Prized for its tasty meat, the guinea fowl can be raised in backyard just like the rooster and the hen. However, it needs a particular attention because it is a relatively fragile gallinaceous. It is also not recommended to keep only one guinea fowl since it is a gregarious animal, that is to say living in a group. Noisy, it is rather recommended for people who have a space in the countryside, away from neighboring houses. Let’s find out about its characteristics and what are the best conditions for a successful breeding of guinea fowl.
The different species of guinea fowl
Guinea fowl is a term for birds originating in Africa belonging to the family of Numididae and to the order of Galliformes. There are different species: black, Pucheran, white breasted, vulturine, plumiferous. But the most common – and the most important too – is Numida meleagris. it’s about the Numidian guinea fowl which alone represents the genre Numida. It is also called:
- Wild guinea fowl,
- Common guinea fowl,
- Mitred guinea fowl.
Its introduction in France dates back to the 15th century. Today we find a domestic form of Numidian guinea fowl. France is the largest producer of domestic guinea fowl in the world.
House guinea fowl: physical characteristics
This gallinaceous, which can measure up to 65 cm in height, has a nice plumage sometimes blue but more frequently gray dotted with white dots. The male and the female – indiscriminately designated by the term guinea fowl – are quite similar physically. The head, adorned with barbels (more developed in the male) and a helmet, is small and stripped of feathers.
The life expectancy of the domestic guinea fowl is 8 years.
Guinea fowl reproduction
A perfectly balanced breeding consists ideally of one male for five females. The female lays a maximum of fifteen eggs in a deep nest which she digs in the ground. Each egg weighs a maximum of 45 g. She does not brood them. If one wishes to raise guinea fowl in his backyard, it is therefore imperative to resort to a artificial incubator to allow incubation of guinea fowl eggs which lasts 24 days. However, after hatching, the male and female share the education of their young.
Guinea fowl, a fragile farmyard animal
This gallinaceous species presents a certain fragility when it is juvenile and when it lives outside its original environment. It is indeed among guinea fowl that the breeders deplore the highest mortality rate but adults should also be watched closely.
His breeding, the mixed farming (a term which also designates the farming of pearl oysters), is therefore not easy because it is necessary to ensure that the guinea fowl do not suffer from heat, cold or the harmful effects of strong winds. They need enough space, balanced food, always very clean water.
The susceptible diseases to disseminate a farm of guinea fowl – and which mainly affect adult specimens – are for example:
- Parasites of all kinds because these birds are sensitive to ticks, lice, fleas, mites,
- Avian smallpox,
- Newcastle disease.
On the other hand, there is nothing that poses a problem in terms of food since the guinea fowl is omnivorous. It must have:
- From germinated wheat and corn seeds,
- Safe, clean and potable water (it must therefore be replaced very frequently).
It can also feed on mice, snakes and frogs. Finally, as we do for hens and roosters, we can concoct a mixture of water, flour, grass and bran for them if the guinea fowl do not have sufficient outdoor space.
Set up an enclosure suitable for guinea fowl
A simple enclosure is sufficient if one buys the defailed guinea fowl. Conversely, it is necessary to set up an aviary because the guinea fowl is able to fly over small distances to escape an enemy. Nervous, quarrelsome, easily scared, she shouts frequently making shrill sounds, and the male gives even more voice than the female. It is therefore preferable to keep guinea fowl only in a area far from the neighborhood, because these backyard birds are likely to represent a significant noise nuisance.
For the well-being of these chilly birds, it is necessary to install a small shelter simply made up of a few planks. Adult guinea fowl and guinea fowl will thus be able to shelter from drafts but also from strong heat. They will feel protected there from their possible enemies (predators) like the fox. It is also necessary to provide:
- A litter in wood chips because this material limits humidity, which is detrimental to guinea fowl,
- A perch high enough because this gallinaceous bird must be able to perch at least 1.50 m from the ground every evening,
- A manger,
- Of drinkers.
The guinea fowl is very appreciated for its tender and excellent flesh which presents a serious advantage on the nutritional plan since its fat content is low. If you have a large plot in the countryside, you may be tempted to breed guinea fowl. No authorization is required as long as there are no more than 50 specimens older than 30 days. Beyond that, it is mandatory to declare your breeding in order to be in order with the legislation in force.