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Polka-Dotted Pest Control

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. You can hear the sound of a male in the video below. The females have a double-sound call.

The Guinea Fowl International Association has an extensive color chart showing the various breeds and feather patterns. The most common, possibly the hardiest, and the original Guinea Fowl coloring is the one with white pearling on dark feathers and a white head. We’ve seen these called ‘Helmeted,’ ‘French Pearl’ and ‘Pearl Gray.’ This is what we have the most of.

We have some that are that are light-colored, brown or the white ‘lavender’ varieties, too.

We most appreciate the tick-control they provide. They are omnivores that eat all sorts of insects as well as small snakes and rodents. They have a reputation for noisiness, and they can be quite loud and persistent when alarmed or mating. They’re not suitable for suburbia, but we find their calls and 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 set up a raucous alarm if any intruder comes near their nests, whether that’s people, dogs and especially foxes.

They don’t seem too bright, otherwise, 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 over, 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 30 or so. They are good at hiding their nests even though they are on the ground. They seem to take turns sitting on the eggs.  but when we find one, we don’t harvest the eggs for eating. We protect them so we can harvest the keets.  We’ll try to incubate the eggs, or catch the keets right away as they are easily lost to predators overnight.

Adult Guinea Fowl are too cage-savvy and strong to catch, so get them while they’re young.

Guinea Keets

Guinea ‘keets’ are the hatchlings and chicks. The photo below includes a couple keets we caught and mostly some we ordered to raise and sell. They are in a heated brooder and will be moved to a larger crate in the barn in a few weeks.

You’ll need a caged-in area to start them out. Youngsters need to be kept warm and confined, fed and watered until they are fully feathered and know where ‘home’ is. After a few weeks, you can leave the door open during the day until they are able to fly away from predators.

We use a chicken grower/finisher and chick grit from Tractor Supply.

Once established, Guineas need no care from you. They range the property eating ticks, other bugs and roosting in the trees at night. 

We sell young keets in the Fall especially during the Fall Farm Tour.

A great reference comes from the Big Run Wolf Ranch.

For more information about how to buy and care for these birds, please feel free to Contact Us.

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