“A Guinea… What?” is perhaps the most frequent question we get about our free-ranging Guinea Fowl. Ever since we tested the avian waters with our chickens, and found birds to be an easy and rewarding addition to the farm, we’ve been looking to expand the menagerie. Our requirements were simple: they should devour garden pests like the chickens – but not destroy our garden or eat our crops.
Guinea Fowl to the rescue!
After considering many other species, we decided on Guinea fowl for the following reasons:
- They’re natural pest control. Since they’ve been given reign of the whole yard during the day, they spend from dawn ’til dusk scouring around the raised beds, the dirt around the fruit trees… anywhere they can find bugs.
- They don’t disturb the garden. Despite their long claws, and occasionally taking dust baths beneath our bell peppers, they’ve only uprooted one plant. We experimented allowing our chicken flock to roam while we’re home… we don’t let them near the garden anymore.
- They get along with the chickens. When the weather turns inclement, we herd our Guineas into the coop to roost with no problems.
- They’re an early warning system – this wasn’t first on our list, but these birds are quite vocal in nature. They alert with loud cackling squawks whenever they see something ‘alarming’. We can roughly tell if there’s something going on in the yard by the sound of the Guineas.
- Guineas have personality. They’re just fun birds to watch. Honestly, we decided on Guinea fowl for reasons 1-4, but having them around the farm is a lot of fun and I feel like we’ll always have a few roaming the property. Just keep in mind: they’re loud. If we had close neighbors, they would hate us 🙂
* UPDATE 6/30/15 *
Tragedy struck, as a gang of barn cats has wiped out all of our “3 Amigos” early this morning. I would have thought a 5-7 lb. bird would be safe in a yard patrolled by a mastiff, but it looks like we’ll have to keep the Guineas confined and protected for longer when we do another batch.