Guineafowl farming is fun, profitable, and easy to get into the trade. With the economy changing, more people are looking into agriculture as a business and personal use. For centuries, guineafowl has been a common farm bird, and there is a healthy market for their production.

But just how easy is it to get started? Here’s the 411 on raising guineafowl.


Quick Facts About Black Guineafowl

Breed Name:Agelastes niger
Place of Origin:Central Africa
Uses:Meat and egg farming
Male Size:17 inches (length); 25 oz
Female Size:15 inches (length); 23 oz
Color:Black, the head is unfeathered
Lifespan:10 to 15 years
Climate Tolerance:Prefers humid rainforests
Care Level:Minimal
Production:100 eggs per season

Black Guineafowl Origins

Guineafowl are medium-sized birds related to turkeys. Despite their popularity in farming, not much is known about their behavior, and they haven’t been subject to much empirical study.

The practice of farming guineafowl dates back as far back as the 5th century BCE when Romans brought guineafowl back from Africa and were somewhat successful in raising them on farms. Romans managed to farm the guineafowl successfully but never succeeded in domesticating them.

Guineafowl was also introduced to the island of Jamaica, where they are now a beloved part of the island’s landscape. Travelers in Jamaica may see guineafowl running freely around the countryside and on farms.

These birds weren’t introduced to Europe until the 1400s and would be brought to America during the slave trade.

Guineafowl is endemic to Central Africa. Their native home is the vast, humid rainforests spanning from Nigeria and Cameroon down into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here they can be found roaming about in the underbrush of the rainforest.

One of the unique characteristics of guineafowl is their resistance to the tick-borne disease, Heartwater. The mechanism that makes guineafowl resistant to this disease is currently unknown in scientific communities, but this resistance makes them popular amongst farmers looking for low-maintenance birds.

In the modern-day, the guineafowl has become a famous small-scale farming bird. Demand for guineafowl products is high, making them a good starting place for new farmers who lack the knowledge to market themselves effectively. Additionally, guineafowl does well in small spaces and doesn’t need as much land as other farming birds.


Black Guineafowl Characteristics

Black guineafowl are popular because they’re low-maintenance birds that don’t require much land as other farming birds. They’re resistant to many diseases that affect poultry birds, meaning that farmers with less experience can rest assured that their birds will be safe as they learn the ropes.

Guineafowl Uses

Guineafowl can be used for meat and eggs. They are slow-growing birds that will need more time to grow than the average poultry bird. When slaughtering a guineafowl for beef, you want the bird between 14 and 16 weeks old. Any bird older than 35 weeks will be like “eating a shoe” texture. You can use guineafowl meat in any recipe which calls for chicken.

During the egg-laying season, guineafowl usually lay eggs daily, and each hen will produce around 100 eggs per season. They’re relatively high-producing birds for eggs, but their egg-laying season is shorter than some other farming birds.


Black Guineafowl Appearance & Varieties

Black guineafowl have a unique appearance because of their unfeathered heads. While the body is covered in glossy black feathers, the head of the guineafowl has only a small crest of short, downy feathers, which reveals their pink skin.

Black Guineafowl Population, Distribution, & Habitat

Black guineafowl is native to Central Africa. Their natural habitat spans 295,000 square miles from Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Angola down into the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Are Black Guineafowl Good for Small-Scale Farming?

Guineafowl are suitable for small-scale farming because of their low space needs. Additionally, there is a fantastic market for guineafowl products. So, novice farmers don’t need to worry about marketing their birds’ products as aggressively as they would need to in other sectors.


Final Thoughts: Black Guineafowl

Guineafowl are exploding in popularity throughout the Western world as small-scale farming is taking off as an alternative to the modern corporate lifestyle. Guineafowl make excellent birds for novice, small-scale farmers to enjoy both for personal and business use. They’re low-maintenance birds that don’t require very attentive farming to get the most out of them. So, it’s easy to see why they’re so popular!

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Featured Image Credit: Andreas Ruhz, Shutterstock