Some people actually think guinea fowl are cute but I don’t know I would go that far. Maybe they are so ugly they are cute – kind of like bulldogs. They are so comically disproportioned that they are kind of cute. I think they’re comically ugly. But you’re a hardworking farmer who needs animals that carry their weight around the farm. Being cute and/or comically ugly doesn’t cut it! So here are three good reasons to own French (or Jumbo) guinea fowl. I’ll keep it quick and simple because goodness knows everybody has Twitter length attention spans these days.
Three reasons to own French guinea fowl:
- They eat ticks! Yes, guinea fowl may be ugly. But ticks are also pretty darn ugly. Plus guinea fowl don’t give you Lymes Disease. Ticks do. Guinea fowl are relentless foragers. I guess when you’re an ugly bird, you have nothing better to do with your time. Guineas will decimate tick populations and keep them in check all summer. I’ve heard tell of homesteaders who had their guinea fowl flock wiped out by raccoons or sometimes even wolf packs (shout out to our Alaskan readers) and the next summer ticks overwhelmed their homestead. They were frantically raising a new flock as fast as they could just to get relief. Also, if you have a large flock of guineas they will circle, attack, and eat small to medium size snakes. Tip: If you have a guinea fowl flock, do not feed them too heavily during the summer or they will not forage well. Feed them lightly in the evenings to lure them back into a coop if you want to protect them from predators. Guinea fowl will roost in trees as well if left outside.
- They taste good! French guinea fowl produce a lean, dark meat similar to pheasant. This is, in fact, why the French put the effort in to selectively breeding a larger guinea fowl strain. The French (often called Jumbo) will reach 4-5 lbs in only 12 weeks. This is up to 2 lbs heavier than your common guinea fowl. Plus, they reach that weight faster making the French guinea fowl a great meat producer.
- They have watchdog personalities! Guinea fowl have very alert personalities that notice strange animals and people. When they do notice strangers, they raise the roof! You grab your double barrel shotgun and straighten out the mischief. The downside to their noisy habits is that your neighbors, who don’t care about mischief on your homestead, may complain. If this becomes a huge problem, well… Invite the neighbors over and serve them some delicious pheasant-like stew. Then mention that maybe you could give them of this scrumptious meat if only you could raise another flock of guinea fowl.
Guinea fowl are a nice break from your standard variety chickens and are slightly more exotic. They aren’t very cuddly since they originate from wild fowl in Africa (of course, chickens were once wild too) and still have wild, flighty instincts. My brother claims that guinea fowl are very creative at finding unusual ways to die but keep in mind that my brother isn’t a very good farmer. If you follow our rearing instructions, chances are your guinea fowl will thrive on your homestead and you’ll enjoy the benefits!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the best place to buy baby guinea fowl is jmhatchery.com. They’ve been hatching French guineas longer than anyone else! Granted, their website looks like it was built in the 1990s, but their old school hospitality and know-how will win you over!