Guinea fowl have become increasingly popular to rear these days, perhaps because they are easy to maintain and affordable to care for. Although they are typically larger and more flighty than domestic chickens, many people opt to care for guinea fowl for their fantastic pest control skills.
However, some of this bird’s quirky acts can baffle first-time owners. One such quirky thing is how they seem to enjoy chasing each other around in circles:
One of the main reasons why guinea fowl chase each other is that they are are trying to assert dominance. Male guinea fowl are often seen chasing other males during mating season to impress the hens. This typically happens around Spring.
Let us dig a little deeper to better understand what is going on and what you can of if you wish to limit the chasing around a bit.
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3 Reasons Why Guinea Fowl Are Chasing Each Other
While it could seem like a worrying behavior to some, experienced guinea fowl breeders are used to seeing their birds chase after one another for hours on end. These are the 3 common reasons why your guinea fowl may be chasing each other in circles:
1. The Guinea Fowl Are Asserting Dominance
Male guineas often chase each other in circles to assert dominance over the other. As they have an unspoken respect for hierarchy, the habit of chasing each other is their way of showing the rest of the flock who is the alpha male.
The top spot of the hierarchy belongs to the bird that wins the chase. This is determined by which of your fowl stop running first, with the still-running fowl being the dominant bird. The pursuit is more commonly seen among male guinea fowl, so you may come across this more often if you have a predominantly male flock.
2. The Males Are Trying to Impress a Female Fowl
When it comes to breeding season, your male guinea fowl will often chase each other around to impress the hens. This is their way of showing the female that they are the worthy choice when it comes to mating, with the winning fowl being the one that keeps running the longest time.
The breeding seasons typically take place after rainy seasons. The chase between two male fowl often pans out with one chasing another in a single direction before they switch roles and run in the opposite direction. Once either fowl becomes too tired to run and stops, the other will be the winner of the race and get his desired attention with the ladies.
So, the next time you see your guinea fowl chase each other, you’ll want to sit back and see who wins the attention of your female guinea fowl. Be forewarned that the chase can go on for hours, so you may want to pull up a chair to watch the chase from start to finish.
3. The Male Guinea Is Chasing after a Female
Finally, male guinea fowl may also embark on chasing after a hen during mating season. This is common if there are no competitors within the flock and will see the male tugging on the back feathers of a hen before they mate.
While it may seem like an unpleasant experience for the hen, this is a different way for them to test if the male deserves their attention.
How to Stop Guinea Fowl from Chasing Each Other
If you’re concerned about seeing your birds chase after each other, you may employ some of these tips and tricks to stop this habit. Below are some of the common things you can do to stop guinea fowl from chasing each other:
Introduce Some Hens to the Pack
During mating season, your male guineas will experience a hormonal spike. Should there be no females in your flock, then you should consider adding some into the area. Be sure to have a good ratio of female to male guinea fowl, as you wouldn’t want your pack to fight over a single hen.
Prepare More Space for Your Guinea Fowl to Run About
In case your flock is placed in a run, then you’ll want to be sure to have enough space for each bird to spread its wings wide. Guinea fowl can be dominant birds, and having a lack of space can be a reason for the stronger ones to chase away the waker members from the space they assume is theirs.
Do Guinea Fowl Get Injured When They Chase after Each Other?
Some owners may worry if their guinea fowl can get injured when they are often chasing after each other. After all, they can get quite aggressive and will occasionally tug at the feathers of the other birds.
Thankfully, these chases are often playful banter, and they’re not intended to hurt each other. Despite wanting to assert dominance against the other fowl, the male guinea fowl do not resort to violence during their chases. Instead, they would stop after the other birds stop, as they understand that it means they have successfully claimed the top spot.
Similarly, male guineas may also peck at the back feathers of female guinea during mating season. This raises concerns within first-time breeders if it could harm the hens if the male is asserting too much force.
The good news is, however, that female guinea fowl usually won’t be hurt by the mating. Just like when male guineas are fooling about with the rest of the flock, they would often control the amount of force on the hens. Rest assured, the females are fine after the chase as running around is simply a game to the flock.
Are Guinea Fowl Aggressive to Other Birds?
Considering guinea fowl often chase after each other, many breeders may wonder if these birds are aggressive to other species. So, is aggressiveness a point of worry? Well, depending on which breed you have, they can be quite aggressive to other birds.
The pecking order is highly important to guinea fowl, hence their desire to chase after one another. With other birds in the same area, your guineas may hurt them in the process of chasing and pecking at them. Therefore, it’s always advisable to separate your guinea fowl from your other birds if you keep them in an enclosed area.
But all hope is not lost if you have different birds in one space. While it can take time for your guineas to get used to the other birds, they can live together harmoniously, as long as they are not too large relative to their “roomies.”
You may need some time and patience to watch over their interactions to ensure your guinea fowl are not hurting your other birds, but it can be possible for them to co-exist in the same area. If you notice a particularly aggressive guinea in the pack, then it may be a good idea to separate it from the rest of the flock before it injures another bird.