Readers have their own ideas about raising guinea fowl that don't line up with the advice given in Practical Animal Husbandry.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/ERIC ISSELÉE
Dear MOTHER EARTH NEWS:
I've just received my first issue and found it very interesting . . . but the excerpt from Practical Animal Husbandry on raising guinea fowl was just that: foul! I've kept the creatures for a long time and speak from personal experience (not from the reading of some USDA publication).
First, using turkey hens as foster mothers for guineas may have been OK years ago before the advent of the currently popular broad-breasted variety of turkey, but it surely won't work today. Today's turkeys are too big and heavy to incubate even their own layings. They simply break them into a mess of scrambled eggs. And, of course, baby guineas wouldn't have a chance under those clumsy feet. Imagine such cruelty to innocent keats!
Also, if the author can't tell the sex of these birds by their call, he just isn't with it. The males and females have extremely different notes. In fact, since their calls change before the distinctive head characteristics appear, this is about the earliest way to distinguish gender in the young guineas.
A note on breeds: There are at present about six or seven color varieties of the common guinea. Other rare species are also available, but are usually expensive and hard to rear.
After the guinea fiasco, I was afraid to read about squab production.