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Vulturine Guinea Fowl

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Scientific name: Acryllium vulturinum

Other common names: Vulturine Guineafowl; Vulturine Guinea; Vulturine

The basics:
The Vulturine Guineafowl is a beautiful bird with a hideous name. This savannah species prefers open country with scattered trees and brush to allow for roosts or hiding, which can make it a good bird for the grounds of a hobby farm or country estate, as well as the grasslands of east Africa.

Appearance:
Despite the bald head and neck that gives the Vulturine Guineafowl its name, this largest of the guineas is a spectacular bird that continues to gain admirers in aviculture. White pin dots or “pearls” speckle the black wings, thighs, and lower back. Long blue and white plumes circle the neck, partly hiding and partly revealing the cobalt blue breast. A fashion designer couldn't have done it better. The sexes are much alike, although females run smaller.

Average weight:
1.6 - 1.8 kilograms (3.5 - 4 lbs.)

Lifespan:
10 - 15 years

Health:
Vulturine Guinea Fowl, like any other poultry that ranges over the ground, may be susceptible to worm infections. A good veterinarian is your best advisor at how to de-worm your birds. Coccidiosis should be battled by providing a scrupulously clean coop. Be aware that these insect-eaters have a very high need for protein. If you are raising the youngsters, known as keets, you must be careful to supply crumbles with the right amount of protein to prevent sudden death. Some breeders advise providing live mealworms.

Behavior / temperament:
Although some birds have been observed to make caring and protective fathers, the male Vulturine Guinea Fowl is capable of being aggressive both toward his human keepers and toward his mate. It's crucial to provide adequate cover to allow the female to make a safe getaway when she isn't in the mood. Like the Helmeted Guinea Fowl, they are capable of being extremely noisy, so they are not suitable for people with close neighbors.

Housing:
Because of their exotic appearance, Vulturine Guinea Fowl have been kept in pairs in large well-planted mixed species aviaries as well as free-ranging on estates. Aviaries should have plenty of cover, to protect the female from her mate when he's feeling too aggressive. Train free-ranging birds to return to a secure roost or enclosure at night, so that they won't be a victim of night-time predators. It is important to start from an early age, so that the birds will follow you pretty much without question. Experts suggest having a light on a timer in the coop that goes on automatically before sunset, since guineas are chary of entering a dark place. They are from a hot climate, so you need to be able to provide heat to the shelter when the temperature falls below 45 degrees F.

Diet:
Vulturine Guinea Fowl are often kept free-ranging in collections with the better-known Helmeted Guinea Fowl, and they seem to do well on a similar diet. They may be considered omnivorous birds who aren't afraid to eat almost anything that doesn't run away fast enough, be it seeds, insects, ticks, small frogs, snakes, lizards, and even rodents. However, they have a huge appetite for insects and similar “bugs” like ticks, which is one reason they are so highly regarded on lawns, in gardens, and around the farmyard. Obviously, for many people, these birds prove most useful (and most beautiful) when allowed to free range around the property for their own food. However, be prepared to supplement the diet with a high quality game bird or laying crumble, as well as plenty of greens and grains. Adult females generally require a calcium supplement.

Vulturine Guinea Fowl are tough birds known to go a long time without drinking water. However, there is no reason to test this in a captive setting. Clean water should always be available in case they should need it.

Written by Elaine Radford

wonderful

display birds, gorgeous birds

challenging

indoor flight cage

interesting

romaine lettuce, temperate climates

Vulturine Guinea Fowl Health Tip

Vulturine Guinea Fowl

From Jul 3 2013 9:33AM

5/5

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