Dietary meat, eggs and enemies of garden pests - it's all about guinea fowls
Guinea fowls are believed to have been named that way because they behave and look royal. But they are not only beautiful, their meat and eggs are tasty and healthy products. Unlike chickens, guinea fowls are more “wild” - they make a loud noise if strangers enter the barn or the paddock. Frightened birds run fast, can jump up to a height of 3 m! But they remember their masters and get along with them. Africa is considered the homeland of guinea fowl. In Europe, guinea fowl were initially kept as a decorative bird until they recognized their food value. In this article we will tell you how to keep a guinea fowl in your yard.
Advantages of Guinea Fowl as Poultry
Guinea fowl meat contains less fat than chicken, but has more beneficial trace elements. It is also hypoallergenic, so it suits almost everyone.
As experienced breeders say, these birds almost do not get sick, they have excellent immunity. Therefore, they do not introduce any special additives, let alone antibiotics, into the diet of guinea fowl. Guinea fowl are not picky in food and content, so they are great for beginners to breed.
Guinea fowl are about 3 times smaller than broiler chickens. Therefore, the meat of these "royal" birds on the market is 3 times more than chicken. But at present, the demand for it and for guinea fowl eggs exceeds supply, therefore, raising these birds is beneficial not only for themselves, but also for sale.
Guinea fowl eggs are slightly smaller than chicken eggs, light brown in color with a very strong shell. They are transported much better than chicken, and can be stored at temperatures up to +10 degrees for up to six months.
Guinea fowl are bred not only for meat and eggs, these domestic birds love to feast on plant pests - slugs, aphids, ants and even the Colorado potato beetle! Many US suburban farms hold guinea fowl, because they actively eat ixodid ticks, which are occupied by lawns in the summer.
Yes, guinea fowls are very loud, but there is undoubted benefit in their cry. He scares off rodents. Therefore, not only you will not have mice and rats in the area, but also in neighboring ones. And if some rodent is caught by guinea fowls, they will eat it. These birds are not at all harmless. If a sparrow flies into the guinea fowl, soon there will be almost nothing left of this poor fellow, guinea fowl will have dinner with them.
Guinea fowl breeds
To date, breeds of guinea fowl have been bred, which are not only beautiful, but also gaining sufficient weight. It:
- "White Siberian" - Guinea fowl egg breed. Females with white plumage weighing 2 kg carry 110 or more eggs per year. Representatives of this breed tolerate low temperatures well, mostly they are somewhat calmer than other breeds.
- "Mottled Gray" - it has such a coloring, the neck is a plain gray-blue, the head is white-gray-red, devoid of plumage. Females carry about 90 eggs per year. Representatives of this breed are especially picky about food.
- "Suede" - these birds are not very large, about 80 eggs are laid per year, and they do this even in severe climatic conditions. Suede guinea fowl have a light plumage and belong to the egg breeds. In a year they give about 140 large eggs with a thick shell. But these females lack a hatching instinct.
- Blue the breed is a guinea fowl with a beautiful gray-blue plumage. Females lay 150 eggs per year, starting from eight months. The average weight of laying hens is 2 kg and that of males is 1.8 kg. Representatives of this breed adapt well to different climatic conditions and quickly gain weight.
If you want to breed guinea fowl (to get new chicks from eggs), then 4-5 females should have one male. And if you want you to have just eggs for food and meat, then the male is not needed.
If you then sell slaughtered game, it is better to breed guinea fowl with light plumage, as they have a more presentable carcass than the birds with dark feathers. But still, guinea fowl meat is darker than that of chickens, but it is more tasty and healthy.
How to feed a guinea fowl?
Experienced breeders claim that they do not spend a lot of money on breeding these birds. Often they are fed with feed, which they cook themselves. For example, wheat, barley and corn are mixed, they are crushed and given to birds. But since in the wild guinea fowl eat bugs, worms, you must either provide them with free-range walking to get food, or add such protein foods to their diet.
In summer, many farmers produce guinea fowl on their potato plantations. These clever birds only eat pests, and the potato bushes are left untouched. A very environmentally friendly and profitable method of combating the Colorado potato beetle!
In the cold season, when guinea fowls are not able to look for additional food on a walk, their diet may include per day per bird:
- barley - 40 g;
- oats - 40 g;
- wheat cake - 40 g;
- dry corn kernels - 40 g;
- root crops - 40 g;
- meat and bone or fish dust - 10 g;
- dry grass - 50 g;
- fish oil - 6 g;
- food yeast - 6 g;
- needles - 30 g;
- salt - 0.6 g.
Dry components are pre-crushed. Root crops also need to be finely chopped. All this is mixed, the remaining ingredients are added. The stirrer is ready. Guinea fowls put food in narrow wooden troughs.
Adults are fed 3 times a day. In the morning and in the afternoon they make a mash, and in the evening they give cereal feed. About 36 kg of grain feed will be needed per year for a guinea fowl. When the heat comes, the females need to prepare for oviposition. Then they are additionally given chalk, green food.
Guinea fowl can be fed with compound feed. Combined feeds for laying hens or broilers are suitable. But because of its high cost, it is usually either mixed with grain or given only once a day.
In the spring, with the onset of heat, these birds can spend most of the day walking. They enjoy eating grass, various small living creatures living in it. You don’t have to mow this lawn, these birds eat grass very actively, practically they cut it.
Feeding the young
If you decide to buy a daily guinea fowl, then they have their own approaches to nutrition. During the first three days they are given crushed boiled chicken egg and soaked in milk, and then pressed bread. From the second day, cereals, cottage cheese, chopped greens are introduced into the diet of birds.
This is what the diet of these birds consists of from three days of age to 4 months:
- Wheat flour;
- ground corn;
- wheat meal;
- millet seeds;
- peeled oatmeal;
- fish trash.
Also, young guinea fowl are given a mash consisting of sour milk, boiled egg, hay, lettuce and a small amount of food yeast.
When the young growth is 4 months old, they begin to feed it with a mash of peeled wheat or oat flour and root crops. But usually even without this additional nutrition, guinea fowls by four months of age, with good care, gain enough weight, some specimens go to slaughter at this time. You can buy guinea fowl at the end of spring and feed them during the summer, so that in the autumn you can get valuable meat.
In adults and small birds, water should always be available, as well as crushed limestone, chalk, sand. They are also given heat-treated crushed eggshells.
Chicks up to two weeks of age are fed 5 times a day, up to the age of 1 month - 4 times a day, then - 3 times.
Where to contain guinea fowl?
If you decide to raise guinea fowl in the country, and you have a small plot, then you should consider that these birds are very noisy. They talk loudly among themselves, especially if they feel a potential danger. If the neighbors are not against such noise, then you can breed these birds in small areas. But it is better to make a corral and a shed away from the house of people living nearby.
Guinea fowl should have a warm indoor room where they will be in the cold season, at night and in rainy weather in the summer. It can be an ordinary barn, in which you will need to generously lay hay.
When guinea fowls begin to rush, it is necessary to collect eggs in time. Since these birds have a very weak maternal instinct, they are timid and may not rush in designated areas, but do it anywhere in the barn.
You can take two sheets of plywood, put them on the floor and connect at the top, so that it looks like a hut. Guinea fowl, for sure, will rush inside this cozy "wigwam".
When you plan to walk, do not forget that these shy birds, sensing danger, can fly over a fence up to 3 m high. You can arrange a guinea fowl with a height of 1.5 m, and cover it with a net from above. Or build only the sidewalls from the same material, and just carefully cut the wings of the birds so that they do not fly over this fence.
Dear readers! In general, the content of guinea fowls is not much different from the content of their relatives, for example, egg chickens. If you decide to breed these noisy but amazing birds, you can make sure from your own experience that they have very strong immunity, these birds can live even in relatively cool conditions, and dietary meat and eggs are beyond praise!