Sexing Guinea Fowl

by Gail Damerow

How do you tell male guinea fowl from the females? It’s a question I hear often from first-time guinea owners.

The lady guineas have a two-part call that sounds like “Good luck! Good luck! Good luck!”

Male guineas never make that sound. The male is slightly larger, has a larger, taller standing crest on top of his head, and the wattles under his chin are bigger and stick out farther than the female’s.

The hen’s crest is somewhat smaller and angled more toward the rear, and her wattles aren’t as large or as deeply cupped. Until they get pretty close to maturity, though, visually telling the difference can be difficult.

The best way to learn to distinguish the cocks from the hens is to try to identify the ones saying “Good luck!” and then study their crests and wattles to see how they differ from the guineas that are busy chasing each other – that’d be the males.

Gail Damerow is a Guest Author; ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and are not those of McMurray Hatchery. If you would like to express a different point of view or add additional information please post a comment.

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6 Responses to Sexing Guinea Fowl

  1. Connie says:

    We are just starting out. I had only heard about the call. The helmet thing might just be better. We only have four Pearl guineas, but I think we have two of each gender. We are crazy about them. They are successfully blended with our chickens and roost with them at night. I hope they will lay with them when the time comes.

  2. Roger Smith says:

    After “retiring”, one of my goals was to live rural – raise a few cows and chickens and work for enjoyment not income. I’ve entertained the idea of buying some Guinea for awhile for the rumored benefits such as security, insect control and easily raised in small area. I would appreciate a knowledgeable person’s input and comments on the above and also the preferred variety of bird for central Texas. I’m in the process of constructing a pen area – any pointers on roosting and nesting is appreciated (some of you older cougars have the expertise to get me started in the right direction).

    • Mary Causey says:

      Hi Roger,
      I’m not an authority on guineas but thought I’d share my experience. I’m a city girl but my husband and I are now retired in the Hill Country and have some acreage. We have two guineas who are now about a year old. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision having any type of “farm” animal! I certainly never imagined how attached I would become to these little creatures! They are like little pets who basically take care of themselves. They come to me when I call them and anytime they hear a vehicle drive up they run to it and are a welcoming committee of two. They are extremely curious and have to be right in the middle of whatever is going on! I would encourage anyone who can to get some of these wonderful birds as they bring much joy and laughter to you. The insect population has certainly been reduced in number also. I definitely will buy more guineas. We live in Canyon Lake, Texas. Get some and you’ll fall in love with them too!

  3. Peggy Labus says:

    I figured out how to tell female guineas from the male guineas by myself but, this is the best way that it has ever been explained to me…Thanks Gail Damerow for an article that is understandable!

  4. patrice says:

    Thanks for the great info. We have guineas we bought from Murray, and we could never tell who was who. We bought guineas due to a high tick population. They did amazingly well at taking care of the ticks the natural way. I also think they are so funny and cute.

  5. Good article! I find the sound to be the best give away. You should note that the females can also make the male noise, but the males can’t make the female noise. A good resource for all guinea owners – Gardening with Guineas by Jeannette Ferguson.

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