Guinea Fowl Farming – Brooding, Rearing, Feeding

Guinea Fowl Farming In India

Hello friends, today we are here with a new topic of Guinea Fowl Farming in India. Guinea fowl is a vigorous, hardy, and largely disease-free bird. There are seven species of wild Guinea fowl birds, with the Helmeted Guinea fowl being the most common and most well-known. Guinea fowl bird is very versatile but seasonal in production. Guinea fowl are often referred to as Guineas, are birds that are increasingly popular among keepers of small and backyard flocks. They lay eggs as regularly as chickens, but only from April-May to September-October depending on the climate conditions. Reasons for keeping Guinea fowl birds are varied but include meat, eggs, ward off rats, guard animals, and tick control, etc. Guinea fowl farming is a fun and profitable business if you can manage everything perfectly. This bird is available in different colors like pink, black, yellow and its unique feature is white dots on its feathers, which are softer compared to the country hen.

People prefer Guinea fowl farming for several reasons. The Guineas sound an alarm whenever anything unusual occurs on the farm, and also the loud sound has been shown to discourage rodents from invading the area. The loud noise of the Guineas has been shown to discourage rodents from invading the area. Also, they can be used for controlling insects, without affecting garden vegetables or flowers. Also, there are some downfalls of Guinea fowl farming. They are noisy, so neighbors might not appreciate your new flock. Guineas much prefer to roam freely, although they can be kept confined. The more space you have to allow your Guinea birds to roam, the happier they will be.

Guinea fowl production in India is raised as free-range scavenging birds in rural areas. Guinea fowl birds are easier to manage by resource-poor farmers with hardly any access to formal veterinary services because they are resistant to most poultry diseases at the adult stage. Guinea fowl can be used to control insects.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Guinea Fowl Farming In India

Guide to Guinea Fowl Farming
Guide to Guinea Fowl Farming (Image source: pixabay)

Characteristics of Guinea Fowl Production Systems

Guinea fowl birds can also be raised for meat and egg production. There are three main varieties of Guinea fowl raised pearl, white, and lavender. The pearl variety is the most popular and usually the one that people recognize most readily. Feathers from the pearl variety are used for ornamental purposes.

Meat production

The meat is lean, rich in essential fatty acids with fewer calories, rich in vitamin, high protein, and breast meat yield is about 25% of live weight with an excellent meat to bone ratio. Though, their meat is darker than chicken meat. Like other meat types, the older the animal the tough it becomes, similarly to the Guinea fowl, younger Guinea birds have tender and juicy which gives more flavor.   

Egg production 

Guineas can lay up to 100 or more eggs per year, particularly if they are well managed, and can harvest them all if kept in a confined area. Their eggs are smaller than chicken eggs and are hard shells that reduce breakage. The eggs are light brown and speckled with a very rich flavor.

Choosing the type of farming system will mainly depend on the type of production (Egg or meat);

Extensive farming or free-ranging is commonly used by most farmers, whereby the Guineas are allowed to roam freely, and this type of farming is suitable for meat production.  Though, for egg production, it’s safer to practice intensive production. Then, this allows you to keep the Guineas in cages, control their movement and be able to collect eggs.

Select a Good Location for Raising Guineas

You have to select a very good location for raising Guineas with all the required facilities. You can also use existing land for raising Guineas. Consider the below criteria while selecting land for Guinea fowl farming.

  • Choose a calm, noise, and pollution-free location for raising Guineas.
  • It ensures a good supply of an adequate amount of clean and fresh water.
  • Having an electricity facility will be good.
  • Ensure a good transportation system is available near the land.

Advantages of Guinea Fowl Farming in India

  • Guinea fowl birds have a 15 years life expectancy. They are less susceptible to poultry diseases unlike the normal chicken birds, Guinea fowl birds are hardy and less capital intensive.
  • Guinea fowl can reduce keepers’ risk of Lyme disease by consuming deer ticks, which carry the disease. Also, Guinea fowl eat slugs, and flocks have been known to attack snakes.
  • Guineas are loud, and most farmers can use this as a protective method for the farm.
  • Guinea is a good poultry bird and raising these birds is relatively easy.
  • Guinea fowls are strong and hardy birds as compared to many other domestic poultry birds. So, raising and caring for them is relatively easy.
  • Guineas are smaller-sized birds, so they will require less housing space. And their accommodation costs are relatively less.
  • Commercial Guinea fowl production is very profitable.
  • The demand for Guinea fowl products is good. Therefore, you don’t have to worry much about marketing your products.
  • If you start your own Guinea fowl farming business and then you can enjoy fresh Guinea fowl meat or eggs.

Tips for Breed Selection and Purchase in Guinea Fowl Farming

  • After setting the house or shelter, consider purchasing high-quality Guinea fowl birds from local breeders, online sellers, or feed stores.
  • If you are raising Guinea fowl birds to control ticks and insects, you are better off purchasing adult Guineas as they are easier to care for than young Guineas and do well on their own.
  • Purchasing healthy and high-quality Guinea fowl keets is the key to success in the Guinea fowl farming business.
  • The Guineas are obtainable in a variety of ‘pure-bred’ colors. But many of the Guinea fowl birds are cross-bred, resulting in multicolored feathers.
  • The feather color of Guinea fowl birds is the only difference between the different varieties.
  • Identifying male and female birds are difficult, but not impossible.
  • If you hold Guinea under one arm and use your free hand to feel the bones, you should notice a distance of about 2 fingers on males and three fingers on females.
  • After purchasing the birds, it is best to keep them confined for 1 or 2 weeks to let them become accustomed to their new home.
  • Newly hatched birds like keets can survive for 48 hours on the nutrients they take in when they absorb the yolk during hatching. Then, this allows a window in which birds can survive shipment without supplemental nutrition. Guinea birds are vigorous, hardy, and largely disease-free birds.

Housing Requirement for Guinea Fowl Farming

  • Guinea fowl are left to fend for themselves, but it is best to provide a shelter to protect the birds from high winds, rain, cold, sun, and predators. The shelter or housing 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 egg production, it is very important to provide the birds plenty of room (2 to 3 sq. ft. per Guinea). The more shelter the Guineas have, the less likely they are to become stressed. The floor of the pen must be covered with an absorbent bedding material like wood shavings or chopped hay or straw. Guinea birds 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 where the Guineas are kept.
  • You should provide nest boxes if you are keeping Guinea fowl birds for egg production (for hatching or human consumption). Nest boxes designed for chickens are 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 they will lay eggs inside. Guineas are also good runners and prefer to move on foot, including when escaping from predators.

Raising Guinea Fowl Keets

For the first few weeks of their lives, Guinea keets need to stay warm and dry, or else they may die. When they are a few weeks old, however, they become hardy birds. On farms, newly hatched Guinea keets are kept in a brooder box, which is a box with a heat lamp, for about 6 weeks until they are fully feathered. The young Guinea birds are then usually moved into a safe nursery area, where they are introduced to the older birds of the flock while protected behind a wire divider.

Guinea birds need a higher protein feed than chickens but do quite well on regular poultry diets. Guinea keets need a 24% to 26% protein ratio as the starter feed. The protein level should be reduced to 18% to 20% for the 5 to 8th weeks. The Guinea keets can be fed a 16% layer mash after the 8th weeks. If your feed mill does not sell feeds in the proper protein levels, you can mix a higher protein feed with a laying-hen mash to obtain the proper protein level. Guineas must be fed mash or crumbles. Pelleted feed is not recommended for Guineas. Guinea keets require a clean, enclosed area to grow up in. Keets require a warm, draft-free environment for the first 1 to 6 weeks of life, or until they are fully feathered.

Average Lifespan of a Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl Bird
Guinea Fowl Bird (pic credit: pixabay)

The average lifespan of a Guinea fowl is about 10 to 15 years.

Food and Nutrition Requirement for Guinea Fowl Farming

Seeds, berries, insects, spiders, worms, and other small invertebrates (animals without backbones) are all in the diet of Guinea fowl birds. Guinea birds eat large numbers of insects including ants, termites, ticks, and wasps they are valued as pest controllers around farms. They help reduce the risk of tick-spread illnesses like Lyme disease. Besides capturing their food, Guinea fowl on farms are given such food as basic chicken feed, scratch grains, chopped corn, and millet.

Nutrition Requirements for Guinea Fowl Birds

Adult Guinea birds need to consume greens to keep good digestion, and so they eat grass, dandelions, weeds, and other vegetation. Because the Guinea birds are consuming vegetation, it is very important to make sure grit is available for the birds, and the birds also benefit from having oyster shells available. Provide clean water at all times for these birds. Guinea birds do enjoy a little scratch feed on the ground. The birds like wheat, sorghum, or millet grain and will ignore whole corn kernels. If you are keeping the birds for pest control, restricting their feed will encourage them to spend more time eating insects.

How to Feed Baby Guinea Fowl

A lot of people start their Guinea fowl bird experience by raising babies which are called keets. Then, they are still growing; these birds will need special feed. You must give your baby Guineas a poultry starter feed that has a very high protein level. Turkey starter is an excellent choice. Once the keets reach 5 weeks old, their feed should change to a poultry or game bird feed with 18 to 20% protein. After 8 weeks, you can start feeding the keets with a 16% protein feed.

How to Feed Adult Guinea Fowl

A mature Guinea fowl bird can eat a typical poultry feed, but you will need to pay extra attention to the type of poultry feed you select. Guinea fowl need a higher percentage of protein than chickens, so they need a feed that is 16% protein. Also, you will need to avoid buying a medicated poultry feed, because these could contain ingredients that are problematic for Guinea fowl. Guinea fowl bird does not do well with pellets, so you will need to select a feed that comes in a mash form.

If you are keeping Guinea fowl in a coop, make sure to provide them with grit and vegetation. Then, this helps the birds to properly digest their food. Leafy alfalfa or other types of greens is appreciated by most Guinea fowl. Some types of poultry feed have the grit Guineas need, but it is always a good idea to provide a little extra grit too.

Brooding and Rearing Guinea Fowl Birds

Guinea fowl are very susceptible to dampness during the first 2 weeks after hatching. (The moisture keets encounter when following their mother through dewy grass can kill them.) After those initial 2 weeks, Guineas are widely considered the hardiest of all domestic fowl.

Keets can be raised in the same type of brooder houses as chicks. Use porcelain sockets approved for these lamps and then hang the lamps with chain or wire. Heating lamps are secured so they cannot fall into the litter and create a fire hazard. The lamps must hang so that the bottoms are 18 to 24 in. above the litter. Lamps can be raised or lowered depending on temperature levels. The use of more than one heat lamp is recommended, especially during cold weather conditions, so the keets will not be without heat if a bulb burns out.

There are two-bulb units that come with a thermostat that can make it easier to control the temperature levels in the room. It is very important to remember that you are heating the keets and not the air, so measurements of air temperature may not be the best guide when using infrared lamps. If the Guinea keets are piling up under the heat source, they are too cold. If they are trying to get as far away from the heat source as possible, the temperature level is too hot. If the Guinea keets are evenly dispersed throughout the brooding area, the temperature is just right. After the Guinea keets are fully feathered, they are typically able to tolerate extremes in weather fairly well.

Water Requirement for Guinea Fowl Farming

Provide clean water at all times for Guineas. Be sure to provide fresh warm water to Guinea keets. Guineas cannot tolerate cold water well and newborn keets are susceptible to drowning, so provide water in a shallow bowl filled with marbles at first. The Guinea keets will climb on the marbles and drink the water between them. Very young keets will need help at first, so tip each keet beak briefly in the water to let them know how and where to drink.

Caring for Guinea Fowl Birds            

A baby Guinea is known as a “keet”. If you plan to free-range your Guinea birds, it’s a good idea to start with keets rather than full-grown birds. When they reach 3 weeks of age, move them into larger facilities offering at least one square foot of space per bird. By the time keets are 1 month old, they develop their first set of feathers. In the pearl variety, these feathers will be camouflage-brown. Later, gray feathers will appear, letting you know keets are ready to fend for themselves on the open range.

Raise no more than 2 dozen keets when you’re first starting. They are tiny and quick to escape through a wire mesh as fine as a one-half inch, making tight housing facilities a must. The ideal small-scale brooder is a stout cardboard box lined for the first few days with paper towels, and later with dried wood shavings, to keep the keets clean, warm, and also dry.

As for feeding your keets, try a 21 to 23% protein ration consisting of either a commercial turkey starter or mashed hard-boiled eggs mixed with cottage cheese and a little cornmeal (or oatmeal). After 4 weeks, switch to an 18% grower ration, or a mixture of cracked corn and whole wheat supplemented with young grass clippings, chopped lettuce, and other fresh greens. And of course, always provide water. They require extra food in winter, and fresh greens will be appreciated too.

Hatching Your Own Guinea Fowl Keets

Guineas start laying in March or April and may continue to lay until October. Breeders produce well for 2 or 3 years. They can be kept for 4 to 5 years in small farm flocks. The incubation period for Guinea eggs is about 26 to 28 days, similar to the incubation period for turkeys. Guinea hens do not always make good mothers.

When allowed to incubate eggs naturally, Guinea hens do not go broody until the nest has around 30 eggs. If all but 4 or 5 eggs (marked for identification) are removed, she may return to the same nest and continue laying. Eggs from confined Guineas can be collected daily with no problems you do not have to worry about going on a scavenger hunt every day in search of new nest sites. Generally, Guinea eggs are smaller and have thicker shells than chicken eggs. Then, it is difficult to candle the eggs until 10 days of incubation.

Collecting eggs

If you watch the Guineas carefully, you can be able to spot where the females are nesting. As with chickens, they lay a clutch of eggs and then go broody, but if eggs are collected regularly the birds will keep on laying. Then, make sure there are no Guineas around when you take the eggs and leave a few pot eggs in their place, or the Guinea fowl bird will quickly find a new nest.

Diseases and Health Problems in Guinea Fowl Farming

Guinea fowls are strong and hardy birds, and they are less susceptible to diseases and other health problems. While you should always keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Marketing Guinea Fowl Products

Marketing Guinea fowl products is easy and simple. Guinea fowl products like both meat and eggs have very good demand and value in the market. Hope you will be able to market your Guinea fowl products easily.

Commonly Asked Questions about Guinea Fowl Farming

In case if you need this: How To Grow Hydroponic Vegetables.

Questions about Guinea Fowl Farming
Questions about Guinea Fowl Farming (pic source: pixabay)

Can you extend the Guinea fowl egg-laying season with light?

Yes, it is done where they raise Guinea fowl birds commercially for eggs. It would not be financially viable for the average backyard producer but if you wanted eggs you could bring spring forward for some young birds in a large barn by giving extra light.

What do you feed Guinea fowl?

Guinea fowl bird enjoys being fed all sorts of mixed grains, including wheat and millet. Remember to also provide a high-protein poultry feed.

What time of year do Guinea fowl lay eggs?

Guineas start laying in March or April and may continue to lay until October.

How fast do Guinea keets grow?

Guinea fowl keets grow quickly over the first 2 weeks and it might be tempting to let them out of the brooder sooner than it is recommended.

How long do Guinea fowl sit on eggs?

About 26 to 30 days depending on conditions.


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