Thursday, March 13, 2014

14 reasons you should not raise Guinea fowl

Guineas are interesting birds. They are poultry, but not really. They look like little helmets with clown face makeup on. They act like idiots and they eat ticks and bugs like it's their job. Well, I guess it sort of is their job since most people get them for their insect control talents. Guineas are pretty awesome and there are lots of reasons why you should get Guineas, but do you know why you shouldn't? Here are my top 14 reasons why you should not raise Guinea fowl: 


why not to raise Guinea fowl

1) They make you hunt for their eggs like every day is Easter. No eggs in the nest box for most of these quirky birds. They prefer to play ninja and hide their eggs. Good luck finding them!

2) They try to hatch those stealth nests they've been laying their eggs in, and predators will more then likely find them before you do. 

 3) Noise level. If you value your peace and quiet then these are not the birds for you! They are only slightly louder then a freight train. Slightly. You should buy some earplugs.  

4) They love looking at themselves in any reflective surface they can find. The windows, patio door and even the car windshield are all places they will stare at themselves for hours. They also like to try to 'peck' the other bird in the reflection, which can scare the crap  out of you if you suddenly hear a knock on your second floor window!

5) Guinea birds on the windowsills, car, roof etc mean there is Guinea poop on the house, car, roof etc.

6) They can be bullies to smaller chickens. Guineas get a kick out of sneaking up behind a chicken and pulling it's tail feathers. Most chickens won't fight back which makes it even more of a game for the Guineas. If you happen to have a chicken that spooks easily and squawks loudly, all the more fun!

7) They can fly really well and don't always want to sleep in the coop at night. They will perch on a tree branch 30 feet up to sleep. Or the top of your car. They love cars.

8) They are not as fabulous in the garden as we've been led to believe. They will destroy your seedlings. They will take bites out of your tomatoes. They will dust bathe right between your rows of seedlings and uproot all of them. They will gleefully destroy your flower beds. 
guinea fowl dust bathing

9) They are kinda creepy looking. Like a helmet shaped joker bird. I would steer clear of these if your kids are afraid of clowns.

10) Guineas are dumb. I can't come up with a stronger word, but let me tell you they are a few bananas short of a bunch! they will walk back and forth along a fence squawking for an hour before they see the gate opening 1/2 a foot away.

11) Getting them to move is like herding cats. They're not like chickens that you can shoo in the right direction. Oh no! They go back and forth and every which way and just when you think you have them going in the right direction.....they go straight up!

12) They are terrible mothers. Just awful! I've rescued many keets from hypothermia while only a few feet away from mama and she just ignores them. 

13) They don't eat ladybugs, so if you're main problem is ladybugs guineas aren't going to help. Actually, nothing eats ladybugs....you're gonna need a ladybug trap.

14) They go far far away in search of bugs to eat. Like your neighbors yard. Even if your neighbors lives 1/4 mile away. Some neighbors don't like this...see #3 & #8.

Believe it or not I'm not trying to talk you of raising Guineas. What you raise on your homestead is a personal choice and I know this might all sound a bit odd coming from someone who regularly has at least 50 of these quirky critters running around. I find that Guineas are something you either love or hate and I happen to love them. However in the interest of full disclosure.....I thought you should know!


 Now that you know why you should not raise guineas...I'm going to confuse you even more with 12 Reasons why you should raise guineas. Enjoy!
 
~L

39 comments:

  1. LOL! That are kind of odd looking. Do you raise them for meat too?

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    1. I haven't tried one yet actually, but I hear their quite good. Kinda like chicken, but more gamey.

      ~L

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    2. I love the tick eating birds but since I have neighbors, I can't have them because of the noise. We had them on our farm growing up and they were wonderful "watch dogs" since they always let you know if anyone was coming up the lane.

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    3. I have cooked and served guinea. They tend to be lean, the flesh darker than most of the chickens we've dressed (wonder why they call it that? It's more like "undress".) Flavor is good and rich, but it's harder to pull out the feathers than chickens.

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  2. I have memories of chasing guineas when we were kids at our paternal grandparents' property. I don't know that I'd want to have them around as I like peace and quiet!

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    1. There is no peace an quiet with these guys around! LOL

      ~L

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  3. Great post! So often chicken keepers that I read who also have guineas are happy to wax lyrically about the pro.s of guineas but hardly a word about the con.s. Thanks for your honest points - I won't be getting any but at least I know the reasons now!

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    1. I probably have a dozen reasons why I love my guineas, but they definitely aren't for everyone!

      ~L

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  4. Oh, I knew I would never have one on my property before reading this. Their noise will make me jump 5 foot in the air. I work in an office where the neighbors in the property behind own Guineas. The first I ever saw one was one morning when they were out for a roam and something irritated them outside of the office door and I almost wet myself. Nope, I will stick to my noisy hens. They are an interesting breed though.

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    1. Sometimes they give warning, but often they will just start shrieking suddenly and make me jump...I'm mostly used to it by now. Mostly ;-)

      ~L

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  5. Replies
    1. There are a lot of people that will tell you that Guineas are great in the garden, and they are better then chickens.....however, they still can't be given free access at all times. They need kept away from seedlings and tomatoes for sure!


      ~L

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  6. I have a similar post :) We no longer have ours, the chicken bullying did it for us.

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    1. Awesome! I will head over and check it out....I know I left a few things out! lol

      ~L

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  7. I should probably not comment late at night when I am less sharp than usual! This post KILLED me! You are hysterical and I'll be featuring you on this week's Clever Chicks Blog Hop!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

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    1. Thanks so much! I also should not be allowed near the comment box when I'm tired....anything can end up in there! lol


      ~L

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  8. Well spoke neighbor. I was looking at brooders for sale and found one placce that focuses on guineas and deep in the back of my mond was why would anyone RAISE guineas lol I just remember as a child thinking the neighbor was killing his children from that late night shrieking. I think there are a couple of birds dumber than a guinea. Turkeys domestic ones will behead themselves if the fencewire holes are to big and what used to be an epidemic of sorts in northern PA pheasants. I think I will indeed stick to rhode islands and cornish chickens. In western PA where spring has sprung.

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    1. They are very loud, aren't they? lol
      So glad spring has sprung around here! Thanks for stopping by neighbor!

      ~L

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  9. I love my guineas. I call them Voo Doo chickens or Doh Doh Birds. My darlings stand on the side of the road (I live on a dirt road) and wait for the next unsuspecting vehicle to approach. Then they run out in front of it screaming very boisterously at the driver. They have stopped school buses and the mail man and they even had the Fed Ex van blocked one morning.

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    1. Lol Doh Doh birds...that's a great name for them! Sounds like you have your own little Neighborhood Watch Guinea gang! That's hilarious!


      ~

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    2. My Guineas have been known to stop traffic on the street in front of my house also- the neighbors laugh when they go by!

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  10. XD I'm so glad Kathy featured you with this one!! My Father keeps telling me noooo guineas'!! Threatening that the sound level will keep him from visiting me, lolz. My enablers insist pea foul are quieter, but coming from enablers guess I should take their suggestions with a grain of salt ;D
    Thanks for the fun article!!

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    1. Me too!!!! I'm glad you liked it!

      I don't actually know how loud peafowl are, but Guineas are pretty obnoxious sometimes! I get so many people telling me "I don't know how you can stand the noise". Maybe I'm starting to go a little deaf? lol


      ~L

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    2. I've heard ladybugs were good to have around. that they eat mites or some harmful bugs .,

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    3. Aphids. Lady bugs love to eat Aphids...which of course damage plants.

      ~L

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  11. I admit I have never had any interest in raising Guineas. Namely for the same reasons you have mentioned.
    Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop!

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  12. Very interesting read....but why in the world would you want to get rid of your lady bugs!!!!! They eat aphids and I would much rather have lady bugs than aphids. In fact, we purchase ladybugs and release them into our garden to biologically control our aphids. Are you REALLY sure that you want to get rid of lady bugs? I am pretty sure that I am NOT going to get any noisy, crazy Guineas. Thanks for the tips. :-)

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    1. The only ladybugs I would rather do without are the ones in the house! lol Why do they want to be inside when it's so much more interesting in the garden?
      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~L

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  13. We have four guineas & r ok with having & gonna raise new 1s this yr but yah all above is true but we certainly look past it all because my son loves them & they eat the ticks which seems to be heavy in our area & the more kept off our pets the better so yah I certainly agree either ya like or hate them & we lean more to the liking side thx 4 the giggle :D

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    1. I agree...it'd definitely a love or hate bird. I happen to love them too....plus the tick control is priceless!!!


      ~L

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  14. LOVED this post! I raise guineas. The noise level can be awful. Mine are constantly making noise, not just to warn. I made sure to ask our neighbors before we got ours, but he was super ok with it because the ticks were just horrendous where we live. The first year we lived here without the guineas, we were picking ticks off of ourselves and the animals every day! I got some guinea eggs the next spring and hatched them out. We haven't seen a tick since. It is very true about them hiding the eggs. And when you have 3 acres of pasture and trees, plus the neighbors 675 acres of pasture and cropland, it is almost impossible to find them.

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    1. Thanks so much! We've seen an amazing decrease in ticks too! My neighbors are the same way.....here in the mountains of western Pennsylvania the ticks are awful! The nests are hard to find. I nest hunt all the time! *sigh* they are really good at hiding them! lol


      ~L

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  15. I have 30 guineas and use them to control grasshoppers. I have no other option other than pesticides which lasts a few days and then the hoppers from my neighbors move in. The guineas clean my 20 acres as well as adjacent farm land. I have learned to locate the eggs by watching the flock around noon when they start talking to each other and moving to their nests. This noontime chatter and egg laying is pretty reliable. Once you have an idea where the nests are then wait until the birds are away from them and leave a few eggs so they will come back.

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    1. Exactly! It's a game to follow them then come back later to try to find the nest! You know, now that you mention it......I haven't seen any grasshoppers lately!

      ~L

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  16. While I agree with most of the points. There are some caveats.

    Our guineas are matriarchal, and I suspect this is common for most Guinea fowl (you have to know the sound a male and female make to recognize this). The problem thus is females chase and fight females all the time. Though, when a male is in the mood, males will chase down females and do what they have to do.

    Keets: The female hierarchy has some consequences. Mothers end up abandoning their keets because other dominant hens decide to attack them. If you want the keets to mature you have to take them under your wing, until they are old enough to look after themselves. I disagree about motherly instincts, I’ve seen a single female attack and defend her batch of keets against an Opossum. She and the keets did not come out favorably, and only survived through the use of a Governor. She lost a good few keets and feathers. Btw keets are amazingly cute… I’ve no idea why they grow up to be such ugly yet humorous clowns!

    Finding nests: If you listen for the females you can find the nests... but not without a lot of searching. Predators certainly do have a better chance of finding them. I’ve witnessed Guineas taking their keets to me, while other hens attack the keets (I’m sure many were lost during that journey! The females are very brutal to each other! ) They can spend half a day running around the farm, until they get their intended target. At which point they’ll pull all the tail feathers out.
    Chickens: If the chickens were first on the block, the Guineas generally know their place in the overall pecking order. Chickens can and do fight back, if approached. It’s all a matter of what they’re used to.

    Adults and baby keet sounds: Guineas are amazingly pleasant and gentle to you if they want something, giving their familiar keet whistling sounds. Eg feed them meal worms.

    Adult sounds: Adults tend to sound off when there’s a problem on the farm. Eg predators are hiding, o unfamiliar objects or people are somewhere they haven’t got used to. As for predators, we’ve had Hawks, (Big) Eagles, Owls, Opossum, Bobcat, domestic cat and we suspect even a Black Bear (due to trail marks and scat). Most of which you don’t want to be caught with in a ‘blind alley’.

    Dust baths: All birds love dust baths. So make sure you have areas where there is loose earth they can bath in. If you fence off your gardens and have these loose earth areas, they won’t touch your garden at any time. However, if you have farm cats… you may as well forget the garden! Loose earth to them is their favorite restroom.

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  17. Is there any way to stop guineas from dust bathing in a particular spot, short of keeping them locked up? Ours have miles to roam but have started digging holes in the yard. I love them too for their grasshopper control.

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  18. How far will they go from their coop?

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  19. That's a shame, they really are curious looking things, but rather high maintenance!

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  20. I had a pair and they were two peas in a pod. one got sick and had to go. Next thing I notice is that out of 40 layers, 13 of them were practically plucked free of their tail, breast, and back feathers. My egg production went from 26 to 28 egg a day in the winter to less than a dozen. I got rid of the last idiot guinea and my birds are relaxed and egg production is on the up. Bad to have around layers.

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