, guinea fowl scavenge for their food by feeding on pests and small predators. At least, they can help you save some money on poultry feed in the process. Plus, they don’t require a lot of food during the spring and fall seasons.
This is the time they forage for bugs and insects while free-ranging. They also get along well with other animals on the farm, including blending in well with other poultry.
However, you should not allow roosters from the other flock to get close to guinea fowls to avoid conflicts. Guinea fowl take care of themselves and this makes it easy to handle them. They are more cautious than chickens. So, they are low-maintenance poultry by comparison.
5. Guinea Fowl Will Not Scratch Up Your Yard
Compared to chickens, guinea fowl are not as destructive while in the yard or garden. Guinea fowls don’t destroy plants by scratching around. They only peck at small plants and weeds.
Their presence in the yard will not affect the growth of vegetation. On the contrary, they help add fertilizer to the yard. Their droppings are a rich source of essential nutrients for plants in the yard.
6. Guineas Are Good at Keeping Predators at Bay
Guinea fowl have really good eyesight and will get very loud when they see predators. It is difficult for predators or intruders to sneak past a guinea fowl without being noticed. It will certainly alert other members of the flock.
Guinea fowl are famous for making loud, squawking sounds at the slightest provocation. They are also known for ganging up against predators that may be attempting to attack them. This trait helps them to protect their own kind and other animals on the farm.
Collectively, guinea fowl form an effective alarm system on your property. They also do the same in the wild where other animals listen to them to stay out of danger. In the wild, Guinea fowl will make a lot of noise whenever potential predators are nearby.
To use your guinea fowl as an efficient alarm system on the farm, you should consider keeping at least six birds at once. Apart from that, don’t cage them up but let them free range so they can keep watch on the surrounding areas.
Besides, guinea fowls are the happiest, healthiest, and most active farm animals when left to roam freely. Bear in mind that guineas are notorious for wandering past their designated areas.
For that reason, make sure to prevent them from going farther than the area they are supposed to be by fencing all around. Provide a small coop for them to retire in the evening or to shelter them against elements within their living space.
7. Guinea Fowl Are Extremely Hardy
One thing that makes guinea fowl a must-have is their hardiness. These birds are hardy both in the cold and cold conditions. They are also hardy when it comes to common poultry diseases.
As cold-hardy birds, guinea fowl can tolerate winter conditions better than most chicken breeds. They can survive in the snowy conditions regardless of being originally from a warm African climate. No wonder you may have seen them trying to spend the night in the tree branches during winter.
Guinea fowls fall sick less often than most chickens. They rarely get sick or infested with parasites. As a matter of fact, they are fond of dust bathing, making them free of dangerous parasites such as mites. They rarely require deworming unless they are kept in contained spaces.
Guinea fowl can also withstand warm weather conditions. In addition to that, they don’t need a lot of feed during summertime, spring or fall. This is great news to you since you can save a huge amount of cash on the feed bills. Generally, guinea fowl are easy to handle and manage compared to other poultry.
Certainly, guinea fowl are a great addition to your farm animals. Their meat tastes great and their eggs are very delicious. Guinea fowl are also a blessing to your farm since they control pests and keep away predators such as snakes. They are also easy to keep and manage.
Unlike chickens and other domestic birds, guinea fowls do not scratch up your yard and are extremely hardy. Raising guinea fowl is a worthy hobby for your family and your farm in general.