Guinea fowl: breeding at home. Guinea fowl breed
Wild varieties of guinea fowls are found on broad plains, among which from time to time there are thickets of low, but dense bushes. Other species are found even in mountainous terrain, at an altitude of more than three thousand meters above sea level. Despite living in regions with a warm climate, these birds feel great in colder conditions. In total, there are about 25 species of guinea fowls, but only one has taken root at home. This is an ordinary guinea fowl, the breeding of which we describe in today's article.
These birds are very freedom-loving and need quite spacious poultry houses and areas for walking. If a meadow or field is located near your home, it’s just fine! It is only important to remember that guinea fowls should not sleep in the wild, as in such conditions they quickly run wild. To exclude escape attempts, be sure to accustom your charges to feeding during strictly defined morning and evening hours.In this case, they will be building back even from the farthest "grazing", being unable to skip the treat.
The centuries-old practice of keeping these birds has shown that it is not necessary to warm the rooms intended for their maintenance. Guinea fowl, as it turned out, perfectly tolerate even a very strong frost. Simply put, a typical chicken coop is quite suitable for them. That's just growing guinea fowls requires a sufficient area: they plant two or three heads per square meter of floor. Runs are required even more spacious: at least thirty "squares" per bird. We strongly recommend to protect the walking net with a grid that is at least two meters high. If you save, all your wards can easily escape, having flown over a low fence. This is important to know: there must be a short shrub on the walking area, since without it the birds will not be too comfortable.
About the runs
In the middle of the paddock they put a small (possibly mobile) house playing the role of shelter. If you're lucky, that is where you will find the guinea fowl eggs. At nightfall, the birds themselves go there.They are released at six in the morning, fed, and then the birds graze all day on a free range. It should be noted that in some cases one or two “clubs” still fly over the fence, but there is still no mass “flight from the coop”. The runaways do not go farther than a dozen meters from the hedge, and in most cases the truly domestic guinea fowl does come back on its own.
Some rules of care and maintenance
If a guinea fowl company wintered in the same room, then they become accustomed to each other so much that they keep a tight group even on a mixed range. In most cases, they do not cause any problems to the maintenance personnel they are used to. That's just when a stranger appears to her, the home-made guinea fowl instantly begins to scream heart-rending, and calms down only at the moment when the stranger completely leaves their field of vision. In winter, a thick layer of sawdust should be poured on the floor of the house. However, you can pour them in the summer, as in this case the cleaning process is much simpler.
There are no special features in the inventory issues: you can take the same tools that are used to keep chickens. And one more thing worth paying attention to.Like chickens, guinea fowls love to swim in the sand or dust, so that on the walk and in the house itself it is necessary to install a trough with sand or ash. In principle, you can use their mixture. But how does guinea fowl breed? We will discuss the breeding of these birds right now!
Content and breeding
The breeding group should consist of one rooster for five or six hens. If the birds spend in such a composition at least a week, they will form a solid, cohesive community that does not break up even in the conditions of a busy bird yard. It is very important to form a breeding group, starting from the chicken age. Once again, we recall that guinea fowls are free birds, and therefore adults are extremely difficult to “solder” into one flock. Practice shows that such families carry one and a half to two times more eggs than groups formed already in adulthood. It is also important to note that females in such "collectives" tend to nest in the same nest, which greatly facilitates the process of detecting and collecting eggs.
Begin egg laying
It is important to consider that hens from hens are not too good. In addition, they love to make nests in the bushes or other remote places, not paying attention to specially prepared nests.Guinea fowl eggs are similar in size to chicken eggs, but they are somewhat smaller. Incubation of guinea fowl lasts about 28 days. Theoretically, females can begin laying eggs from the end of February, but males "work" only from mid-March. The thing is that their sexual instinct is strictly seasonal and reaches a peak by mid-May. The most favorable temperature for mating is +17 ... + 20 ° С with a day length of at least 12-14 hours.
Guinea fowl chickens are extremely active and can escape from anywhere, squeezing through the slightest crevices. And because the diameter of the grid cells, which is used for the manufacture of cells and fencing paddocks for them, should not exceed one centimeter. By the way, the net is better to buy plastic or metal, but covered with polyvinyl chloride. So you will save extremely active and curious chickens from possible injuries. At first, it is very desirable to release the kids in small, compact paddocks, covered with the same grid on top. And it's not just that chicks can be carried by a kite or a cat ... There are no more flying poultry than a guinea fowl. Breeding them also has a lot of nuances.
How to equip the house?
In spite of the good tolerance of cold fowl, the house should be warmed for their breeding, as in such conditions they are much better carried. At least a kilogram of slaked lime is poured into a square meter of floor in the room, which will prevent the development of various infectious diseases. Up to 15 centimeters of crushed dry straw are piled on top. In the same "line" can be used sunflower husks, sawdust, sand and small chips. At a height of about 40 centimeters from the floor, there are perches made of a bar with a cross section of 4 x 5 cm. For five guinea fowls, an approximate meter of a roost is needed.
In order for the birds to fly well, be sure to take care of the correct lighting mode. If we talk about the walking type of content, then you will see the guinea fowl eggs in March, and egg-laying ends in September, with a sharp decrease in the length of daylight hours. How to accelerate puberty birds? To do this, starting from January, increase the length of the light segment of the day by setting the illumination at the level of the feeders for this purpose.
Only three weeks after that you can get the first batch of eggs.But only eggs, which the female guinea fowl laid down six weeks after the first laying, can be allowed for incubation. Their weight should be at least 40-45 grams. It is very important that the temperature in this room in no case falls below 15 degrees Celsius, as the percentage of fertilized eggs in this case will be very low. In one egg-laying period, each guinea fowl produces up to 120 eggs. Unlike chicken, they can retain their nutritional properties for up to six months. Of course, successful incubation of guinea fowls will be only in the case of using fresh material.
Parent livestock selection
Parent stock should be stocked starting from autumn. Choose "candidates" begin with the age of 20-22 weeks. Are the small guinea fowls any different? How to distinguish females from males? In general, this is not too difficult, since the males are more colorful, and on the beak they have a slight tubercle. Females should be smaller, with a faded coloring, with small earrings and a crest. In addition, they preferably have a sufficiently large and voluminous abdomen.
Mode of hatching
Guinea fowl eggs in an incubator incubated for 28 days. Chicks should be kept in a warm, but at the same time ventilated room.The air temperature must be maintained at 20-22 degrees, and the humidity of the environment should not exceed 70%. If the temperature in the house is higher or lower than recommended, small guinea fowls start to eat poorly. Up to three months they are fed five times a day, and then gradually transferred to three meals a day. First, you should give a fresh low-fat cottage cheese and boiled chicken egg. Subsequently, finely ground grits are added with the addition of powdered milk. Starting from the fifth day, mineral supplements are gradually introduced into the diet. By the second week, they begin to give chopped greens with the addition of fresh yogurt, which every guinea fowl likes, the breeding of which we discussed in the pages of this article.
From the month you can let go for walking. By three months the weight of young birds reaches about 200 grams. As for adult birds, in the morning they are fed with dry feed, and in the evening - with wet mashes. Be sure to include in the diet of grass or pine flour. Feeding in the cold season is carried out only in the poultry house, while in the summer they can take out food directly on the field. And now let's briefly discuss the main breeds of guinea fowls that are found in our conditions.
They have a dull-white plumage, which distinguishes them from most other breeds. They are also distinguished by a large purple vocal bag at the throat. These birds are distinguished by a calm disposition, high egg production and resistance to extreme temperatures. And it does not cause the slightest surprise, since for the first time the breed was bred in the Omsk region. The carcasses are white in color and have a very attractive appearance. It is very interesting that in female carcasses there are convex and elastic pectoral muscles, which are distinguished by the most pleasant and delicate taste. "Siberians" are extremely calm behaving on the run, without making any attempts to fly away or escape. Form very stable, lifelong groups.
They are distinguished by a gray-speckled color and have a carcass of a pleasant white color. The peculiarity of this breed is that it is bred by hybridization with chickens, so that the meat has an extremely pleasant taste, resembling poultry.
Gray-speckled guinea fowl
This is the most common breed. Males grow to two kilograms, females are rarely heavier than one and a half. Sexual dimorphism is very weak.Males differ from females only in a slightly larger head and the presence of a small tubercle on their beak. The breed is popular due to the meat of great taste. During the season, birds give up to 90 eggs, whose weight rarely exceeds 45 grams.
Blue Guinea Fowl
Born from the previous breed. They differ from it only by plumage, which has a bluish-gray color. However, there are other differences. So, layers of this breed are inferior to their ancestors in terms of productivity. In addition, the percentage fertility of eggs is slightly lower. You should not treat these birds biased: the breed is very young, and selection is still in full swing. It is for this reason that there are practically no birds of this variety in our country, with the exception of farms of enthusiastic poultry farmers.
Differ in a gentle, creamy color of plumage. They have high egg production, some layers produce up to 120 eggs per season. The mass of males reaches 2.2 kilograms. They are very early, quickly reach industrial condition. Meat has a high taste properties. In addition, the percentage of hatchability of chicks is very high, up to 86%.This distinguishes the Volga variety from their relatives.
Cream Guinea Fowls
Very reminiscent of Siberian whites, but somewhat smaller than them. They originated from gray-speckled guinea fowl. Sometimes this form can spontaneously occur among gray-speckled birds. Differing from the progenitors, they carry several smaller eggs. In addition, there are some problems with acclimatization. Because of this, physiological ripeness comes two weeks later with them than in the same gray-speckled birds. They later begin to lay eggs and end up doing it before. Egg weighs within 44 grams.
Here are the main breeds of guinea fowls that are found in the conditions of our country. Good luck with your choice!