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Meet the Guinea Fowl

Written by Carolyn on April 26th, 2012.      3 comments

guinea fowl 1
 

HAVE YOU MET OUR GUINEA FOWL?

In early March, some baby Guinea Fowl came to live at Kings Seeds.  Eight little babies arrived, along with a bantam hen to be their mother.    Gerard made a secure home for them in an old shed at the back of the property and they were kept safely enclosed there while they were little.  Now they are bigger, they can roam free during the day and they put themselves to bed at night. 

guinea fowl on the lawnSince their arrival we have enjoyed watching them grow.  There has been the odd escape attempt - we have had a few occasions when we have suddenly had to drop what we were doing to help herd escaped baby guinea fowl back into their enclosure. 

Sadly, not all the guinea fowl babies have survived.  One was found mysteriously dead one morning. 

Three other guinea fowl escaped and haven't been seen since.  On the day they went missing, the staff all took turns roaming through the bush at the back of the section, calling "peep, peep, peep" in the most guinea-fowl-like way  possible, but we had no luck find the missing "babies". 

So now we have four guinea fowl at Kings Seeds.   This morning we took some photos to show you.

 
on the lawn

The guinea fowl spend most of their time foraging around in the patch of bush at the back of the property. 
 
at Kings Seeds

They already know our routine and come hurrying over to the lunch room every morning to be fed.  We are trying to encourage them to spend more time closer to the building so we are feeding them on the lawn.  
 
guinea fowl 2

The little bantam hen is doing a fantastic job of mothering the guinea fowl.  She keeps a close eye on us even while she is feeding.  Her babies are now nearly as big as she is!

Guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) are native to Africa.  They were first brought into New Zealand in the early 1860s by the Canterbury Acclimatization Society.  Guinea fowl have a long history of domestication, and have often been kept alongside other fowl because the loud, harsh calls they make when disturbed serve as an alarm for the other birds when danger threatens. 

A fully grown Guinea Fowl weighs about 1.3 kg. and has grey-black body plumage spangled with white. Guinea fowl are also reared for their meat, but the Kings Seeds Guinea Fowl are definitely here just so that we can have the pleasure of their company!

Guinea fowl are gregarious and social (just like the Kings Seed staff) and typically live in small groups.  Adults are normally monogamous and mate for life.  Unfortunately, domesticated Guinea hens are not the best of mothers, and will often abandon their nests. 

Baby Guinea fowl are known as keets (and are very cute!!)

Guinea fowl are excellent foragers and will eat a variety of animal and plant food -  seeds, fruits, greens, snails, spiders, worms and insects, frogs, lizards and small mammals. 


We are presently feeding them a little poultry food but are expecting them to forage for themselves as they get older. 
 
guinea fowl at Kings Seeds 1
 
...We'll keep you posted on their progress as they grow bigger....

 
Topics: livestock
 

3 Comments

Sue Jex says ...
Glad to see your guinea fowl still with their mother hen. Our bantam hatched 5 and they are twice her size but still look out for her. They are very protective of her and she seems to like the coy. They are lovely to have around
Kathryn says ...
Just looking at getting some Guinea fowl to roam the garden with the ducks. Came across your blog. They look wonderful. Are they harsh on the garden?
Fionna says ...
Super! I've seen many Guinea Fowl in South Africa while on safari, but few in NZ.