Guinea Fowl Becomes Violent

I was sorry to hear that one of my reader’s guinea fowl, which they keep as a pet, has suddenly turned violent.

Hello

I have a question about my guinea fowl. I don’t know if it is a male or female. I have had it for a year now and it has been a fun family pet. Yesterday it started to violently attack me and it stabbed my leg with its claw and now we can’t go outside without protection. What is wrong with my guinnea? I was told to put it to sleep but we don’t want to do that if we don’t have to. Please get back to me as soon as you can. Thankyou for your time. charity

Hi Charity,
I am sorry to hear that your guinea fowl has suddenly become violent.

There are a number of ways to tell if a guinea fowl is male or female.

  • Females make 1 and 2 syllable calls .V. Males only make 1 syllable call.
  • Females hang lower to the ground .V. Males have more upright posture.
  • Females have smaller wattles .V. Males have longer, larger cupped wattles.
  • Females have smaller helmets .V. Males have larger helmets.Here is a link to a video clip of the female guinea fowl call. http://www.farmingfriends.com/female-guinea-fowl-call/I have never seen guinea fowl become aggressive with humans, although if I disturb the guinea fowl hen when she is sitting on her nest then she will try to stab my boots.If your guinea fowl is a female this is the time that the guinea fowl wish to sit on their eggs, if you are in the UK. Today I had 6 guinea fowl hens that were all sitting on nests and they do not like it when I get them off the nest so that predators can’t get them at night. You say that your guinea fowl is a pet, if this was the case for me I think that I would consider ringing my vet up and having a chat over the phone about the change in the guinea fowls behaviour. The vet may be able to offer advice over the phone and this may not incur a cost.
    Your guinea fowl could be ill as often aggression in animals can be a sign that the animal is in pain, so it may be a good idea to talk to a vet, but the decision is yours.
    I hope this helps.
    Kind regards
    Sara @ farmingfriendsIf you have experience of guinea fowl showing violent behaviour and can offer advice to Charity, then please leave a comment, thanks.
  • 7 thoughts on “Guinea Fowl Becomes Violent

    1. Thank you for all your posts. We have a pair of guinea fowl and they are about 9 months old now and our male has attacked or “pushed” my 6 yr old daughter as she put it and it right out attacked my best friend while she was sitting outside. He always waits until our backs are to him, even tho others are standing around watching him, he will target the one person that has their back to him. So we’ve started carrying a stick just to fend him off. I figured out thru your forums that it was the male being the aggressive/attacker. So thanks from Texas for all your website. I am learning alot.

    2. I know this is a year after the original message, but thought my post might be helpful to another. I have had guineas for 8 years, bought chicks, raised, had babies and put up with fighting males, omega & alpha hens & subsequent predators. Both genders can charge/attack you during laying season. I have been cut/scarred across my face & eye after being charged by a hen. I now know that there are warning charges & one must heed these warnings by waiting to replenish food & H2O, etc. after the warnings settle. The most difficult thing for us is seeing some newbies or omegas getting picked on, pecked and bloodied or even driven from the flock. Sometimes these attacks will cease or happen less often, as well allowing the omega some freedom and peace. I have read that it may be necessary to remove an aggressor from the flock for a week or so, and/or allowing the omega to go in the coop at dusk first or last and also having a hiding shelf or area for it. Raising guineas is hard work, stinky and heartbreaking, but they do eat ticks & lay very tasty smallis brown eggs – you can retrieve when they aren’t roosting. Our guineas get along well w/our Aracona chickens in the same coop. The barn cats are kept at bay by the warning hens, but our dogs are kept separate as they get along some weeks then out of the blue our border collie or red heeler will eat 3 hens at a time. The guineas also enjoy being in the pasture w/the horses. I hope that some of this will help whomever may come upon this post. Good luck with your hen raising! Joan from Ohio.

    3. Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for your comments here. I would say that this behaviour sounds like it is linked to the mating season. I have never experienced this behaviour with my male guinea fowl so I can only guess that this is what it’s linked to.
      I tend not to interact with my guinea fowl during the day when it is egg laying time which may be why I haven’t experienced this behaviour. I use a stick to sometimes drive my guinea fowl in the direction I need to go. I never touch the guinea fowl with the stick, only guide them in the direction I want them to go, so I think having a stick as a barrier between you and the aggressive male guinea and a way of warning the guinea fowl is useful.
      I hope that your guinea does calm down in the fall. do you have names for your guinea fowl.
      As I have mentioned in my other comments to you, I do have a free forum with a section on guinea fowl with guinea fowl enthusiasts from all over the world contributing and sending in photos.
      Thanks again for all your contributions to the farmingfriends website.
      I look forward to hearing more about your guinea fowl.
      kind regards
      Sara @ farmingfriends

    4. I see where my last post is a bit confusing regarding my female’s nest. Her nest was first in the wild, but I think I may have disturbed its surroundings by going through the thick brush. The male would charge originally only near that nest in the wild. However, she has, as of yesterday, started laying in the chicken tractor in a dug out hole on the ground. Just an fyi 🙂

    5. I’m in the US, and I have seen this behavior in my now nearly 9-month-old lead male guinea. It started in the last month, around the time my single female guinea started digging out a nest (I found some eggs in our chicken tractor and hope she keeps laying there).

      The female had made a nest in the wild, and when I walked within…I’d say about 40 feet of it, he’d jump at me. Then, this behavior went from this area specifically to anywhere in the yard. I posted on another guinea forum asking if this aggression is tied to mating season and if he’ll go back to Mr. Niceguy after its over, but I received no response for the past 5 days. I’m guessing that maybe no one knows?

      I now carry a stick with me and just sort of point it at me when he gets “the look” in his eyes. Seems to work.

      We’ll see if he calms back down in the fall. I’m hoping so b/c he’s my favorite of my flock. Stay tuned…

    6. Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for visiting farmingfriends and leaving a comment.
      I am lucky to say that I have not had experience of a guinea fowl becoming violent with another animal, bird or human.
      If your guinea fowl is definately a female then I would imagine that this behaviour is due to her coming into lay and protecting her territory, nest site and eggs. My only experience of guinea fowl becoming slightly aggressive is when I have to get them off the nest so that predators don’t get them. If your gunea fowl is a female then maybe she is attacking the goat as she feels under threst or feels that her eggs/nest will be under threat from the goat.
      Have you considered that your guinea fowl maybe ill as sometimes animals can become agreesive for no apparent reason and later it is found out that it is due to an illness.
      Males often demonstrate aggressive traits so your guinea fowl could be a male. Does your guinea make the two syllable call (female) that sounds like come back, come back, comeback as well as the one syllable call or just the one syllable call (male) that sounds like ah, ah, ah, ah,ah.
      Hope that your goat is ok. Let me know how you get on.
      Just to let you know that I recently set up a free forum with a section on guinea fowl. http://farmingfriends.com/forums/forum.php?id=6
      kind regards
      Sara @ farmingfriends

    7. Hi:
      It’s late February here in NE and last week my female (I think) of one year just went from sweet, inquisitive and social, to Attila the Hun overnight. She is attacking my full size goats constantly and does not appear to be in any pain. She is acting territorial maybe? Prepping for motherhood? Any suggestions? My poor goats are really taking a beating and I can’t seperate them. Thanks

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