Increasingly popular with backyard breeders, guinea fowl provide eggs and meat for the table while serving as alarms and as insect pest eradicators. Males and females usually pair up monogamously throughout life. Male and female guinea birds look remarkably similar. A few unique characteristics of each breed will tip you off to your guineas' genders.
Guinea offspring -- known as keets -- look identical in the earliest weeks of life. At about 8 weeks old, male and female keets will begin making vocalizations unique to their sexes. The sole sound emanating from the males will be a monosyllabic chirp or yelp repeated at varying intervals. While females can also make this same sound, they will also make a two-syllable vocalization that sounds like "buckwheat, buckwheat."
As keets grow, males will develop larger wattles and larger casques on their heads, as well as larger bodies than the females. Females will have larger vents -- the openings under their tails -- once they begin laying eggs.
At sexual maturity, males will begin running at one another with lowered heads and upraised wings in visual displays of dominance. A female will respond to the dominant male's display by lowering herself to the ground to submit to mating. A female will find secluded areas in the brush to lay her eggs, not returning to the enclosure at night when she is sitting on eggs.
Indulging her passion for vacation vagary through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, travel funster Jodi Thornton-O'Connell guides readers to the unexpected, quirky, and awe-inspiring.