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Guinea Care

Guineas are extremely hardy and are great foragers! Guineas are raised for eggs, meat, and entertainment. They discourage pests like snakes, eat bugs (especially ticks), and serve as an alarm system for your yard. The average lifespan for guinea fowl is 5-10 years. Males reach an adult weight of 4 lbs and hens 3.5 lbs.

Shopping List: Waterer, feeder, heat lamp reflector, heat bulb, pine shavings, paper towels, electrolytes and vitamins, thermometer, gro-gel, draft-free enclosure, coop or other safe housing, gamebird feed. For beginners, we offer the chick starter kit which includes everything you need to get started.Wild guinea hen on a green grass

Suggested Reading:

Guinea Fowl
Gardening with Guineas
Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry
Guineafowl Past & Present

At the Post Office: Promptly pick up your package and get your keets into the prepared brooder as soon as possible. Inspect your package, if you have any losses during the first 24 hour period, please call, email or fill out the Live Arrival Guarantee form on our website so we can process your claim. You have 48-hours from when the birds arrive to report losses. Please let us know if you prefer store credit or a refund.

Brooder Requirements: A half square foot per keet is recommended to start. The brooder must be sterile and draft-free. The brooder needs to be big enough so that the birds can move away from the heat source if needed.

Temperature: A thermometer is a baby keet’s best friend. Start your keets off at 99 degrees for the first three hours. Then 95 degrees the first week. Reduce by 5 degrees each week until they are fully feathered out, typically at 6 weeks and 70 degrees. Guineas are not as resilient to temperature fluctuations the first couple of weeks as baby chicks are. They are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, so be sure the temperature is stable.

Water: When you get your keets in the brooder, immediately dip their beaks in water to teach them how to drink. Guineas need to have access to clean drinking water at all times. Use a 1 gallon chick waterer for each 50 birds. Clean marbles in the dish will help prevent drowning. Warm water for the first few hours may be beneficial. Include vitamin or electrolyte powder in the water for an extra boost on the third day.

Feed: Food should be available at all times. Start your keets on a gamebird feed or turkey starter of 24-26% protein. Guineas require unmedicated feed. Weeks 5-8, provide them with 18-20% protein. Thereafter, they will do just fine on a 16% laying or breeder mash as a supplemental feed, with scratch feed mixed in. Guineas are great foragers so once they are allowed to free-range they will not need as much supplemental feed. This need will increase in the winter. For a treat, offer guineas white millet. Millet can also be used as a training aid.

Litter: The best option for bedding material is 2 inches of large size kiln dried pine shavings. Use paper towels above the shavings for the first few days. Do not use sawdust or cedar shavings. Bedding must be kept clean and dry.

Coop and Run Considerations: If keeping your guineas confined for any amount of time, they should have 2.5 to 4 square feet per bird inside and 10 square feet per bird in an outdoor run. They will tolerate extreme weather once they are fully feathered.

Homing your guineas: Once you put your guineas outside at 6-8 weeks of age, we recommend keeping them penned up for an additional 4-6 weeks. This way they will establish a home base. Guineas love to free-range and roost in trees where they are more protected from predators, but we recommend feeding them at a specific location at dusk each day to bring them back home. This will ensure their safety and will keep them from becoming wild and wandering off.

Keeping guineas with other birds: Guineas get along fine with other poultry. If free ranging, they will typically not associate with your other birds. If introducing new guineas to an existing flock, they should be separated initially. Adjustment time will be necessary while the guineas establish a pecking order.

Predators: Guineas are fast on their feet and are great fliers. They will evade most predators with ease. Common predators include hawks, owls, foxes, raccoons, opossums, coyote, etc. They are most vulnerable at night if roosting outside of a penned enclosure, or while they are sitting on a nest.



2 responses to “Guinea Care”

  1. rich Marr says:

    My brother in Va got a clutch of guinea keets in late Fall. In Dec just after they feathered out I got 7 of them. I live in WV, I put them in a coop for the winter, now I want to know about blood lines. It looks like I have 3 males and 4 females, do I need to change blood lines with guineas? I have neighbors over the hill who have chickens and guineas so we can trade males. What is the best approach; 1.just take out my males at night and put the new males in the coop, will they fight with the females? 2. Do I need to put a temporary fence in the coop to separate the new males until the females adjust to them 3. can I turn them all outside the coop and expect that they will bond in the field?

  2. Shannon Mock says:

    Thanks so much for your comment, Rich! I can tell you that we do try to ensure separate blood lines when sending any birds, but for safety’s sake, it would be smart to exchange with your neighbor since the availability is there. That being said, yes, you would need to introduce your new Guineas to your existing flock just as you would any other new bird. This could be done by placing a smaller fenced area, such as a wire dog crate, into the larger pen of your existing Guineas and allowing visibility without contact for the birds for 2-3 days before releasing the new birds into th pen. I hope this helps! Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you can think of anything additional that we can help with. Have a great day!

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