I free range my guinea fowl during the day and then put them in a hut to roost at night although guinea fowl will naturally roost in trees if you don’t train them to go in a hut.
I like mine to go in a hut at night so that they are protected from predators such as the fox and that they are also sheltered from the weather.
I use long sticks to drive my guinea fowl in the direction I want then to go. If the sticks get too close to the guinea fowl it spooks them and they fly up into the trees. Long sticks for driving the guinea fowl into a certain area can be helpful, but a word of warning don’t wave the sticks too close to the guinea fowl as this will frighten them and send them flying into the trees.
I tend to use a stick in each hand as an extension of my arm so that I can dirst the guinea fowl flock in the direction I want them to go.
Feeding them in the hut at the end of the day will also help them to return to the hut. They get used to the routine of their food being in the hut and will head back to the food source. I would introduce the hut with some food that the guinea fowl are really fond of. Mine love lettuce and apples. If you can get the guinea fowl to get used to a place and think of it as a place where they get something that they like then they will relate to this.
Training the guinea fowl to go into the hut will take some time and effort, you will need to go out at the same time each day so that the birds get used to the routine as they are creatures of habit and will range the same area day in and day out. I have found that guinea fowl have a route which they take every day and they are creatures of habit and can usually be found in the same place at the same time each day so your guinea fowl will establish them selves a routine in their enclosure.
After a few weeks of walking the guinea fowl to their hut they will get used to the routine.
Eventually the guinea fowl will return to the hut on their own and sometimes will even go into the hut on their own, but this is not always the case, as sometimes if left too late they will fly up to the roof of the barn or into the trees in the orchard timing needs to be just right.
Guinea fowl tend to want to roost earlier than hens in the Autumn/winter seasons and later than hens in the Spring and summer.
From experience I have found that it is definately possible to train guinea fowl to go into a hut and I have also had experience of moving the hut and the guinea fowl do then re-adjust to the new location, although it does take them a few days of re-training to get them to naturally know where they are going.
1) In an incubator.
2) Under a guinea fowl hen.
3) With a broody bantam hen.
I was reminded of this the other day when I had an email from anne saying that she was going to try all three methods.
Here are some things to consider.
With the eggs in the incubator watch the humidity levels as the egg shells are so hard that it makes it difficult for the guinea fowl to break through.
With the nesting guinea hen it’s making sure she sits in a place safe from predators and is not disturbed as guinea fowl can abandon nests.
With a broody bantam I know that this method produces good results as some friends have had guinea fowl eggs from me and their bantams and silkies have sat on the eggs, hatched them and raised the guinea fowl being excellent mothers to the keets. Once the hen has gone broody you can slip the guinea fowl eggs into her nest for her to sit on and hatch.
Yes, I have 3 guinea fowl. 1 girl and 2 boys. I’ve had them since they were 12 weeks and though fairly skittish, they’re pretty tame.
One question. If she does sit on her nest and manages to hatch a family, do the keets have to be brought in to the warmth or can she be allowed to go on caring for them? From everything I’ve read it seems they need warmth for the first 12 weeks.
Here is my response:
Delighted that you like the eBook. I know what you mean about skittish and tame at the same time. My eldest guinea fowl is about 6 years old. He is now beginning to look elderly and the other younger males are now becoming boss. Mine are free range duting the day and go into a hut at night.
If your guinea sits and hatches her eggs, she may keep the keets with her but some say that guinea fowl will abandon their nest before hatch or abandon looking after their keets.
Once you get to the stage where the eggs are hatching I would have a brooder ready with a lamp and suitable flooring and protection from predators and drafts so that the keets can go into the brooder if they are abandoned by mum. They will eat chikc crumbs and like warm water which I put marbles in the drinker so they don’t get their head in it – the ebook will go into detail about brooding keets and the suitbale flooring and temperatures etc. You are right they do need warmth for the first 12 weeks but if the guinea hen is a good mum she will give them warm.
If she does sit on her nest then she will need to be protected from predators as I have found that the guinea fowl tend to lay in hedgerows without protection however when I try to put a run over the nest they tend to get off it.
If she does sit then I would make sure she is kept separate from the males as they may become jealous of the keets.
Good luck – let me know if you do get her to sit and hatch some eggs.
The age of maturity of female birds will differ between species of birds. The maturity refers to the age at which the females reach sexual maturity and will start laying eggs and breeding with their male partners.
Quail = about 50 days old (I have observed that female Japanese quail will start to lay eggs from about 6-8 weeks old.)
I have been asked if guinea fowl hens lay eggs in a nest box or chicken coop. From my experience the answer is generally no.
I have been keeping and raising guinea fowl for the last 6-7 years and have found that they mainly lay their eggs from midday and early afternoon so they have usually been let out of their hut by the time they want to lay.
If they do lay in the hut they just lay anywhere in the straw and I have never found a guinea fowl egg in the nest boxes I have in their hut.
My guinea fowl free range during the day and roost in a hut at night with some hens, the hens use the nesting boxes but the guinea fowl do not, they will just lay their eggs in the straw. They do like to lay their eggs in the corner of the hut.
Guinea fowl are ground nesting birds and prefer to make their nest in a secluded place usually in a hedgerow in amongst nettles! They scratch the ground out to make a hollow and then lay their eggs. More than one guinea hen will use the same nest.
If you can make a secluded corner of your hut then guinea fowl may lay in their hut. You can encourage them with some pot eggs, but the pot eggs will need to be the same size and colour as their own eggs or they won’t be fooled!
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;
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 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.