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Guinea fowls have not yet occupied the main place in poultry farming. In Russia, chickens remain the predominant species of poultry. Consider how guinea fowl differ from chicken in appearance and characteristics, productivity. Is it possible to keep birds of both species together, which of them is preferable for raising and breeding in the household.
What is the difference between a chicken and a guinea fowl
You can already distinguish birds by their appearance. Guinea fowls are slightly larger than chickens, have a rounded body with a short tail drooping down. Females are slightly smaller than males. The standard plumage is gray with small frequent specks. In chickens, feather colors are more varied.
The head of the guinea fowl is bare, with a horny crest and earrings on the sides. In chickens, the comb is soft, of various shapes, simple and curly, in a rooster it is larger than that of a chicken. Roosters often have a bushy tail, although not all breeds have. The neck of guinea fowls is longer and thinner than that of chickens. Birds of both species have short, wide-set legs, with sharp claws on the toes. Both those and others rake the earth in search of food, run fast. Both species fly, but guinea fowls can rise higher than chickens, which usually take off no higher than 2 m.
Zarechny Maxim Valerievich
Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
The body size and weight of chickens can vary widely - 1-5 kg. The weight of the guinea fowl is more uniform - the birds weigh 1.3-2.5 kg. Puberty and the onset of egg production in chickens occurs earlier than in female guinea fowls, which begin to lay at 6-8 months.
There are also differences in the behavior of birds. Chickens were domesticated much earlier, they are used to living next to people and animals, therefore they behave calmly, react adequately to agricultural machinery. Guinea fowls are more fearful, afraid of noise, sudden movements. They do not differ in developed maternal instinct, they rarely hatch chickens themselves. Chickens in this respect are preferable - they can breed chicks, not only their own, but also birds of other species.
Differences between eggs in birds
Guinea fowl females do not rush all year round, like chickens, but in warm weather - from March to October. Females do not rush every day. It is considered a good result if it is possible to get 100 eggs per season from one laying hen. Compared to chicken eggs, guinea fowl eggs are smaller and weigh 43-50 g. They have a different shape - the base is wide, the sharp end is narrower than that of chicken eggs. Thanks to this shape and thick shell, the eggs of guinea fowls are stronger than those of chickens, and it is not so easy to break them.
The shell is rough, matte, in various shades of brown and yellow, with dark specks. The yolk is from pale yellow to dark orange, in this respect it does not differ from chicken. Protein is more viscous because it contains less liquid. It has bactericidal properties, eggs do not deteriorate for a long time, and can be stored in the refrigerator for a year. This is because the shell contains few pores. However, it is undesirable to store so much time, eggs dry out and become tasteless.
Caesar's eggs contain less fat and cholesterol, 4 times more carotene. They do not cause allergies and are recommended for use by children, pregnant women, the sick and the elderly.
Is it possible to keep guinea fowl with chickens together
Poultry farmers often settle guinea fowls in the same poultry house with chickens. Keeping both species together is acceptable if the birds are kept together from an early age. They have no special differences in nutrition and maintenance, but it is necessary to vaccinate in order to protect the livestock from infectious diseases. Disadvantages of general maintenance - guinea fowls can destroy chicken nests, so do chickens.
Larger birds can push smaller ones away from feeders and drinkers, which can make them malnourished. Guinea fowls are shy and noisy, they can frighten chickens.
Which bird is better
Both bird species have advantages and disadvantages. For home breeding, both are well suited, the choice depends on the goals that the poultry farmer sets for himself. But beginners are advised to start by raising chickens as a less demanding bird. Chickens are cheaper, birds can be kept in the amount of only a few heads, while representatives of the guinea fowl family must live in a flock of 20 or more. It is easier to care for chickens, as well as to sell chicken meat and eggs. The keeping of chickens is familiar to poultry farmers, so you can consult with colleagues on the issues that have arisen.
Experienced poultry farmers can safely engage in the cultivation of guinea fowls. Their meat and eggs are more expensive due to the fact that they are not as affordable as chicken. Guinea fowls and chickens differ in appearance and productivity. To choose which bird to grow, you should pay attention to the advantages and disadvantages of each species and take into account the purpose for which the bird is supposed to be raised.