My first encounter with a Guinea Hen was when we lived in Watsonville, CA. We hadn’t been in our home very long and one morning while I was sitting in the office working, I heard this horrendous noise outside. It awakened the kids and we all went on a search to find out the source of this awful screeching. Up in the tree out front was a Guinea Hen. It was warning the world against something and doing so with gusto! Such an odd bird but I was intrigued…
I tried chickens here in GA to keep bugs out of the garden. They did a good job for the most part but they also enjoyed the occasional tomato, cantaloupe, lettuce… you get the idea. Not only did they snack while they foraged for bugs, they also dug magnificent holes for dust baths anywhere that struck their fancy.
I’d started looking for alternative fowl to help out with bug patrol and thought I’d try raising some Guinea Hens. I’d mentioned this to a friend of mine and she just happened to have 30 eggs in the incubator from a nest her guineas had abandoned. Would I like a half dozen keets? Of course!
I raised them with the meat chicks in our brood box.
Eventually they were big enough to be in their own pen. I used the same design as the chicken tractor, only this one doesn’t move. I put the pen under a tree and added roosting sticks to the inside.
I have loved observing these keets. They are so different from the turkeys and chickens we’ve raised. They stay bunched together all the time – no personal bubble for them!
They make the coolest noises and they have a lavender hue to their feathers.
They’re not quite as cute as when they were babies but I still like how they look.
My goal is to train them to come back to this pen at night so I can close the door to keep them safe. During the day, they will have free reign of the farm eating all the bugs they want.
“Look everybody! No head!!”
I’ve been told they act like watch dogs and sound the “alarm” when anything unusual is happening. Poor things. At this farm they’ll be sounding the alarm constantly!
They can fly if need be to get out of harm’s way… I’m hoping the dogs will leave them alone.
I’ve also been told they really like ticks and with the amount we’ve found this season, I’m glad they’ll be on the look out for those nasty bugs.
These guineas are still a bit young for me to let out. A few more weeks and then I’ll let them out two at a time because I’ve been told they’ll come back “home” to where the rest of the group is hanging out. I’ll keep you posted on how they progress!
Here’s a site I found helpful – http://www.guineafowl.com/fritsfarm/guineas/