Bred animal myself
Posted Jul 17, 2015
My parents started raising fowls with chicks . They raised them all together.
It is easier to start with keets. Older guinea fowl will often leave to find their way "home" just as soon as you turn them loose. When young, the keet can be handled easily. You can even teach a keet to sit on your finger! Of course, this is only if you handle them often. While it is not necessary to make keets so tame that they will allow being handled, some enjoy this accomplishment. If not handled at all, the keets and adults will be rather jumpy and wild, never allowing you to touch them willingly.
Personally, I grew a personnal relationship with only one of them, knowing we would probably eat the rest of the fowls at one time or another.
Keets must be kept warm until they are fully feathered. For that purpose you need a brooder with room enough to get away from the heat until they are fully feathered (6 weeks). You can put them together along with your chicks, to reduce the costs.
As keets, feed them preferably with turkey grower ( richer in protein). You also need to buy some medicated food to prevent any outbreak of coccidiosis.
In most of cases, especially if you buy an important number of keets, you will loose some of them, the most fragile ones.
Raising keets is therefore both expensive ( more than for chickens) and time-consuming, but as they grow adults the costs decrease considerably.
As adults, they all were on pasture in the daytime, and put up in a coop at night with chickens, and later the turkeys we had. By raising and training the chickens and guineas together, our guineas easily came up to roost in coop along with the chickens. The female guinea fowl didn't necessarily lay in the nest box, but they would lay in the coop and then go back out and free range. Some of them also laid outdoor, on the ground. Guinea Hens will often share nests, which explains finding the addition of 2 or more eggs to a nest in a day.
Once there is a clutch of 20-30 eggs, a guinea hen might decide to go broody, then she will stay on the nest. If she is determined, she will safely hatch those eggs, and take care of her keets. Nevertheless guinea hens are not the best mothers ever, sometimes taking their keets out into wet grass or leaving them in the rain, which is the keets worst enemy. In all the years we have raised guineas, we never brought any keets home alive on her own. Either a predator or the wet grass got to them first.
Our hen's yard had a 6 foot fence around it, mainly to keep the hens protected from the fox ( we were located close to a forest). But, the fowls sometimes fled over it to roam. In order to protect them, we trimmed their wings.
Guineas eat whatever I feed the chickens. Their diet consisted of 90% bugs and weed seeds. One of the biggest advantage of having guinea fowls at home is that they will eat the nasty bugs that destroys your flowers.
Nevertheless ( and even if their meat tastes extremelyyyy good) there are several important disadvantages of having guinea fowls.
First of all they are extremely loud, they like screaming and screeching, not only clucking. Most of people will tell you they're as good as a watchdog and this is true to a certain extent. Indeed, guineas will alert you to strange dogs, people and cars coming on to your property. BUT they will also alert you to the fact that a door just slammed, the wind blew, or a car drove by a mile down the road or if one of them gets axay from the group… which can be really annoying, espacially if they are located close to your house.
Then they can also be aggressive to one another. This is one of the main reason if you want to breed both chickens and guineas, better to do it from the beginning. Whenever we added the young birds- both guinea and chicken- to our adults flock the usual fight for top bird began. All of this ended up with chickens missing their tail and back feathers. This is even worst if you have chickens and guineas roosters ( guineas can be real bullies!). Better buying strong and tough breed of chickens, with big roosters, if you insist on having both guinea and chicken roosters.