Guineas: Getting Started
What you need to raise guinea fowl
It is best to purchase your guinea fowl as keets (babies). Guineas are wild animals that need to be tamed and taught where home is. If you choose to purchase adult guineas you will need to keep them in confinement for at least the first 6 weeks in order to teach them where "home" is or they will fly off in search of their last home.
Before your keets arrive you will need to prepare. For the first 2 weeks your very young keets will need to live indoors in a cage or cardboard box (until they start to jump out); this is called their brooster. Keets are hatched at 99.5 degrees. However, after they are hatched the temperature must be kept at a steady 95 degrees using a heat lamp. Take care to monitor the temperature below the lamp. It is a good idea to have a thermometer handy to monitor the temperature. Experiment before your keets arrive and get a good idea of the temperature the lamp keeps before your keets arrive. If the temperature is too hot, raise the lamp. If the temperature is too cold, lower the lamp. If your keets are all huddled together, they are too cold, if you keets are all spread far apart, they are too hot. When the keets turn a week old, lower the temperature by 5 degrees.
Cage with heat lamp and thermometer to monitor temperature
I do not recommend using pine wood chips or shavings for bedding, as the keets may eat it and clog up their intestines. Bedding such as paper towels or newspaper should be used. You will also need to keep fresh water and fresh food down for your keets. Water and food should be at the opposite end of the brooster away from the heat lamp. Keets should eat medicated turkey starter, which contains Amprolium, a coccidiostat that controls coccidiosis. Some choose to use chick feed. Turkey starter is 24% higher in protein than chick feed and keets raised on turkey starter are noticeably larger by age 6 months than those raised on chick feed. For very young keets, place marbles inside the water container, as shown below, to prevent the keets from drowning. Keets will suck the water out from between the marbles.
Water feeder (left) with marbles in it to prevent young keets from drowning. Food dispenser (right). You can also use a mason jar lid at first for the water and food. However, the feeders shown above will prevent the keets from walking on and spilling the food and water.
Keets Housing (For the First Two Weeks)