Guinea fowl did not come from New Guinea, they came from Guinea, in Africa. They have recently become popular as a game bird in many other areas including North America, and the UK. They are kept for meat, and to control insects such as ticks. Guinea fowl are sometimes used as “guard birds”. They are also kept as exotic pets.
Breeds of Guinea Fowl
There are basically three “types” of Guinea Fowl, the helmeted, the crested, and the vulturine. You may find one is more common in your area so do not get your hopes up on a specific kind until you find out what guinea fowl are to be found in your area.
Helmeted Guinea Fowl
Helmeted Guinea Fowl have bald heads and necks, they have a ridge, or “helmet” at the center of their head. They may or may not have wattles, but if present, the male usually has larger wattles than the female. Note that there are other color patterns, these are simply the most common. For show, not all patterns are recognized.
Pearl is the most common color variety. The feathers are gray to light purple in color and has white dogs, called “pearls”. This is the natural, original color.
Lavender is similar to pearl but lighter in color, tending more to the lavender tones. They have pearling all over their body.
White guinea fowl actually hatch out as white chicks rather than yellow, they are not albinos, but do have white feathers all over.
Royal Purple is not a recognized color, the birds are darker, tending to have purple tones, and pearling only on their lower flanks and wings.
Pied or Splash are guinea fowl that have some white feathers, this is the common result when white birds are bred with another color pattern. Pictured below.
Crested Guinea Fowl
Crested guinea fowl are the most aggressive of all guineas, and should not be considered “pets”. They have bald head and necks except for the curly feathers on top of their head. Crested guinea fowl are dark in color, often with a chocolate brown tint, and have white spots throughout. These tend to make the best guard animals and will chase intruders (and sometimes even their owner) away.
Vulturine Guinea Fowl
The vulturine is the largest guinea fowl. Their heads are bald, and resembles that of a vulture, and they have longer feathers down their lower necks. They are accented with blue, making them very striking in appearance. They can become quite tame of hand raised. Vulturines are social and need to be kept in large groups.
Other Information on Guinea Fowl
Guineafowl is sometimes written as one word.
Males and females are identical, in some cases the female may be recognized as she makes a two-tone call (sounds like put-rock, put-rock), other times you simply have to wait until an egg is laid (at 2 years of age), or by DNA testing.
Females are guinea hens, males are guinea cocks.
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