Guinea fowl is a medium-sized bird that belongs to the family Numididae. Its size is almost the same as the size of a large chicken, and it weighs around 4lb when fully grown. They have bare head and neck while the rest of the body is covered with dark grey or black feathers with small white dots. The color of their skin is a combination of blue, red and black hues, giving it a somewhat clownish appearance. They can be found in jungles, forests, grasslands, scrublands, savannas, and semi-deserts. They are equally well adapted to life in the lowlands, and they are a valuable source of meat, eggs, and feathers since ancient times.
In the US, only the helmeted Guinea fowl is recognized, and the colors are lavender, pearl, and white. They have been domesticated, and they can be found on farms all over the world today.
Whole Guinea Fowl Trivia
- Guinea fowl can reach 16 to 28 inches in length and 1.5 to 3.5 pounds of weight.
- They spend most of their time searching for food hidden in the ground.
- They are active early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
- Guinea fowl is a strong flyer, but it prefers to run when it needs to escape from predators.
- Natural enemies of guinea fowls are wild cats, wolves, snakes, crocodiles, and humans.
- Mating season of guinea fowls takes place at the end of the rainy season.
- Guinea fowls are monogamous birds. Formed couples can last for a lifetime or per mating season.
- Females lay 8 to 15 eggs that hatch after an incubation of 24 to 30 days.
- Young guinea fowls reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 years.
- Guinea fowl can survive 10 to 20 years in the wild.
Whole Guinea Fowl Buying Guide
When buying guinea fowl meat, free-range, organic, and Drôme guinea fowl and guinea poults are the best because it is tastier. Try to buy it from a butcher or producer that you trust.
The skin should be bright orange-brown, and the meat must be light red and slightly dry. A young guineafowl, about 11 weeks old, has tender meat, while the mature ones have tougher meat. The meat of a female fowl is also usually more tender than males.
They are often sold fresh, whole, drawn with the head and feet still attached, ready-to-cook, deboned, or cut into pieces: boneless thighs, wings, legs, and drumsticks.
Whole Guinea Fowl Production & Farming in Texas
Guinea fowl are relatively easy to keep, providing you have plenty of space and no near neighbors. They are independent birds, self-sufficient foragers who will find much of their food. Throughout the spring and summer, they are productive layers. Guinea fowl will lay anywhere and everywhere, particularly favoring large clumps of nettles. The eggs are intensely flavored, with large golden yolks and surprisingly tough shells. They are smaller than standard chicken eggs, but their richness makes up for this.
Guinea fowl are often kept for their meat, which is regarded as a delicacy. They taste slightly gamey, although milder than pheasant and a full-grown guinea fowl should about feed four people. There is a tendency to dryness, so pheasant recipes are a better bet than those designed for chicken. Even the feathers are useful – they can be sold for making fishing flies or for craft/millinery work.
There is some evidence to suggest that Guinea fowl were known as far back as ancient Greece around the 5th century BC. The Romans brought them back from their African campaigns and tried to domesticate them. They were semi-successful in this venture, raising them on farms.
Romans were able to raise them but never really tame them. The home of the Guinea fowl is Africa, where they run wild in large flocks. Some were taken to Jamaica about 200 years ago, during the slave trading era, and they became part of the landscape. To this day, you can find Guineas running wild in Jamaica! They were first introduced to Europe back in the 1400s and made their way to America with the early settlers and slaver ships.
Enjoying Whole Guinea Fowls
The meat of guinea fowl is drier and leaner than chicken meat, and it has a gamey flavor. It looks similar to chicken, but the taste is more reminiscent of pheasant. Chefs and home cooks seek them out because of their marvelous flavor; in restaurants, they are often chosen over pheasants because they do not have tendons in the leg and thigh. Guinea fowl has marginally more protein than chicken or turkey, roughly half the fat of chicken, and slightly fewer calories per gram.
Guinea fowl must be stored in the refrigerator or cold room between 2 and 4 °C for 2–3 days, or until indicated on the use-by date (on guinea fowl pieces either vacuum-packed or wrapped in the film). Frozen guinea fowl should go straight in the freezer without breaking the cold chain. Make sure it’s on the bottom shelf so that any juices don’t contaminate any other food; it’s particularly important to keep the guinea fowl away from any other cooked meats in the fridge.
Guinea fowl can be substituted on any chicken recipe. Its flavor is similar to the chicken, but it has a hint of gaminess, which means it goes well with flavors such as chestnuts, apples, herbs, bacon, cider, or brandy. Since it is naturally drier than chicken, it is important not to overcook it. You can wrap the breast with pancetta or Parma ham to prevent it from drying out.
A casserole is a perfect cooking method because slow cooking the meat in liquid ensures it is sweet and tender with a flavorsome sauce. For roasting, the meat of the guinea fowl needs to be basted at intervals with butter or covered with pork or bacon fat to keep the meat tender and moist.
Guinea fowl pairs nicely with mushrooms, beetroot, and robust winter root vegetables. Like other game birds, it is also delicious with winter fruits such as quince, plums, or prunes.
Guinea fowl is a rich source of protein. Besides, it also helps to maintain the muscles as well as strengthen the lean muscles, and it is suitable for your diet. It is also a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and it has low cholesterol as well as low-fat content.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin B6: It helps the immune system, mental health, blood health, the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, and supports healthy hair.
Phosphorus: Contributes to the normal function of all your cells, your energy creation, helps maintain the health of your bones and teeth and promotes the normal growth of children
Niacin: Contributes to your energy creation, mental health, nervous system function and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and may play a role in cancer prevention
Selenium: It helps in protecting your cells from damaging free radicals, supports your immune system and contributes to normal thyroid function
Calcium: It helps in building and maintaining strong bones.
Potassium: It is also essential for maintaining the balance of acids and bases in the body.
Iron: It helps to preserve many vital functions in the body, including general energy and focus, gastrointestinal processes, the immune system, and the regulation of body temperature.
Choline: Contributes to the normal function of your liver, enables your body to process fats effectively and may contribute to cardiovascular health
Pantothenic acid: Contributes to your mental performance, energy creation and reducing tiredness and fatigue.