A Guide to Raising Guinea Fowl

Raising guinea fowl can be a challenge, but this poultry species can also be a big help around the homestead.

| July 5, 2013

Raising Poultry

Find everything you need to know about keeping a healthy and safe flock in “Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry.”

Cover Courtesy Storey Publishing

Whether in your backyard or on a small farm, poultry can provide you with fresh eggs, meat as well as endless entertainment. In Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry (Storey Publishing, 2012), find extensive breed coverage and complete daily care and feeding instructions from author and expert Glenn Drowns. Learn about raising guinea fowl in this excerpt from chapter 14, “Guineas.”

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry.

Guinea fowl are to the poultry world what cats are to the pet world — you either love them or you hate them. Hailing from the sub-Sahara region of Africa, no other poultry species is quite like these birds, and raising guinea fowl takes some patience. Some days you’ll find them to be the most annoying creatures on the face of the earth. In fact, a great number of people never consider them a relaxing pastime, while others believe guineas are the perfect match for their situation. You’ll either be able to tolerate and appreciate their lifestyle, habits, and mannerisms or you’ll put an ad in the next edition of the local newspaper in an effort to quickly be rid of them. Believe me, there are times when I ask myself why I live with these independent-thinking, strange birds. They have more quirks than any poultry species I’ve ever raised, but they are mostly a joy and a help to us here on Sandhill Farm.

Beneficial Birds

Please don’t get me wrong: I think anyone can appreciate guineas in their farmyard, as they have a number of great qualities. Their noise — sometimes extremely irritating, especially the females with a rabid, low-pitched buckwheat sound — can drive even the sanest person to madness. Lest we forget, the males make a loud noise warning everything in the barnyard every time there’s something new around. But I appreciate them for their watchdog abilities.

Natural Alarm System

I know that when I’m working in the garden or about the farm, if someone drives in the driveway, gets out of their car, and starts walking toward the guineas’ pens, they will set up a fuss. Each situation results in a different noise, noises I can differentiate. I know how the sound of their squabbling is different from their alarm. I walk among them often and have discovered that once they recognize me as their owner they don’t raise a fuss. Visitors often ask how I put up with that noise and I explain that it’s usually only present when there’s something disturbing them or something unfamiliar nearby.

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