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Guinea Hen: What is a Guinea Fowl, Eggs, and All You Need To Know (Complete Care Guide)

guinea hen

Guinea hen’s popularity seems to be on the rise. They go by several names, but the most common are Guinea Fowl and Pet Speckled Hen.

These peculiar-looking birds are quite the talk of the town wherever they are seen. Guinea chickens are a strange-looking bird to be sure, once seen, never forgotten.

They are dramatically different from chickens in personality and habits. However, if the owner is prepared, they can make a wonderful bird.

They are not for everyone, but if you think you might be interested, keep reading to learn their history, how to care for them, Guinea fowl eggs, expected temperament, and much more!

Guinea Hen

History of the Guinea Hens

The Guinea fowl belong to the Numida family – they are related to pheasants, turkeys, and other game fowl.

There is some evidence to suggest that Guinea fowl were known as far back as ancient Greece around the 5th century BC.

The Romans brought them back from their African campaigns and tried to domesticate them. They were semi-successful in this venture, raising them on farms.

Romans were able to raise them but never really tame them.

The home of the Guinea fowl is Africa, where they run wild in large flocks. Some were taken to Jamaica about 200 years ago, during the slave trading era, becoming part of the landscape.

To this day, you can find Guineas running wild in Jamaica!

Guineas were first introduced to Europe back in the 1400s and made their way to America with the early settlers and slave ships.

Guinea Hen Appearance

Guinea Fowl

There are several different types of guinea fowl, but the most often seen and ‘domesticated’ is the helmeted guinea fowl.

The types are:

  • White-breasted – mainly found in West Africa. Due to habitat loss, it is considered a vulnerable bird according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • Black – confined to central Africa.
  • Vulturine – largest of the Guineas. Has a very striking appearance, can become quite tame. Needs large groups to thrive.
  • Helmeted – most common ‘domesticated’ type. Has a central knob on the skull leading to the ‘helmet’ appearance.
  • Plumed – little is known of this bird which is found mainly in central Africa.
  • Crested – the most aggressive type; may chase people, including their owners. Has a ‘curly mop’ on the head.

Guinea fowl come in various colors, including pearl, white, royal purple, coral blue, buff, chocolate, and bronze, to name a few. However, not all of these colors are recognized by the official standards.

In the US, only the helmeted Guinea fowl is recognized. The colors of the bird that are recognized are lavender, pearl, and white.

Australian standard allows lavender, pearl, white, cinnamon, and pied coloration.

Guinea is about the size of a large chicken and, when fully grown, will weigh around 4lb. The Head and neck area is bare skin, which helps to regulate temperature.

The coloration of the skin is a combination of blue, red, and black hues, giving it a somewhat clownish appearance.

With short, rounded wings and a short tail, it looks oval-shaped.

Their beak is short but curved and very stout. The wattles on the male are larger than the female, although some do not have wattles.

These birds do not reach sexual maturity until their second year, making it very difficult to sex them.

Each gender has a different vocalization, so this can help differentiate the two. The female will call what sounds like ‘buck-wheat.

The males will only emit a ‘chi, chi, chi’ sound.

Guinea Fowl Temperament and Disposition

Two Guinea Fowl

Guineas are highly social with their own kind; where one goes, they all go. If one gets lost, it will call out until the flock comes to find it.

They can co-exist with other species, such as chickens, but you must take care of male Guinea fowl. The males can become very territorial and will run off any roosters in your flock.

They can be bullies to smaller birds, and the pecking order can become very brutal, but if you raise them with chicks, this is usually less of a problem.

Since they are semi-domesticated at best, it is not unusual to find them roosting in trees or other high places come dusk.

Each evening, many folks entice them into the coop with fresh water and a feed/cracked grain mix.

They apparently dislike entering a dark place, so you should keep a low output light bulb until they are all settled in.

If you decide to keep your guineas in confinement, they need 2-3 square foot space per bird. Any less and they are likely to become stressed.

Remember, these are semi-wild fowl and do not generally thrive in confinement.

These birds are monogamous and mate for life in the wild. Occasionally there will be a philanderer, but it is the exception, not the norm.

In a small farming situation, the ratio of male to female is often 1:5, which seems to work well.

Guinea fowl eggs and mothering ability

Guinea Fowl Eggs: Laying and Mothering Ability

Guinea fowl are seasonal layers. Depending on your location, they will lay daily between March/April to September/October; on average, a hen will lay around 100 eggs per season.

Their eggs are smaller than chicken eggs and are very hard-shelled. The eggs are light brown and speckled and are also vibrant eating.

Guineas aren’t fussy about where they lay an egg. Anywhere they happen to be will do.

However, when they decide to make a nest, you will be hard-pressed to find it! They prefer woods, long grass – anything that will hide them from predators.

The male will stand guard for the hen and watch for danger during the daylight hours.

Often Guineas are ‘communal’ layers, all laying in one nest until there are sufficient eggs. 50 is not unheard of! The hens can be communal brooders, too, taking turns in nest sitting.

If you want to collect the eggs for hatching or eating, it is best to keep them penned until around noontime – they should have laid by this time, making it much easier for you to collect them.

They will brood the eggs for 26-28 days until the keets hatch. They must then follow their mother back to the flock.

Many do not make the journey. They are very susceptible to cold and wetness before 4 weeks of age to die from hypothermia and predation on the long march.

Those who make it through the first 4 weeks stand a good chance of becoming adults and becoming one of the hardiest birds around.

Guinea Chicken: Diet, Health Issues and Special Care

Guinea Hen

Guinea fowl have resisted man’s attempts to domesticate and ‘improve’ the species very well.

Because of this, Guinea chickens have almost no health issues to speak of.

This is an extremely hardy bird in most climates but does not like wet or cold snow. They come from Africa originally, so climate problems are to be anticipated.

Being endemic to Africa, they prefer warm climates. If you keep them dry and draft-free, they will do just fine in their housing.

A word of caution for catching them: never, ever catch them by the legs. They can turn around so quickly that they may break or dislocate a leg.

If you are a beekeeper, you will need to protect your hives against the Guineas. Otherwise, they will sit outside the hives and snap up bees as they emerge.

What Do Baby Guinea Fowl Eat? The Keets’ Diet

Keets need a very high protein feed, 24-28% until they are 5 weeks old. At 5 weeks, they can reduce the protein to 18-20% until week 8.

At week 8, they can reduce them to 16% feed.

The feed should be mash or crumbles. Pelleted feed is not recommended. Also, medicated feed is highly toxic to Guinea fowl – needless to say, do not allow them to eat it.

Is the Guinea Hen Right for You?

They have been raised in captivity for thousands of years but have never truly become ‘domesticated.’ The Helmeted variety that is commonly kept is far tamer than its relatives.

Still, even so, it is not a cuddly bird.

They dislike being picked up and held and are likely to scream ‘murder’ if you do so – definitely not a lap bird.

Guineas are great entertainment to watch as they patrol your yard, chattering away all the time.

They are great at ridding your yard of ticks, insects, small snakes, and rodents; outstanding pest patrol. In fact, just the call alone of the Guinea fowl deters rodents from the area.

They also make great alarm callers – anything new or out of place will elicit the alarm, which can be annoying or reassuring depending on the outlook!

If you live in an urban setting or have close neighbors, check the local zoning laws. Guineas are known to be loud, so there may be a ban on keeping them.

For example, our neighbor used to keep them, he lives ¼ mile away, and if anything happened in the yard, we knew about it!

Guinea Fowl Common Questions

What Are Guinea Hens Good For?

Guinea hens are great for gardens and are used to keep insects like: wood ticks, grasshoppers, flies, crickets, and others under control.

Is a Guinea Fowl Good to Eat?

Yes! Guinea fowl are completely edible for human consumption. You can raise them for both meat and egg production. You can eat them just like most poultry: turkey, quail, chickens, ducks, geese, and even emu!

Can Guinea Fowl Live With Chickens?

Yes, chickens and guinea fowl can be kept in the same coop, with a caveat. You should make sure your guineas have plenty of room for egg laying. They will hold off on laying if there is a lot of commotion in the coop.

Guinea Hen Summary

The Guinea Fowl is definitely an acquired taste. They are not for everyone. They are quite long-lived for a bird that isn’t terribly smart; 10-15 years is the average life span.

The benefits they offer are: pest and rodent control, decreased need for pesticide use, guard bird, low maintenance, cheap to feed, and entertainment.

The negatives: noisemakers can be bullies, rotten mothers, not blessed with intelligence, and taking free-ranging to a new dimension.

Many folks love their Guineas unreservedly and wouldn’t be without them. Others wish that they had never even heard of them!

In researching this piece, it seems that those who were well aware of the ‘Guinea lifestyle’ were better equipped to deal with this bird’s quirks.

In other words, don’t buy them just because they look pretty – do your homework first. They can be a challenge if you are unprepared for them!

Let us know your opinion about Guinea fowl in the comments section below…

Guinea Hen

140 thoughts on “Guinea Hen: What is a Guinea Fowl, Eggs, and All You Need To Know (Complete Care Guide)

  1. We had several birds for a couple of years and loved having them around the property. However our neighbors did not. The birds would roam and quite often would be on their roof at 5 or 6 in the morning and raising heck. They got along well with our chickens but would not tolerate the roosters when they were fighting. The Guinea hens would break up a fight very quickly, they ruled the roost.

    1. I’ve had Guinea hens for 6 years and wouldnt want to be without them. They are free to roam. And they return at night. But one is in my wood at the moment with a nest. And it’s been raining ever since. And it’s only time I worry about them.

      1. I’ve recently moved into a rental house, adjacent to a flock of 8-Guinea fowl. I think they’re cool. Can I give them treats or something to engage them?

          1. I recently bought 10 young guineas and am very excited to let them roam- how long should I keep them enclosed before they consider my yard home? The store said to wait 8 weeks before they’d be old enough to fend for themselves

  2. Thank you for the information about these so lovely birds Guinea Fowls.This highly appreciated.
    Could you also kindly make available such information on other birds species such as turkeys, ostriches and others.
    Kind regards

    1. Hi Austin,
      If this is something other people would be interested in, we can certainly do this yes.

  3. We have two guinea fowl, male and female. I wouldn’t be without them. They are excellent guards and have accepted the chickens as their fate in life. They do well together. But you are right. Anything new and unusual in the yard is cause for alarm. Even a fabric santa tied to a tree at Christmas can cause the guineas to scream in alarm. Funny, though. Very entertaining creatures. Still have not been able to understand their fascination with their own image in a mirror or window. They seem to love their image. Why? I do not know. If I looked like that, a mirror would be the last place I would want to stand in front of.

  4. I have 11 chickens, ones a rooster, also 2 guinea hens, with them. All summer last year they would Roost outside, when winter was approaching, i let my chickens out to roam, the ,guinea started hanging with the chickens and now they Mingle and Roost with the chickens every night so far so good thank you

    1. Do you have them sheltered during the summer? We have 10 acres with only 1 neighbor and I’m trying to understand if I need shelter after they are keets. If they can free range safely it would be easiest

      1. They should be fine unsheltered after 3-4 weeks if you live in a temperate climate, especially during summer. 10 acres is a good range for them. I have 60 of them and they generally stay within sight of their roosting area even though they have 50 acres to roam on. They will rarely venture further than a 100 yards from “home”. Adults are fine thru winter in southern Georgia USA with temperatures in the teens occasionally. Good luck, they are helpful and entertaining birds to have around if you live in a rural area.

      2. Beware of predators though. They are highly susceptible to predation. I lose 20-30 per year to the local predators.

  5. When our chickens were around 6 months old we acquired 6 Guinea hens. We had no idea which were male or female. They are definitely entertaining, especially when they run backwards. We kept the Guineas in a separate screened area for 6 weeks, next to the chicken run so that they could get to know each other. Once they were free to be together they became one happy family. The Guinea hens will not go into the coop at night, even when it’s snowing or raining, and roost on the top of the fence surrounding the coop. So far they have survived the winter snow and horrendous rain storms. We’re looking forward to our first hatching of keets. So far, lots of eggs, but no keets.

  6. We are new to raising both chickens and guineas. Can someone please provide insight into how far they can be expected to wander once we let them begin free-ranging?

    1. Ours don’t go farther away than 1/8 mile, and they usually don’t go more that 400-500 feet from the coop. We get a few new ones every year to replace the ones lost to predation. The ones that roost in the chicken coop tend to live a lot longer so we encourage the new keets to follow their example.

  7. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I’m very glad to see such excellent info being shared freely out there.

  8. I’ve had guineas for years and love them. I was even able to tame a blue guinea once. They keep down ticks and mosquitoes as well as alert my free ranging chickens to predators. Unfortunately, I’ve lost a few to hawks but my biggest problem has been them wandering across the road and getting hit by cars. Any recommendations on dealing with this other than confinement? I’ve got 5 acres of land but they like to wander.

  9. We bought fifteen day old chicks (all hens) and 10 keets a week later back in March of this year. We kept them next to each other but in separate enclosures until they were about 4 and 5 weeks old. We then put them together for 2 weeks before releasing them into a coop with a nice size run. We had no problems with them getting along. A couple of the hens were a bit bossy until the Guineas were as big or bigger than them. After about a month, we slowly started releasing 2-4 birds at a time for about 45 min. to an hour and then ushered them back into the coop. We now let all of the birds out every morning and put them back in the coop every evening around 7:00 p.m. All we have to do is call to the Guineas and they come waddling together as one big group and enter the coop. The chickens, who we thought would be easier to work with, take much longer to gather up and we always have 2-3 stragglers even though we put a special treat in the coop every evening to entice them but we eventually get everyone in the coop. Guineas are not for everyone but as long as you don’t mind their “chatter” and have patience, you will probably grow to love them as much as we do. I will admit that we have a driveway that is over 550 feet long, our house is surrounded by trees on three sides, and no visible neighbors so we haven’t had any problems with them disturbing anyone else.

  10. Omg. I love my guineas. I got four meets in March. I spent hours reading about how to raise them. They are coop trained which is neat. They have free roam of our fenced in back yard. When I let the chickens out the guineas do their single file March into the chicken yard to inspect. All the birds take dirt baths together. One hen has chosen to roost with the guineas. They guineas are so entertaining. I have been finding guinea eggs around the yard. Isn’t it an odd time of the year for them to be laying? Thanks for your very informative site. Karin

    1. I had a Ginny chicken take up at my house and I don’t think it plans on leaving. It will get very close and talk to me. Of coarse I don’t understand what it is saying. I can get my hand within 6to8. Inches of it roosting on my AC window unit at my shop. Do I need to worry about leaving it water. I am out of town a lot. It been here over a year. It will come meet me when I come home. It plays wit my puppy and I have a cat. They seem to be best of friends. I feed it the cracked corn. But I worrt about the water. There is several ponds very close by. But it is always here when I am home. Wakes me up every morning if I am not awake. I love it though.

  11. I have four guinea’s and three ducks in my small barn. They are not free range yet as I just got them in April. I saw an egg on a pile of straw in the barn yesterday afternoon and by evening the egg was gone. Do you think one of the ducks or other guinea’s ate the egg? thanks

      1. Are there times of day when they get noisy? Sun up to sun down for example? Or would they keep folks up at night if a light came on?

        1. Not much noisy like chickens in early AM etc. They get noisy when there is a change in their environment. Such as a person comes into view, one of them finds a snake or lizard, or anything new to them. They will at that time tell the news for awhile. Also if one gets separated from the flock it will call until it is reunited, or if a mate is lost to a predator it will call pretty constantly for several days for its mate until it realizes the mate is not coming back. They mate for life. Often never pairing again after losing a mate, similar to swans.

  12. I got five keets two months ago and they adopted my brahma hen and she is like their mom. They run to her when stressed and at night are under her somehow. Weird but hoping that they will stick with her and coop up at night.

  13. I’ve had Guineas for many years. Our flock was killed & I’m starting over with 13 that are about 2 months old now. All of them seem normal & then 3 weeks ago 1 started with splaid legs, this week a 2nd one. They seem too old for this to be happening. I still have them confined. What should I keep on their floor for good traction?

  14. I have 1 Male and 2 female ginny’s and they just stopped roosting in the last 2 weeks they are around 5 years old can anyone tell me why they have stopped and what I can do to get them to start roosting again thank u

  15. We were introduced to guinea birds when we bought a house with a resident guinea bird named Ghen-ghen. My husband asked about him from the seller during a house visit. It so happen the seller was looking for a place for Ghen-ghen that we ended up keeping him. We enjoyed the experience with Ghen-ghen that after he died we got pairs to have some more. We lost some thru different stages of their growth and to predators. Named some based on their personality or physical features. Currently, we have 10.
    One of them, we named Percy is “tamed”. He is our “first born”. The guineas and chickens share a fenced in coop. We let them out in morning, free range all day. When it starts to get dark, they let themselves in the coop and we shut the gate to keep them safe during the night. Very good guard bird, watching them is cheap entertainment. Overall, enjoyable experience!

  16. I am a Bee Keeper, who wants to have Guinea Hen’s. What advice do you have as I have heard yon need to keep them separated.

    1. You will have to. Guinea’s love insects and they do not differentiate honey bee’s from gathering other peoples experiences. They can decimate a hive if kept too close. Keep them separated. Though, Guineas are great for tick control!

        1. Mine range over about 5 acres. If you have some dense woods separating them, that might help. Otherwise, I think it’s a toss up. Mine have feed in front of them all the time and rarely get over 100 yards from the coop even though they are free. If they had to sustain themselves completely they would likely range much further.

    2. I have 26 Guineas that free range. I also have 4 bee hives. The Guineas have never bothered the hives.

  17. My guinea(male) has been behaving sickly, what’s d solution. I don’t know what I can give them to eat again.

    1. Hope he’s well by now, but I always quarantine a sick one in his own cage well away from the others and put some antibiotic in their water for a few days. Is about all you can do. They usually get better and stronger quicker, if they are going to, away from the rest of the flock trampling all over them. Most feed/farm supply stores have antibiotics for poultry you can mix in their water, such as Terramycin.

  18. I have 6 Guinea, 5 hens and all have started laying eggs.I have already picked 2 trays taking for incubation on Saturday. Thanking so much I have learnt so much

  19. I’m considering acquiring some guinea hens but would like to know if 7300′ in N.E. Utah would be too high and/or too cold for them.

    1. If they are grown already yes, but hatching will be tougher. Chicken egg hatching is reduced by 10% at altitude of 1000 ft, and roughly 30% at 6500 ft above sea level.

      1. We have guineas and geese together and they get along great. Actually the guineas follow the geese everywhere and I think they would even follow them into the pool if they could.

  20. Hello I am new to Guineas. We have a male and a female, but the male is being really ugly to our chickens. Do they do well without a partner of they have chickens to hang out with or do they do well with another female? I would like to get rid of the male.

    1. USUALLY…eventually…a truce is reached and the fighting ends, if you have a chicken rooster to help the hens in the war. Otherwise, I don’t know, no experience, but it seems like 5-6 hens could hold their own against one guinea rooster…eventually. They will USUALLY fight a few days and then calm descends once a pecking order is established, and everyone gets to live. In my experience, the guineas usually take the rough treatment, not the chickens, and the guineas outnumber the chickens 60 to 4. They stay clear of the chickens generally. Of course each and every guinea has its own personality. Your chickens may have inadvertently fell in with the Bonnie and Clyde of guineas. The only time I’ve ever seen a mean guinea was when I attempted to catch a single keet that one had hatched and was dragging across a field. The whole flock attacked me. They do not “peck” when they are serious about fighting. They grab you with their beak and twist. They can, and did, draw blood. I left the keet to its own devices. He did fine.

  21. We purchased 13 chickens but 3 weeks later we now think we have a Guinea. Can we raise just one along with the chickens?

  22. I made the mistake of letting our guineas share vegetable scraps with our chickens. I knew it was a possibility that they would go after those same items in our garden but was lucky until last year. They decimated my tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers. Do you have any suggestions of what to buy that isn’t horribly expensive to keep them away from some of my garden. I tried some makeshift barricades at the end of the vegetable season last year but I wasn’t successful.

    1. Hello Bobbi,,
      Oops! I made that mistake with my first batch of
      guineas 18 years ago.
      Kept them with the chickens (which worked fine the first year but when guineas came into their own second year I had to add a separate apartment for them. Guineas RULE!)
      Gave everyone the kitchen scraps throughout the winter and that’s when guineas learned to LOVE tomatoes!!!!! Ended up fencing all my gardens with 25×4 cattle panels and lining inside bottom with chicken mesh. They did not fly in! Whew!
      Now that I keep only guineas I just don’t feed the
      kitchen scraps so they don’t get any ideas.
      Good luck!
      Oh yes, and read the book, Gardening with Guineas by Jeannette S. Ferguson. CHOCK FULL
      of great information. Was my Guinea Bible in 2002. I was able to tame and train my birdies to
      sit on my shoulder and come to the call of SEED.
      Best wishes and Blessings

  23. I would really like to get some guineas and let them roam my big yard, but have a very territorial larger dog. Have had other guineas around or fly over and the dog has yet to catch one, or one of my cats but will send them up a tree. Dog learned to get along with cats in the house but outside he is ruler of the yard and am afraid he would hurt them or give them stress… Anyone think it might be OK?

    1. I’m interested here also! I’d like to get some and we have a 2 y/o golden retriever. Not necessarily territorial but excitable for sure.

      1. I have 26 Guineas that free range. Also have a couple of dogs. One is a Golden. At first the dogs were excited about the birds and chased them up into trees. After a week or two the dogs seemed bored with the birds. They co-mingle just fine now.

  24. Very helpful!! I’m considering guinea fowl for our property. We are not typically the farm or bird type but we live on 10 acres, with a riverfront and a pond. We have ENDLESS pests. Any bug or animal that lives well with moist ground and water we get. We love to see the nature — beavers, geese, ducks and deer but find sometimes the bugs to be so awful we can’t even enjoy it outside. I’m hoping the guinea can help make the bugs more manageable and if they get rid of the moles (by eating grubs and bugs) it’s a BONUS!
    We only have one near neighbor who also has chickens and a dog and we have a dog ourselves.
    I’m hoping raising from keet and getting familiar with living with our dog will help both adapt although I haven’t heard many stories and testimonials from others with dogs.
    If anyone has advise, much appreciated!

    1. If its bug management Guinea’s are the best you can do, but like with any fowl you will have to take the necessary care described in the guide.

  25. We have chickens and have had Guinea’s. I would like to get more guinea fowl, however, our last surviving Guinea was a white male. He was very aggressive (bully) with our chickens. (with and without roosters)
    We have a separate dog pen which is about 70 feet from our chicken coop. (our dog will not go in the pen!) Would that be far enough away to keep the guineas separate from the chickens? We let the guineas roam, but generally keep the chickens in their large coop.

  26. My husband brought home 6 Keets today…one is blind! Ive never had them before, will it adapt? Should i seperate it?

  27. I love my guineas. We got 10 keets at a day old and have had them for about a year. We have our first nest of about 25 eggs so far. They roam free all day and go in the barn at night to be shut in. Our best advise for the babies is to use the rubber mat that is intended for a non slip furniture that you can buy at the dollar store. This gives the chicks a nice grip to prevent leg problems. Added bonus is it is cheap and easy to clean and reuse

  28. I acquired one guinea , not sure where it came from but has come to hang out with one of my hens and ducks. I decided I would like to keep her but she tore the feathers of my oldest hen who I have had to separate while her feathers grow back. Now I do not know if I should put them together the guinea seems extremely aggressive towards her when they are near and I am scared to let my hen free range with her.
    I know someone that already has guineas can I take her to a group of them, will she fit in with them ?

  29. We love having our neighbor’s hens visit us which they do daily. We have lots of ticks in Va so I’m hoping they visit often!

  30. Thank you for this great article, we live on about 9 acres and we definitely want to get some Guineas. My question: is there something we could put on the fence, like WhirlyGig’s, that would keep the birds from crossing into our neighbors yard or into the street?

    1. I do not believe there is much out there to stop a Guinea from going to where it’s want to be. I have my guineas on 10 acres of land. They pretty much hang around my property. However they were well trained. Raised them from keets and kept them in the coop for 8 months before releasing them in the spring after the snow melted. The coop is always open and they come in every night.

  31. I would love to get Guineas, we had them when I was a child and now that I have children of my own, I am more than ready to start a small flock.
    My main concern is that while we have 40 acres, there is a farm directly across the road from us, what is the likelihood that they will become farm hens across the road?

  32. We had 5 guineas last year who lived happily with our turkeys. Their shelter included three perches (same level) and a tin roof no walls surrounded by electric netting.
    The guineas would often fly out of the netting and back in (or we would have to turn off the netting and let them in), in time we would lose then one by one either something got them or they found a happier place.
    Come thanksgiving we had one left. And after we butchered the turkeys we placed the guinea in the barn, were she remained for a few days before she decided to become a chicken and since early December has lived happily with our chickens, laying in the box and making it in to the coop before the electric door goes down each night.
    This year we bought 7 keets. They currently are a few weeks old and live in the barn. We are needing to get them on grass so they can work their magic and eat the ticks, but we are trying to figure out what type of shelter to build them. Please note we will not be shutting the door every night or trying to herd them in
    My plan is to build a shelter Surround by an electric fence so they can be safe yet still fly over the net to explore farther. But what type of shelter that will be protected from the elements And again am not shutting a door each night.
    Or do I just put them in the with hens and hope they fly out of their fencing to eat bugs and return before the door closes each night?
    And what if last years guinea hen do I keep her with the chickens or introduce her to the new flock and let her live like the guinea she was born to be?

  33. I’ve had Guinea hens for 6 years and wouldnt want to be without them. They are free to roam. And they return at night. But one is in my wood at the moment with a nest. And it’s been raining ever since. And it’s only time I worry about them.

  34. Hello, i have a male and female guinea for about 3 years. This year she laid eggs in hen house on floor so i let her sit. She had 17 eggs and started sitting. She had 14. They are all kept together in my hen house with fenced in small pen. The male takes care of the keets as much or more than hen does. He even lets them get under him for protection as does female. I have let them out for 15 mins. in yard for now once in awhile. He scratches the leaves and the keets gather around him. After while i herd them back in. Was wondering how old the hens are before they start laying eggs?

    1. This is a update. Had 3 keets left, big enough to fly some. One was sickly and died. Other2 were ok. Father guinea started chasing the 2 when they were close. I think he bullied them in pen and free range in backyard. They kept to themselves and wasnt eager to come out of house. But have seen them roost all together at night. The last 2 i found dead week apart in their house. But the male guinea was such a good father when they were babies but not when they started getting their feathers. Dont know what went wrong with keets but will clean out house real good and try again next year. Male will run up to my cats if they arent watching for him. I seen him jump on my big tom cat when he had his back turned. That was the first time i’ d seen him actually touch another animal usually just run up so far to make them leave. Thought about getting rid of him but had the male and female 4 years.

  35. We are in a rural area & my neighbors have guineas. We love them, they stay over here 50% of day. I’ve noticed that they disappear quite often from predators & also appear to have wounds on their backs. The wounds look open & I wonder if it is from picking at each other? Please advise.

  36. I have one adult hen. She lost her little flock over a couple of months to stray dogs and predators. I got more keets. They are now 6 weeks old. She (the adult) has been around them for two weeks. Separated by fencing for safety. I have tried twice to allow them together. She is being very aggressive with them. So they continue to be separated. I can’t keep this arrangement up. So, is this normal? What should I do to fix this?

  37. A nearby neighbor just moved leaving 4-6 hens behind. Adjacent to our homes is a very large parcel of DEC protected land and the hens seem to like to wander there. I’ve noticed they return to “their” yard at night but the property owner has now removed the small shelter. We are wondering if we could get them to come over by us if we create an alternate shelter for them we get plenty of cold and wet weather so I am concerned. They also tend to walk in front of moving cars. How do we get them to move in?

    1. Be careful. I would check the legalities, but you can bait them over with mealworms. Put the worms in the same spot where you want the chickens to come so they know to keep coming back there.

  38. I started with 6 birds a year ago, one flew the coop, down to 5. One hen sitying on about 30 eggs right now. They were a little challenging to coop train, but finally got it. They coop with my chickens and a peacock. I really do love having them

    1. I’ve heard of this happening although not common. I would keep him separate if he ends doing this and you are not wanting it.

  39. My guinea just laid a clutch of 13 eggs in my neighbors field, its about to be cut in 10 days. I don’t know how long she’s been out there. Can I move the nest to my barn? Will she follow or abandon the eggs? Will the eggs hatch in an incubator?

    1. There is no way to know exactly what she will do. Many hens will follow and be determined to sit back on it. The only recommendation I have is to make the new spot similar or as comfortable for her with everything she needs because it is likely she chose that spot for a reason. They can hatch in an incubator if done correctly.

  40. My hen is about 1 1/2 years old and has lost her helmet. Help is she molting, did she get into a brawl, or lacking something in her diet? Also one of our males was part of the foursome( 2male, 2 female) but is now an outcast. Any suggestions

  41. Our neighbors that live to the back of our house have some guinea hens. They seem to like pecking around the area we feed our local birds, squirrels and chipmunks. I think they’re fun to watch, and what a scream they have!! It sounds like they’re really mad!! I accidentally frightened two of them once and one flew up high in a nearby tree and the other landed on the roof of out house…never thought they could fly that high!!

  42. I have three Guineas, 2 of them makes noise alot. I would wish to know, which gender are they? male or female?

  43. I’ve had Guineas for 20 years and enjoy them so much.
    Of course over time, things did happen to them. I now have only one. His or her partner disappeared a couple of weeks ago, sadly.
    They always roostedin trees, but now he is roosting under the eves of my house, which is great, because he will no longer get rained on. But I am worried about him because we are just about to get really cold weather…22 degrees.
    I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out a way to keep him warmer.
    Any suggestions?
    I bought a string of large-bulb outdoor lights today thinking I could string them under his perch for a little warmth.
    But I do wonder if the light will prevent him from wanting to perch there.
    It’s a problem, but I cannot imagine I will be able to catch him to put in a coop at night.

    1. I have 4 guineas, 3 male and 1 female. I coop-raised them, so they will go inside when I let them out, usually after 30-60 minutes- which time span will surely lengthen as the spring season approaches. I live on top of a mountain where it is not unusual for it to get to 9 degrees in the dead of winter. These guys stay outside in their run almost always (but they do hate rain). I don’t think you have to worry about the lower temperatures; do you have a coop for your bird? Guineas have a love of roosting under things when they are vulnerable at night, tree limbs, barns, coops, any kind of hiding place. If you have sufficient shelter for him, he will be alright temp-wise. As far as light, they have very poor night-vision so they are more than happy to have some light. The light thrown from routine bulbs is not the greatest. They seem to prefer a red light nightlight. It doesn’t mess with their biological sleep rhythms but provides some security. I think the outdoor lights might be too intense for him, both physically and because they stress over everything, as you well know by now! So sad he lost his partner. 🙁

  44. We have 8 guineas which are about 7 months old. Got them in July 2019. They are doing there job well. They are now roosting in a tree on our property line with our cousins son’s property. He is not to fond of them in the trees on his property line due to some of the guests he has over and has a fire going along with some beer drinking getting a little loud at times which riles the guineas to their screech which really ticks them of, so he said to change where they roost or he will take further action. So, my question is how do I get the guinea to change roosting area away from the property line? This is on about 87 acres of family owned property which is divided to about a tad over an acre a piece. There is no one to the other side of our property.

  45. I have been raising Guinea for past several years. Lost my first flock to owls a d coyotes. Now Im always counting and trying to keep them close. I obtained 3 peacocks around the time one of my Guinea had babies and they were kept close while aclimating the peacocks and now my last 2 babies either think they belong to the female peadowl or she thinks she is a Guinea not sure which but they are always together even roosting together.

  46. My ignorant neighbour has a flock of guinea fowl, and although he owns 500 acres, he wants them right amongst the residential homes of all of his cousins, aunts & uncles (and me).
    These are the noisiest beasts I’ve ever experienced, and would say that the only way anyone should consider owning them, is if they are:
    a) Completely distant from any neighbours
    b) So ignorant that they have no concern about their neighbours.
    These birds are a scourge, and definitely not for people with neighbours. Avoid at all costs.

  47. While you do get the rare guinea hater, this board is probably the wrong place to express really negative opinions- just the facts and people can decide for themselves. I believe most people on here try to give out factual information from experience; sometimes that leads people to want them, sometimes others decide they aren’t the birds for them. No matter what, I think the majority of people here care for their guinea hens and there isn’t a whole lot of hate going around. Personally, I find them some of the funniest birds I’ve ever had around, they are amazing at pest control, and even though they are more wild than most other “poultry” they will allow you to come near if they are used to you. Once you see them run like little tipsy bowling pins, you won’t be able to give it up! And yes, they are noisy- what I see as excellent predator protection for my animals and a good alarm for me will not be as appreciated by anyone else who has to listen to it on their property. That is a very important consideration…

  48. I bought 1.4 wooded acre in a mostly
    undeveloped area that abuts a wetlands. I have bugs—ticks. Can I release two adult females and just see what happens? No coop. No nothing. I’m not planning on building. I’m blazing a trail to the wetlands. That’s about it. Do I need more birds? Male and female? Northeast Florida.

  49. we live on 11 acres of woods in PA and was wondering if our property would be a good place for them? Our vet said about getting them to control the tick population.

    1. Yes, just keep in mind they are quite… Edible. I have a fox problem here that has gotten quite a few of mibe. We have 11 acres as well. Just don’t be surprised if they leave the 11 acres. We have had them often outside of our property. They do not respect boundaries.

  50. I am thinking of getting some Guineas. I have only 1.28 acres basically surrounded by woods. I want them to free roam for bug control and just to watch them. I know I need to start with keets. What do you feed the keets while growing? I am looking forward to this. I have a fenced back yard for my dogs. I am hoping these birds learn not to go into fenced area. (I can hope) dogs will chase them. Do I need to put up coop for nights or will they be fine in the wooded area?

    1. Your local feed store will have a starter feed that’s for keets. I would get that because its medicated to treat common ailments that affect chicks and keets.

  51. I have two acres in New Mexico. Looking to get a couple guinea hens mostly for Pest Control ( squash bugs )in my garden. Garden is about a quarter of an acre. Is it safe to release them with growing vegetables?

    1. I know this post is older, but for anyone else wondering. I throw my vegetable cuttings out to my chicken/Guinea flock and they definitely go after it. I could not tell you if they like one over another but I would make sure your crops are fully established then you decide if the damage done to crop is more than the benefits of the bugs they eat attacking your crop because they will go for the bugs first.

    1. I believe you can but only when they are keets, an online search could help you with the difference.

  52. I have a guinie chick she hurt her leg I have her in a cage separate from everyone else. After about a week or 2 she seemed to be doing better then she hurt herself again. It’s been about a month since the last time she hurt herself and there seems to be no progress she hopes on one leg and dont ise her hurt one she has some kind of knot on the back of her leg that has been there for about a week or 2. I’m scared to let her put with the rest because I dont know if she would be able to defend herself but I’m worried she wont be able to use that leg ever and dont want to have to keep her lacked up. Please help, what’s wrong with my baby and what should I do

  53. I have a guinie chick she hurt her leg I have her in a cage separate from everyone else. After about a week or 2 she seemed to be doing better then she hurt herself again. It’s been about a month since the last time she hurt herself and there seems to be no progress she hops on one leg and dont use her hurt one she has some kind of knot on the back of her leg that has been there for about a week or 2. I’m scared to let her out with the rest because I dont know if she would be able to defend herself but I’m worried she wont be able to use that leg ever and dont want to have to keep her locked up. Please help, what’s wrong with my baby and what should I do

  54. i have a male and female guinea. the male that was raised with her passed so we got one from an amish..she did lay 9 eggs in a nest on bare ground but never set on them..i was getting one egg a day till 3 days ago and she has quit.. the male is very aggressive towards my chickens and the female guinea..he has tore feathers off her back..wont let her come to food or water. she sits at the back of the fence with her back to the others….why?? what do i do? i feel so sorry for her and im afraid that she will just die..i try to chase him off but then he gets after her.

    1. I know that candling can be used for poultry, but guinea eggs are spotted if you google “sexing Guinea eggs” there are photos of how they are shaped differently. Not 100% fool proof though.

  55. please can you differentiate the eggs that will hutch male and female guinea fawol before hitching?

  56. I have/had 2 guinea fowl. The female has been missing for several days. The male is still hanging around the house. Will he be ok by himself? He doesn’t seem to act right. He hangs around the chickens more. Doesn’t seem to peck around much. Do you think she’s sitting on a nest and he didn’t go with her? Or do you think a coyote got her?

    1. Most likely nesting. You would have heard him screaming for days if something had happened to her. They are extremely attached to each other and when one goes missing they will screech for some time trying to locate the one missing. They also screech to each other when hawks or other predators approach.

  57. yesterday I saw guinea fowl on an episode of HomeStead Rescue.Curious I wanted to know more. And I found your article well written with an abundance of information.I thank you kindle

  58. Too many previous comments to read so I may be repeating a previous post. I’ve had Guinea’s most of my life. Never approach a nest. They will attack and they fly straight toward the face.They are not great mothers when they hatch, so you will absolutely need to collect them (distracting the hen) until they have feathers. Watch your children around the nests. If you have keets be careful that they are secure. I Lost several to snakes able to get in but not out after eating a keet that was 6 to 8 weeks old. Having at least one adult is perfect for releasing when big enough. Male or female they will protect them from the start. Mine are free roam but roost at night with chickens, keep them in the coop in a contain space so they will know that’s home and will return there to roost every evening when they are ready to let loose.

  59. I know that candling can be used for poultry, but guinea eggs are spotted if you google “sexing Guinea eggs” there are photos of how they are shaped differently. Not 100% fool proof though.

  60. Since this was back in june, I’m curious if anything was resolved? A fully grown male Guinea that was not raised with the others can be dangerous to them as well as your chickens. These birds in general can be extremely aggresive. Some sites claiming to be experts say that roosters and guinea cocks will not live together peacefully but this is not true if they are raised together, all farm birds establish a pecking order. It takes time for new additions to form a communal bond. If you ever see an individual bird no matter the species being ganged up on, seriously injured or not thriving in a manner that could cause eventual death, it is time to intervene. Find a sanctuary or rehome the one suffering or the one offending. Without experience and knowledge of bird behavior it’s always best to get young ones they adapt better and are tolerated more easily.

  61. A guinea walked into my yard 2 nights ago. It ignored the barking of my two dogs and yelled back at them. Eventually both simmered down. I do not know anyone in the area that has them. I will need to lookup what they eat, so far it is dog food and it seems to like it. It just started back up. It will sound for another 15-30 minutes

  62. How do you get rid of guinea hens? We live in a residential area and one neighbor left them for the neighborhood when he left. They love my yard and are trying to lay eggs in my front bushes. We have about 20 of them but only started with two. thanks

  63. I have 26 hens and 3 roosters. We are adding 10 more hens in May and I’m contemplating getting some Guinea Hens. The ticks are terrible where we live. We have 10 acres and our neighbor actually asked if we were getting guinea hens to help with the tick population so we know they are ok with it.

    My questions are:
    1) How do you ensure the chickens eat the chicken feed and the guinea’s eat their feed?
    2) My hens and roosters are free pasture and can go anywhere – do you think this will be a problem? Will the guinea hens lifestyle draw my chickens out deeper into the woods and entice them to not come into the coop at night?
    3) Will the guineas hurt my roosters?
    4) Do i have to have a male guinea hen? Or can I just have a flock of 5-6 females?

  64. We live in an area with lots of trees, and thus, we have mosquitoes. We just installed a pool, and are worried about being carried off by the evil creatures.

    My husband has had guineas in the past, that he got as keets. They free ranged and never wandered off. Recently, we purchased 7 guineas. They are young, but not extremely. After issues with raccoons, we are left with 3. They have been contained in a 12×24 chain link dog lot. We had to reinforce it with chicken wire, to cut down on ‘coon casualties.

    We want to let them free range. But we are afraid they will all find new homes. The man we got them from, said to keep them confined for a week, then let one out for a week. Then, another and so on. They’ve been contained for 2 weeks now. Do you have any better advice? I know it is a risk, not being raised as keets, but they are so entertaining, I’d hate to lose them.

    Also, there is one bird, that another bird harasses. He/she will come to eat, then the dominant bird will flap its wings and frighten the bird behind a dog house that is in their lot. Should I not worry about that?


  65. Jennifer is a full-time homesteader who started her journey in the foothills of North Carolina in 2010. Currently, she spends her days gardening, caring for her orchard and vineyard, raising chickens, ducks, goats, and bees. Jennifer is an avid canner who provides almost all food for her family needs. She enjoys working on DIY remodeling projects to bring beauty to her homestead in her spare times.

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  67. neighbor has guinea hens, lets them free-range now they are taking over my yard . this is not wanted they are very noisy and scare the wife. what can I do to keep them off my property

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