Guinea hens are beautiful Africa native birds most people have embarked on adding in their backyards. The guinea hens have always lived a wild and independent life. They spend most of their time foraging around looking for food. Most of them feed on insects, ticks, and weeds. They will walk around in groups and feed on any insect they come across.
The reasons you should domesticate them
There are several reasons poultry farmers should add the guinea hens in their backyards. Some reasons include;
- The hens control pest infestations. They feed on insects, grasshoppers, and ticks, thereby reducing their population.
- The birds act as watchdogs. They produce a loud and ruthless sound to alert owners of predators gaining entry into the compound.
- These breeds help to kill small rodents and snakes.
- The guinea hens are also one of the top meat and egg producers.
Where did they originate from?
They originate from Africa. They are mostly found in the western and central parts of Africa. However, they have become popular, and they are now domesticated in different parts of the world.
The appearance of the hen
These breeds have a clownish appearance; they are beautiful overall. There exist different varieties of guinea hens. All these varieties come in different colors. They come in colors, including white, coral blue, bronze, and purple. The overall appealing look and their usefulness are key aspects of why people consider domesticating them.
What is the size of a full-grown guinea hen?
A mature breed weighs almost the same as any chicken. At maturity, they can weigh around 1.5 to 3.5 kg.
- They have a small head and neck.
- Their head and neck parts are bare
- Their skin color ranges from red, black, and blue or a combination of these colors.
- They have short tails and rounded wings
- They have short and curved beaks
- Some have wattles and others lack
- The males have larger wattles than the females
What are the varieties of guinea hens?
There are five common varieties of guinea hens. They include;
Different varieties fit into different parts of the world. For instance, the US only recognizes the helmeted variety of guinea hen. The crested and the plumed varieties are common in Central Africa. The Vulturine is the populous hen, and they are found in almost every part of the world.
How long does it take them to mature?
Guinea fowl offsprings are referred to as the keets. The keets grow faster than other hens in the world. Keets grow faster in two weeks, and they can leave the brooder at this tender age. However, it’s not recommended this way; they need to stay longer up to about four weeks to leave the brooder.
At what age do they start laying?
The guinea hens start laying eggs when they are full-grown. This is about the age of 12 months. However, they only lay eggs in the spring and summer seasons. You need to construct a sturdy shelter during winter to prevent them from harsh weather conditions.
A healthy breed lays an egg every 24 hours. You can hatch the eggs using an incubator or allow the guinea hens to hatch them. The hatching period of these hens is around 26 and 28 days. Chickens can also hatch the eggs. Give them between 15 and 20 eggs depending on its size.
Note: If the guinea hens are left to hatch the eggs, they will wait until the nest has thirty eggs.
You should be careful when collecting the eggs. Usually, the male guinea stands as a guard near the nest when the female lays an egg. During the collection period, you should ensure none of them notices you. They will build a nest elsewhere if they note you are collecting the eggs.
These hens wander around in search of food at large. The time you will mostly find them is during the night when they are back into their houses. They are slippery because of their closed feathers. At night, move slowly and swiftly hold them over the wings and the body.
What is the color of guinea eggs?
They lay different eggs from other chicken breeds. Their eggs are creamy with brown spots. The york covers a more potion than the white part. You can see how different they are from the normal chicken eggs. These eggs are medium-sized and more pointed than the normal eggs.
Are guinea eggs edible?
Guinea hens are a type of chicken breed. Their eggs are edible, and they have similar nutritional value as other eggs. They are delicious, and you can try them out to feel the sweetness. Compared to normal chicken eggs, their eggs have a hard shell.
How long do they live?
These birds live averagely between 10 and 15 years. Throughout this time, they move around to look for food. They can also mate with other species to reproduce hybrid kettes.
The best climate they do well.
Guinea fowls have for long stayed a wild life. They can live in any part of the world. However, they tend to run away from wet and cold regions at large. These breeds prefer dry and warm regions; this is where they can settle for life.
The guinea hens are omnivores. They mostly feed on various insects and pests like spiders, beetles, and mosquito larvae. These breeds also feed on small invertebrates and mammals like snakes and lizards. If you need to add a little commercial feed in their diet, get a high protein pellet food to feed them.
Keets should be fed on starter feed comprised of 25% protein nutrients. However, you will reduce proteins to around 20% when they hit two months of age. In the second month, you will introduce the keets to layer feeds. Ensure you reduce the protein levels to around 15% this time.
These breeds need sturdy shelters to protect them from harsh weather conditions and predators. Construct them in the spacious room; they can move around freely. Keep the room ventilated and lit as this a way of providing them comfort.
The breeds can fry, especially when they are young. If you need them to wander around the compound, ensure they are kept in a covered pen.
During the laying season, you need to build the nest box. Place them at strategic points of their living space. Sometimes they can lay eggs anywhere, even in the bushes. You can avoid this by keeping them confined to the hen house to around in the evening.
Male guineas should also not be confined in the same room if there are rosters around. Guineas are harsh, and they might chase rosters away all time.
Do people eat guinea hen meat?
Yes, guinea hen meat is delicious and nutritious. The meat of a young guinea resembles the meat of game birds. Their meat is tender and has a fine flavor. It has become a substitute for quail and pheasant meat products in most upscale restaurants in western Africa, Central Africa, and the US. Because of the increased demand for their meat, the prices have shoot relatively high. The guinea hen meat is whole dark, and a mature hen produces between five and seven pounds of meat.
Are these hens worth domesticating?
Guinea hens serve us several purposes at large. The breeds control pests, act as watchdogs, and provide us meat and eggs for house household and commercial use. They are one of the best birds you can incorporate in your flock to reap big from their benefits.
These breeds are both friendly and harsh birds. The breeds are friendly to owners, but they usually turn harsh, especially when mixed with chicken. To adapt where they are domesticated, you need to keep them confined within this area from their early stages as they mature.
You will also always feed them to prevent them from moving in search of food. This way, they will always learn to stay closer to their resident.
Are these breeds aggressive?
The aggressiveness of these birds depends on the number of males in a flock. The males prefer staying faithful to mate with one hen all through its lifetime. However, if it is the only male in a back yard, they can fertilize up to six hens. The males also become more aggressive, especially when they are domesticated together with rosters in a similar house.
Guinea hens are favorite birds you should consider domesticating. Some domesticate them for meat and eggs, and others add them in their backyards to act as watchdogs and control pest infestations. They are the best birds, especially to beginner poultry farmers, since their care and maintenance costs are relatively low. Their overall appearance is also appealing; they can be noticed from a distance. If you have been looking for hens to care at low costs, then the guinea hens are what you deserve to consider. They are great birds, and they provide us several benefits at large.