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Helmeted Guinea Fowl

Overall satisfaction

3.5/5

Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)

Gender: Both

Appearance

4/5

Temperament

2/5

Health

5/5

Easy to feed

4/5

Foraging ability

5/5

Easy to provide habitat

3/5

Meat quality

5/5

Egg quantity

4/5

Helmeted guinea fowl – semi wild birds

By

Posted Aug 02, 2016

Even as a child I had the opportunity to get acquainted to this unusual poultry. I was particularity thrilled about them because of their almost unreal looks which is completely different from all other domestic fowl. When I began to keep them more than 20 years ago, I learned many interesting things about their biology and behavior. Nowadays they art a fancy addition to my organic garden where they are employed as natural insecticide.

I realized that these semi-wild birds are not fully committed to life on the farm. Although they spend most of the day under the dry farm roof in the winter months, with the first days of spring, their natural instinct drives them to move and escape from the farm to nature. Then they stop feeding on the grains and shift their diet to catching insects and grazing grass. It is only in the evening when they come back to the farm and climb a tree or an elevated area where they sleep. In the season of egg laying they exhibit their most extraordinary interesting behavior. Then, they become true wild birds as they are very well camouflaged, so it is virtually impossible to find their nest, even when you are standing just a few feet from them.

The eggs are smaller than the chicken ones, oval in shape and pointed on one end with very hard shell. Therefore, each child in my country rejoices the opportunity of acquiring a guinea fowl egg for Easter to have it painted as it is going to be the tool for winning the game of ‘egg cracking’ winning even the competitors with giant geese eggs. The eggs are very tasty and guinea fowl hens can lay over 150 eggs during the summer. If you are not skillful to find the nest, the hen will incubate eggs for 26 days and you will be surprised to see a small flock of 15-20 fledglings brought back to the farm by their mum.

Some of the advantages of keeping guinea fowl are their resilience, they are peaceful towards other birds and they are good layers. Their meat is delicious and resembles that of a game birds like pheasants. And of course, their appearance is unique because each feather is covered with a multitude of white dots reminiscent of pearls. That is why guinea fowl are being called ‘biserka’ in my country meaning the ‘pearled bird’, but they are also known as ‘dukatka’ after their call as they advertise themselves by repeating the sound resembling the word ‘dukat, dukat, dukat’ – meaning the ‘golden coin’. Some of the disadvantages of keeping the guinea fowl are that they are very loud and difficult to keep on the farm yard, so it is recommendable to have their wings clipped. Furthermore, they need a longer period to mature so that they reach sexual maturity at the age of 10 months and the egg laying can not be speeded up, before the next spring.

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