Thinking about adding guinea fowl to your flock, and wondering if you can keep guinea fowl and chickens together? Let’s walk through everything you need to know about raising a mixed flock of guineas and hens together, so you can decide for yourself if it’s the right move for your homestead or farm.
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What’s The Difference Between Guinea Fowl And Chickens?
Chickens those loveably fluffy birds that are found on so many farms and country backyard are pretty easy to identify. Chickens absolutely need humans to survive, they need food, water, shelter, and protection. Chickens will return to the coop once the sun goes down to roost.
Guinea fowl are largely undomesticated by humans, and pretty much wild, and independent. They don’t require humans to survive and are much happier searching out their own food. They are excellent flyers, which makes them hard to contain. A Guinea doesn’t return to the coop at the end of the day to roost but will perch where ever they want.
Can Guinea Fowl And Chickens Live Together?
While guinea fowl and chickens can live together in a mixed flock it’s really important to remember they are not chickens and have their own unique needs and preferences. A better question is should they live together? We’ll talk about that more later in this post but for now, suffice it to say yes you can keep guinea fowl and chickens together.
You can keep guinea fowl and chickens together in a coop, but make sure the guineas have space of their own that they can go that’s private (guineas don’t like to lay their eggs where there is a lot of action going on), while still having the ability to hang out with the rest of the flock.
Why You Should Raise Guinea Fowl And Chickens Together
Many people recommend raising guinea fowl and chickens together for several reasons, let’s dive into four of those reasons to help you decide if you should be raising guinea fowl and chickens together in your flock.
Reason #1 To Raise Guinea Fowl And Chickens Together
Guinea fowls love to snack on bugs, insects, vermin, and other pests which makes them a great addition to your yard or farm. Many people that keep them rave about their ability to cut down a tick population and keep snakes out of your yard. While chickens do eat bugs and insects from your yard, guineas may tend to do a better job because they are more independent and prefer to forage for their food.
Guinea fowls do not scratch and forage for insects the same way that chickens do. Where a chicken will scratch deep holes in the ground looking for food (which can wreak havoc in your garden), on the other hand, guineas tend to look for insects above the soil which can cause less damage. It’s worth noting that a big part of a guinea’s diet is weeds and flowers so you’ll have to watch them around your tender plants. They also like to eat:
- Small reptiles, such as snakes and scorpions
- Mice and other small vermin
Reason #2 To Keep Guinea Fowl And Chickens Together
Guinea fowl can be a good deterrent to predators, because of their loud call. When a threat is present guinea fowls will often make such a ruckus that you are alerted of danger right away. This can scare potential predators away and protect your flock.
Reason #3 To Keep Guinea Fowl And Chickens Together
Guinea fowls do not lay eggs as often as chickens, but they do lay heavily at different times throughout the year. Usually, spring to fall. They can produce anywhere from 80 to 150 eggs per year that are richer in flavor than chicken eggs.
Reason #4 To Keep Guinea Fowl And Chickens Together
Guinea fowls can be helpful in your garden, they are natural weed killers and fertilizers. Just make sure that you protect the plants that you don’t want them to eat.
What You Need To Know Before You Put Guinea Fowl And Chickens Together
Now that you’ve got an idea about the benefits of keeping guinea fowl and chickens, let’s talk about why you may not want to.
- Guinea and chickens have different dietary requirements,
- Male Guineas can be very assertive, especially if you have roosters in your flock. They’ve been known to deprive him of food, run him off, and fight constantly.
- They can be very pushy with smaller birds, this behavior can be modified if they are raised with chicks.
- Guineas aren’t known for their brains, making them known for dangerous behavior.
- Guineas can be difficult to confine due to the fact they can fly so well.
- Their natural behavior is to wander at will and they will do just that.
- They are poor mothers often abandoning keets that can’t keep up with the rest of the flock and neglecting to protect the others.
- Guineas do not come home to roost as chickens due, preferring to sleep in trees or on top of the chicken coop where they are easy prey.
- Guineas are loud, and while they can set off the alarm when a predator is near they will also do it for strangers, false alarms, and anything else that annoys them. This makes them unsuited for in-town living or where your neighbors are close by.
- The guineas loud call may startle your chickens (Sending them for cover) but it can also cause them to temporarily stop laying.
Tips For Keeping Guinea Fowl & Chickens Together
Keeping guinea fowl and chickens together can be a little tricky, here are some tips for raising them together:
- Raise your guinea keets and chicks together from a young age. The two species of bird will acclimate early on and learn to live together.
- Owners cannot raise one guinea fowl alone even in a flock of chickens.
- Guinea fowls can actually fly, unlike Keep that in mind when building or purchasing a coop.
- You may want to have separate coops for your guinea fowl and chickens allowing them to interact during the day or while free-ranging but separate at night.
- Make sure your guinea fowl don’t outnumber your chickens. The dominating nature of the guinea’s when outnumbering your chickens can overstress them.
- Introduce the animals slowly, perhaps one at a time, to avoid too much stress on either your guinea fowl or chickens.
- Guinea fowls do not like to be moved from coop to coop. Moving the birds too often could encourage them to wander off.
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