Guinea fowl are very interesting birds that people either love or hate. I first decided I wanted to add guineas to our backyard flock after seeing them on social media. I fell in love their eye lashes, their weird helmet shaped heads, and their polka-dot feathers. They have more redeeming features than the appearance, though, and I like them a lot. I may be the only person on our little hobby farm who enjoys them because they also have a few qualities that many people find highly annoying. That said, here are the five things I love most about my guineas!
Bug eating capabilities
Guineas are renown for being voracious tick eaters, supposedly being able to eat over 100 ticks each day! With the increase of tick-borne illness, I’m glad to have my own little tick fighters running around the property. In addition to ticks, guineas eat a lot of other bugs as well. They are excellent foragers!
Like all birds, guineas lay eggs. A guinea’s egg laying season is usually April through May, and they lay anywhere from 80 to 160 eggs each season. Guinea eggs are smaller than chicken eggs, they’re hard to crack, and they’re supposed to have more protein as well. Guineas are notorious about hiding their eggs in inconvenient spots, but I really enjoy finding them! They make the perfect snack sized hard-boiled egg and can be used in recipes that call for chicken eggs following a two to one ratio.
Watching guineas raise babies
Guineas have a reputation for being terrible mothers, but that has not been my experience. Along with laying eggs in inconvenient spots, my guineas emerge from the woods several times a year with clutches of keets. I find it surprising that our male guineas are almost always involved in the keets’ lives. I’ve never seen a rooster interested in his chicks, but the male guineas help parent and I really enjoy watching the little guinea families run around outside.
One of the original reasons I wanted guineas was because I loved the polka-dot feathers I saw on Instagram. I still love picking up guinea feathers. We find them in shades of gray and black and I always pick them up and add them to my feather stash.
Watch dog capabilities
One of the reasons many people don’t like guineas is because they are very loud. And they are loud – it’s true. But they get loud when they are alarmed by something and their shrieking alerts everyone that something’s not quite right. They can by great protectors for backyard chickens and their shrieking helps scare away potential predators.
Do you have guineas? If so, what do you love most about them?