The objective of this study was to characterize guinea fowl production under smallholderfarmer management and compare growth performances and carcass quality between free-range produced guinea fowls versus those reared under intensive management. The studywas therefore carried out by means of a survey, monitoring study and an experimentconducted in chronological sequence as presented below.The study was conducted in three wards from June to July 2002 to characterize guineafowl production systems and determine productivity. Seventy-three guinea fowl ownerswere interviewed through administration of a structured questionnaire. The surveyrevealed a breeding flock of 3 ± 2 per farm. The common management practices prevalentcomprised scavenging and/or semi-intensive. Mean egg production per hen per breedingseason was 89 ± 50 while hatchability of eggs and keet survivability were 64% and 60%,respectively.As a follow-up, the monitoring study was carried out to evaluate productivity of 30 guineafowl flocks in the study site during the period September 2002 to May 2003. Quantitativedata were collected using participatory rural appraisal techniques while quantitative datawere collected through administration of data sheets. Results from the monitoring studyindicated that mean egg production per hen was 42 ± 26 while hatchability and keetsurvival rate recorded was 71.2 ± 14.3 % and 36 ± 10.3, respectively. Within flocks,monthly mortality was high at 55% in keets compared to 5.1% in the breeding stock.In the experiment, a total of one hundred and twenty 7-week old guinea fowls wererandomly distributed among five farmers and reared for the next 9 weeks. Each farmerreared 24 guinea fowl: 12 under the semi-extensive management system and another 12under intensive management system. Guinea fowls reared under the intensive managementhad higher body weight (
1072g vs 822g)
and carcass yield (838g vs. 620g) (
< 0.001)than those under semi-extensive management. There was no significant difference (
0.05) in chemical composition (CP of 75 vs 72 % and Fat of 15 vs 20 %) of guinea fowlmeat from the birds raised under the two management systems. However, it was moreeconomic to rear the guinea fowls under semi-extensive management than under intensivemanagement system.This study revealed that most production parameters of guinea fowls reared undersmallholder farmer management were suboptimal mainly due to management relatedconstraints. Thre is a potential to increase production through improvement of management practices.