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Raising and owning guinea fowl can be an entertaining activity. Today we’ll break down the basic points you need to consider when deciding to raise guinea and also how to care for the baby keets for the first 8 weeks.
Guinea fowl are originally from Africa, so warm summers are not an issue for them. They can be kept in a wide variety of climates but if you live where winters are very cold they will need good, draft-free housing for protection. Guinea keets are raised in a manner similar to chicken chicks; they need to be in a draft-free brooder for the first 8 weeks, kept warm and with access to fresh water and gamebird or turkey starter feed at all times. The temperature of the brooder should start at 95 degrees for the first week of age, then decrease the brooder temperature by 5 degrees each week. Once the keets are fully feathered by around 8 weeks of age, they can be allowed outside to acclimate to their permanent housing.
Guinea keets require a bit higher protein ration than chicken chicks do. For the first 5 weeks of age, feed guinea keets a 24-26% protein turkey or game bird starter, then after 5 weeks of age, they can eat standard chick starter feed. Medicated feed is OK to use for guinea keets, especially if the weather is hot and humid which encourages the growth of coccidia in the environment. Begin feeding a layer ration once the keets are 12 weeks of age.
Guinea fowl are generally not big fans of being confined. They are happier if allowed free-range of your farm. However, if frequently handled as keets, the adults can learn to accept being handled and confined within a coop and yard similar to chickens. Guinea can fly up into trees and onto buildings quite well, so any yard enclosure will need to have a top if you do not want “fence-jumpers”. Many times, guinea prefer to roost in trees at night and can become difficult to get into a coop at night for safety. Roosting outdoors makes them vulnerable to nocturnal predators such as owls and raccoons. Guinea can be kept with chickens, and often do very well, especially when raised together. The guineas typically return to the coop at night with chickens present.
We hope this information helps with your decision to raise the entertaining and beautiful varieties of guinea fowl that we offer at Meyer Hatchery. We are always a chat, phone call or email away if you have further questions!