Guinea Fowl Keep The Bugs Away

Guinea fowl will eat fleas, grasshoppers and ticks. They'll even kill snakes!

| June/July 2003

We have about 50 guinea fowl. We use them mostly for bug control in the gardens. We originally got five of them for tick control because my 82-year-old dad said it would work. Within six weeks we stopped seeing ticks. The fleas disappeared within a year; our three cats never need any form of flea control. Guineas also gobble down many other bugs; even 2-week-old keets go nuts when you give them a grasshopper to fight over.

These birds also are great for snake control. I have seen them kill everything but a rattlesnake. They just circled it for hours and screamed bloody murder until we took the snake away. Poor little rattler was terrified. We also have never lost even one of our pasture-range chickens to birds of prey. The guineas let out a warning if a hawk is near, and the birds all run for cover. I have witnessed a group of guineas chase two foxes in the pasture. These birds are definitely mischievous, entertaining and much more intelligent than chickens. Here in the Smokies they also were used to sound a warning for the moonshiners, to help protect the stills.

Waynesville, North Carolina

In 1998 my husband and I took over the family farm. We soon discovered the pastures were infested with ticks and other crawling critters. Soon afterward, my husband developed Lyme disease. We were desperate, but we did not want to use poisons, as that would ruin the land for our cattle and our pets.

Someone told us to get some guineas, as they were great for pest control. We purchased some adult guineas, but they continually escaped. Finally, we decided to start with babies. We began to turn them out during the day to forage when they were 5 weeks old. At night, we put them up for their own protection. It took awhile, but we began to see the difference: This past year, our upper 25-acre pasture was tick-free. The guineas truly have been a blessing to us.

We added two geese to our poultry flock this past summer. At night, they all go in to roost together. They have an order as to who goes in first and last. The chickens go in first, then the guineas, then our rooster and, finally, the geese.


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