The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Cottage Smallholder Interblog Guinea Fowl Breeding Event. Update; our guinea fowl are now 15 weeks old and flourishing.

keets 15 weeks oldBack in June 2007 Sara at Farming Friends sent us six guinea fowl eggs in the post to put under our broody hen Mrs Boss. Five eggs hatched out. Sadly, our favourite and the only snow white keet, Lightning, died. The remaining keets are doing well and are now 15 week old. They are now grown up and are young adult guinea fowl.

I am besotted with them. They have started making the raucous guinea fowl sounds when they hear the grain bin opening. Hearing their call, Inca throws herself at the wire of the chicken run.

They are passionate about their morning luxury parrot mix of sunflower seeds, nuts and tasty chilli bits. They hang out together companionably and join Carol at lunch time to lead the flock in the dash for Swiss Chard and dandelion leaves.

Their foster mother, Mrs Boss, has not returned to the bottom of the pecking order. Barbie is still the replacement unfortunate bottom dweller. I always make sure that she gets her fair share of grain in the morning. One fowl has to be at the bottom of the pecking order. That’s just how it is.

Meanwhile Mrs Boss hangs out with the guineas. They more or less ignore her now. They move really fast so she is often left behind. They still consider her to be their Mum but they are like teenagers – wanting to be away and flying but occasionally cuddling around her in a group hug. She does look so small and compact compared to them. But she’s still a content and happy bantam. The breeding event has definitely changed her life for the better. If you’d like to read the whole story as it is an opera with superb highs and terrible lows, click here.

Guinea fowl look unusual, with their slim bodies, tiny heads and bejewelled features. They have ‘quietly’ got under my skin and are here to stay. I actually like the caterwauling and their guinea fowl cries. We still do not know how many hens that we have got. We have at least one, as we’ve heard the ‘come home’ cry. When we rush to the pen to identify the hen they all quieten in an instant.

I went down to the greenhouse in the dark this evening. All our flock turn in at dusk so the guineas were in the hen house. They must have seen the flash of the torch and heard me thundering past as suddenly there were small chirrups from inside the hen house. A soothing, gentle sound.

guinea fowl 15 weeks oldThank you Sara for giving us such a wonderful present.

  Leave a reply


  1. sorrell

    i am thinking of getting 3 guineas – i have chickens and peafowl that free range but i would like some keets to bring on and put them in at night as i worry especially in the winter. do they get on with peafowl and do they eat wasps as i am allergic to them.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hello Sorrell

      I have discovered that Guinea fowl will dominate the flock if left in a large run. The smaller birds are particularly enticing. If you get three make sure that it’s two hens and a male as the males will fight without following Queensbury Rules. Guinea fowl are great but they are thugs in a flock of chickens unless they are totally free range.

      I have no experience of Peafowl so can’t advise on the combination.

      I have no idea if they eat wasps. I have never seen them eating a wasp. Generally their treats are snails and slugs – far more meat.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Celia,

    Their feathers are very attractive. Years ago I had a pretty dress in grey and white that I loved!

    Mrs Boss is still a happy hen.

    Hi Sara,

    I went out and examined the guinea fowl at lunch time. One has larger wattles and it is not Cloud who is smaller than the rest. Thanks for your tips on working out the gender Today I am planning to clean out their house so I will have a longer opportunity to observe them.

    Hi Pat,

    Mrs Boss has companions now and seems very chirpy.

    Hi KJ,

    We are so pleased that the Interblog breeding event worked out so well. We™ve had a lot of fun.

    Hi Amanda,

    Mrs Boss would be up for anything now, including a major motion picture!

  3. Great update Fiona. The highs and very unfortunate lows have made it such a compelling read. Don’t be too surprised when Warner Bros call and ask to make – Mrs Boss, a major motion picture.

  4. Ohhh, that is so sweet. I’m so happy for Mrs Boss. And it’s great to hear that the keets are thriving.

  5. Awwwwww isn’t Mrs. Boss sooooo cute next to her grown up keets!!!! Thanks Fiona for a lovely update.

  6. farmingfriends

    It has been a pleasure sending the eggs to you. I have got as much joy and excitement from it as if they were my guinea fowl.
    I am thrilled to hear of the guinea fowls progress. it must be lovely and heartwarming to see them cuddle up to Mrs Boss.
    The size of their wattles should also indicate their gender. A small wattle is female and the larger more cupped shaped wattle is the males. Their size and stance is also a good indication. The females are slightly smaller and keep their bodies lower to the ground and the males are slightly bigger and like to stand up tall and will sometimes run towards you in this stance before backing away. Hope this helps.
    It was a joy to read this post.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  7. Isn’t it amazing how quickly they grow! I love their subtle grey dotty feathers – like a beautiful frock for a garden party. When they moult you could collect the feathers to decorate a hat (just in case you get that invite to Ascot or Buckingham Palace) 🙂

    I’m so pleased for Mrs Boss – her life has been transformed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,237,289 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder