||A survey was conducted in Borgou department (northern Benin) to characterize Guinea fowl production systems in
rural areas. A questionnaire was administered to 70 Guinea fowl keepers in order to collect information about Guinea
fowl management and husbandry practices in the region. This activity was practised according to traditional management
in Benin where free range is the most common system of rearing. Birds scavenged during the day while at night,
keets and surrogate hens were housed in poor, cramped coops whereas adult Guinea fowls roosted on trees. No rational
feeding system was practised. Guinea fowls gleaned grass seeds, vegetable leaves, insects, worms, bones and
eggshells. Poultry received a supplement consisting of cereals and their by-products, e.g. sorghum (30.4%), maize
(25.0%), rice (14.3%), maize bran (7.1%), kitchen waste (5.4%), sorghum bran (3.6%), millet (1.8%) and complete
food (1.8%). Adult body weight was 1121.3±100.2g at 6 months and maximum growth rate of 10.2g/day was reached
at four months. Point-of-lay was between 7 and 9 months. Local hens were used to incubate Guinea fowl eggs, and
hatchability was 72.9%. The survey revealed that Guinea fowl productivity is low because of high keet mortality.
Average keet mortality registered from 0 to 6 months was 48% (range 3 to 100%). Moreover, 74% of interviewed
farmers reported that keet mortality constituted the major constraint to Guinea fowl rearing. Others reported constraints,
included keet weakness, poor quality of eggs, egg losses hidden under brush, keets predation, poor housing
and infestations. The size of the keet populations varied over the year with the highest proportion in June-July while
the proportion of growers increased from September to January.