Guinea fowl eggs and nests:

The eggs are about one third smaller than chicken eggs but the shells are much thicker and tougher.  The yolks are bigger than you may expect and and a bright yellow.

The eggs are more pointy than a chickens eggs. Guineas all lay roughly the same sized egg and in similar numbers, the colour has no effect on laying ability.
single guinea egg
The eggs contain more a higher proportion of yolk to white and are very tasty.

Guinea fowl lay eggs in a season which is spring and summer. A Guinea fowl hen will lay between 80 and 160 eggs. They maintain this for 5 years or so when numbers begin to drop off. They are longer lived than chickens.

What do Guinea Fowl eggs taste like?

They are very similar to a chickens egg and lack the stronger taste you might get from a ducks egg for example. The yolks are richer both in colour and texture. We did a blind taste test and my friends could not tell the difference when blindfolded.
guinea fowl eggs
They can be used in baking and 10 guinea eggs roughly equals 7 chicken eggs.

The Guinea egg is my personal favourite as I have a thing for yolks and poached eggs and they have big yolks and poach beautifully.


When do guinea fowl start laying?

They can starts as early as 20 weeks old. It is unlikely that a bird will begin to lay in the year it was raised in. As the days shorten in the fall (Autumn) a young bird will wait to begin to lay eggs until the following year. This is true of most birds, it doesn't make sense to reproduce just before winter.
eggs from guineas
The average in my experience is 30 to 34 weeks.

When do they stop laying eggs?

They are very seasonal layers, starting in spring around March and finishing about September. Ultimately it will depend a little on the age and condition of the bird and the weather and climate of your location.

They have a habit of laying in clusters of around 30 eggs in succession, 4 times a year with a break in between.

They slow down producing eggs from their 5 year and stop altogether by year 8 even though they may live for 15. My oldest is 11.

How many eggs does a guinea fowl lay in a year?

80 to 160. It is very variable and depends on whether they were broody or not and how much they have been disturbed. You wouldn't think so because of the noise they make but guinea prefer a quiet life with not to many disturbances.

Can you extend the guinea egg laying season with light?

Yes, it is done were they raise guineas commercially for eggs. It certainly would not be financially viable for the average backyard producer but if you really wanted eggs you could bring spring forward for some young birds in a large barn by giving extra light.

What is Guinea fowl nesting behaviour?

Guineas prefer to nest as they would in the wild, in a shallow depression in a secluded place with lots of cover. The nest is often communal and a male usually stands guard.
guinea fowl nest indoors
This is a few of the characteristics of the laying guinea hen.

1. Guinea fowl prefer to nest outdoors in natural surroundings.
2. Outdoor nesting sites are a shallow depression in the ground and well hidden in hedgerows or amongst nettles or tall grasses.
3. Egg laying in Guinea fowl may begin as early as the end of February in the Northern Hemisphere but usually from March through to September or early October.
4. Guinea hens can lay an egg a day and will usually lay in four clusters of 20 to 30 eggs with a break in between.
5. The hen may start egg laying from 20 weeks of age depending on the time of year they were hatched.
6. They are seasonal layers and mine do not lay at all in Winter.
7. Guinea fowl rarely id ever use a nest box, but those raised by chickens may do.
8. Keeping guinea fowl in the run until after lunch may force the guinea hens to lay eggs indoors.
9. If they see you take the eggs they will move the nest.
10. An empty nest will be abandoned.
11. The nests are extremely hard to find.


Guinea fowl laying habits:


The guinea hens like to lay eggs in secluded nests on the ground. In season they will lay an egg a day coming home each night to roost as normal. Once there is a clutch of 20-30 eggs, a Guinea hen might decide to go broody, then she will stay on the nest.

Instinct will tell a guinea hen to lay her eggs in a secluded, well hidden spot. It’s their nature to share nests, so the clutch will build rapidly.

Once the nest accumulates 25-30 eggs, one or more guinea hens might decide to go broody on the same nest.

A good broody guinea hen will stay put day and night for the duration (26-28 days) other than to leave the nest for food and water usually no more than twice daily, and usually not for longer than 20 minutes at a time.

They are generally more determined sitters than chickens unless they are disturbed, one small incident disturbing a sitting guinea can result in the leaving the nest.

They are also happier than some hens to leave the nest twice a day for feed and water etc. Some hens have to be lifted of the nest or they would die on but this never seems to happen with guineas.


Guinea Fowl Nests:


Are a shallow dip in the ground lined with grasses or straw but sometimes nothing.

They do not need a box and generally steadfastly refuse to use them, preferring to be able to look around them.

Guinea Hens will often share nests, which explains finding the addition of 2 or more eggs to a nest in a day. I have discovered a with 50 or more eggs in. The trouble is a predator will generally find it before you do and eat the eggs and make a mess of the rest.


How long do guinea fowl sit on eggs?


26 to 30 days depending on conditions.


Can you make a guinea fowl start laying?


No, they will start when they are good and ready, Guineas raised in late summer often won't start until the following spring. It is possible that the first hatch of the year may go on to produce eggs in the same season but I would not plan for it.


Can you make a guinea fowl broody?


No. they will go broody when they want. I have a silkie cross Barnevelder bantam and all I have to do is show her a nest of eggs and she will settle on it. This never happens with guinea fowl.

If you were to shut one in a shed in spring she may go broody but they tend to get distressed when enclosed.


Will guineas lay eggs without a male?


Yes, quite happily. I have an egg flock of 27 guinea hens with no males at all and they regularly produce 25 eggs a day in season. They are not any quieter without the boys around as it might be with chickens, they still make a racket.


How do you find a guinea nest?


Start by searching along the fence rows and in high grasses. If you keep males her mate might be seen guarding her during the day but will usually go home to roost at night when she needs his protection the most. You might get to her by following him in the mornings.

In log piles is another guinea favourite. Or under sheds, you will be surprised where they manage to squeeze.


What makes Guinea Fowl bad mothers?


A guinea hen may go broody only to change her mind half way through leaving the eggs to chill and die. They actually do this less than chickens though in my experience.

They have a habit of leaving a nest with just a few keets, leaving the rest to die in shell.

Guineas that go broody outdoors and will often get eaten by a predator.

She may do a brilliant job and survive against the odds, go on to complete the hatch and then wander off with keets across damp ground and grass and they will get wet, cold and die.

They are clumsy birds and the mum or others in the flock can trample or injure them.

Natural hatches often have very low rates. Just 3 or 4 survivors from 30 eggs.

They can just tire of being mothers, leaving keets of the floor when they roost.


What is the best fowl male to female ratio?


In the wild guineas mate as a pair. In the backyard environment a male Guinea or cock bird can keep 5 hens fertile. More than 5 or 6 hens to a male guinea will effect the fertility of the eggs.


Can you get Guinea fowl to lay eggs in nests?


To some extent, yes. Guineas raised by hens tend to roost and lay as chickens would, mine lay on the hen house floor rather than in the nest boxes but they do go in the shed to do it.

Keeping them shut in is the other way, let them out of the coop and run only after lunch when they are likely to have laid eggs already.

Always have pottery eggs in the nest you want guineas to use and never let them see you taking their eggs.