Telling the difference between male and female Guinea fowl requires patience, not least because Guineas need to be fully mature before they can be accurately sexed.
How do you sex Guinea fowl?
There are three definitive methods for sexing Guinea fowl and three further non-definitive methods that can help you tell the sex of your Guineas.
Two guaranteed methods of sexing Guinea fowl are:
- The sound of their call.
- Genetic sexing.
- Vent sexing
The other methods to help you tell the sex of Guineas are:
- The shape of the back.
- The size of the helmet and wattles.
- The behaviour, the males will pursue the hens and squabble.
Guinea fowl can not be sexed when they hatch and It is very difficult, or almost impossible, to accurately sex young Guineas until they are 20 to 24 weeks of age. Young females and males look exactly the same when young and the differences when older are still not easy to see.
When the guineas are older, there are two ways to tell them apart:
The hen makes a two-syllable noise that sounds like "buckwheat, buckwheat," "put-rock, put-rock," or "qua-track, qua-track." These are the only sounds that the hen makes that the Guinea cock does not. Both can make the single tone screech.
The size of the helmet and wattles. The helmet is the protuberance on the top of the head and the wattles are fleshy appendages that hang from the sides of the head. The helmet and wattles of the male are a little larger than those of the female but you really need to see them side by side to compare.
Below: A female Guinea fowl.
You can get an idea of the sex of your Guineas from their shape. The males are slightly shorter in length and have a rounded back wile the females have a flatter back and a longer appearance.
Below: This is a male Guinea fowl, slightly shorter with a rounded back and larger bright red wattles.
Below: A video of a Guinea hen. Longer in the body with a flatter back and paler wattles.
Can you feather sex Guinea fowl?
You can't feather sex Guineas, both the males and the females are hen feathered meaning there is no difference in the feathers patterns or types between the males and females.
Below: Both sexes of Guinea fowl are feathered identically.
Vent sexing Guinea fowl:
Vent sexing works with Guineas fowl after about 8 to 10 weeks when they have grown their phallus.
Vent sexing Guineas is difficult because you not only have to hold and handle the bird but also expose the cloaca and Guineas hate being upside down and handled.
Use gentle pressure to open the cloaca and expose the organs inside. The phallus looks like a earthworm in a corkscrew shape.
The male has a larger and longer phallus than the hen but you can't tell the difference in young keets.