We’ve been raising Guinea fowl since we move out to Westport. Tricia ordered our first batch of 15 to help with bug control and because they are so ugly they are cute. They are free range and though we lock them up at night, the flocks numbers vary due to predators.
I wasn’t convinced they were doing all that great of a job until we lost all of them for about a year, summer to the next summer. The second summer, we had bad Japanese beetles and more ticks than normal. While America doesn’t have a predator for adult Japanese beetles, guineas eat the young grubs in the ground. Coincidence or not, I’m attributing the low beetle and tick population to the guineas.
Starting 2019, our flock was down to 4. Guineas lay eggs in late May and like to lay in tall grass in the open field, not in convenient boxes like chickens. So it’s hard to get eggs to hatch; however, by keeping their aviary door closed for a few days, I was able to get 8 eggs in May; 4 hatched. I kept
these in the brooder about 5 weeks so they’d be bigger when introduced with the others. Guinea flocks are fickle and instead of having one flock of 8, we had a full grown flock of 4 and a flock of 4 smaller “teens”. They would not join flocks, but frequently the flocks congregated near each other.
In July something attacked them during the day. I had 8 when I let them out and that night only 3 adults, 2 injured, and 1 teen. While the Guineas didn’t want to combine flocks, they decided to take in the stray teen. So the adults adopted the teen and we were back to a flock of 4 again.
18 days prior to the attack we found a clutch of 40 guinea eggs hidden in tall weeds. I had people interested in guinea chicks if I could get them, so I figured I’d try hatching them. After the attach I was glad I did. I managed to fit 29 in the incubator, but not knowing which ones were newer or older it was just a crap-shoot on how many would hatch; 12 did.
I broodered these for about 2 1/2 weeks, then added them to our flock thinking we’d have 2 flocks again. I was pleasantly surprised to see the adults take them in. Maybe age was a factor. Or maybe with so many, they figured the better join forces or be the minority. 🙂
It’s been fun watching our 3 adults, 1 teen, and 12 younglings run around.