Starting A Flock Of Guinea Fowl
Before starting a poultry flock, you must check local zoning regulations to make sure that raising poultry is permitted. This is particularly important when raising guinea fowl because guineas will range and cross the boundaries of a small lot. Although guineas are typically quiet, they can be very noisy if disturbed. Guineas are more active than chickens and not as easily tamed—they seem to retain some of their wild behavior.
Guinea fowl are often left to fend for themselves, but it is best to provide a shelter to protect them from high winds, rain, cold, sun, and predators. The shelter can be a purpose-built facility specifically for guineas or a room allocated in the barn.
If you confine your guineas (as you might wish to do for meat and/or egg production), it is important to provide the birds plenty of room (2 to 3 sq. ft. per guinea). The more room the guineas have, the less likely they are to become stressed. The floor of the pen should be covered with an absorbent bedding material such as wood shavings or chopped hay or straw. If the litter is kept dry, it can stay in place for several months. Guineas prefer to roost, so it is important to provide perches.
If the barn is unheated, it is best if you do not insulate the shelter or space where the guineas are kept.
Insulation tends to keep moisture in more than it keeps cold out, and allowing moisture to accumulate in a poultry house can lead to respiratory problems among birds.
If you want to keep your guineas from wandering in a specific area, you must keep them in covered pens. Guineas are able to fly at a very early age, and they become strong fliers able to fly 400 to 500 ft. at a time. Guineas are also very good runners and prefer to move on foot, including when escaping from predators.
Under most conditions, you should not confine male guineas with chickens if there are roosters in the same flock. When male guineas are housed with roosters full-time, the guineas will chase the roosters, keeping them from food and water. If your flock is allowed to range freely during the day and is locked up only at night, it is safe to keep guineas and roosters in the same barn. It is also safe to house them together in a short-term emergency such as a blizzard or other bad weather.
If you are keeping guineas for egg production (for hatching or human consumption), you should provide nest boxes. Nest boxes designed for chickens are usually acceptable. To reduce the likelihood of hens laying eggs in hidden nests outside, keep guinea hens confined to a hen house until noon each day so that they will lay eggs inside.
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