7 Reasons You Should Not Keep Guinea Fowl
Guinea fowl are appealing, unique, and easy to maintain. A few guinea fowl among your existing flock can be an exotic addition to your poultry. Even though they are loud, guinea fowl are worth keeping among your farm animals.
Different species of guinea fowl have been identified so far. Most of them have been domesticated with more or less success for hundreds of years. Therefore, you can decide which type of guinea fowl is right for you. You may also decide if you want to keep males or females and how many you want to raise.
It’s recommended to get baby guinea fowl and raise them on your own rather than going for the adult ones. Young guinea fowl will grow up learning their areas and marking their territories, unlike acquiring a fully grown and developed bird to start with.
These birds love to explore far and wide, so you should provide them with a designated location to venture and relax when outside their coops.
While there are countless reasons why you should have guinea fowl among your farm animals, there are also reasons why you shouldn’t keep any. With that being said, here are the top seven reasons why you need not keep guinea fowl on your farm:
1. Guinea Fowl Can Fly
The first reason why you should not think of keeping guinea fowl is that they can fly better than other domestic birds including chickens. They don’t always want to spend the night in their coop.
Instead, they choose to perch on tree branches as high as 30 feet across the night and that can expose them to dangerous predators. Some may climb on top of your car to perch or sleep during the night. They love cars and will spend some minutes admiring their reflection in the windshield or any reflective material.
Guinea fowls’ nature to fly makes them vulnerable to predators and a nuisance to your neighbors. This is because they can freely fly away from your farm to land elsewhere. By so doing, they subject themselves to aerial or land predators.
So, expect to do a lot more to contain them. Make sure to cover or provide high fences around your farm to prevent them from flying or wandering far away from your property. Also, do some herding to guide them to where they should be especially at night.
2. Guinea Fowl Are Very Noisy
One thing that sets guinea fowls apart is their noisy nature. Guinea fowl are loud. Their noise is more than the usual clucking sounds. They simply scream, screech, or even squawk. While this kind of noise can be a positive thing for farmers, it can be annoying for the neighbors.
Guinea fowl noisy behavior helps deter small predators such as snakes from invading the backyard. At the same time, the noise alerts you in case of danger lurking on your poultry farm.
More often than not, guinea fowl make loud noises whenever one of them is separated from the rest of the flock. They will squawk and scream until they are reunited.
3. Guinea Fowl Can Be Aggressive
If you make up your mind to raise guinea fowl, be ready to handle their aggressive behavior. Apart from that, guinea fowl can be bullies to chickens and other farm animals. They can kick or even molest small chickens if left to share the same living space with them.
For instance, you may see a guinea fowl kicking or pulling tail feathers from a chicken. As a matter of fact, chickens may not fight back, making it more of some games for guineas than an act of aggression.
It is understandable that all types of birds-both domestic and wild-strive to establish a pecking order. This kind of behavior is common when you introduce new members to your flock. The presence of new birds creates a period of adjustment in order to create a new order.
The pecking order process among the guinea fowl is even tougher than what you may have witnessed in chickens. Guineas are extremely mean and their pecking order can take longer than in chickens. The pecking order can even get worse when chickens are involved since guinea fowls will want to dominate and take over the available space.
To prevent this problem, make sure to separate the two groups of birds with each having its own coops and run.
4. Guinea Fowl Will Breed a Lot
Guinea fowl are known to be prolific breeders. They breed a lot and frequently. At the beginning of their laying season, guinea fowls will start producing small speckled eggs. You will likely notice a few eggs in their nesting boxes.
Also, you will notice that a few of your guinea fowl hens are suddenly missing. A few days later, you will wake up to the exponential growth of your guinea fowl flock.
In most cases, guinea fowl nest on the ground and under cover away from their coop. So, if you provide them a well-concealed nesting box or a safe place, you might be surprised to stumble upon a guinea hen with several newly-hatched broods.
Guinea hens sit on their eggs and raise the baby guineas together, which is a little different from chickens. One nest can have more than 40 eggs at once. Due to their breeding nature, most poultry owners find it difficult to handle a large number of growing guinea fowls.
5. Guineas Need More Space Than Chickens
Space is of the essence when it comes to keeping guinea fowls on your farm. Guineas require extra space compared to chickens. They love to roam while searching for food in the field given that they are free-range birds.
Guinea fowls take their free-ranging skills to the extreme. They can cross streets, wander into your neighbor’s compound, wreck havoc on other farm animals, and push limits of their available living spaces. Guinea fowl don’t respect boundaries, instead, they wander around just like they do in the wild.
These birds also move around while squawking and screaming all over. Sometimes they may wander off far away never to come back. They may also refuse to return to their coop but perch on trees all night long. You simply need enough space to be comfortable keeping guinea fowl in your backyard.
6. Guinea Fowl Are Not Very Bright (Are Dumb)
If you have been observing different birds in your backyard, you might have been able to differentiate them in terms of their smartness. Compared to chickens, guinea fowl are not as bright. They are dumb and quite mindless sometimes.
Guinea fowl can take on anything that comes their way. For instance, they will attack shiny objects including the shiny bumper of your car. When scared and running away, guinea fowl can crush into a barrier such as a fence.
Sometimes they seriously fight their own reflections in the mirror or glass. This is a common occurrence, especially where a male guinea fowl perceives competition around him.
The same case is true with guinea hens when taking care of their chicks. So, don’t be surprised when you encounter a fierce guinea fowl trying to launch an attack on your side mirrors.
On certain occasions, you will see your guinea fowl walking back and forth along the fence while squawking before they spot the gate opening a few inches away.
There are also numerous cases of both adult guinea fowl and their keets killing themselves in a mad rush. These incidents show you how daft your guinea fowl can be.
Guinea fowl lack the sense of self-preservation, especially when it comes to their safety. Make sure to keep away shiny objects that might trigger them to start a fight and injure themselves in the process. Otherwise, guinea fowl are fascinating birds to have around your property.
7. Guineas Will Lay Eggs Where They Want
Guinea fowl make terrible mothers but that is not all. These birds also lay eggs where they want, making it really difficult to account for each laid egg on specific days. They simply hide or disappear mysteriously when they want to lay eggs.
Guinea hens make their own stealth nests away from the coop where they choose to lay and even go broody. For that reason, finding them becomes a problem. Moreso, predators can find and kill guinea hens while they are in the hiding with their eggs.
Worse still, they are difficult or impossible to catch while in the woods. This is attributed to the fact that guinea fowl retain a huge percentage of their wild instincts that help them survive and adapt to their natural habitat. They are just difficult to tame because it may take you some time and patience to transform them.
Just like other types of poultry, guinea fowls have their positive and negative sides. These lovely birds are aggressive, can fly, breed a lot, require more space than chickens, and can lay eggs almost anywhere. All these reasons may discourage you from acquiring guinea fowls.
However, it is your own decision to decide whether you want to keep guinea fowl or to avoid them. What is certain, raising guinea fowl is a rewarding hobby and you might not even realize the disadvantages of having these colorful birds around.