Do Guinea Fowl Lay Eggs? Everything You Should Know
Although Guinea Fowl are classified as game birds, there are steadily becoming popular in most backyards. Also known as Guineas, the birds originally came from Africa, initially hunted as food.
There are at least eight Guinea Fowl species, mainly natives of West Africa around Cape Verde Islands, Guinea Coast Gambia, and Gabon. Out of these varieties, the Helmeted Guinea Fowl species is the most popular.
Given that the naked head birds are resilient and disease-free most farmers keep them for meat or eggs. They may not be the best egg-laying birds, but the eggs are more nutritious and delicious. This piece dives right into the unique Guineas laying process and why the birds are an excellent addition to a farm.
How Many Eggs Do Guinea Hens Lay?
Guineas live in pairs during the mating season and wander around together, looking for nesting locations in the wild. You may notice this habit with domesticated birds, especially if there is an equivalent ratio of females to males. Overall, healthy Guinea hens produce 70 to 90 eggs every laying season. The eggs are much smaller compared to those from ducks and chickens.
Another observation with Guinea Fowl eggs is that they appear pointed on one side. Compared to chicken eggs, the shells are harder and have brownish spots. In addition, the egg yolk content is higher than the white percentage.
Guinea eggs taste almost similar to chicken eggs but have a stronger taste. They are ideal for recipes that require richer egg taste and more yellow yolk color with higher yolk content.
When Do Guinea Fowl Start Laying Eggs?
Guinea Fowl hens start producing eggs from around 24 weeks. However, the period may differ depending on the temperature, diet, habitat, photoperiod, humidity, and other factors. In some scenarios, they may delay up to 30 or 34 weeks.
Typically, Guinea hens often share nests with others and lay in clusters of about 20 to 30 eggs, four types annually (or during the season). Therefore, the clutch may build up more rapidly to the farmer’s advantage.
Bear in mind that if the handler delays removing eggs from the nest, there is a high likelihood that one hen may go broody and start sitting on them. Surprisingly, more than one hen may go broody at the same time.
In the long run, two or more females may amicably share the nesting area. Most hens stay put for about 26 to 28 days and only vacate the nest to access water and food. The feeding period may last 20 minutes or less, twice daily.
You may find it shocking that Guinea Fowls are more disciplined and determined sitters than ordinary chickens. Unless severally disturbed, they only leave the nests to feed. In rare cases, farmers literary lift some hens off the nests to ensure they do not starve to death.
Guinea Fowls’ entire laying process slows down when the birds hit five years and come to a halt by the eighth year. Note that even after the hens stop laying eggs, they can live for another seven years or so. On average, Guinea Fowls lifespan lasts for 11 to 15 years.
Altogether, farmers can extend their bird’s laying period by installing additional light in the coop and feeding them earlier. The best time to use extra light is in the morning to help the Guineas wake earlier.
Remember that this tactic might not be practical for all backyard farmers. Yet, if you want eggs for a more extended period, it is a prudent idea.
Where Do Guinea Fowl Lay Their Eggs?
If allowed, Guinea Fowls prefer laying eggs outdoors and in hidden spots. Regardless of this natural tendency, predators are often a huge concern. Animals such as wolves, dogs, wild cats, crocodiles, and snakes are common marauders of Guinea Fowls and their eggs. With these risk exposures, keep your birds safe by erecting a solid fence around the farm.
You can also provide secluded nests in the darkest part of your coop for the hens to lay their eggs. If possible, use long grasses and other features to conceal the eggs from predators.
Not unless you want to breed your birds, remove eggs from the nest almost immediately to prevent hens from going broody. Another option is segregating females and males. While the hens may lay eggs without a rooster, they are definitely not fertilized.
Do Guinea Fowl Lay Eggs Every Day?
A well-fed guinea hen will give you an egg daily or after every two days. This translates to an average of 6-7 eggs weekly. As mentioned earlier, the eggs may only start coming from the fifth or sixth month. Unknown to most people, Guinea Fowls are seasonal layers that become active around April to October.
The production may be slightly high during the first three years and dwindle as the birds get older. In short, Guinea Fowls lay eggs from spring to summer or fall. They only stop producing eggs when days become slightly shorter.
Do Guinea Hens Lay Eggs in Winter?
As the weather becomes colder and daylight decreases, Guinea hen drastically stops laying eggs. The reason behind this is cooler temperatures prompt the bodies to take a much-needed rest. Nevertheless, allow your birds to wander out of the coop even during winter.
After all, Guineas are excellent scavengers and would feel deprived if they spent considerable time indoors. Still, take precautions and take them back to the coop if the temperature drops below the freezing point to prevent them from contracting life-threatening frostbite.
While most farmers keep Guinea Fowls for eggs and meat, they are also excellent in pest control. Your feathered friends may not only help in controlling rats and mice but also keeping away menacing insects in the kitchen garden.
For this reason, investing in these valuable birds is never a wrong decision. Moreover, their beautiful plumage coloring and featherless faces are a pretty sight. Above all, their unique skills and temperaments make them ideal pets.
However, you have to start training the birds early enough to co-exist with others and human beings because they are naturally territorial.