There are a lot of reasons you may want to consider raising guineas on the homestead, but there are also a few considerations to be aware of before deciding to add them!
Pros of Raising Guineas
To tell the truth, I was first drawn to guineas because of their beautiful polka dot feathers. I saw the gorgeous black and white feathers on Instagram and knew I had to had them. Then I started reading more about guineas and learned that they are voracious tick eaters. Consider me 100% sold at that point.
With tick borne illness on the rise in the US, anything that can help get rid of ticks is a solid win in my book. Guineas are great foragers and eat a lot of different bugs. Because they forage so well, they don’t need much feed. Though they do need you to feed them more in the winter months, they don’t need much from you in the summer.
Guineas also lay delicious eggs and may people raise them for meat as well.
Cons of Raising Guineas
The biggest downside to guineas is that they are loud! They are so loud. Before you decide to get guineas, make sure to find a recording of what guineas sound like. I have a video all about guineas on my blog where you can hear them in action! Their loudness drives many people batty (including everyone in my family – but me).
But it also makes a great alarm system. When you hear the guineas start to chatter – you know something is not quite right. Their alarm is part of our livestock protection program: guineas, geese, Great Pyrenees dogs all working together to keep predators away.
If you decide to get guineas, here are a few tips to help you out!
- Guinea keets learn to fly very quickly. Make sure you have a safe, warm coop for them because they will fly right out of your brooder box before you’re ready!
- Guineas need to be coop trained or they will all fly off and never come back. To coop train guineas, let only one guinea out at a time. When that guinea comes back reliably, and it probably will because they like to be with other guineas, then you can let another guinea out with it. Repeat this process until all of your guineas stick around.
- Guineas are great flyers and like to roost in trees. Our guineas have been very winter hardy – only going in during the coldest of weather.
- Guineas will lay their eggs in hard-to-find locations. Many people claim that guineas are bad mothers, but we have not had that experience. Our guinea mom has done a great job raising her own keets.
- Guinea eggs are about half the size of chicken eggs. They are very hard to crack, but really delicious – the perfect size for a little snack!
- It’s easy to sex guineas once they start talking. Guinea hens have a two- syllable sound that sounds something like Come Back Come Back. Male guineas make a one-syllable screech that they yell on repeat. It sounds something like ki ki ki ki.
In all, we (or maybe it’s just me!) really enjoy having guineas. For me, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and keeping guineas makes a lot of sense.