Studying Time: 7 minutes
By Jeannette Ferguson, Guinea Fowl Breeders Affiliation (GFBA) President
Pictures by members of the GFBA
Guinea fowl which can be skilled to roost inside a shelter at night time will outlive those who roost in bushes. Guinea fowl have been reported to have lived to be 17 years or older, however sadly, extra lose their lives to predators than to outdated age. Within the winter, guinea fowl care is necessary to defend your flock from harmful temperatures and hungry predators. Guineas are unable to see at nighttime and are simple pickings as a nighttime snack for predators on the prowl. Being excessive up in a tree isn’t any safer than being broody on an out of doors nest. Hawks, owls, and raccoons are frequent in every single place and as soon as they discover a simple meal, you’ll be able to wager they are going to return nightly till their meals supply is gone.
Should you dwell in an space the place winter temperatures drop beneath freezing, guinea fowl can get frostbite and lose toes, or worse. Positive, some might handle to outlive within the worst circumstances and essentially the most frigid of nights, however that doesn’t imply that the birds had been comfy, that they weren’t confused, and that they need to be left open air to fend for themselves. Flock homeowners needs to be accountable and supply correct guinea fowl care by way of housing (simply as they do for his or her canine, barn cats, and different cattle.) Guineas are able to being skilled and needs to be skilled to roost inside.
Guinea Fowl Care: Housing
In terms of guinea fowl care, housing needn’t be elaborate. Housing could be something from an outdated outhouse for just a few guineas or a shed to a nook of the barn or storage or a transformed trailer. What’s necessary is that housing gives a spot for guineas to roost in that’s dry, draft-free and predator proof. Air flow, roosting bars, sufficient house for the variety of birds stored and the sort bedding used in addition to preserving unfrozen water and feed obtainable 24/7 are necessary elements to preserving your flock wholesome and secure whereas confined.
Whereas a guinea home could appear big for the newbie with guinea keets stored in a small brooder or holding pen contained in the grownup guinea home, they develop up actually quick and as adults want three to 4 sq. ft. of house per chicken. Take into account that guineas in colder areas of the U.S. and overseas might very nicely have to be confined to the within of their shelter for weeks at a time through the coldest days of winter, particularly throughout ice storms, deep snows, and blizzards. Guinea fowl care tip: To forestall stress and pecking from boredom and to supply consolation for the birds enclosed, 4 sq. ft. per chicken is greatest. When calculating house per chicken, do take into accounts any house supplied by nesting bins, roosting bars, and shelving. A shelter similar to a shed as a substitute of a barn with a excessive roof will even maintain in some physique warmth and the inside of the constructing will likely be way more comfy than the frigid temperatures open air.
Roosting bars needs to be supplied for guinea fowl. Guineas fluff their feathers to permit air in to assist cool their our bodies through the summer time and to permit the nice and cozy air from their physique warmth to heat their legs and toes through the winter. If a guinea is pressured to sleep on the chilly floor or on litter, it can not fluff up the feathers to cowl the toes that may really freeze in temperatures of 10F or much less. Guineas roosting in bushes are additionally subjected to sturdy winds that may ruffle their feathers, permitting physique warmth to flee moderately than to maintain them heat and comfy. Small tree branches, 2×4’s on edge or reduce in half make good roosting bars. Whereas it isn’t vital to place up nesting bins for guineas, when filled with unfastened straw to supply a wild-like hiding place, a guinea hen will typically use or share a nesting field to put eggs (throughout laying season) or to mattress down in a single day on a chilly winter night time.
Air flow helps to permit moisture in addition to fumes from ammonia and odors to flee by vents within the eaves or by exhaust followers put in within the roof or by home windows that may be opened barely—taking care that the air change doesn’t create drafts within the roosting space. All openings needs to be coated securely with quarter inch welded wire fencing to maintain rats, mice, mink, snakes and different small predators out. Double wooden partitions (with out insulation) will assist maintain in some warmth. Insulating an unheated constructing can really maintain moisture in. Dampness could cause respiratory issues and enhance the danger of illness. Parasites can multiply quickly in damp bedding. Take away any bedding that will get moist from water spills and preserve the bedding as dry as potential.
Whereas straw tends to carry in moisture and takes for much longer to dry out, a bag or two of compressed wooden shavings for animal bedding is very nice to make use of and clear up is a breeze. Free bedding shouldn’t be as more likely to develop mildew and mildew. Droppings from guinea fowl are a lot drier than these from chickens and air flow shouldn’t be as nice an issue when guineas are housed alone.
Electrical energy contained in the shelter makes life simpler on each the proprietor and the flock. With the ability to present a 5-watt nightlight to assist guineas see at night time and a brighter mild so we are able to see at night time or to see to scrub the coop or for our flock when confined on darker, gloomy winter days is one factor, however to have the ability to present a water base heater that may preserve their water from freezing within the winter is an actual blessing. For the proprietor, this implies fewer journeys hauling water, no time spent breaking ice, and a steady provide of water for our flock. Ingesting water is definitely extra necessary than meals. Guineas can survive longer with out meals than they’ll with out water. Even ice chilly water really helps to keep up the physique temperature in our guinea fowl throughout winter. Please don’t assume the birds can eat snow instead of ingesting water. It takes a variety of snow consuming to be equal to ingesting water.
Though the frequent helmeted guinea fowl originate from Africa, they’re fairly robust birds and don’t require a heated coop. Some homeowners do want to provide their birds the choice of getting below a warmth lamp when temperatures drop to the one digits. Should you select to do the identical, make completely sure that the sunshine is securely mounted excessive off the bedding materials and that each the sunshine bulb and your guineas are protected by a defend. f the guinea home is massive sufficient, it may be partitioned with a room for meals storage and a brooder and with storage areas for bedding and hay or straw. The storage space can come in useful ought to the dimensions of your flock enhance and extra housing house be Sure, guinea fowl do wish to get out for some train and recent air even within the winter. On a snowy, however calm day when there aren’t any climate warnings or hazardous circumstances, allow them to out! Put together to assist first-timers again into the henhouse at night time. Some might freak out at their first snow, however as you’ll be able to see within the footage, they are going to get used to it, stroll on it, and luxuriate in discovering many seeds and such alongside fence rows and on the undersides of grasses that protrude by the snow. An hooked up poultry yard could be coated within the winter and an occasional flake from a bale of alfalfa hay will present wanted. some greens and tiny bugs to peck at whereas open air getting some recent air and sunshine.
For particulars about coaching and elevating guinea fowl from egg by grownup, you may get your individual copy of the e-book “Gardening with Guineas: A Step by Step Information to Elevating Guinea Fowl on a Small Scale.” For particulars in regards to the Guinea Fowl Breeders Affiliation, please go to the GFBA web site.
Initially printed in Yard Poultry October / November 2007 and usually vetted for accuracy.