The guinea fowl are poultry birds originating from Africa. Many poultry farmers in Africa are doing Guinea Fowl farming business successfully, mainly for making profits.
The Guinea fowls are also sometimes called as guineas, pintades or gleanies. They were actually wild birds and the modern birds are the domesticated form of the helmeted Guinea Fowl.
And they are related to other game birds such as the turkeys, partridges and pheasants. There is evidence that domestic Guinea Fowl were present in Greece by the 5th century BC, although the exact timing of their domestication is unknown.
The guinea fowl are very hardy, vigorous and largely disease-free birds. They are increasingly popular among the keepers of small and backyard flocks.
Currently they are available not only in Africa, but also found and popular throughout the world.
People prefer guinea fowl farming for many reasons. The guineas sound an alarm whenever anything unusual occurs on the farm, and the loud sound has also been shown to discourage rodents from invading the area.
Some people find this to be a nuisance, but others find it to be an effective tool for protecting the farm.
The guineas are also an effective means of pest control. The flocks of guineas generally will kill and eat mice and small rats.
They can also be used for controlling insects, without affecting garden vegetables or flowers. They are used for controlling wood ticks and insects such as crickets, grasshoppers and flies.
There are also some downfalls of guinea fowl farming. They are noisy, so your neighbors might not appreciate your new flock.
Guineas generally much prefer to roam freely, although they can be kept confined. The more space you have to allow your birds to roam, the happier they will be.
In most cases, the guineas are not as tame as the chickens and they are hard to catch if you let them roam. However, read some more information about guinea fowl farming below.
Advantages of Guinea Fowl Farming Business
Guinea fowl farming is not a new business idea. People are raising them as domestic poultry birds from the ancient time.
It is a good poultry bird and raising these birds is relatively easy. Here we are trying to describe the top advantages of guinea fowl farming business.
- It’s not a new business, and many people are already raising guinea fowls for making profits, and also for producing food.
- Guinea fowls are relatively strong and hardy birds as compared to many other domestic poultry birds. So, raising and caring them is relatively easy.
- Guineas are relatively smaller sized birds, so they will require less housing space. And their accommodation costs are relatively less.
- As they are very strong and hardy, so they suffer less by diseases or other health problems.
- You can feed them with almost everything what you can manage easily.
- Commercial production is very profitable. And it can be a good employment source for the educated unemployed people.
- Demand of guinea fowl products is good. So, you don’t have to worry much about marketing your products.
- You can enjoy fresh guinea fowl meat or eggs if you start your own guinea fowl farming business.
How to Start Guinea Fowl Farming Business
Steps for staring guinea fowl farming business is almost similar to other poultry birds, such as chickens. But before staring a flock, you must check local zoning regulations to make sure that raising gamebird is permitted.
Checking this is important specially when starting guinea fowl farming, because they will range and cross the boundaries of a small lot. They are generally pretty quiet, but can be very noisy if disturbed.
They are generally more active than the chickens and not tamed easily, and they seem to retain some of their wild behavior. However, read the steps for starting guinea fowl farming business carefully.
Select a Good Location
You have to select a very good location with all required facilities. You can also use your existing land for raising guineas. Consider following criteria while selecting land for guinea fowl farming.
- Select a calm, noise and pollution free location for raising guineas.
- Ensure good supply of adequate amount of clean and fresh water.
- Having electricity facility will be good.
- Ensure good transportation system is available near the selected land.
The Guineas generally require less housing facilities compared to other common poultry birds.
They are often left to fend for themselves. But it is wise to provide a shelter for protecting them from high winds, sun, cold, rain and predators.
Their house or shelter can be a room allocated in the barn or a purpose-built facility specifically for guineas.
Generally 2-3 square feet space will be good for each bird. It is important to provide the guineas plenty of room, if you confine your birds.
The more room they have, the less likely they are to become stressed.
Consider good flooring facilities, and the floor of the pen should be covered with an absorbent bedding material such as wood shavings or chopped hay or straw.
If the litter is kept dry, it can stay in place for several months. Providing perches is very important, because guinea fowl prefer to roost.
You must keep your guineas in covered pens, if you want to keep your birds from wandering in a specific area.
The guineas are excellent flyers, and they are able to fly at a very early age. They are able to fly up to 400-500 feet at a time.
They are also very good runners and they prefer to move on foot, including when escaping from predators.
If you have chickens in your farm, then you should not confine the male guineas with chickens especially if there are roosters in the same flock.
The guineas will chase the roosters, keeping them from food and water when the male guineas are housed with the roosters full-time.
But if your flock is allowed to range freely during the day and is locked up only at night, it is safe to keep the guineas and roosters in the same barn.
It also safe to house them together in a short-term emergency such as a blizzard or other bad weather.
Provide your guineas with some nest boxes if you are keeping your birds for egg production (for hatching or human consumption).
Nest boxes available in the market which are designed for the chickens are generally acceptable.
You can also provide them some homemade nest boxes. Keep the guinea hens confined to the house until noon each day so that they will lay eggs inside. Doing this will reduce the likelihood of hens laying eggs in hidden nests outside.
Select and Purchase Guineas
After setting the house or shelter, consider purchasing high quality birds from local breeders, online sellers or feed stores.
You can either buy adult or keets. But it will be much easier to tame the birds if you can raise them from keets.
Purchasing healthy and high quality keets is the key to success in guinea fowl farming business.
The guineas are available in a variety of ‘pure-bred’ colors. But many of the birds are cross-bred, resulting in multicolored feathers.
Feather color of these birds is the only difference between the different varieties. The guineas are monogamous creatures, purchasing them in pairs is best.
Identifying male and and female birds is very difficult, but not impossible. You can identify male and female if you look for these things.
- The males generally have larger wattles than the females.
- The females generally make a two-syllable sound, while the males make a single-syllable sound.
- The males have a narrower opening between their pelvic bones than the females.
- If you hold the guinea under one arm and use your free hand to feel the bones, you should notice a distance of about two fingers on males and three fingers on females.
After purchasing the birds, it is best to keep them confined for a week or two to let them become accustomed to their new home.
They could run away, if you let them out right away. It is good to confine them in a pen where they can see the area where they will be living. Let one bird out after the initial couple of weeks.
As the guineas hate to be alone, so the single bird will not go far and will learn it’s way around the area.
Let a second guinea out after a few days to round with the first. It is generally safe to let the rest out, if they stay near the pen.
The guineas generally love to roam freely, and they forage for themselves and are able to meet most of their nutrition requirements on their own.
They generally consume a variety of insects and arachnids, weed seeds, slugs, worms and caterpillars. They need to consume some greens for maintaining good digestion.
So they eat grasses, weeds, dandelions and other vegetation. It is important to ensure the availability of grit, because they love to consume vegetation.
They also benefit from having oyster shell available. They generally prefer wheat, sorghum or millet grain and they will ignore whole corn kernels.
Restricting their feed will encourage them to spend more time eating insects if you are keeping them for pest control.
If you want to keep your birds confined, and if they are not allowed to forage freely then you can feed them commercial poultry feed.
Using unmedicated feeds is good for them. Compared to chickens, the guineas require a higher protein enriched feed. But they generally do quite well on regular poultry diet.
The keets need extra protein, so keeping between 24 and 26 percent protein will be good. The protein level should be reduced to 18% to 20% for the fifth to eighth weeks.
After eight weeks, the keets can be fed a 16% layer mash. You can mix a higher protein feed with a lying-hen mash to get the proper protein level, if you can’t find feeds in the proper protein levels.
Pelleted feed is not recommended for the guineas, and they should be fed mash or crumbles.
Providing supplemental greens will be good for the guineas (such as leafy alfalfa), and they will eat the leaves.
It is also important to remove any leftovers daily for preventing a mold problem.
Like many other poultry birds, the guinea fowls are naturally very good breeders. They will breed easily and produce fertile eggs if you keep good ratio of male and females in your flock.
Generally one male is kept with one female. But you can increase the number of females. One male bird will be enough to breed 5-6 females.
The guinea fowl are not too good for taking care of their delicate little keets. They will sometime abandon a nest even after the hen has gotten broody and spent several nights on the eggs.
Move the eggs to an incubator right away, if you notice that a nest has been abandoned.
You can use a store-bought incubator, following the instructions for incubating turkey or pheasant eggs if no specific instructions are provided for guinea eggs. The incubation period is between 26 and 28 days.
You will need to care for the keets once they have hatched. They need to care until they have fully developed feathers and are strong enough to hold their own with the rest of the flock. Using a broody hen can be helpful for hatching the eggs and raising the keets.
Diseases & Health Problems
Guinea fowls are very strong and hardy birds, and they are less susceptible to diseases and other health problems. Although, you should always keep good contact with a vet in your area.
Marketing guinea fowl products is very easy and simple. Guinea fowl products (both meat and eggs) have very good demand and value in the market. Hope you will be able to market your products easily.
Additional Guinea Fowl Information
- Guinea fowl farming is fun and profitable at the same time if you can manage everything perfectly.
- The guineas are generally raised as valuable pest controllers, eating many insects. They are especially beneficial in controlling the Lyme disease-carrying deer tick, as well as wasp nests.
- But they are rarely kept in large numbers. Most of the farmers used to keep a few guineas with other fowl to be used as a security system against birds of prey.
- They can also be raised for both meat and egg production. Their eggs can be eaten just like chicken eggs. Meat of the young birds is tender and tastes like that of wild game birds.
- The meat is lean and rich in essential amino acids. The meat can be cooked using any recipe that calls for chicken.
- Many color variations of the guineas available within the domesticated species.
- These color varieties include white, slate, chocolate, purple, bronze, buff dundotte, blonde, coral blue, lavender and various pieds.
- Three main varieties are raised in the United States which are lavender, pearl and white.
- But the pearl variety is the most popular and typically the one that people recognize most readily. And the feathers from the pearl variety are often used for ornamental purposes.
- Always try to take good care of your birds if you want to gain success in guinea fowl farming.
These are the steps and ways for starting and operating a successful guinea fowl farming business. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!
Frequently Asked Questions
People ask many questions about guinea fowl farming. Here we are trying to list the most common questions about starting and operating a successful guinea fowl farming business, and trying to answer them. Hope you will find your answer. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.
Is guinea fowl farming profitable?
Yes, commercial guinea fowl farming is a very profitable business. But you have to set your marketing strategies before starting this business. Because, you will not be able to make good profits without proper marketing strategies. So, ensure a good market is available before stating this business.
How to start guinea fowl farming business?
Starting a commercial or small scale guinea fowl farming business is relatively easy. It’s just like starting any other poultry farming business. You just have to select a very good farm location, make a good house for your birds, feed them good quality foods and always try to take good care of them.
How long does it take for guinea fowl to mature?
Just like chickens, the guinea fowl also take between 16 and 20 weeks to mature.
What do you feed guinea fowl?
You can feed your guinea fowls with commercial poultry feeds.
How many eggs do guineas lay a year?
Guineas are not among the highly egg productive poultry birds. They will lay around 100 eggs per year.
Is guinea fowl farming profitable in South Africa?
Yes, commercial guinea fowl farming is a very profitable business in South Africa. But you have to set your marketing strategies before starting this business. Because, you will not be able to make good profits without proper marketing strategies. So, ensure a good market is available before stating this business.
How many guinea fowl should I get per acre?
If you rely only on feeding your guinea fowl from natural sources, then having around or up to 30 birds per acre will be enough.
What is the lifespan of a guinea fowl?
Average lifespan of a guinea fowl is around or up to 12 years.
Do guinea fowl keep snakes away?
Yes, guinea fowls are an excellent way for protecting your yard from uninvited snakes. Guinea fowls will sound out loudly to alert you of the presence of a snake. If the snake is small, a flock may encircle the snake and may even kill it.
Do guinea fowl need water?
Yes, sure! Actually, the guinea fowl need water more than food. They can survive longer without food, but can survive well without water.
How many times a day should you feed a guinea fowl?
Depends on the age of the birds. You should feed your mature guineas once or twice a day.
How much can you sell guinea fowl for?
Depends on numerous factors and the price can vary from place to place. But on an average, you can expect the price between $4 and $8.
How much does a full grown guinea fowl cost?
A full grown guinea fowl will cost you around or upto $10.
Can you make money on guinea fowl?
Yes, sure! Raising guinea fowl is a very lucrative business and you can make good profits from this business.
What is poisonous to guinea fowl?
Chocolate or caffeine products are poisonous to guinea fowl. So, never feed your guineas with such food.
Do guinea fowl eat mosquitoes?
Yes, they eat mosquitoes. Actually, the main food for guineas are insects. And they eat flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, ticks, worms, slugs, crickets, ants and other insects.
Can guinea fowl live with chickens?
Yes, you can keep guinea fowl and chickens together.
Are guineas hard to keep?
Yes, raising guinea fowl is relatively easy.
Will guinea fowl fly away?
Yes, the guinea fowls are excellent escape artist. And they will fly away if you do not have good fencing.
At what age do guinea fowl lay eggs?
The guinea hens generally start laying eggs at their 1 year of age.
How often do guinea fowl lay eggs?
Guinea fowls are seasonal layers. The guinea hens lay one egg daily during their breeding season. And depending on the location, breeding season of the guinea fowls is between March/April to September/October.