Guinea fowl (or African chicken) is the closest relative of partridges, quails, turkeys and chickens. Breeding guinea fowl at home today, oddly enough, is not popular. And very wrong!
Although guinea fowls are accustomed to warmth, since their homeland is Africa, they still feel wonderful in the cold.
In addition, they very rarely get sick and they do not need any laborious conditions of detention. But still there is one condition – the absence of excessive moisture.
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Guinea fowls have quite significant advantages over ordinary laying birds:
- In comparison with ordinary chicken, guinea fowl meat is more healthy and tasty, since it contains less water and fat, as well as about 27% of easily digestible proteins.
- Guinea fowl eggs are dietary, they have a lot more trace elements and nutrients.
- Keeping guinea fowl does not require much effort.
- Vähenõudlikkus toidus.
- This bird gets along well with pets, but it has a wonderful guarding ability.
- They do not suffer from leukemia and salmonellosis.
- Their breeding is useful for the household, as they destroy worms, slugs and other harmful insects.
Of course, nothing is perfect in our world, and even guinea fowl have their drawbacks:
- Desire to fly and noisiness.
This problem can be solved by simply trimming the birds’ wings a little. But be that as it may, these African chickens have much more advantages!
Keeping guinea fowl at home is not very long: only sand by 7-9 months you will have grown an adult weighing about 2 kg (male) and 1,7 kg (female). And before the end of the egg-laying process, about 2 years should pass.
Tähelepanuväärne on see during the season, the bird will carry about 60–120 very tasty and most importantly healthy eggs, whose weight in most cases is 50-80 grams. Of course, the number of eggs will depend on the age and breed of the guinea fowl.
A few words about breeds
Nowadays, the most popular are:
- Zagorsk white-breasted;
- Siberian white domestic;
- gray speckled guinea fowl.
Arrangement of walking and poultry house
As we noted above, breeding guinea fowl is very easy, but at first you still have to work hard. Although they can live locked up, we still recommend that you arrange a place where birds could walk during the day. They also need to make sure to make a poultry house, as they can sleep in trees as a result of it, after a while they become wild.
To make domestic guinea fowls feel comfortable in the poultry house, place them according to the scheme 2 heads per 1 m2. Walking can be fenced with a 2 m high net so that it is not so easy for birds to fly over it. It will be good if you take into account one more small condition: plant some bushes in the range, thereby creating conditions similar to natural ones.
Before you start mastering breeding guinea fowl at home, take care of the presence of ash or sand in the range, as this bird loves to look for something in the ground. Consider the fact that the female is quite shy, so she is unlikely to be a good mother to her chicks. If you plan to breed your own young, then this should be done in an incubator.
Usually, poultry houses acquire daily young. Farmers who want to deal with guinea fowl all year round (this is the best option), buy 20 or more young chicks. This will allow in the future to select the best chickens so that they form a good parent flock.
So that the content of guinea fowl does not bring you surprises, you need to learn how to distinguish females from males. This is quite easy to do: in females, the tubercle above the beak is almost imperceptible, while in males it is directed upwards, is bright in color and has a slightly larger size.
Feeding young and adults
As we said above, guinea fowls are unpretentious birds, but you will have to tinker a little with the young. For example, there is such a small condition: for the first week, young animals need to be given greens, cottage cheese, a mixture of finely ground wheat groats and boiled chopped eggs.
Drinking birds is recommended to use whey or yogurt. To ensure the full development and growth of birds, it is necessary to give them the greens of meadow grass, clover and nettle. When the young are 8 days old, you can transfer them to wet mash from greens and various cereals (barley, millet, wheat and corn), but gradually you need to accustom them to eating dry food.
And the last condition: it is known that domestic guinea fowls are very nimble and active birds, they eat quickly and with some anxiety, so give it in small portions, pouring into an oblong-shaped feeder. Thus, you will make it even easier for yourself to keep them, since all the chicks will be able to eat food at the same time.
To replenish the diet with proteins, add peas, reverse, minced fish and meat scraps to it. Also try to give boiled finely crushed well-dried eggshells and chalk. And pour fine gravel and shells into a separate container – they help the stomachs of guinea fowl grind food.
If you plan to breed guinea fowl in accordance with all the rules, it will be useful for you to know that it is necessary to introduce fishmeal and cereals into the diet of the birds. Replace needles and clover hay with lettuce and finely chopped nettles. About 100 g of grass per day and 30 kg of grain per year should be enough for an adult bird.
Guinea fowls are recommended to be fed “by the clock”: at 6:00, 12:00 and 18:00. For breakfast and lunch, treat them to porridge made from yeast and succulent feed, and dinner should consist of oats and barley. Once a month, guinea fowls must be weighed and monitored so that the birds do not get fat. They eat a lot, and quickly become overgrown with fat, which affects their egg production.
In order for the guinea fowl to be ready for oviposition, grain (100 g per bird) and animal (15 g per head) food should be slightly increased in February. The egg production of guinea fowls decreases already in September, so it is necessary to reduce the feed content.
Breeding guinea fowl
As you can see after reading this article, keeping guinea fowls at home is not very difficult. Next, we will talk about breeding guinea fowl. Usually 1-5 females are left for 6 male. It will be good if the male is at least 2-3 months older than the females. But it is important to bear in mind that a bird such as a guinea fowl can only mate in free range, while in cages and indoors this is somewhat difficult.
The bird selected for further breeding is fed differently from the rest: add less protein and grain part of the feedbut increase the amount of root vegetables and herbs in the diet. In the fall, guinea fowls are selected one more time, and at this time the parental herd is completed.
It is noteworthy that domestic guinea fowls do not require the presence of a male. For example, if he gets sick, then the guinea fowls will give fertilized eggs for about 20 more days! The egg production of these birds decreases at about 3 years, so the bird is suitable for breeding only for 2 seasons.
Fertilized eggs should be picked up in the morning, laying them up with a blunt end. Thus, they can be stored for about 2 weeks. Incubate at high humidity! It is very important for hatched babies to cut off the brushes on the wings on the very first day, as they are already flying and can easily fly over a low fence.
poultry house lighting
Light mode is quite important. It has been proven that in the light, domestic guinea fowls mature much faster. Therefore, the length of daylight hours for them at the age of 7 months should be about 16 hours. If this rule is not observed, then egg production may fall in these individuals and their general condition may even worsen.
Joint keeping of guinea fowls and chickens
These two breeds of laying hens coexist remarkably and even complement each other: for example, the guinea fowl warns the “neighbor” of the danger, and the hen does a return service – incubates caesar eggs. After all, we have already noted above that these birds can easily throw their eggs.
Breeding guinea fowl is a fairly simple matter, as they usually keep in groups and quickly get used to people and their voice. Although domestic birds are friendly towards other inhabitants of the yard, they can still protect themselves. You may notice that when danger appears, guinea fowls begin to make a lot of noise, scream. Often people put on headphones so as not to hear these screams.
It is very difficult for stray dogs, foxes, cats and other predators to catch up with this chicken, as it can fly high and run fast. Therefore, they can be safely let out for a walk.
Winter bird breeding
Guinea fowl is a very hardy bird, and it is quite possible to keep it in an unheated barn even in winter. But these birds must have a perch equipped so that they are not directly on the floor. Remember that birds will maintain their fertility in warm, heated rooms.
Arrange dry bedding on the floor using wood shavings, straw or sawdust for this. Change your bedding completely every month. Chicks are very fond of walking in winter, but in the cleared area, and not in the snow. You can additionally line the ground with straw.
It is known that these royal birds are very cultured when compared with ordinary chickens and other domestic birds. They can even be released into the garden without worrying about the harvest: guinea fowl eat weeds, peck worms, Colorado potato beetles and other harmful insects without raking the beds.