Guinea fowl are poultry originating in Africa. The name translates as “royal bird.” The history of domestication of this species is very long. For the first time they began to breed it in Europe in ancient times. Then the domestic livestock almost disappeared, breeding resumed only in the XV century. Until now, the guinea fowl is a rather exotic bird on homesteads, despite the high value of meat and eggs.The main breeding country is France, they are popular in Germany, Spain and some other European countries.
- View description
- Productivity of guinea fowls
- Breeds of guinea fowls
- Gray-speckled breed
- White Siberian guinea fowl
- Creamy or suede guinea fowl
- Blue guinea fowl
- Volga white guinea fowl
- Zagorskaya white-breasted
- Crested guinea fowl
- Maintenance and care
- Feeding guinea fowl
- Duck guinea fowl
- Breeding guinea fowl
- Feeding and caring for young
Where does a free guinea fowl live and what kind of bird is it? Guinea fowl are found in the high arid regions of Africa. It is populated by low forests, shrouds and steppes covered with shrubs, trying to nest in secluded places and dense thickets. The basis of bird nutrition is seeds and stems of plants, midges, beetles, worms, small reptiles and rodents.
African wild birds have 23 species, the most famous are the vulture guinea fowl and gray-speckled, also forest and crested. The second was domesticated, about 20 breeds were bred from it.Wild guinea fowl are hunted in some regions. After all, you can catch a bird with your own hands, in many countries whole populations were destroyed in this way.
In appearance, the bird is a bit like a chicken, a little like a turkey. You can better consider how the guinea fowl looks in the photo. Here is a general description and description of domestic and wild birds of this species:
- The head and neck are completely naked
- There is a horny growth on the back of the head
- The beak is crooked, medium
- Under the beak, two fleshy processes are visible, the so-called “beard” or “earrings”
- The body is large
- The back is well rounded
- Tail down, smoothly connects to the back
- The wings are shortened, with rounded tips
- The color depends on the breed, most often gray-speckled
Many people ask as guinea fowls shout. These birds are quite noisy, their voice is harsh, somewhat reminiscent of a creak or crackle. The cry of domestic guinea fowls is far from being liked by everyone. Because farmers prefer to keep them away from their own housing. The sound is so disturbing for some that it can even dream of. The dream interpretation says that listening to a guinea fowl’s voice in a dream portends a divorce, but what astrologers can’t think of.
Guinea fowls are half-wild birds, therefore they require a lot of space for walking. Males are not aggressive, but when kept together with chickens, they can engage in fights with roosters.In fights, roosters usually win, but after a few days, fights are repeated again. They say that crossing chickens and guinea fowls results in a hybrid, but no one has seen it. Guinea fowl fly well, because they build high corrals for them. You can just trim the wings.
Productivity of guinea fowls
Breeding and keeping guinea fowls at home is becoming increasingly popular. Of course, the stock of this species is not as large as that of chickens, ducks, geese and even turkeys. But more and more farmers are paying attention to royal birds. The fact is that they have very valuable meat. Breast contains about 95% amino acids, in broilers this indicator is slightly more than 80%. Also, the meat and eggs of guinea fowls have a very high iron content.
The taste of the meat resembles game, soft and tender. For example, French cuisine cannot do without it. A similar meat has a pheasant. The eggs have a very thick shell; they can be stored at 10 ° C for up to six months. In addition, caesar’s testicles are very useful.
The productivity of the king’s birds on the farm pays off, since they are unpretentious in maintenance and eat little.Here are the main product indicators:
- The weight of a male guinea fowl is 1.6-1.9 kg, females are 1.5-1.7 kg
- Egg productivity is 80-180 eggs per year
- The mass of one egg is 40-45 g
- The shape of the egg is pear-shaped
- The color of the eggs is brown or brown-red, speckled
Swine guinea fowls begin in late February and end in the second half of September. Egg production begins in 6-7 months and lasts up to 2-3 years. Therefore, the parent herd for breeding guinea fowl at home is advised to keep two seasons. We must not forget that this species of birds has beautiful decorative feathers. They look especially original in gray-speckled rock. The main color is dark gray, in the center of each feather a white dot surrounded by a black rim.
Of course, the productivity of different species of guinea fowls does not compare with the productivity of other poultry. But do not make a hasty conclusion, to breed and grow them is very profitable. The cost of one and a half kilogram carcass is about 1000 rubles, and a dozen eggs cost 200-300 rubles. We must not forget that the storage of eggs is permissible for 6 months.
Guinea fowl breeds
Over the centuries of breeding guinea fowl at home, many breeds have been bred. They differ among themselves in color and plumage pattern, live weight, egg production. Most varieties are adapted for use in cold climates. Below are the features of guinea fowl breeds and a brief description is given.
Gray-speckled guinea fowl breed is the most popular. It does not differ in high productivity, but it is completely unpretentious, has magnificent decorative feathers. They are dark gray in color, with white spots bordered by a black rim. On the wings in flight, black stripes are clearly visible. The earrings under the beak are bright scarlet, and the growth on the back of the head is blue.
The weight of the female guinea fowl spotted is about 1.6 kg, the male is 1.8 kg. They can be distinguished by the fact that the male has a larger head, a tubercle under the beak is more clearly expressed, larger than the earrings. The egg production rate of gray speckled rock is average, at the level of 80-90 eggs per year, the weight of one testicle is about 45 grams. The properties are carried well preserved up to 3 years, then young birds are needed.
White Siberian guinea fowl
Siberian white guinea fowl is very well adapted to cold weather. The breed based on gray-mottled, was descended from the parents of albinos. A distinctive feature of the species is a white matte plumage. Productivity is slightly higher than gray-mottled. For a year she can lay up to 120 testicles, an adult bird weighs 1.6-1.8 kg. If white guinea fowls have good care and proper feeding, they recover very quickly.
Creamy or suede guinea fowl
The breed is very young, they just started to breed it. As in the previous case, its ancestor was the speckled gray guinea fowl, in which a mutation occurred.Unlike the Siberian varieties, the feather in these birds has a delicate creamy shade on the breast, on the back there is a gray speckled little white, and the neck is naked. This breed is in the process of becoming, can not boast of its high food performance. Weight ranges from 1.5 to 1.7 kg, there are not too many eggs, up to 70-80 pieces per year, weighing up to 45 g.
Blue Guinea Fowl
Blue domestic guinea fowl is a rare breed with high productivity. The feather of a guinea fowl has a special, lilac or blue hue. Against this background, specks are clearly visible, which form even rows and stripes on the wings. Males weigh 1.5-2 kg, and females weigh 2-2.5 kg. Layers lay 120-150 testicles per year, brown, with small black little dots, with a very hard shell. The testis mass is 40-45 g. Unfortunately, breeding and keeping this breed at home is not yet popular, it is rarely seen in a homestead farm.
Volga White Guinea Fowl
White Volga guinea fowl derived from white Siberian. It is particularly notable for its good adaptability. The plumage is white, without a cream shade and yellowness. The productivity of the Volga variety is average, the weight of birds is from 1.65 kg to 1.75 kg, egg production is in the range of 85-90 pieces per year, individual laying layers can lay 100 pieces. Breeding of chickens is slightly more than 50%.
Guinea fowl Zagorsk white-breasted breed also comes from speckled.A distinctive feature of the variety is a white, very magnificent plain plumage on the breast and tummy, light yellow skin. Product performance is quite good. Females weigh 1.7-1.9 kg, males weigh 2-2.2 kg. Over the course of a year, the female carries 120-140 testicles, preserves these indicators up to 2-3 years.
Crested guinea fowl
The crested breed of guinea fowls comes directly from the wild ancestor and is quite rare in home conditions. At the top of the birds there is a beautiful crest of feathers that looks like a hat. The color of the feathers is black. The rest of the head and neck are bare. The plumage on the body is dark with white dots and a blue tint. The beak is blue and its tip is yellow. The weight of the birds is about 1.5 kg, the body length is in the range of 45-50 cm. The number of testicles per year is 55-100 pieces, depending on the regime of keeping and feeding.
Maintenance and care
We told how a guinea fowl looks and what breeds are most often seen in the farmsteads. You have received information about the productivity of the species. But it is advisable to find out everything about guinea fowls, before you get these beautiful birds at home. Only proper care and maintenance at home can make their breeding cost-effective and profitable. This is especially important for beginning farmers.
Birds of wild need free walking, cages are not suitable for them. They need a fairly large area, approximately 30 m of territory per individual. The place should be open, with sparse shrubs and tall grass.Ideally for this, a plot in a field or a small meadow is suitable. In order for home guinea fowl not to fly away, you need to build a two-meter fence around the walk. If you do not provide a free-range livestock, drive it into the shed, its productivity will drop sharply – the number of eggs will decrease, and the rate of weight gain will decrease. Through this cellular content is absolutely unprofitable.
Although the guinea fowl is an African bird, it tolerates cold well. The house can be done without heating. On one square meter can live no more than 2-3 individuals. It is imperative that the guinea fowl perch to the royal birds so that they do not sleep on the floor. The litter is made standard, as for chickens. Its thickness should be about 10 cm. Straw with sawdust and peat is best suited.
A house for keeping guinea fowl at home in the summer can be mobile. In the pen, they make a small house with perches with their own hands, like a large cage where birds can hide at night. In the morning they leave the house and graze on the pasture all day. The livestock should be released for a walk from the barn only after the laying eggs have been laid. Otherwise, they will hover anywhere and a large number of eggs will simply be lost.
In winter, guinea fowl must be kept in a stationary shed. If you make it heated, you can prevent many diseases, colds and increase the productivity of the herd. But this condition is not required. The light in the house is turned on at 7 a.m. in the winter and turned off at 10 p.m. You can keep this species with other birds, guinea fowl and chickens coexist perfectly, they feel good with turkeys. Even in the cold, birds will benefit from walks in an aviary cleared of snow.
Feeding guinea fowl
The diet of guinea fowl in the household varies depending on the time of year, the purpose of specific birds (for fattening or for the parent herd). In summer, the birds can get part of the feed on their own. They with pleasure peck green grass, bugs, even prey on small rodents and lizards, the Colorado beetle is destroyed by guinea fowls. In winter, the basis of the diet is grain, but do not forget about greens. Here is an approximate daily menu of one individual for the spring months, during the period of intensive laying of eggs:
- Oats – 20 g
- Bran from wheat – 20 g
- Barley ground grains – 20 g
- Ground millet – 10 g
- Ground corn grains – 20 g
- Meat and bone meal or dry fish waste – 20 g
- Grated carrots – 20 g
- Hay (best clover) – 15 g
- Green conifer needles – 15 g
- Fodder yeast – 6 g
- Fish oil – 3 g
- Crushed shells – 5 g
- Fresh nettle – 30 g
In winter, the amount of to increase to 25 grams per day per animal, as in green this time, no. A very important component of the diet is needles, especially in winter. It contains a lot of vitamin A, necessary for guinea fowls for normal development. In late February, vitamin supplements are necessarily included in the menu.After the end of the egg production period, the amount of food, especially grain, must be cut so that guinea fowl do not become obese at home. Then their egg production, fertilization of eggs and hatching will decrease.
It is necessary to feed the herd three times a day, in one place and at the same time. Then they will stick to the pen and not run away. It is best to eat at 6, 12 and 16 hours. You can shift this time by 1-2 hours. The menu of the first and last meal is mainly cereal, at lunch they give greens, vegetables. The more guinea fowl eats greens in summer, the better it tolerates winter. It is added to the diet gradually, bringing to the end almost 10 g per day.
Diseases of guinea fowls
You can’t tell everything about guinea fowls at home without talking about pathologies, which are found in this species. Timely identification of symptoms, proper prophylaxis often allows you to save a whole herd. Diseases of domestic guinea fowls are infectious and non-infectious. The following pathologies belong to infections:
- Trichomoniasis. Called by an intracellular parasite Trichomonas. Manifested by diarrhea, loss of appetite, sick guinea fowls cry quietly, without timely help, die a few days later
- Pasteurellosis. Caused by a bacterium, the main symptoms are gray-yellow diarrhea, inactivity, high fever
- Pillorosis. Very often the whole herd perishes from the disease, both adults and chicks.The behavior of birds changes, white-yellow diarrhea appears, coordination is disturbed.
- Mycoplasmosis. The disease is caused in guinea fowl protozoa, the respiratory tract is affected. The main symptoms are coughing, shortness of breath, sneezing, nasal discharge.
- Worms. Often pass asymptomatically, in advanced cases, the bird grows poorly and gains weight, loses activity, feathers become dull.
Of the non-communicable diseases, the most common are:
If you take good care of the bird, feed it fresh products and maintain cleanliness in the chicken coop and aviary, they will not hurt. Timely vaccination will protect them from infections. If a dangerous epizootic has occurred in the herd, the entire population is sent for slaughter. A thorough disinfection is carried out in the room. Guinea fowl will be useful if you contact your veterinarian on time. Perhaps the bird will be able to save. After all, only a doctor can determine what the guinea fowl is sick with and what she needs for treatment.
Breeding guinea fowls
When growing guinea fowls, the parent flock is selected when the chicks turn 6 months old. For 5-6 females, one male is enough to breed a whole herd. This species has one feature that greatly facilitates breeding. Females carry fertilized eggs for another 20 days after mating.Even if the male died, fell ill, or was removed from the house, the material for incubation can be collected for almost a month.
It is best to take eggs in the homestead for reproduction in late April or early May. Males mate successfully when the temperature in the street rises to 17-20 degrees. Even if the female rushes, the testes are empty until the end of April, chicks cannot be removed from them.
Breeding guinea fowl at home can be problematic. The fact is that the maternal instinct in birds is reduced, they do not sit well in the room on the nest. Not all laying hens hatch their testicles well. Therefore, a turkey or a large bentamka chicken is often used as a hen. After laying eggs, the birds can be entrusted with the rearing of young animals. It is also possible that the guinea fowl are hatched in an incubator. The conditions are the same as for chicken eggs, only slightly increase humidity. Hatching occurs after 21 days.
If the turkey incubates the eggs, newborn chickens willingly follow her and hide under the wings. The only problem is that a turkey can take chicks for a walk in wet weather and small guinea fowls catch a cold. Therefore, during rains, the brood hen is kept indoors, not letting it out into the aviary. Chicken is not such a good mom, tiny guinea fowls get used to her worse. But she can raise caesar’s children. The problem can be solved by manually placing the chicks under the wings of the chicken.After a while, she begins to call them to her, and the chicks calmly run to their adoptive mother.
Feeding and caring for young animals
Most often, farmers buy daily guinea fowl and feed them until the fall. With this technique, proper care and feeding of the young should be taken care of. The room where the chickens live should be dry and with good lighting. In the first 3 days, you should maintain a temperature there of 35 degrees, up to the 10th day – 31 degrees, until the third week it is reduced to 27 degrees, and in 30 days the young growth feels good indoors at 21 degrees. It is best to use a brooder to grow guinea fowl chickens.
In the early days, guinea fowl are fed a boiled egg, steamed millet. Then add finely chopped greens, sprouted grains, wheat bran to the menu. In three weeks it is already possible to give ground raw wheat, oats, barley. By the month of young growth is transferred to adult feeding. For normal development, fish oil and flour, yeast, vitamins are included in the diet. Guinea fowl grow quickly, already in three months they weigh more than 1.5 kg, and in 4 most breeds reach their full mass.
How much do daily guinea fowls cost? The price depends on the breed, the number of individuals purchased, ranges from 120 to 200 rubles per head. An incubation egg costs 60-70 rubles. The price of adult guinea fowls is 500-700 rubles per individual. Given the high price of meat, low feed consumption (about 3 kg per kilogram of live weight), you can understand how beneficial it is to keep a guinea fowl at home.It is best to start breeding with the purchase of daily chicks (at least 20 pieces), form a parent herd from them and get your own offspring next year.