Feeding Guinea Fowl.

What do you feed guinea fowl?

I feed my Guinea fowl first thing in the morning when they are first let out and then last thing before they roost in the evening. The fact that guinea-fowl are so easy to keep means that there is very little to say about any specific feeding or dietary habits.

My Guinea fowls are all free range and spend their day in 4 acres of North Yorkshire. They eat exactly the same feed as the chickens get and they seem to ignore the layers pellets entirely. My birds have an all seed scratch that includes 4% sunflowers seeds 4% safflower seed, wheat, cracked maize and millet.
guineas feeding
Young Guinea fowl chicks or keets require much more protein. You can give them either a game fowl ration or a turkey starter. Grated boiled egg works just fine as well as a protein boost.

Guineas need to consume some greens in order to maintain good digestion, and so they eat sprouts, grass, dandelions, weeds, and other vegetation. It is a wandering bird requiring an extensive range and it finds nearly all of its food, especially in the summer months when there is plenty of insect life about.

Guineas need the same Grit with shell and  fresh water all poultry does

What do they eat in the wild?

Guinea Fowl are endemic to Africa, where they are extensively distributed. They associate in large flocks and frequent open glades, the borders of forests, and banks of rivers, which offer abundant supplies of seeds,grain, berries, and insects, in quest of which they wander during the day, and collect together at evening, and roost in clusters on the branches of trees or shrubs.

Adult guineas forage for themselves with little tendency to laziness and are able to meet most of their nutrition requirements provided they have enough land to cover. They consume a variety of insects and arachnids, seeds, slugs, worms, small rodents and caterpillars.

When do they usually eat?

They graze all day but tend to have a big feed first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. I sometimes never see them all day.

Guinea fowl nutrition:

Because the birds are consuming vegetation, it is important to make sure grit is available for the birds, and the birds also benefit from having oyster shell available.

Provide clean water at all times. Guineas do enjoy a scratch feed in a trough.

They like Barley, oats, wheat, sorghum, or millet grain and seem to ignore chicken pellets and whole corn kernels.

If you are keeping the guineas for pest control, restricting their feed during the day will encourage them to spend more time searching for insects and natural feed stuffs.

If for any reason guinea fowl are not allowed to forage, they can be fed a commercial poultry diet for game fowl or turkeys.

Guineas need a higher protein feed than chickens, but do quite well on regular poultry diets. Keets need a 24% to 26% protein ration as the starter feed. The protein level should be reduced to 18% to 20% for the fifth to eighth weeks.

The use an medicated or unmedicated feed is a personal choice but I always feed medicated when young to prevent Coccidiosis.

After six weeks the keets can be fed a 20% grower feed with a little extra protein included.

If your  supplier does not sell feeds in the proper protein levels you can mix a higher protein feed with chicken feed to get the proper protein level.

Pelleted feed is not recommended for guineas.

You should also provide supplemental greens, such as hanging a cabbage or green leafy vegetables, for the guineas to peck at. They will eat the leaves.

They should be fed regularly, and must always have one meal at night,

The hens are prolific layers, beginning in May, and continuing during the whole summer. Their eggs are small, but of excellent flavour, of a pale yellowish red, finely dotted with. a darker and remarkable for the hardness of the shell. The hen usually lays on a dry bank, in secret places and
a hedgerow a quarter of a mile off is quite as likely to contain her nest as any situation nearer her home.

She is very shy, and, if the eggs are taken from her nest, will desert it, and find another a few should, therefore, always be left, and it should never be visited when she is in sight.

Guinea fowl food preference:

Guineas raised without chickens should be fed a turkey or game bird feed. The high protein feed is necessary for fast growing keets should not to be confused with the amount of protein in a pre-mixed feed for adults.

Keets need a protein level of at least 24% for the first 6 weeks
Growers need around 20% and 18% protein is good for adult Guinea fowl.

One of the problems with this feed for adult laying birds is it lacks the ingredients to colour the egg yolks and birds feeding on nothing else with have pale washed out yolks.

Keeping birds entertained:

Being members of the game bird family over-crowded or bored chicks may be prone to feather-pecking and it is important to have plenty of containers so that there is no competition for feed or water.

Provide additional attractions to keep the bird occupied, such as green stuffs hung up for them to peck at.

A mirror will give both you and the guinea fowl hours of endless fun.

Do not forget the dust bath.