The demand for the meat of the guinea fowl is increasing. It is considered a game bird and its taste resemble that of quail, partridge, pheasant or grouse. Its meat is lean and rich in fatty acids and is second to turkey in number of calories based on a one hundred-gram serving. But there is another reason why some people raise guinea fowl. They emit a harsh and loud cry when disturbed so that they make good guards for other poultry. They love to eat ticks and insects which make them good insect controllers that is very essential for gardeners and poultry owners. Guinea fowl is also very useful in keeping away snakes and rodents which can prey on other poultry animals in the farm. Below are some tips on how you can raise guinea fowl.
- If you do not have hens or an incubator, it is best to purchase young guinea fowls called keets from a good source. Prepare a large cage or a brooster box indoors where the keets will have to be confined for at least two weeks. The temperature in the cage should be controlled. You can use heat lamps to keep the temperature even at ninety-five degrees. Install a thermometer in the cage to constantly monitor the temperature.
- When the keets are about a week old you can lower the temperature in the cage by five degrees by raising the heat lamp. Line the brooster box with layers of newspaper or paper towels instead of wood chips. Wood chips can clog the intestines of the keets should they eat the wooden chips.
- Feed the keets with turkey starter which has a higher protein content of about twenty-six percent than regular chick starter feed. This will ensure that you will have bigger adult guinea fowls later. Only warm water should be given to keets. Add several marbles on the water feeder to prevent the keeps from drowning when they drink water as the marble will control how much water the keets can suck between the marbles. Reduce the amount of protein from their food when the keets for their fifth to eighth weeks. Afterwards you can give the keets regular laying mash which has about sixteen percent protein content.
- Give the guinea fowls plenty of room to run and roam. They are very good runners compared to chickens and will normally run rather than fly when they are disturbed. Although they are raised domestically, guinea fowls retain some of their wild instincts that make them very wary of intruders hence their importance as watch birds for other poultry animals. They are very good fliers too and can roost on the limbs of a tall tree. They can be trained to keep closer to home by providing them with enough food and plenty of fresh water placed near the cage or their roosting area.
- Adult guinea fowls can be allowed to roam in the garden because they do not scratch the ground like chickens so your plants will not be disturbed. They will eat the insects that will can harm your plants. Most guinea fowls nowadays are being raised to keep the deer tick population under control.
If you are raising guinea fowl for its meat, make sure that you provide it with a food that is rich in protein. If you will be using guinea fowl to control the insect population in your farm, it is better if you buy adult guinea fowl rather than go through the process of rearing them from keets to adulthood. Make sure that you train the adult guinea fowls by keeping them in an enclosed environment for several weeks and giving them plenty of water and food close to their pen so they will not fly away and locate their original home.