Guinea fowl, while great pets, do have trouble in winter weather. They don't seem to handle the cold as well as chickens do. That doesn't mean you can't have guinea fowl if you live in harsh winter areas, such as the cold winters of Pennsylvania. What you can do is prepare your guinea fowl for the winter months and keep them comfortably warm.
You want to ready the guinea fowl before the snow hits and temperatures drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll know if your birds are cold because they puff up their feathers and shiver. Many times, they will stop eating from the stress of the cold. You want to have their pen winterized before they get that cold.
Build a Pen
Many people give their guinea fowl a small building to sleep in, and let them wander free during the day. That won't work in the winter. Most guinea fowl won't tolerate even stepping into the snow. Guinea fowl should have a fenced in pen with lots of space for them to explore during the long winters.
- The more guinea fowl you have, the bigger the space needs to be. Generally, you want three to five square feet per bird.
- Use wire mesh or hardware cloth to enclose the space. They are the best for keeping out predators. Hanover Concrete Company is a local company that offers wire mesh.
- Bury the wire mesh at least one foot below the ground to deter digging pests.
Cover the Pen
Bulk plastic can be purchased at most hardware stores. The entire wire mesh pen must be covered in the plastic and nailed in place with a nail gun. The plastic will keep the heat inside the pen, and it will let the light inside for added warmth. The plastic will provide enough warmth to keep the guinea fowl happy and healthy.
- Cover the pen in the plastic when the weather starts to get cool. If you do it too soon, it will be too warm inside the pen for the guinea fowl.
- It's easiest to start on the roof of the pen. You can roll the sheets of plastic along the roof and down the sides. Nail the plastic in place every few inches. Work on covering the rest of the exposed sides after the roof is finished.
- Remember to clear off any heavy snow that lands on the roof. Building the roof on a slant will help keep snow from building up.
A Few More Guinea Warming Tips
- Make sure any open holes in the building walls are boarded up so that cold air can't get inside.
- Heat lamps can be placed in corners, with perches beneath them, for the guinea fowl to huddle beneath.
- Floor heaters can be used during extremely cold weather, but always keep an eye on them and do not leave them on too long. They are a fire hazard.