Almost a decade ago, when my mother bought our first guineas, I have to admit that I thought they were the ugliest birds ever created. They looked like a wild, prehistoric chicken, and I was sure she had lost her mind for wanting them. But I quickly began to see the beauty in their unique appearance and the charm in their comedic antics. Now, I couldn’t imagine our flock without them, and of course, their wonderful abilities at eliminating ticks and warding off snakes don’t hurt either. When you’re almost surrounded by woods and thick brush, guineas become a necessity.
Update on Sept 15, 2013: This post has proven very popular since I first wrote it, even among international guinea owners, and it’s so interesting to see all of the different countries that are home to guinea fowl enthusiasts. It just goes to show you, no matter our differences or where we’re located, a love for these wonderful, silly birds is universal! But I thought I would clarify that I am located in the United States, and because of our very large and diverse gene pool, our guinea fowl tend to be a little more difficult to sex by their appearance alone. So, if you are located in another country other than the US, you may be able to more easily determine your guineas’ gender by their appearance and, especially your guineas’ wattles may look a little differently than my guineas’ do. Now, back to the rest of this post.
A much simpler and more reliable way to sex guinea fowl is to simply listen to their calls. Males make a single syllable call that sounds like, “Chi, chi, chi!” Females make the Chi call as well, but they also make an additional two syllable call that is usually said to resemble the words ‘Buckwheat’ or ‘Come back’.
Now, if you’re a new guinea owner and have never heard either of these calls, it can be a little difficult to imagine what it actually sounds like. To illustrate the differences between the calls I made a video of our guineas doing what they do best. . . talking to each other.
By the way, if you notice a loud screech in the video that sounds like someone yelling, “Help!”. . . ignore it. It’s just Devreux, one of the peacocks.
Update: This has been the most popular post on my blog this year, and I thank each and every person that has visited. I remember how confusing it was to sex guineas when we obtained our first ones, and I’m so glad that our little farm could be of assistance to you! If there are any other guinea fowl posts you’d like to see added in the future or any questions you have, feel free to comment below ~ Thank you so much, Shell.