As I continue with my guinea fowl facts, I want to share my experiences of what I’ve observed of their love life and mating habits.
As the keets were growing up, the one coloured lavender (sometimes known as silver) was given a hard time by his siblings. They were all coloured grey or grey and white, whereas he was the only lavender coloured one. They picked on him badly until in the end he gave up trying to spend time with them and opted instead for the company of the chickens. One chicken in particular seemed to adopt him and they were always seen together.
Silver slept with the chickens while the other guinea fowl all slept together elsewhere in their own pen.
As I like to give the birds some treats early in the afternoon, I used to sit on the steps out the back as they gathered around. I found I had to sprinkle some food down the steps behind me so Silver had a chance to get some… as the other guineas would chase him relentlessly. Oh my poor boy… I felt so sorry for him and he became a bit of a favourite.
To read my other posts on Guinea Fowl:
- How to Raise Guinea Fowl Keets (up to 8 weeks old)
- Care for Guinea Fowl Facts – Part 2 (facts and features)
- Care for Guinea Fowl Facts – Part 3 (facts and stories)
- Guinea Fowl Facts – Prepare for Mating
- Guinea Fowl Facts – Ups & Downs
- Guinea Fowl Facts – Their Love Life (this page)
Guinea Fowl Facts – Their Love Life and Mating Habits
Right you lot, payback time!
But things began to change as they were preparing for mating… Silver (so I named him) became a force to be reckoned with! He chased and fought his way to the top. Now all the others gave him the respect he felt he deserved, after all those long months of being the underdog.
But as it turned out, with all his fighting, he still didn’t win a mate… so he became one of my bachelor boys. Over time he found he couldn’t keep his eyes off Penny, who was Pied’s mate. Silver decided to put out a challenge for her and began to run Pied into the ground. Pied eventually gave up as he had no chance this onslaught against him and it was easy to tell he was one very unhappy chappy!
Silver took Pied’s Penny away from him and claimed her as his own. Penny didn’t take this lying down as she still really wanted Pied. She would cry and cry, but poor Pied wouldn’t come. He knew when he was beat. Silver didn’t care if she cried just as long as they could hang out together.
The funny thing is that each night, because Silver was still used to sleeping with the chickens, that’s where he’d go to bed, so Penny was able to go back to Pied for the night. This arrangement continued for some time.
So I Played Cupid!
I thought I might be able to cause Silver to forget his affection for Penny when I bought another Lavender/Silver. I called the new bird Lavender and I locked her up with Silver for a couple of weeks. Silver and Lavender were both of the same breed and I wanted them to stick together. This gave Pied a chance to experience a blissful two and a half weeks back with his own lady-love and all was calm for the duration.
Penny, Penny, beautiful Penny!
When I let Silver and Lavender out, for a time they acted like they had bonded OK, but I’m sorry to say, Silver’s passion for Penny hadn’t abated. Another challenge began between him and Pied, and once more Pied gave in. We had decided to cut one of Silver’s wings before letting him out, and this it gave Pied the advantage of the safety of a tree and a time away from Silver.
Eventually Silver’s devotion for Penny as the one and only, caused him to drive little Lavender off. Poor Lavender, she didn’t like being dropped! Anyway, after some time, she attached herself to Sally, as remember if you’ve read my other posts, they were both from the same property and therefore knew each other. Sally was happy for her to hang, but Streak was a little worried that if he took her on would he come under fire from Silver! But Silver had got what he wanted, he now had his Penny again.
So eventually Streak, who was one of my bachelor boys, accepted her as his own which has given him two girls… oh, life’s good!
Meanwhile poor Pied… no girl and he did love Penny so… attached himself to Grey and Grace. For some reason Grey didn’t mind sharing Grace with him so now they became a bonded threesome!
My eight guinea’s continued throughout the rest of the breeding season in three groups:
Group 1: 1 male and 2 females (Streak, Sally & Lavender)
Group 2: 2 males and 1 female (Grey, Pied & Grace)
Group 3: 1 male and 1 female (Silver & Penny)
Somehow it all seemed to work for them, so if they’re happy, I’m happy!
But now the breeding season is coming to an end…
It’s mid Autumn and I’m starting to notice groups 2 & 3 have formed one group. They go everywhere together and there’s no squabbling.
Now that Silver is part of the group of 5, it means he has also adopted their sleeping arrangements. I have two guinea fowl pens where I lock Group 1, and Groups 2 & 3 are locked together in the other. This was their decision to do this. There are no current problems. I’m hoping when the breeding season comes to a close that they all move together as one group again… but time alone will tell.
One thing I found quite interesting was that never once during the breeding season did I ever see them mate! Wow, I see the ducks at it all the time and the rooster is always after his share with his hens… but the guinea fowl… I have no idea when it takes place. It’s happens though so maybe I just didn’t look at the right time.
As time went on and the breeding season fell further behind, the boys took less interest in the girls, sometimes chasing them off instead of the attentive care they gave during the breeding season.
Then Silver became more of a problem in the pen with the others. He decided he should be the first to eat the seed and drove off all the others until they came to a stage where they refused to enter the pen if Silver was in there.
For a couple of nights I wouldn’t allow Silver into the pen and left him to his own devises so that he had to sleep in the Guinea Tree all by himself. This confused him and made him feel really unhappy, so on the third night I enticed him in with the chickens again. He took to that idea almost straight away so currently he’s perfectly happy to spend the night with them.
Silver doesn’t cause any problems with the chickens and they all eat quite contentedly together. Meanwhile I continue to lock the others up as mentioned above… 3 in one pen and 4 in the other, which is the way they like it.
As you can see, this is a continued saga of Guinea Fowl Facts! As I learn, so I share. It will be interesting to see what happens as the next breeding season approaches next Spring. Anyway, we’re only one third of the way through Winter at the moment, so time will tell.
What are your experiences with Guinea Fowl? Maybe you could share some interesting information that we can all benefit from. Don’t hesitate.