Unusual Guinea Fowl Behaviour

I often receive emails asking about the behaviour of guinea fowl.

“Hi! I have just bought 4 several week old guinea fowl- I noticed one looking poorly and it was dead by morning- today I noticed that 2 are jumping from the roost onto the back of the 3rd- it is now looking quite lame and not good at all- I was wondering what and WHY the other 2 would be doing this? They have not been sexed, so I dont know if they are males or females. I havent had guinea fowls before. Hope you can help! Joon”

My response was;

Hi Jane,

Sorry to hear about your guinea fowl dying and then the odd behaviour of the guinea fowl. The males can be aggressive towards each other especially during the breeding season or if the group loses a guinea fowl and they have to re-establish the pecking order. My males tend to jump up and at each other face on and then chase each other and one will grab hold of the other from behind.

It could be that they are also attacking a weaker one, often birds will attack another bird if they sense or can see it has an ailment or isn’t very well.

Hope your guinea fowl are ok and settle down soon for you.

I have a free forum with a section on guinea fowl. http://farmingfriends.com/forums/forum.php?id=6 I have posted your comment here to see if any of the other guinea fowl owners have experienced this.

Kind regards
sara @ farmingfriends

Have you come across this unusual behaviour in guinea fowl, if so then please leave a comment.

If you keep guinea fowl and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your guinea fowl then why not join the free farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.

Front Cover Of Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl Keets An eBook

If you fancy having a go at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale (UK Spring and Summer months).

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Guinea Fowl Pairings

I have read that guinea fowl will pair up for life and they are generally monogomous although a male can be grouped with more females although he will still have his favourite and the one that he will stand guard over and protect more than the others.

As well as reading about this I have actually observed this behaviour when I was given a trio of guinea fowl nearly 6 years ago.

I was given one male and two females  who I named Charlie, Camilla and Diana.

Charlie and Camilla are lavender guinea fowl and Diana is a beautiful pearl guinea fowl.

When it is egg laying time, Charlie will always stand guard over Camilla and he watches out for Diana but centres most of his attention on protecting Camilla.

Also interestingly enough we rarely get pearl coloured keets so I think that most of the breeding he does is with the lavender guinea fowl called Camilla.

Charlie, Camilla and Diana the guinea fowl have been on this farm for nearly 6 years and I got them as young adults so they are at least 6/7 years old.

I will find a good picture of Charlie, Camilla and Diana to show you and will post it later.

If you keep guinea fowl and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your guinea fowl then why not join the free farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.

Front Cover Of Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl Keets An eBook

If you fancy having a go at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale (UK Spring and Summer months).

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If you would like to receive regular information about guinea fowl and poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

Male Guinea Fowl Pecking Order

I have quite a few males in my flock of 23 guinea fowl and Charlie the guinea fowl has always been head of the pack. Funnily enough I was watching the 23 strong flock of guineas wander about the farm the other day and I actually said to my husband that it’s nice to see Charlie, who along with Diana and Camilla are my oldest guineas, is still head of the pack.

Charlie The Guinea Fowl

Charlie The Guinea Fowl

Well that was until yesterday, when I observed some different behaviour from Charlie and the other males. There is generally male rivallry in the Spring when the males and female start pairing off for the breeding season. Anyway yesterday when I went to round them up, they were all in the paddock and when I counted them there were only 22. I could hear a guinea calling from somewhere else and upon closer inspection I could see Charlie in the lane, which I thought was unusual as he is head of the flock and always leading all the others about.

Well Charlie rejoined the group only to be chased by one of the other guineas. When I managed to get them all in the hut, including Charlie, who followed later, abit of chasing began again around the hut, which is thankfully big enough for none of the poultry to get hurt.

I went off to get fill the drinkers up and when I came back and entered the hut, Charlie flew at me, well at the door as if  he wanted to fly out and he managed to land on top of the inner door frame.

He eventually cam down and started to cower in the corner, so I am assuming that one of the other male guinea fowl is asserting his authority. I noticed that Charlie kept his distance from the flock again today and he didn’t really want to go int he hut tonight. Maybe one of the other guinea fowl can see that Charlie is getting older. I got charlie, Diana and Camilla about 5 years ago and they were already adults so they must be at least 6 years old.

I will keep my eye on the situation. I have already placed in the hut a tunnel for the guinea fowl to hide under if they need to get out of the way, so hopefully Charlie will be able to get out of the way.

It is very interesting observing the behaviour of the guinea fowl throughout the different seasons. Let me know if you keep guinea fowl and have observed the male guinea fowl pecking order being faught over.

If you keep guinea fowl and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your guinea fowl then why not join the free farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.

Front Cover Of Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl Keets An eBook

If you fancy having a go at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale (UK Spring and Summer months).

Guinea Fowl Calling Out

On Monday night I rounded up my guinea fowl, hens and ducks into the poultry hut.

The hens are the easiest to get in as they want to go in earlier than all the rest and are very friendly and come running up to me when they see me so when I go out to do my nightly round up of the poultry the hens just follow me to the hut.

The ducks also come to the hut when I call them and usually manage to go straight in although I do have to keep my distance otherwise we do a couple of circuits around the hut.

During the Summer months the guinea fowl hang about in small mating groups and all have their own routine and route during the day so can be in different places at night. I have a special call which brings the guinea fowl to the hut and then I count them in. If the guineas don’t respond to the call then I go and round them up and drive them to the hut with some long sticks.

On Monday night I got the hens and ducks in without a problem and then I counted in 21 guinea fowl. 7 guineas were somewhere on the farm so I went to locate them. I found them way down the back field so I thought that I would go to feed the pigs whilst they walked closer to the hut.

After feeding the pigs I headed in. Haven’t you forgotten something I hear you cry now.  I was watching TV for a while and then just as I was sitting down to have tea I heard the guinea fowl calling out.

“The guinea fowl are loud, I wonder what’s the matter with them, you don’t usually hear them that loud, ” I said to my husband. His reply was,

“Have you left a guinea out?”

With that the memory of 7 guinea fowl wandering about the back field came back to me so out I dashed. By this time the guinea fowl had come up to the hut and were standing in the middle of the orchard calling out. When I approached and spoak to them in a soothing way they stopped calling out. I am convined they were calling out to me to tell me I had forgotten them and they went into the hut without another squawk!

If you keep guinea fowl and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your guinea fowl then why not join the free farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.

If you fancy having ago at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale.

Do Guinea Fowl Scratch The Ground Like Hens Do?

Guinea fowl don’t tend to scratch the ground like hens do.

The only time guinea fowl tend to dig is when they are making a nest site and they tend to scratch into the ground to make a hollow shape. They usually do this under hedgerows or under a nettle patch and not in the middle of a flower bed. My guinea fowl don’t disturb my flower beds.

Guinea fowl  do like to dust bath so providing them with a specific area that has soft sandy soil is good for the guinea fowl as dust bathing is a birds way of controlling mites and lice.

If you keep guinea fowl and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your guinea fowl then why not join the free farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.

If you fancy having ago at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale.

Do Guinea Fowl Fly?

Guinea fowl can fly but they prefer to run. Guinea fowl will fly if they are frightened or spooked.

If you keep guinea fowl and let them permanently free range all day and night then they will fly up into the nearest set of trees or into the roof of a barn to roost for the night when it starts to get dark.

If you keep guinea fowl and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your guinea fowl then why not join the free farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.

If you fancy having ago at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale.

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.
  • Unusual Guinea Fowl Behaviour

    For the last three days one of my guinea fowl has been demonstrating unusual behaviour. The guinea fowl in question is called Lightening The II. She is a pure white guinea fowl hen and the only white guinea in my flock.

    On Monday Lightening The II didn’t look very well. She was reluctant to come out of the poultry hut and spent the day sitting in the same place unless I got abit too close for her and she reluctantly moved to a safe distance. I noticed that her droppings were a little loose so I checked out my guinea fowl books and decided that she had every guinea fowl ailment in the books.

    I made sure that she had access to water and I actually saw her drink which was a good sign, although the books did say that drinking too much was a syptom of various illnesses, so this was also a potential worry.

    On Tuesday Lightening The II  looked a little better and although she wasn’t rushing out the door with some of the other guinea fowl she did make her way outside and ventured further than the previous day, although she did stay relatively close to the poultry hut.

    On Wednesday she appeared more spritely and she wandered about alot. I saw her eating grass and she started to call out to the others which she hadn’t done for a few days.

    She is still keeping to herself but she no longer looks poorly.

    I am not sure if Lightening The II is poorly. Initially I thought that she might have coccidiosis, but now I am not sure if she is broody or being bullied by the other guinea fowl. I don’t know if it is true but sometimes poultry can pick on a bird if they are a different colour so this may be what is happening as she is my only white guinea fowl. I only question this as I have one pearl guinea fowl and she is certainly not bullied. 

    I will let you know how Lightening The II gets on over the next few days.

    Signs That Guinea Fowl Hens Will Lay Eggs

    There are certain signs that show that the guinea fowl hen is about to start laying eggs.

    • Visiting the same patch of undergrowth daily.
    • Sitting in a patch of undergrowth for periods of time.
    • Digging a hole in the ground to form a nest area in the undergrowth.
    • Male guinea fowl sitting nearby waiting for the hen.

    Once this behaviour is observed, you can watch and wait for the arrival of guinea fowl eggs.

    It is important not to disturb the hen when she is on the nest as she may get up without laying. Make sure that the guinea fowl do not see you go near the nest site as this can put them off laying in this area. Collect the eggs when the guinea fowl are not around and try not to disturb the undergrowth as this will indicate to the guinea fowl that a predator has been in the nest area. It is also a good idea to replace the real guinea fowl eggs with a pot or plastic egg so that the guinea fowl will continue to lay in this nest, because if the eggs disappear then the guinea fowl will stop laying in this nest site and will find another area to lay which may take some time to discover.

    If you keep guinea fowl and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your guinea fowl then why not join the free farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.

    Front Cover Of Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl Keets An eBook

    If you fancy having a go at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale (UK Spring and Summer months).

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    If you would like to receive regular information about guinea fowl and poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

    Guinea Fowl Social Behaviour

    The social behaviour of guinea fowl is very interesting because guinea fowl are very social creatures. 

    Tristan asked, “Do the guinea fowl get lonely if there’s only one?”

    1) Guinea fowl like to flock together and hang about in a group.

    2) They do not like to be alone and generally start calling out to the others if they get separated.

    3) These birds also like to eat together.

    Let me know what social behaviour traits your guinea fowl display.