Guinea fowl are useful little birds to have around: They are fond of eating ticks, and they eat insects that beleaguer plants and other animals, such as potato beetles, flies, wasps, termites and locusts. Guinea fowl even ward off copperheads and rattlesnakes, too. They're easy to keep, as long as you provide adequate housing to keep them safe from the elements and predators.
Mapping Out Plans
When putting the vision of your guinea fowl house on paper, you'll start with an enclosed structure that has a fenced outside yard. A basic square box shape is common, but don't rule out creative shapes such as an A-frame. You'll want to wall in all four sides of the house itself, unless you live in a mild climate: If the weather in your area doesn't get too cold or wet, you can leave one side of the house entirely open to the enclosed yard. If you experience harsh seasonal weather and will be building a structure with a roof and four walls, make sure to seal all cracks and crevices -- but also build a vent on the roof for air circulation. The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension says you won't need to worry about insulating your guinea fowl house -- insulation can cause moisture problems that lead to respiratory troubles for captive fowl.
Your guinea fowl house should be cozy but large enough to accommodate your flock. To determine the appropriate size to make the house, figure on 3 to 4 square feet for each bird you want to keep. If you'll be keeping 12 guinea fowl, their house will need a floor plan of between 36 square feet and 48 square feet.
Your guinea fowl won't need wall-to-wall carpeting, but do cover the floor of their house with hay or straw. Replace it monthly with a fresh supply, more frequently if it gets wet or damp. Guinea fowl have the instinct to perch, so you should have a perching area equipped with 4-foot pieces of 2-inch-by-2-inch wood, with rounded edges, for your birds to roost upon. If you plan on gathering their eggs you'll need a nesting area with nest boxes, but your guineas will happily use nest boxes made for chickens. Keep their food and water supply inside the house instead of out in the yard, to keep the food dry. The Virginia Cooperative Extension advises installing doors so they open in, and windows that slide instead of opening in or out.
Repurpose an Existing Structure
If you don't have the time or talent to build a guinea fowl house from the ground up, consider repurposing an existing structure such as a shed to house your birds. It will have to be big enough to accommodate the number of guinea fowl you have, but with the walls and roof in place, you'll have to do only minimal remodeling to turn it into a guinea fowl home. A website called Guineafowl.com displays a number of structures that started out as something else but now serve to house guinea fowl -- items such as a dog kennel, a metal utility shed and the frame of an old trampoline.
- Mother Earth News: Raising Guinea Fowl: A Low-Maintenance Flock
- University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Keeping Guinea Fowl
- Razor Family Farms: Guinea Fowl and Housing Plans
- Mother Earth News: Raising Guinea Fowl on the Homestead
- Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension: Small Scale Poultry Housing
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