Wednesday, May 28, 2014

All Natural Tick Control

Word has it that ticks are supposed to be "really bad" this year.  I don't know where people are getting this information, but I have heard/seen it stated multiple times, in various places.

I hate ticks, and the thought of removing them from myself or my dogs makes me feel uneasy.  Not only that, but the thought of tick-borne diseases scares me.  I have a friend with Lyme Disease.  It's hard for her.

We live on seven acres, and at least three acres is pretty heavily wooded.  So I have genuine reason to be concerned about ticks.

I would like to tell you about and show you my plan for tick control.

GUINEA FOWL!
 
Cute (for now) guinea keet.
I currently have seven Guinea keets living in my garage.  They are three weeks old, and cute as can be.  They are very wild, compared to chickens, basically wanting nothing to do with me.


 They are living in an old dog crate, with appropriate warmth (in the form of a Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder), food, and water.  They will stay in the garage until they are about seven weeks old, when they will then be moved to a "playpen" set up in the coop, so they can see it as home, and so the chickens can get used to them while they stay safe.

Many people allow their Guinea fowl to live completely wild, in the trees.  I want mine to know that they can return to the coop at night if they wish, and overwinter there as well.  The advantage to this is that they hopefully won't stray too far from my property.

Guinea fowl are world class tick assassins.  Ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects make up 90 percent of their diet.  This was my main reason for getting them.  Unlike chickens, they can fly quite well, easily flying 40-60 feet up into trees.  The only time they face a true risk from predators is when a hen is "broody" and is wanting to sit on a clutch of eggs.  To prevent this, I must find nests before they contain 15-20 eggs (the necessary amount before a hen will sit), and remove them.  I guess Guinea hens don't make very good mothers, so it is for the best anyways. 

So these babies are incredibly cute right now.  They are kind of scary looking as adults.

Photo courtesy of Tambako.
I don't care what they look like, as long as they feast on ticks.

While I am on the subject of poultry, I would like to show off a picture of my newest chicken.  My cousin's daughter received a baby chick for Easter.  That is a terrible idea, by the way, but that is a whole other issue.  Anyways, they asked me if I could take her.  I told them they had to keep her until she was at least six weeks old.  I am pretty certain they dropped her off the day she turned six weeks.

Her name is Jellybean, and she is a Dominique, which resemble Barred Rocks.  She is the sweetest thing ever, and so little.  She is currently in the "playpen" in the coop, and loves to be held.  I let her out when I can watch her, because she will get pecked and picked on by the older chickens, which is normal.  By using the playpen, she stays safe, learns the coop is home, and it also allows the other chickens to get used to her.

My sister-in-law holding Jellybean.
This picture was taken in the barn, not the coop.  Our coop is much more secure than this.  Oh, and that rooster in the picture-he's an asshole.  I am probably going to eat him soon.

Anyone else have any experience with Guinea fowl?  Or any tips on integrating younger poultry in with other birds?


22 comments:

  1. Wow, I did not know that about guineas. We treated a few at the hospital before, but I don't have much experience with them. Except I think they are super ugly and stinky lol. But definitely adorable babies! We had an asshole rooster as kids. He finally had to go live on our vet's farm one day because he kept attacking us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know that they are stinky, good to know! That rooster gives me the stink eye, and is fairly abusive to the hens/pullets.

      Delete
  2. What a great way to keep the ticks under control. Nature's way is usually the best. With all that land sounds like a good solution. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have and love Guinea hens. I really need to get some more. People hate the noise they make but they really are great watch birds and alert me when people are here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have heard they make good "watchdogs." I am glad to have some input from someone with personal experience. Thank you!

      Delete
  4. We live in a small northern California city and a few years ago a young Guinea hen adopted our yard. We think it was because she was having an identity crisis and thought she was a dog while she was still a teenager. When she laid her first egg she left us, we think to find her own pack. It was a sad day when we realized she was gone.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love your new chicken!!!!! And what a great idea, to have those tick eater birds around!!! haha! Whatever works!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love how you are so blunt about the rooster. I don't have much experience with poultry, but relatives of mine raise chickens and these relatives ended up eating their rooster as well :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This makes me feel better. I have too many roosters as it is, so some need to go, and I hate for them to be wasted.

      Delete
  7. Our neighbors across the street have Guinea Hens and sometimes they make quite a racket! It doesn't bother me....I love living in the country. I didn't know that about the ticks, and we could sure use help here. The ticks do seem to be worse this year than others. Maybe I need to call my neighbor and see if they'll send them over for a while! :)
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also love living in the country. I can't wait to see mine in action once they grow up.

      Delete
  8. Omg the baby guinea fowl is so cute! I googled what the adult looks like before I scrolled down, yuck! Haha.

    Jellybean looks as sweet as can be.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had rather put up with the ticks lol. These birds are so annoying when they get grown. My friend next door had these and they would fly on top of my house early in the morning and scream and carry on waking me up. Then they would come on our porch and poop. They also got in our garden and pecked our veggies. The coyotes would catch the hens when they were setting on nests. Between the coyotes and the Guineans ability not to cross the road safely they finally were all gone. I don't miss them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences with them. A little animal noise doesn't bother me, and I live in a fairly rural area, so hopefully they go over well here.

      Delete
  10. The only thing I know first hand, is they are super noisy and very hard to catch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are already "wild" in that they don't like being handled at all. Hopefully I don't have reason to catch them once they are adults.

      Delete
  11. There's a home in my neighborhood where they keep 3 guinea fowl. I think they're awesome, and would LOVE to have some for our yard. There are a lot of predators in my area, though, so I'm not sure it would work.

    --Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have seen foxes and racoons, and hear coyotes on occasion here. Fingers crossed mine fair well.

      Delete

Thanks for the howls!!