Guinea fowl are low maintenance and very hardy birds, but like anything, a bit of care and attention from you will go a long way in their welfare.

Keets (Guinea fowl chicks) can be taken to their new homes from 4 weeks of age when they are fully fledged and not reliant on the heat from a brooder or mother to keep warm.

Keep new birds in a confined space—it must be roofed!—for a couple of weeks to adjust to their new surroundings. (This also gives them time to grow bigger and stronger, increasing their rate of survival if you wish them to free range.) If you release them onto your property straight away they will wander off looking for their original home, and Guinea fowl can wander, being quite capable of covering over 10km a day!

Feed them chick grower or turkey starter pellets during this time and ensure they have fresh water at all times. Food hoppers and self-filling water bowls ensure a constant supply and also minimise the mess! Give your birds fresh greens daily—they love lettuce especially, but any safe green is good, including silverbeet, kale and grass.

After two weeks open the door but don’t chase them out, just walk away and leave them alone. They will venture out in their own good time—this could take a few days so don’t be concerned, they will come out eventually. Do be sure to close the door on them each evening though, for their protection.

Once they venture out, keep the feed and water supply topped up, as they will return, and this also reinforces the concept of “home” to them.

Guinea fowl and parrotsIf you wish to keep them penned during the night, simply keep the feed and water supply topped up and shut the door on them when they return each evening. If you prefer they “do their own thing” wandering about during the day and roosting in trees at night, it is still advisable to feed them in the morning and late afternoon. This encourages them to stay close by and on the property instead of wandering up the road on the spur of the moment one day. We scatter a scoop of bird seed onto the ground each morning and afternoon and the Guinea fowl, chickens and wild parrots all eat together without fuss. It’s lovely to see the Guinea fowl “hovering” during feeding time, and they come running as soon as they see you throw the seed.