Saturday, March 27, 2010

Guinea Hens & Guinea Eggs

We have 2 Guinea hens.  They were raised right along side of our chickens, and live with our chickens.  I think they believe they are chickens.  They make a lot more noise then the chickens, but it's not really as bad as people have told me it would be.  We got them to control the tick population around our house. 

The guineas have a bedtime song, which they sing when everyone is roosting in the coop and preparing for sleep.  It's a happy song, a song of comfort and peace, and usually one of the guineas sings herself to sleep.  The song comforts all the chickens and puts everyone to sleep in the coop. 

The guineas also have a cry of alert, which the roosters know very well.  They make this alert cry when something startles them, when something is out of the usual, when they are scared.  When the guineas' alert cry goes off, the roosters' make what I call the "horn" noise.  The rooster horn noise is a loud "honk", when one roo makes that noise, all the other roos are on alert, honking, heads tall, looking for danger.  The hens all run for cover, the roos all stand tall ready to fight off whatever they think may be attacking them.  The guineas are the first alert program for our flock.  They work well with the roosters, and any attacker would have to be very brave to enter an area with guinea alert cries going off and roosters standing tall ready to fight.

We really weren't too sure what sex our guineas were, but now we know they are females.  Both the guineas hens look alike.  They are semi-friendly because we raised them from chicks.  I think the guineas were tougher to raise than chickens - we started with 5 and only have 2 left.  2 died, 1 flew away and never came back.  We want more guineas, but haven't decided if we want to start with chicks again or maybe buy some adults next time.  Whatever decision we make, we will get more guineas this summer.  They come in different colors - ours are pearl gray.  I'd like to get some lighter colored guineas, maybe lavender or coral blue. 

Just recently we have started finding guinea eggs!  They are smaller than our smallest chicken eggs, weighing in at .7 and .9 ounces and have brown speckles.  The guineas don't lay in the chicken nest boxes, so we have to look for their eggs.

Here's the guinea eggs beside 2 small chicken eggs.

Any recommendations or suggestions regarding guinea fowl? 


IsobelleGoLightly said...

We are going to be getting some Guinea eggs to hatch here at our farm! I like their nightime song singing! I hope ours do that!

Razzberry Corner said...

IsobelleGoLightly~ The nighttime song is so gently, it's just a quiet, peaceful lullabye. It gets fainter and fainter as the guinea hen that sings it falls asleep, so faint that when she falls asleep you don't even notice that she stopped singing. And she sings everyone else in the coop to sleep.


Robin said...

I read in my Gardening With Guineas book that if you do buy older Guineas that you will need to keep them confined for about 6 weeks before letting them out. Otherwise they might just take off. I really think the Guineas are pretty. I was thinking about getting some but I think I might put it off until we don't have so many neighbors. The noise level made me nervous :(

WeldrBrat said...

That is just too cool! We have to travel down to Texas in June. Our middle daughter is graduating from Dental Hygienist school. So - we're having to wait to order chicks after we get back. I think I just may go ahead and try this! Sounds like you're enjoying the singing quite a bit! Thanks for sharing!

Nicolezmomma said...

Have you found that the Guinea hens are helping with the ticks? I have read about that too.

Razzberry Corner said...

Hey Robin, I also heard that we'd need to keep adult guineas confined until they get used to the new home, or they may fly away. I didn't do very good with the guineas we got as babies - one of them flew away when he was a "teenager", so I can only imagine that adults would leave us, too! I wonder where that one guinea went, if he survived or not. I always look for him, but haven't seen him recently.

Weldrbrat ~ We are planning on being away from the farm for a few weeks this summer, so we have to change all our plans to work around the trip. We're considering letting one of our broody hens hatch some of her own eggs, but I want to be here when this happens. Good luck if you get guineas!

Nicolezmomma ~ our ticks haven't really started coming out in full force yet, so I'm not sure. It seems ticks dissappear in winter & return in spring, and they haven't really arrived yet.


AJ-OAKS said...

One of these days I am going to get some Guineas. In the meantime I'll enjoy yours. Their eggs sure have unique markings. Very cool.

Lisa said...

I had guinea hens. I had to get rid of them. We raised them from keets, but they kept roaming to the neighbours properties. Not good and they would cross the road and almost cause car accidents. Really not good! We have farm animal insurance but I really didn't want to use it for little guinea hens!! 600 lb pig fine, 3 lb guinea hen

Knatolee said...

Thanks for this post! I have been hankering after some guinea hens and it was nice to read about yours.

Razzberry Corner said...

Cindy - You'll have to keep me informed when you get some guineas!

Lisa - Hmmm, one of our guineas already wandered away, I'm afraid the remaining 2 will leave, too. Only time will tell...

Knatolee - Keep me posted, I'd love to hear if you get some guineas, too!