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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Here come the Guineas....

This year we found ourselves with only 3 Guineas... We've had Guiana fowl from the beginning. They were actually the first livestock I purchased for the farm! 
They are most commonly used as tick control and for 'watch dog' duties in the USA. Though they tend to be so loud all the time I'm not sold in the watch dog part.. Geese are way better at warning if there's trouble because they have specific shrill screams when there's a threat.. The Guineas just scream all the time!
For organic tick control the hype is real!! There is no better option than Guineas .
Guineas are very loud , obnoxious and tend to be pretty stupid.... They can fly ... But it takes them a couple of years to be able to fly well! So please don't believe all that you hear about them flying helps protect them from predators... Because They typically do things like fly over our fencing and can't remember how to fly back over .. Carrying on like they do , they draw in predators and get eaten...the females also become sitting ducks when they make their nest in the spring .. Typically making it in tall brushy areas , Ofcourse outside the fences.. She will not leave her nest and gets killed protecting it. Many years we've started out with well over 20 Guineas to only end up with 3 or 4 to overwinter. 
If Guineas would just stay inside the fencing with the donkeys & nite guards they would be fine! 

Last year we only had 4 Guineas so I bought in more and I think we had 17 mid summer... By winter we had 4 males☹️ by tick season we had 3...
I was determined to be done with Guineas and never buy more... Then I had several tick bites this year.. Including a bad tick bite early summer which looked to be this.....  
http://www.cdc.gov/stari/disease/

Ok... I'll get more Guineas!  But I didn't want to mess with them this year.. I've got to many geese and Muscovies to deal with! I'll get some next year!
Then last week I pulled a tick off my little Jack colt... 
And then I read this....

So here I am with 30 assorted Guineas o the way... Since Guinea Keets typically aren't available until May or June and it takes a couple of months of brooding and raising they aren't ready to patrol for ticks until late summer usually. So I'm better off ordering them now at the tail end of the season so next spring they are ready to work! 
And Since I'm Not looking to pay over hundred dollars for birds and more in feed raising them to be predator food, this time I'll try having them pinioned so they can not fly out over fencing!
I'm getting them from this place... 

For those who may say pinioning is cruel..flying over the fence and Getting ripped apart by a fox or coyote or played with to death by a neighbors stupid running loose dog is far worse IMO!

I will also mention that if you have any neighbors they might not appreciate your organic tick control efforts! 
We have 35 acres and no close neighbors.. But our Guineas fly out of fencing and end up across a pasture and through a wood lot on our neighbors lawn .. Which that neighbor took us to court over them...because we could not control our Guinea fowl...so under ' livestock at large' they pressed charges.
It was a huge waste of our precious time to deal with this...
And thankfully It was thrown out of court because our use for Guineas , organic tick control, didn't fall into the definition of livestock according to TN law. 
Our neighbor still has the right to shoot them if they are in his land though.. 

As you can see,, keeping Guineas just will not work out if they can't stay in our fencing... And it's my responsibility to keep my animals on my property.
I certainly expect my neighbors to keep their animals on their property too. 

So here's to jumping in with pinioned Guineas and hoping my organic tick control will stay in our fences to do their jobs!



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