It can get quite noisy around here at Golden Acres Ranch. Roosters, dogs and frogs all contribute. Nothing is more distinctive, though, than the frequent scoldings of our Guinea Fowl. We have several of the domestic, or Helmeted Guinea Fowl. Most are dark gray with white dots,and several are light-colored.
We most appreciate the tick-control they provide. They are omnivores that eat all sorts of insects as well as small snakes and rodents. Although some folks can’t tolerate the noise, we are okay with it, and even find it and all their antics quite fun!
They are a gregarious bird. Parading about in groups, they will act as a pack to take down a larger prey. And they are raucous alarm systems if any intruder comes near, whether that’s people, dogs and especially foxes.
They don’t seem too bright, though. When one of them is on the opposite side of a fence from its flock-mates, it will just run back and forth screeching that it can’t get in, even though they are strong fliers. It seems to us that their noisiness and confusion would attract predators. But, they are one of the oldest living species of their family, so the advantages must outweigh the disadvantages.
Apparently, Guinea meat is darker and richer than chicken, with less fat and lower cholesterol, and considered a delicacy in Europe and some trendy American restaurants. We have yet to try this, though.
Guineas lay eggs only once or twice a year in clutches of 6-8 for us. They are good at hiding their nests, but when we find one, we don’t harvest the eggs for eating. We have started harvesting them to produce keets for sale. Here’s the blog post of our first production cycle.
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