The American Poultry Association classifies French Guineas as guinea fowl. They were brought to America prior to the 1850s. Guinea hens reproduce naturally; so, if allowed to free range they can produce offspring. When free-ranging they are notorious foragers and do a standout job of pest control including rodents like mice and small rats. Guinea fowl are considered lower cost and maintenance than chickens. Guineas are available for sale year-round.
Market weight for a jumbo French Guinea is four pounds at 12 weeks when fed properly using broiler feed to accelerate growth and weight.
French Guinea’s grow faster than other guinea varieties are primarily used for meat production as there is a demand for its lean, tender, dark meat. French Guinea Keets, keets are guinea fowl babies, grow twice as fast as common guinea fowl and can weigh up to two pounds yielding 25% of the live weight in meat. They are also good for natural tick control and as farmyard watchdogs as their loud noise whenever they detect something unusual discourages rodents.
Although guinea fowl differ in temperament depending on the species, they are highly social with their own kind. Most are protective, independent and cautious. They can be noisy depending on the activity they observe. Guinea fowl are regarded as less intelligent than other birds.
Guinea hens lay triangular-shaped, small, brown speckled eggs from March through August. During that season, it’s common for a guinea hen to produce one egg per day, potentially producing up to 100 per year. Eggs can be eaten just like chicken eggs.
Time to Maturity
By 16 weeks, guinea fowl will have their full plumage and markings and be considered mature. If hatched early in the season, they may produce eggs in the fall. French Guineas are one of the hardiest domestic fowl.
What do guinea fowl eat?
A self-reliant poultry bird, adult guinea fowl graze all day consuming bugs, insects, ticks, grasshoppers, flies, crickets, and small rodents. Think of them as an alternative to toxic pest control options.
Can you eat a guinea hen?
Absolutely. As mentioned, their meat is prized for its lean, healthful characteristics.
What’s the difference between a guinea hen and a chicken?
For starters, guinea hens are considered a wild bird. As such, their meat tends to be gamier along the lines of a pheasant or other wild game bird. Their meat is quite lean and has 50% less fat than chicken. Guinea hens will yield a 50/50 ratio between meat and carcass. For another, guinea fowl will be more aggressive and dominate chickens. The best way to avoid issues is to integrate French Guinea Keets and chickens at an early age.