At the beginning of May I received an email from steve in Thailand who has a couple of guinea fowl.
Hi, I am English but live in Chiang Mai, Thailand where I settled due to tourism work. Years ago I bought some young guinea fowl and without effort they lived with our bantams, stayed around the house and provided two broods of chicks. My wife finally got rid of them due to their loud calls upsetting her morning sleep. Recently I came by a piece of land not attached to our house and couldn’t find young guinea fowl so bought a fully grown pair. Having forgotten about their nesting habits i looked at your site for help, which I have gratefully found. BUT… It does seem that the grown guineas of Thailand are a little different. Mine were kept in a large cage with some bantams for a week and appeared friendly and for a couple of releases stayed nearby. Even then they loved flying. Flew into trees, perched on the 2 meter wall, flew over to the neighbours. Then a daog spooked them and they flew to the top of a 60foot tree and stayed there for 24 hours. They came back and I kept them in again for a while. Once released they went back to flying around but have so far returned. They act more like doves or pigeons. Have you heard of this before? I’m hoping to raise and sell some young but so far spend all my time just hoping they come back. My turkeys stay on ground and I hope they don’t learn from the guineas. Its fun just keeping things, my life doesn’t depend on it but may do one day. Thanks, steve.
Thank you for visiting farmingfriends website and I am glad you have found the information about guinea fowl useful.
I was delighted to receive your email. It is interesting to hear from fellow guinea fowl enthusiasts around the world. May I publish your email on my site with your first name and no other personal details, as I think that my other guinea fowl readers will find it interesting to hear about the habits of guinea fowl in Thailand.
My guinea fowl rarely fly unless they are spooked by something or if I haven’t rounded them up soon enough and the light is starting to fade and then they will fly up into a tree or the rafters of the barn. However my guinea fowl have learnt to go into a hut at night but their instinct and natural behaviour would be to roost which they do in their native homeland Africa when living in the wild. I do have some friends that have guinea fowl in the UK and their guineas roost in the trees, except when the females are sitting on the nests which are on the ground. So I wouldn’t say that your guinea fowl were unusual in their flying habits and roosting in trees.
As yours are already adults they may not have been trained from a young age to go into a hut at night but obviously you are training them to go into the hut now. Do you have food and water in the hut for the guinea fowl at night? I do and this seems to encourage the guinea fowl to come in at night. I do have to call my guinea fowl to the hut and make sure that I time it so that they don’t decide to roost but they seem to prefer going in the hut to roosting.
If you are intending to raise the young then you will need to observe where the females lay their eggs and create their nests. Before egg laying season begins the guinea fowl will start to look for nest sites, usually in hedgerows and big clumps of nettles and weeds. Before the eggs laying begins the guinea fowl will start to dig out a shallow hole in the ground where they will lay their eggs.Once egg laying begins I try to observe where they go and most of my guinea fowl lay after lunch. You can alos see tracks through the undergrowth which will help you find the nests. Once they are laying and start to sit you will need to protect the guinea hens from predators. I have not had much success with this. if I try to put a run over the hen and it disturbs her then she leaves the nest and won’t go back. Also if you move the eggs she generally doesn’t sit on them again. So if you want your guinea fowl to sit in a safe place then I would try to create a nest area that is safe from predators that you can get a guinea hen to sit in so you don’t disturb her once she has gone broody. Once she does go broody she won’t want to leave the nest and you won’t have to disturb her because you know she is sat in a safe place.
Like you I enjoy keeping my guinea fowl and my guinea fowl go in a hut at night with hens and ducks. My hens and ducks don’t seem to behave like the guinea fowl so I don’t think your turkeys will. Generally other breeds only start to behave in a similar way if there is only one of them and they want company from the other breed.
Hope my ramblings are useful.
Let me know how your guinea fowl get on. Do you have any photos? What plummage do your guinea fowl have? Mine are all lavendar except one pearl on and one white guinea fowl.
Sara @ farmingfriends
Sara, you can publish whatever you wish, I have no problems with that. I have christened my guineas Amelia and Orville after two very famous flyers. In the 3 times I have let them out I have had to cycle around the village to get them back and most of my neighbours have now seen low flying guinea fowl. I keep them in a caged run, 3m long x 1m wide x 1m tall with cut grass and dead leaf litter on the dry earth and a corrugated roof to ward off our oncoming monsoons and our powerful sun. I think due to our more African weather there will be a change to your English laying season. There is plastic sun protection sheets over half of the cage which lets them hide away a bit. There is also another cage running off this one so that the bantams and turkeys are close but not mixed in. I’m hoping in due course to let them out more when I feel they have settled better. The hen has so far layed two eggs on the floor of the cage. I will slip them under a bantam soon. I would love to be more adventurous and leave them out straight away but here in Chiang Mai (North Thailand) we have feral cats and dogs that attack chickens in open spaces. Plus some of my neighbours swear there are rats that climb into henhouses and kill. I recently lost 5 birds at nighttime to something that climbed into the pen. My new arrangement is all iron posts and wire mesh, so far pest proof. I had to go 60 miles to a market to buy them and pay 15 quid each for them so I am protecting my investment so to speak. When I have some young strutting around behind a bantam during the day I will leave Amelia and Orville to the joys of wanderlust if thats what they want. I have no idea about lavender, pearl or white but will check photos on the internet. Mine are airforce grey! Steve.
When I set up my website I never really thought that I would end up with farmingfriends from as far away as Thailand. I love the names that Steve has given to his guinea fowl.
If you are thinking of starting with guinea fowl then why not buy my incubating, hatching and rasising guinea fowl keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I have guinea fowl eggs for hatching available for sale as well.
If you would just like to find out more about guinea fowl then browse through the guinea fowl category or join the guinea fowl chat on the farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.