Guinea fowl’s unique appearance, their appetite for ticks and general antics make them a popular choice for poultry enthusiasts. However, though guinea fowl might be roughly the size and shape of chickens, these exotic birds do have different health and care requirements than domestic poultry. It is true that guinea fowl aren’t picky eaters, but they do have somewhat specific nutritional needs. If you are considering getting these birds, it is important to know what to feed guinea fowl.
A lot of people start their guinea fowl experience by raising babies which are called keets. Since they are still growing, these birds will need special feed. You should give your baby guineas a poultry starter feed that has a very high protein level. Keets need to start with a with a protein percentage ranging from 24 to 26 percent. Turkey starter is an excellent choice. Once the keets reach five weeks old, their feed should change to a poultry or game bird feed with 18 to 20 percent protein. After eight weeks, you can start feeding the keets with a 16 percent protein feed.
Mature guinea fowl can eat a typical poultry feed, but you will need to pay extra attention to the type of poultry feed you select. Guinea fowl require a higher percentage of protein than chickens, so they need a feed that is 16 percent protein. You will also need to avoid buying a medicated poultry feed, because these may contain ingredients that are problematic for guinea fowl. Guinea fowl do not do well with pellets, so you will need to select a feed that comes in a mash form.
If you are keeping your guinea fowl in a coop, make sure to provide them with grit and vegetation. This helps the birds to properly digest their food. Leafy alfalfa or greens is appreciated by most guinea fowl. Just make sure you remove any old or uneaten greens before they get moldy or slimy because this can be bad for the birds. Some types of poultry feed might have the grit guineas need, but it is always a good idea to provide a little extra grit too.
Many people have guinea fowl that they allow to range freely in a pasture or yard. Since guinea fowl are not picky birds, they will find most of their nutrition while wandering around. However, it is important to still provide food for your birds because even free range guinea fowl may not be able to get all their necessary nutrients from your yard. This is especially important in winter, when you should provide your guinea fowl with a high protein game bird feed.
You can supplement free range guinea fowl’s nutrition with some scratch feed scattered on the ground. They love millet and sorghum, and mealworms will go a long way. However, some will avoid eating whole corn kernels. In addition to scratch feed and treats, you can provide leafy greens to supplement their foraging. Your guinea fowl may be able to get some grit naturally if the soil composition in your yard is gritty enough, but you may need to get some insoluble grit or oyster shell grit for extra digestion assistance.
Guinea fowl like to drink fresh, room temperature water. Adults do not have any other water requirements, but it is very important to make sure that the water for keets is not too cold, as cold water can chill keets to a dangerous level and even kill them. Keep in mind that you need to give all your guinea fowl access to clean drinking water even if there is a pond in the yard where they forage. Change the water daily.
Now that you know all about feeding guinea fowl, it is time to figure out where you will actually get your feed. Your local farm feed store may carry feed with the proper protein percentage and ingredients. However, if you cannot find the right type of food in a local store, you have a few options. There are quite a few online stores, or you can buy plain poultry feed and mix in higher protein feed to get the right percentage of protein.
Just a bird nerd sharing what I’ve learned by keeping guinea fowl. I love keeping guinea fowl and have an interest in online marketing so I started this site to share my knowledge with others and see if I could create a successful website.