Varieties of Helmeted Guinea Fowl
- Purplish grey plumage regularly dotted with white spots
- Developed originally from the African type
- Light grey distinctly spotted feathers
- More popular in Italy
- Adaptable to colder regions
- Solid white in colour
- In Russia, it has been improved for meat
- Lighter skin than pearl variety
- Buff dundotte
- Coral blue
- Royal purple
Improved Varieties in Central Avian Research Institute, Izatnagar, UP
|Day egg weight||38 -40 g||38 -40 g||38 – 40 g|
|Egg production||100 -120||100 -115||100 -120|
|Hatchability %||70 -78||70 -80||70 -73|
Guinea fowl developed in TANUVAS, Tamil Nadu
NANDANAM GUINEA FOWL I
- Improved meat type pearl Guinea fowl variety
- 12th week (market age) body weight of 950-1000g
- Improved livability of 95%
- More suitable for backyard rearing under agro climatic conditions of Tamil Nadu
- Improved carcass qualities
- Useful in socioeconomic upliftment of resource poor rural women
Wild behaviour in Guinea fowl
Helmeted Guinea Fowl are active, gregarious birds that travel in flocks, typically a flock of 25 birds. During the day, the flock spend much of the day on the ground foraging, preening and taking dust baths and have even been seen heading in single file toward the nearest drinking hole. During the heat of the day, these birds will rest and seek shade. They are not agile fliers but they do manage short bursts of rapid flight and will return to its communal roosting sites in the trees during the night.
Body parts of Guinea fowl
- Large and sturdy
- Hard bony bump – Helmet
- Eyes are small, bright and alert
- Ear lobes have white patches
- The beak is short and stout
- Wattles are red
- Fairly long and tapering
- The lower part has a great deal of white skin
- compact, Short and droopy tail
- strong rounded
- Well developed wings have strong muscles
- Broad-shouldered and well rounded
- Long and well set apart with hocks showing below the thigh covers
- Many feather colour variations – like pearl, lavender, white, violet, lilac, buff
- Dark coloured plumage with light dots is very common
The sexes are indistinguishable morphologically until 8 weeks of age.
Sexes can be differentiated by
- Size of the helmet
- Size of Wattle
- Vent Sexing
1. Size of the helmet.
Male Guinea fowls have a larger helmet than females of the same age.
A guinea fowl’s helmet, also known as a casque, is a prominent horn-like structure on the top of its head. The helmet is larger on males than females. The helmet on female guinea fowls tends to be short and narrow. The helmets can look very similar between males and females in many cases which cause difficulty in sexing birds of different ages.
2. Size of the wattle
Male Guinea fowls have larger wattles than females of the same age.
Male and female guinea fowls look very similar, it is possible to tell the sex by looking at the wattles. In adult male guinea fowls, the wattle is usually large, elongated, and folds upward toward the upper jaw. A female guinea fowl’s wattle will look fairly flat. The female guinea fowl’s wattle is usually smaller than that of a male guinea fowl.
Both sexes give a one-syllable shriek, Females have a two-syllable call.
The call of a male guinea fowl. Male guinea fowls make a 1-syllable call that sounds like ‘chek.’ The male’s vocalization will either be a chirp or a yelp repeated at varying intervals.
The call for a female guinea fowl. Female Guinea fowls make a 2-syllable call that can sound like a variety of words, like ‘buckwheat,’ ‘put-rock,’ or ‘qua-track.’ Typically, the first syllable will be short and the second syllable will be longer and rising in tone. Female guinea fowls also make a 1-syllable ‘chek’ sound, mostly when they get frightened.
4. Observing the phallus.
Typically, it is very difficult to differentiate between the sexual organs of male and female birds. A male guinea fowl has long thick phallus. The phallus becomes more distinguishable between the sexes at around 8 weeks of age.
5. Vent sexing.
An accurate way of sexing in day-old chicks and keets by examining the vent area.
- It would help to be seated and rest the guinea fowl’s back along the length of the handler’s leg.
- Vent sexing can be performed properly by an expert. Vent sexing by unskilled persons may end up in injury and death of the bird.
- Vent sexing is usually performed in keets that are at least a few weeks old.
How to examine the cloaca of a bird?
With your other hand (or the hand of your friend), place an index finger and thumb on either side of the vent. Gently separate those fingers to stretch and push out the cloaca. Use gentle, yet firm pressure when exposing the cloaca.
(image courtesy: wikihow)
Benefits of rearing Guinea fowl
Why farmers rear Guinea fowl?
Guinea fowl are rough, vigorous, hardy, and mostly disease-free game birds. They are increasing in popularity for a variety of reasons.
- For show:
Many poultry shows include a class of guinea. Guinea fowl can typically be entered in one of two classes—breeding (judged according to a Standard of Perfection) and market (judged according to body conformation as it relates to meat production).
- For income:
The meat of a young guinea is tender, resembling that of wild game. Guinea fowl meat has many nutritional qualities that make it a valuable addition to the diet. It has 134 calories per 100 grams, which is second only to turkeys, which have 109 calories in the same quantity of meat. Guinea fowl meat is leaner and drier than chicken meat. Guinea fowl are ready to eat at 14 to 16 weeks of age. Guinea eggs can be eaten just as chicken eggs and should be collected daily. During the laying season an egg a day is common.
The feathers of guinea fowl are also often sought for use in arts and crafts in such items as hats, dream catchers and decorative gourds.
- Farmyard watch animal:
Guinea fowl will sound an alarm whenever anything unusual occurs on the farm. Some find this noise a nuisance, but for others, a guinea is an effective tool for protecting the farm livestock. Guineas have been proven as watchdogs in non-farm locations, such as junkyards as well. When dogs are used as guard animals, lawsuits are a possibility if an intruder is injured. In a junkyard with trees, guineas roost in the trees at night and will make a ruckus if disturbed, alerting humans of intruders. Losses due to theft can be reduced with no lawsuits. Guinea fowl will also alert other poultry on the farm of danger. The warning call of guineas notifies others when raptors are in the area, giving them time to dash under shelter.
- Insect control:
The main food for wild guineas is insects. Guineas will consume large amounts of insects, typically leaving the vegetable and flower gardens alone. Unlike chickens, guineas do not scratch the dirt much and thus do very little damage to gardens. Once established on a farm, guineas are able to pretty much fend for themselves, consuming insects, seeds and grasses. They have been used to control deer ticks, wood ticks, grasshoppers, flies, crickets and other insects. They will also eat slugs. Guineas are used in some areas to reduce the threat of Lyme disease, which is carried by the deer tick population. Guinea fowl will also eat honey bees, so you have to be careful if you also have apiaries. Guinea fowl have been known to stand by a hive and eat the bees as they come out.
- Rodent control:
The loud call of the guineas has been shown to discourage rodents from invading the area. Flocks of guineas will kill and eat mice and small rats.
- Snake control:
Some snakes will eat eggs and baby chicks. In areas where snakes are a problem, groups of guineas have even been known to k>cat< and kill snakes before they can cause harm.
- Unique ornamental value:
Guineas are curious and interesting animals. Some people like to keep them around for the entertainment value.
Watch the video to see how Guinea fowl protects farmyard.
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