Choosing a Guineafowl Breed: Best Breeds for Backyards

There are many different types of guinea fowl available to backyard poultry enthusiasts. Unlike chickens, which can be classified into different chicken breeds, guineas are separated by guinea species. Learn the specific differences between the various guinea fowl out there, and decide which guinea species is best for your situation!

White-breasted Guineafowl (Agelastes meleagrides): This red-headed type of guinea fowl is black with a long, black tail and white feathers on its chest. In the wild, thisĀ guinea feedson seeds, fruit and termites. It is native to various West African countries.

Black Guineafowl (Agelastes niger): The guinea fowl breed is all-black with a bare head. The black guinea fowl is native to Central Africa’s forest landscapes.

Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris): The Helmeted Guinea fowl is one of the most popular guinea fowl breeds raised in backyards. It is native to Africa and can also be found in parts of Asia and France. When breeding, helmeted guinea fowl lay half- to a full dozen eggs which are incubated for 28 days until the fertile guinea eggs hatch. Sometimes, more than one guinea hen will use the same nest. When the eggs hatch, the baby guinea fowl (keets) grow quickly and have limited flight capabilities within seven days. The helmeted guinea fowl can reach a weight of up to 4 pounds and is black/grey with white dots. The helmeted guineafowl is the guinea species most often raised in backyards.

Plumed Guineafowl (Guttera plumifera): Plumed guineafowl are found throughout Central Africa and are closely related to the Crested Guineafowl breed.

Crested Guineafowl (Guttera pucherani): Crested guinea fowl are common in sub-Sahara Africa’s many open woodlands and forest spaces. Their feathers are dark with white dots, and its name comes from the crest or plume on the top of its head. Like some bird species, the crested guinea fowl often mates for life. When breeding, this guinea fowl species lays less than the typical clutch of fertile guinea fowl eggs.

Kenya Crested Guineafowl (Gutterapucherani/pucherani)

Crested Guineafowl (Guttera pucherani/edouardi)

Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum):Backyard poultry hobbists breeding guineafowl often have a love/hate relationship with the vulturine guinea fowl. Some find this type of guinea ugly, due to its red eyes and bare, blue head. Its plumage is impressive, as it grows long white and blue striped feathers. The vulturine guineafowl is very social and, if given the chance, will form large flocks of guineas with up to 25 guineafowl in each group. Vulturine guineas typically do not fly and prefer to run.

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