5 Reasons NOT to Own Guinea Fowl

5 reasons not to own guinea fowl

When I shared my Guinea Feather Wreath, I mentioned that we no longer have our guineas. Shortly after I received an email asking me why. I answered the email, but I thought I would go into more detail here, to help those still in the research phase of deciding to add guinea fowl to their homes.

Guinea fowl can be sort of an exotic addition to a homestead. You will hear many glamorous things about them such as the fact that guinea fowl will eat ticks and snake and rats. You might hear that they are easier on the yard than chickens, that they don’t scratch as much or won’t go after your garden as much. And, yes, all of that is true. Guinea fowl do eat ticks and snakes. They are somewhat easier on your land. But in the interest of full disclosure you really should know the things that they do that aren’t so glamorous.

5 Reasons Not to Own Guinea Fowl

guinea fowl

1. They are loud. Let me say that again. Guineas are LOUD!!! No cute little clucking noises from these guys, it’s full out screaming and screeching. Sometimes this is spun as a positive. I don’t know how many times I read that guinea fowl make great alarm systems. And to an extent that is true. Guineas will alert you to strange dogs, people and cars coming on to your property. But they will also alert you to the fact that a door just slammed, the wind blew, or a car drove by a mile down the road. They also have a habit of moving as one solitary unit. Where one goes, the others go. It is actually sort of fascinating to watch, but when one guinea gets separated from the flock? You’d better cover your ears until they find each other again!

2. They can be bullies. All birds have a pecking order. When you have new additions there will always be a period adjustment while they figure out the new order. And if you thought this was a tough process to watch with chickens, you will be amazed with guineas- these guys are mean! The guinea fowl figured out their own pecking order eventually but be prepared for a longer adjustment if you have other birds as well. Our guineas were raised from keets with chicks. They were together from the beginning. When we added the young birds- both guinea and chicken- to our mature flock the usual fight for top bird began. 6 months later- half our chickens were missing their tail and back feathers. They were afraid to go into the coop at night once the guineas were in there. Half the time we let the guineas roost in the trees just to give the chickens a break. Which leads me into my next point…

3. They love to roam. I recently shared my thoughts on free range chickens, but I assume if you want to purchase guinea fowl it is mostly for their tick-eating tendencies. I’ll tell you now that they won’t eat many ticks in a covered run. They are free range birds and they take it to the extreme. If you’ve done your research about raising guinea fowl you will know that you should raise them in their final home, or keep them locked in their new home for quite a few weeks before allowing them outdoors so that they know where home is. I am here to warn you, even if you do that, they will still have trouble coming home at night. Guineas can fly pretty well and jump pretty high which means fencing isn’t really going to do much. Once they are comfortable with being outdoors they will start pushing the limits. They will cross roads, bother your neighbors, terrorize the horses down the street- all while screaming and squawking. They might come home and night, they might not. They might go into their coop or they might find the tallest tree imaginable and fly and jump their way to the tiny top branches.

guinea fowl4. They will brood and breed. So if you have survived the first few months with guinea fowl and you make it to laying season, you will begin to notice small speckled eggs in your nest boxes. Either that or you will notice some of your guinea hens are all of a sudden missing. You might wait a few days for them to come home and then assume that they were nabbed by a fox or neighborhood dog and move on with your life. Until the day your guinea fowl flock all of sudden grows exponentially. Guineas nest on the ground, and they usually do it under cover  somewhere. If you have a well-concealed nest of eggs you might wake up to find mama guinea with her newly hatched brood ready to join the rest of the flock. Guinea hens are a little different than broody chickens in that they will sit on eggs and raise young together. You could be potentially looking at a nest of 40 or more eggs!

5. They are stupid. Okay, I don’t like the word stupid. I try not to use it often, but unintelligent just doesn’t get the point across. I am pretty sure that guinea fowl are one of the stupidest animals I have ever met. They have no sense of self preservation and when they get scared or separated it’s like their brains fly out the window. This will get them in all sorts of trouble. It will cause them to get eaten by predators. It will cause you to give up on getting them in the house at night even though a hurricane is blowing through.  It will cause them to squawk and screech incessantly until somehow their brains return.

Now, I don’t want to turn anyone off of getting guineas if they really want them. Like any addition to your homestead, this is a personal decision. We had them here for about a year, and I could live with all but one of the things I just listed. I have 5 kids- I can tone out loud noises! We live pretty far out in the country with lots of other farms around and neighbors didn’t seem to mind the roaming. I am willing to let them multiply and allow their stupidity to reduce their numbers. But, I can’t live with the bullying. Chickens are important around here- both as a productive member of the farm and a beloved pet to my children. And, ultimately, we let the guineas go because of how mean they were to our chickens. For more information on raising guinea fowl you can visit the Guinea Fowl International website.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Are you considering guineas? Do you already own them?

 

This post is linked to the following: From the Farm, Tuesdays with a Twist, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, The Homestead Barn Hop, Homemade Monday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Modern Homesteaders Hop, Creative Home and Garden Hop, Simple Saturdays, Natural Living Monday, The Backyard Farming Connection, The HomeAcre Hop,

 

© 2013 – 2014, Sarah Toney. All rights reserved.

84 comments on “5 Reasons NOT to Own Guinea Fowl

  1. Nancy Wolff says:

    We tried guineas this year and had all the same experiences! When they peaked one of my favorite chickens until she was almost scalped I decided enough was enough and they went to live elsewhere! It was a failed experiment!

  2. k. Watson says:

    Oh my that is so funny. I love your way of writing! I had 2 guineas and they were enough to instill in me that guineas are purely evil birds. They seemed to know which side of my head my eyes were on because they would attack me from behind while I was trying to use the push mower. A pain the back of my legs will never forget, lol!

  3. Linda Stanage says:

    what do you think about turkeys, and how do you clip chicken wings.

  4. Susie says:

    I COMPLETELY agree! We raised some from babies once (and I did say once!) and when they grew into adults-we GAVE them back to the people we bought them from! The noise was ear splitting! I know some people-even my own dad- love the sounds they make-but I can’t handle it. I’ll take my hens and rooster any day!

    • My father, who also has a home on our land, couldn’t stand the noise. I got to where I didn’t even hear it anymore. But ear-splitting is a good way to describe it!

  5. Susan says:

    I agree, ours were very loud and if they got out would fly onto the garage roof. Even though I raised them from babies they were not friendly like the chickens.

  6. Ha ha, good thing we do not own any! Great list, made me smile!

  7. Meredith says:

    Hahahah this is too funny! They sound like characters out of a cartoon! I don’t think I could ever get them just because of the noise, and the fact that they look like demon spawn.

  8. My grandma had guinea fowl when I was growing up and I was absolutely terrified of them. They would always chase us. Now I would know how to deal with them and hear they are great to have on the homestead.

    • I think they are great additions to most homesteads, but I don’t think a lot of people are fully prepared to deal with their ranging, noise, etc. If they had gotten along with our chickens we would still have them.

  9. angi says:

    oh, good, I can now cross guineas off my wish list! Thanks!

  10. thanks so much – I’m crossing them off my list too! I have a friend who was going to give me babies in the spring – I am definitely going to pass!

  11. Thx for sharing on Thank Goodness it’s Monday! I had read they are loud, but I did not realize they are THAT loud. Good to know. I also did not realize they would bully chickens. One question for you: What are the males like? Are they similar to roosters? Can they be aggressive towards people? Is it better to have a single male with a harem of several hens, or can a mix for half hens and half males happily coexist? Would love your feedback. thx again! Will share this on FB.

    • We never had any show aggression toward us, I believe others did. We had bought unsexed keets and ended up with about half males and half females. We didn’t have any aggression between the males. I am not sure if that is because they were raised together or because guineas are like that though.

  12. LOL!! So funny! I might want them now just to see how stupid they are! Great post!

  13. Kathi says:

    I’m told they will also roost on your car, though they didn’t try that here. Mine would usually go into the guinea coop at night; I’d lure them in with some scratch. I didn’t mind the roaming, I didn’t mind the noise, our chickens are cooped so they didn’t co-mingle. But they are definitely not bright! Ours were picked off one by one, by predators, and eventually I had only 4 left, so I took them to the sale barn. A friend has a great saying: all the guineas in the world share one brain, and today isn’t your birds’ day to have it.

  14. Jessica S says:

    We have about 20 guineas and I agree they are loud. However, ours aren’t agressive to our chickens. They all share a coop and they are the first ones in at dusk. During the summer they would roam through the yard, pastures and field around our house but since there are fewer bugs to eat this time of year (in NC) they started going farther and we lost 2 to the road. We have been training them to come by ringing a bell and giving them scratch grain. I wouldn’t say they are stupid. But they do not move for traffic and will run in front of a car or tractor. It has helped to keep them out of the road by spreading small amounts of scratch grain around the yard. It gives them something to do during the day and they have been staying close to home. We are happy having guineas.

    • Thanks for sharing! I was hoping we would avoid bullying by housing them together from the get-go. Sometimes they would come in at night and sometimes they would have nothing to do with it…

  15. Pam says:

    In middle Tennessee we have ticks, fleas, and chiggers all over, in the yard, in the weeds, in the woods….guineas are the BEST chemical free tick, flea, and chigger control you can find! In addition to insect control, guineas are excellent watch animals, all that noise should serve to warn you that a hawk, fox, opossum, or visitor has arrived!
    Our guineas roost in the trees near the chicken coop at night and roam the yard, garden, and goat pasture during the day; they don’t stray too far from the house. We have had several chicks hatch, but unless we catch them and protect them from predators, the small ones rarely survive to adulthood.
    On the other hand, our roosters make more noise than guineas, peck the hens more than the guineas, and chase me when I’m trying to feed…..I’ll vote to keep the guineas and ditch the roosters!!

    • Thanks for sharing your story! I was worried we would have an explosion of ticks this year since the guineas were gone, but we still had next to none, so the chickens must be getting most of them. Ours must have just been a mean bunch :) They tormented the rooster as much as the chickens.

  16. I had a flock of 30 and loved them. I raised them from the times they hatched by hand..and they were great. But over the years they were taken by fox of some other creatures from the swamp and woods. We have 18 acres and they never wandered off the property. Yes, they were loud, but more like watch birds..we liked the sound.

    We never had ticks on the cats of dogs while we had them… we do not have them any more. And I mi9ss them. We have chickens now, and they are enough to care for. But if you have the space and time to hand raise guineas..I would ..

  17. Thelma Murphy says:

    I’ve had them for about 20 years I guess it’s been. At one point in the first could of years- I wanted them GONE but they are like wild things I didn’t own them they were just here. No-one wanted to come catch them even if I gave them away, so they stayed. Finally all the hens died off now I only have two OLD-OLD males. They all make noise but the males not as much so I don’t even notice them, they never mess with my chickens but maybe it’s because they never stay with them. At one time we had 20+ and still I had no problem with the chickens ,probably because they were so busy chasing each other they had not time for anything else-LOL Their pecking order is Fun to watch They would line out chasing one ,until the chased decided it wanted to be one of the chasers and would just drop to the end of the line. I will probably never get more but I didn’t mind them…….wait-wait I do hate the poop under trees mainly because the two old guys LOVE my back yard, I think because maybe they feel safer.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience! I think the noise is one I could get used to and not even hear anymore. It was eerily quiet when they first left! They are more wild than chickens, I had a friend who had neighborhood guineas…their numbers would rise and fall but they just hung around the neighborhood even though no one actually owned them.

  18. Cris says:

    I found your post at the HomeAcre Hop. I am planning on getting guinea fowl when we purchase land, if anything else, just for their usefulness at eating ticks. But thanks for the reminder of some of the negatives about them too! I love your blog!

  19. Issa Waters says:

    This post is hilarious! It kind of makes me wonder what guineas have in the pro column. I guess the bug eating is a big one! My place isn’t too run over with bugs – maybe the chickens are keeping it down. I have a neighbor who keeps guineas, and they do raise a ruckus but I like the sounds of animals around. I won’t complain about my neighbor’s guineas, and I hope he isn’t too bothered by my sheep. THEY are spoiled, obnoxious sheep who baaa up a storm anytime they see a person they think they can convince to provide some corn.

    • Bugs are a big pro for the guineas, but I have found the chickens do a pretty good job on their own. Our goats are the same way- if they see a human it must be time to eat :)

    • ryan says:

      Makes me laugh. I have guineas and roosters, but nothing bothers me more than my sheep. Their baaas are so pitiful when they see me. The want their grain fix and get louder and louder until they get it. Good thing we are on 30 acres and its roads on all 4 sides.

  20. Thanks for sharing on Tuesdays With a Twist. Yes, they are loud, like alarms, our neighbors had some and whenever we went for a walk they would let everyone know we were there. We didn’t have chickens, but I have read if they are raised with the chickens they won’t bother them. Have a blessed and Merry Christmas.

  21. It took me 31 years of marriage to convince my husband that we really needed them….yes, they are noisy and somewhat mentally challenged…but I love them…we started out with a dozen and raised them from tiny babies…we live on an eighty one acre ranch in south Arkansas and yes, we have ticks, fleas, snakes and all the things guineas love….and I love them for their work ethics…they are very entertaining chasing one another for miles it seems…I have one black hen that runs with them after she was rejected from the coop…we have only four left and are planning to get some more this spring.

  22. Sandra says:

    I have heard that Guineas are very loud. Never been interested in raising them.
    Thanks for sharing with the HomeAcre Hop!

  23. Ha ha. We always had them around wild where I grew up in Africa. They were as common as chickens and we’d go hunt them. Never had them as pets, but their sound brings back wonderful memories. I love it!! Course, they never stayed by our house for long ;-)
    http://simplelifemom.com.

  24. peggy says:

    We have guinea fowl, about 20, primarily to rid us of ticks. My husband got STARI lyme disease from our local ticks and we need them controlled. The guineas are successful in bug control.

  25. I am glad I read this! I have always considered getting guinea hens as tick eaters but not any longer. Thanks for the info!

  26. Babette Ward says:

    Its an honest list for sure.Around here we refer to them as a gang of thugs..lol.. I do still love my guineas.They eat from my hand.I appreciate the hawk warning sounds.Between the guineas and the roosters my hens usually know when danger is near. My guineas dont roam.We have a few acres and they have been content here. They have been over the fence where they wear a bald spot in the grass because the stupidity factor wont allow them the knowledge of how to return from whence they came.Ours dont bother the chickens but I am having a TERRIBLE time introducing new guineas to the flock :( .They keep chasing the new ones into the woods. A friend told me to enclose them all together and let them sort it out but they are so brutal and they gang up.I don’t feel comfortable doing that but I cant keep the new ones hogging up a chicken pen forever either…Feeling frustrated.

    • Tracie says:

      Try an adjacent pen to the guineas so they can get to know each other safely.

    • Shelley says:

      How did you keep them from running off? I have 5 guineas and live on 7 acres. When I first let them out to free range the stayed close to the barn but after the 3rd day I didn’t see them for hours and on the 4th day they didn’t come back at all. After 2 nights of them being gone we found them down the road. Is there any way to keep them on our property without fencing the entire property? Thank you very much for any help.

      • Guineas are hard to contain. Even with fencing they would just fly over. The key is to start with keets and keep them in their coop for the first 6-12 weeks before letting them out so that they know this is their home. They will roam during the day but should come home to roost.

  27. Mya says:

    I remember growing up with guineas. Ugh, they were terrible. We had a problem with wild dogs, and we got the guineas to be an alarm- to keep our rabbits safe. We also set traps for the dog, and a guinea ended up getting out and into the trap- it ended up with only one leg, but if you can believe it, that damned bird hopped around for an entire summer. I remember I couldn’t ever sleep in, and they were a pain to get in at night. The only thing I remember liking about them were the feathers they dropped. LoL! As an adult there isn’t any reason I can think to have them. Your article is spot on, and I feel that you used the term “stupid” in the most appropriate way possible :)

  28. Sheryl says:

    Loved your article! I agree completely with your take on guinea fowl. They have been a proverbial pain in the butt. I do not agree with the author of Gardening With Guineas whose book convinced me that they would be a wonderful bird to add to our new life on the land. She touted how gentle they were in her garden. They have practically uprooted saplings, grapevines, rose bushes and more by digging their dusting pits in the easiest soil they could find on my property. And bullying was the latest eye opener for me. I had wondered for months why so many of my poor hens were losing feathers. I figured they were doing this to themselves overnight or fighting in the hen-house overnight. I finally saw the dark-side of Guineas in the hen-yard over this winter. I only have two left out of the original 15 and would not be sorry to see them go. Thanks for the entertaining and insightful read!

  29. Beth & Bruce says:

    We are house-sitters in Australia. We were looking after a property that had ducks, chickens and a dog.
    When the neighbours’ 20 odd guinea fowl first came onto the property, at first we had no idea what they were. They were never any trouble and as the dog was getting fairly deaf, it was great to have the guinea fowl alert us of visitors or predators. We found a dead poisonous snake near the residence, which we think the guinea fowl disposed of, as it had numerous little holes in it, which appeared to have been caused by their beaks. Not that we would normally be happy for a snake to be killed unnecessarily, but being so close to the house, which has folding doors and no screens, the doors were open all day and we wouldn’t have liked any nasty little surprises when we closed up at night. The water dragons did that from time to time. Those guinea fowl roosted in the trees at night. Later we were looking after another property that was infested with ticks. We couldn’t go outside without getting them on us and not just a few, dozens of them. How we dealt with them, is another story! There had been bad flooding the year before. As we regularly look after the property, we suggested to the owners that guinea fowl may help. They have guinea fowl now as well as chickens and the tick problem is almost non existent. We also saw a fox slinking off one day, which we attribute to the guinea fowl creating a ruckus. The guinea fowl are never locked up they roost on a perch, that runs along the top of the chicken yard and never show any aggression toward the chickens. It’s not unusual to find one or two of them in the chicken yard of a morning happily pecking away. The guinea fowl came with rings around their legs, which occasionally they got their claws caught in, causing them to limp badly. We eventually caught them all with the help of a fishing net and removed the rings. A couple of them dropped a lot of tail feathers, so are ‘bob tail’ now. Not sure, but suspect that is caused by stress.

  30. lisa M says:

    Love this! They are definitely a ‘love em or hate em’ type of bird. I happen to love them…but I’m a bit odd! lol

    ~L

  31. Ashley says:

    We have 9 acres of land and the guineas have chosen my bedroom window sill as their fav place to roost, leaving me wide awake until I get fed up enough of the squealing to go outside And flush them off. Any suggestions on how to prevent them from roosting there and in one of the thousands of trees instead?????

  32. marian says:

    We have a bunch of guineas but i can deal with there screeching

  33. Kim says:

    How do you tell the male from female guineas apart?

    • The males have longer and larger wattles on the sides of their faces. They also have a little bit different call. The female has a 2-syllable call where as the males have a monosyllabic call, both calls are repeated over and over.

  34. jane says:

    We had 2 guineas
    My female got hit by a car last night and will be missed. I was hoping she would make it after being dropped by a hawk from 20 ft a couple of months ago. She died during the night. The male is so sad and clucking up a storm. I hear they mate for life. I will get another female and hope they co exist. They were beginning to get friendly after almost a year and did their job well in keeping grasshoppers and every bug away on 7 acres by our house and 10 acres across the road. I tried to keep them on our side but the male would follow her.

  35. Gene says:

    I could use some help. I have raised guineas on a farm for many yrs. You are correct about them. I have seen all of it 1 time or another. I moved 2 yrs ago. I now own only 2 acres. Last yr I purchased 15 guineas. Raised them together, in a small pen. There were 11 this spring. I let them out, to roam. The neighbors seem to be fascinated by their antics. Telling me about the things they do.
    Now my problem is, they are dying. They go across the road. I have had 1 hit on the road. They leave my property, and go to the neighbors lawn. In the last 10 days, I have had 6 die. They come back, and I find them dead, in the pen, or near the garden. They don’t look sickly. No feathers missing. I do see them chasing each other occasionally, Will they kill each other? But the dead 1s don’t appear to be pecked, n bloody. I hate to think some 1 may be putting something out to get rid of them.
    When I raised them in the past, I never found dead 1s. Some were taken at nite by owl or raccoons. But they roosted in trees. Is there anything u r aware of that they may die of? They r only 1 yr old. Thanks

    • Tirzah says:

      Hey, Gene,
      I am no guinea expert, but perhaps they have been exposed to a toxin when they are out and about. When I was a child, our dog ate part of a large dead grasshopper that was in the yard a day after my dad sprayed insecticide. She very nearly died and it was a big vet bill. Perhaps they are eating something exposed to pesticide or herbicide???

      • Virginia Mary says:

        Well, folks each of us are different and so are our experiences. I have owned Pearl, Pied and Lavender Guineas with chickens for over ten years now and with complete joy. Their gregarious nature is lovely in the daily hum-dum of farm life. The only thing “stupid” I have found about them is the people that call them that. As for bullying it is just like kids at school. Yah git outta them whatcha put in…bullying has NEVER happened on my farm and the chickens even small bantums co-exist and even roost with them at night. YEP! I have mine trained and have for years to never sleep out in the woods or nest there either. I watch the behavior of the males that help guard the nesting females and the gather the eggs putting them in an incubator so the hens can rest, roam and enjoy their much appreciated bug eating. A chicken will destroy a garden but a guinea takes the bugs and moves on to another area.

        I trained mine to come when I call them and stay out of the woods and off the asphalt out front in the road!! It is a matter of patience and respect for the breed of animal and the willingness to educate oneself on how to work with them. Then again you could call a donkey “stupid’ if you couldn’t milk it everyday like a cow!! Guineas will teach you patience, detachment, the gift of allowing and the circle of life and love. Just takes a little patience and some millet along with a willing can-do attitude….there is nothing more magical than to see one stand on it’s toes and flap their wings in a greeting to say “Hello” as you pass them outside foraging. Not a thing stupid about that, I say!

  36. Suzan says:

    Loved your article – it’s all true! Except for this: Please STOP spreading the false rumor that guineas eat ticks. Science has come in on this. In fact, up to 300 ticks can hide in the feathers of ONE guinea. Here’s one article on the study: http://unews.utah.edu/news_releases/birds-may-spread-not-halt-fever-bearing-ticks-2/

    We’ve had guineas for nearly 3 years now. It was very hard to combine two flocks – the older birds killed one of the younger ones. Only now after all this time, do they even pretend to go easily into their pen every night. They are finally laying, and of course laying all over the place. We fear if we don’t find the nest the keets will die trying to get back to the coop in the high grass, getting wet, then getting sick. If we had to do it over again, we’d go with chickens in a minute. Guinea Fowl international has a great listserve to ask questions and know what you’re getting into, solve problems etc.

  37. Jeremy says:

    I recently got 6 keets (6 – 8 months old) and penned them near the house for three weeks with the intention of keeping the snake population under control as we live on a rain forest acreage in the tropics. I recently let them range just before dusk thinking they wouldn’t go too far and would return to the pen. So the obvious happened and they took off and I didn’t see them for two days. Lo and behold.. they turned up in the chook pen (Chook, Aussie for chicken) which is about 200 meters from the house and not where i want them. I haven’t heard them make much noise so I’m a little nervous about how they’ll go as they mature. As far as i can tell the chooks are bothering them especially the game hens and rooster. They all seem pretty comfortable roosting together when I shut them up at night.

  38. Sandy Abalos says:

    I raised two hens & a guinea couple together for the first 6 months, but the male was getting too mean with the chickens. So we put a chicken wire fence between them & all has been ok, except during free range time when he chases them a little. But this morning I found the male guinea dead in their side of the coop. So now I’m left with this grieving female guinea who roamed our place all day today calling for her mate. We took the fence down in the coop so maybe the hens can help with her loneliness, but only time will tell. Should I look for another home for this widow guinea? I don’t really want to bring in any new birds at this time. Any advice anyone?

    • I am not sure. We’ve never had a lone guinea. We did have a lone duck that lost her mate, she was sad and called for awhile, but eventually settled into the chickens and I do believe she now thinks of herself as a chicken. We have other ducks now and she prefers to be with the chickens/roosters.

  39. we had one come by the house and it stayed in the yard a lot and got in the trees at night. Then it started eating the catfood. I bought cracked corn for it, but liked the cat food better. needless to say when i fed my cats on the deck the Ninnie would get up there and eat it all…
    then it started pooping everywhere.. got sick of that real fast. so my neighbor down the street is going to try and catch it for his house. I like having it around the noise didn’t bother me, just the poop, everywhere.. ugh!!
    i

  40. Donna Gleason says:

    I never did any research on or knew anything about guineas. I went to a poultry farm to pick up the chicks I ordered and they had guinea keets straight run. They told me that they were great at eating ticks and good foragers. They told me that they laid triangular shaped eggs. They never said anything negative, but I guess that’s to be expected. I have to say, other than having 2 of them get their heads stuck (and they survived) in the weirdest places, I’ve had ZERO problems with them. Now mind you, I’ve only had them for 2 months, but they’ve adapted just the same as my chicks and ducks. I’ve never seen the guineas attack any of the other birds and I have quite a few birds (chickens, ducks & guineas – some are 2 months, some are 2 1/2 months and the originals are a little over a year old) in the same coop and the same run (about 60). Out of that I have 6 guineas. I was told they were communal birds and would keep mostly to themselves. So far, that’s what I’ve seen. My older chickens hold their own and they will peck at all the littler ones, including the guineas. I do have to say that a few times I’ve seen the guineas roosting on the the same roosts as the older birds. But no fighting. I hope my group is exceptionally well behaved, because I got rid of my drake a few months ago because he was relentlessly mounting and picking on one of the ducks. He HAD to go finally.

    I agree that they aren’t that bright and that they are loud (that doesn’t really bother me). I have to say now I’m a little nervous that they tend to roost in the trees, I’m not comfortable with my birds NOT locked up in the coop! They know the coop and the run as home, so I’m hoping that won’t be an issue. Additionally, I’m also hoping they lay their eggs someplace I can find them, preferably IN the coop! Keeping my fingers crossed!

  41. charlsey says:

    Great Read…. full of information…enjoyed the comments as well.

  42. GinaSue says:

    Thank you so much for this info! I’ve been researching but hadn’t found nearly the info you gave. I had just about decided to go ahead and call the dealer when I found your blog. The bullying is the deal-breaker for me as well. Thanks again!

    • Jonathan Hart says:

      The bullying is the males our one male does not like our dog or roosters near the hens and guinea ladys

  43. A friend gave me a guinea egg as we were looking at his pheasants, guineas and peacocks and I thought it would be a fluke to take it home, pop it in the incubator and she if fate thought I should own a guinea.
    Well, 3 weeks later it is in my box in the house with a variety of 1/2 dozen chicks that were last out of the incubator and after reading your post I’m thinking the best thing for it might be to train it as a house pet. I see that people have done it, I”m just wondering if it’s going to be a screaming freak in the house without other birds to flock with or if it will be quieter and more content. Any ideas? Would it be good to eat?

  44. Bill says:

    Wow… you have a lot of comments, so you may not get to this one. WISH we’d seen your list before getting our flock (now 2, lost 2 last summer to predators). Of course, my wife certainly read these warnings before but I don’t think she believed them. And they were so cute as chicks!

    From my own point of view here’s how I put their noise: It’s so loud, constant and irritating that I actually can’t think. When I’m building chicken coops, trying to figure out rafter lengths and angles with these guys within 200 yards is near to impossible. And we have only one male and one female. She’s qiuiet, he’s not (and she is the one who will “stupidly” get lost under the deck, behind a fence, etc., and cause him to go off.

    I’d also add another thing: while they ARE hardy birds, and were able withstand one of the coldest winters in New England in a long time, they do not fare as well as chickens. The male did fine, but it seems the female did not roost in a way as to protect her feet and either got bad frostbite on her toes or a fungus, but she has severely truncated toes now. They also never left the coop for at least 4 months, even though we opened it on sunny days. It doesn’t make me feel right about keeping them in an outdoor coop in winter, even with bare ground on which to peck, as the chickens will do.

    Thanks again for your post!

  45. Vee says:

    I have chicken, guineas, and turkeys. I raised the guineas from one day old. They are a challenge and often even difficult.

    I started out with around 30 guineas. I only have six now. And even 6 are extremely loud when they start crowing. I raised them with chickens (once I moved then outside). I’ve had them close to 3 years, so I’ve tired different housing arrangements (trying to find the best one) during that time. I’ve also housed them alone, in a movable pin, etc. Now that there’s only six, I’ve reintegrated them with the chickens. They roost together in the chicken coop at night, share a fairly large pen during the day, and there have not been any bully of the chickens as some here have reported. However, when I had a couple of guineas housed in a smaller movable pin with two turkeys, one day one of the guineas (for no apparent reason) went crazy and started attacking the turkey, so aggressively that the turkey almost hurt himself trying to escape and I had to move the guinea.

    A few things….

    1. Some of my birds have occasionally escaped. Sometimes they just bolt. Sometimes they come back, but they won’t come to me or willingly let me help them back to the coup. Sometimes, I have been able to coax them back to their enclosure, but it usually takes a tremendous amount of time and patience. A lot of times even if they are near enough to hear them in the woods, they scream and squaw and wander until they get too lost or (sadly) eaten by a predator.

    2. My chickens and turkeys interact with me. My guineas run; they seem distrustful despite being with me from one day old and me giving them food, water, snacks etc. daily. It’s almost seems like they don’t even recognize me while the chicken and turkeys do (and are sweet on the whole). I think that type of guinea behavior is part of the reason that some folks call them stupid. I hate to use that word, but they are the least intelligent bird that with which I have interacted.

    3. You have no idea about the decibel levels they can reach. I thought I understood it beforehand from books, postings, and talking to folks. Let me just say if you have neighbors (within a few miles of you), and you have maybe 4-6 guineas (or even one in some cases), they’ll be heard at some point (probably frequently). Mine are a ways from my house and have been so loud as to wake us (with all the windows down). There are quiet times — but they are very loud a surprising amount of time. Yards are big here and my few close neighbors are ok with the sound. And I let everyone know that if the guineas were a nuisance (in terms of sound) that I would get rid of them.

    Sometimes one birds squawks (for no apparent reason) and then it’s 45 minutes to an hour of non-stop noise. As others have said, random non-threating things can cause them to scream and for a good while. Sometimes, in response to one of my roosters crowing they will start (despite being use to the rooster’s crows and being housed with them).

    4. But it’s not all bad – - I personally think they are pretty birds. They are dependable layers and the eggs are tasty with durable shells. They do catch bugs well. Mine keep coups and enclosed pins bug free. They are tough and study birds. I love looking at them. I also love seeing them “move as one” as was described in other comments. And sometimes having them as alarms is good. If I hear them sounding for a long time, I look, because they will alert you of “new” things like foxes, cars in the driveway, folks walking in the yard, etc. And it’s nice to gets the heads up to take a peak even thought they do get set off by non-threats as well.

    5. I’ve read that they kill mice and such. But there were some mice (a few times) in their coup and the guineas saw them but didn’t do a thing (which surprised me). So, I used traps, despite having a lot of guineas then. I chalked it up to them being very well fed, but from what I had read, I had thought they’d immediately run and eliminate any type of rodent.

    6. Although they are skiddish and don’t engage you (at their own home), they will make themselves at home in a neighbors yard, trees, etc. Twice (escapees) of mine have come to my deck, which makes me think they’d do the same else where meaning go to a neighbors door (but it has not happened here when they wander to a neighbors). Still, I find odd for a “wild” bird to come to my deck and call for a while — until I came outside. Acquaintances of mine have a theory that while guineas have a rep for being stupid that maybe the ones who came to the house had enough acumen to know that help / people live here. I go back and forth on my opinion on that.

    7. I am glad that I experienced guineas. If I had a lot of land with good sound buffers, I’d probably always keep a small flock. However, given I have neighbors who can hear them when they amp it up, I would not get them again. Also, given they don’t consistently (or often not at all) come home to roost after escaping, I would not raise a flock again. That said — if you have the space, patience, and CAN TAKE THE LOUD AND SOMETIMES CONSTANT NOISE, I’d recommend raising a flock at least one for the experience and hilarious stories.

  46. Jenn says:

    I have to share my experiences with guineas just because this all sounds so negative. We have a 10 acre plot in the middle of 100 acres, + 1 neighbor building a house. We are in year 2 of our flock – 22 guineas + 18 chickens. We’ve not experienced much aggression from pecking order issues. 6 months ago, we adopted 5 grown guineas from a woman who couldn’t care for hers anymore..the integration process took a week. The first few months, they kept t themselves and we could tell them apart, but now, they are just members of the flock. They will even eat millet from our hands. 4 months ago, we got 9 new chickens and when they were feathered, we put them outside in a separate box for a week. Nothing ever happened with any kind of aggressive pecking order display. It’s been very peaceful and they do free range but always come home at night. They’ve set up a 56 egg nest inside of the coop.
    Our dogs don’t have fleas, there aren’t any mosquitoes or ticks in our yard, and they provide hours of entertainment because they engage in games of chase. We love our guineas and will always be a part of our home, loud noise and all.

  47. Ed says:

    I’ve had guineas for 20+ years, they are different for sure but stupid is not the word, curious, bug eating, alarms, yes, these things you describe remind me of people! lol

  48. Fern says:

    While I agree with most things said…………I’ve had guineas for many years. We put up with the squawking and such because they are amazing when it comes to eating grass hoppers. They will chase them to their death and then fight over the crumbs. We eliminated the bullying by coming up with a second bldg for them to call home. Now they and the chickens completely ignore each other – both of which are free range. I currently have 16 adults/11 youngsters/13 babies. Why so many? Because they are so incredibly dumb/ varmints get them and occasionally, yes, they get whacked by a car.

  49. Chris says:

    I wish I found your page before I got my guinea fowls! With out a doubt everything you said is true, I was reading and laughing and agreeing all the way, my poor girls . I was hoping to read it got better but I’m now to the opinion OFF with their HEADS, they are so nasty and noisy. To know that they will always been the same has just made my decision easier. thankyou for your honest and funny honest opinion
    from I have had enough, tomorrow they go!

  50. shelby says:

    Has anyone housed them with other animals? I have 3 two wk old keets. I had planned to build an outdoor pen that attaches and opens into to the goat shed for them to sleep in at night. Figuring the 3 dwarf goats only use the lower half, i could put nesting boxes and a perch in the dormer/loft and everyone could share body heat over the ohio winter. Any suggestions/thoughts ?

  51. Lauren says:

    I’m not going to lie noisy is the word, but loving also.. I hand reared 3 and they would cuddle up to my neck, go crazy when I left, and they have such a big imprint of me, even still.. They follow me about, when I cuddle them they stretch their necks out and go to sleep, mine have undeniable love for me, they are in with roosters and chickens and we’ve never had any problems

  52. Mary says:

    Same here. I actually googled “how old is a guinea rooster still good to eat” because I have decided my two guinea roosters have to go. I got them for free last spring. A friend emailed me a link to an ad for free guineas. I thought, what good are guineas? So I looked online and didn’t find your post, but rather some with the rather good reasons to have guineas- eating ticks, sounding alarms, keeping predators away by being annoying and aggressive. I was having trouble training a new dog not to eat my chickens and that problem stopped after these guys arrived. It could be coincidence. I don’t know. I’ve found them to be amusing, up ’til now. I don’t mind the noise and think I’ll miss it. But I tried introducing some new hens to the flock and these roosters were brutal to them. In fact, they may have killed a hen. I found a hen just dead on the ground. A day or two later I saw both roosters simultaneously jump her sister. Now I’m thinking ahead to a winter with all the birds cooped up together, with no place to hide. These guys have to go.

  53. Terri Bailey says:

    I enjoyed reading ur story. I am considering getting these because we r having a snake problem….do they really kill snakes?

  54. Jonathan Hart says:

    We have guineas to but ours are odd they breed with our chickens whitch we dont care and dont adventure they stay in the coop all day long

  55. Teresa says:

    I LOVE my Guineas… I got them as day olds in Mid June.. it is now the 28th of August.. I raised mine with 8 chicks one of my hens hatched.. I moved them all to a hutch/run next to the hen house…they all get along well. Hens in the hen house… keets/chicks in the keet house.

    Although the guineas prefer to stay just outside their run/shed at night.. they do stay close. (AND SOMETIMES even sleep inside!) Every morning I feed everyone a bit of fermented feed.. ( so they know that home in the morning, is the place to be… At about 2pm..I come home, hens are still locked in waiting for me to open the door.. young chickens doing the same… Guineas hanging around outside … KNOWING Mama has treats>> I feed them scraps from a local restaurant.. (anything but deep fried, or white flour). Scraps are tossed out.. everyone finds something they like .. and in about 10 minutes they head out.. Guineas in their little swarm.. chickens running their outskirts, getting the grasshoppers that THOUGHT they had escaped the Guineas.. everyone free ranges till dusk.. when they start gathering for bowl of feed topped with white millet.. With full bellies.. they all find their favorite place to roost.. chickens INSIDE.. and Guineas.. well…. maybe in.. maybe out.. but still ………………. THEY ARE HOME!

    I might add.. my house, pens, and corrals, sit in the middle of 200 acres of open prairie.. with NO TREES…

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