Guinea Fowl for the Control of Lyme Carrying Ticks
One of the ways that you can reduce ticks and other insects it to raise
guinea fowl. They have some disadvantages: They can be noisy and they are a
little tricky to raise. On the other hand, they are interesting, friendly and
they will eat bugs, including Lyme ticks. Contrary to popular opinion, they are
Fowl or hens?
Quite often, people refer to Guinea
Fowl as 'Guinea Hens'. This is technically incorrect. The Hens are the
Are they for you?
Guinea fowl live in the wild once you raise and release them. They are
territorial so they will stay pretty much in one area. It takes a little bit
of effort to raise them. So, some questions to consider:
Do you have the environment/room for them Ė They will range over about 3-5
They prefer open areas, not woods
They will make a racket at times especially
when there is a strange person or threatening animal in the area (Hawk,
Fox, Cat, Dog etc.)
Guinea fowl are relatively clean, but, as with any animal, they do leave
Do you have access to a feed store for supplies and feed?
When you raise keets you will need starter mash. When the birds are
mature, you will have to feed them in the winter.
You need to have a source of supply. That can be tough. Usually the babies,
known as keets are available around April or so. They have a high attrition
rate, so buy at least 15-20 for your first time. Prices should be about $3-5
each. Do some web searching for your local area. Most feed stores will either
sell keets or they will be able to tell you who does.
You will need a place to raise them until their feathers come in. A large
metal tub with a chicken wire covering (they learn to fly quickly), a heat lamp,
a watering trough, clean bedding and starter feed are all necessary. Keep them
in a quiet, draft free environment. You will probably need to dip the young
birds beaks in the water till they get the hang of drinking
It helps to talk to them every day. They will get to know your voice which
will keep them closer to your property.
Moving them outside
Once their new feathers come in, and the weather is a bit warmer (At least 50
degrees or so at night) you can move them to a cage outside. Most feed stores
will have hutches that you can purchase for about $100 or so. Check this
carefully to make sure it is sturdy. Raccoons, Possums and everything else will
want to get at the keets. Make sure they have fresh straw or hay for bedding. Make
sure they have plenty of water and feed. Your feed store should have starter
mash. Also make sure that part of the hutch
is shielded so they can get out of the drafts at night.
Update July 06 - We
lost all but one of this year's batch after moving them outside to the
chicken coop (no chickens right now). They were sleeping up against the
chicken wire and a raccoon got them (their heads were missing which is
typical of raccoons). We need to redo the coop. Instead of poultry wire we
will install hardware cloth (metal screening) around the base.
Control animals that will attack your guinea fowl and
chickens and also carry ticks
It is a good idea to set a large Havahart trap near the hutch every night. Bait it
with tuna, veggies or whatever. They idea is to reduce the Raccoon and Possum
population before you start releasing the birds. IMPORTANT Ė Read up on
Rabies and Raccoon parasites carefully before setting any traps. Check with
your local ordinances and your animal control officer as to any legal
requirements. Do not release the animals elsewhere as you might spread
rabies. (It is often illegal to release certain animals)
The book at the left also contains information about controlling
predators. The critters in your yard will be a host for ticks. In addition,
the book has a chapter about controlling deer.
This is tricky.. If you release them all at one time, they may wander off
forever. The best bet is to release one or two. They will hang near the others
in the hutch. After dusk, you will find them roosting on the ground nearby.
Capture them from the top so they canít open their wings. You should be able to
do that without hurting them. Wear heavy leather gloves as their claws and beaks
are sharp. (Plus they tend to poop when excited).. Put them back in and let
another pair out the next day.
The more they are outside, they more they will grow. They are extremely
vulnerable until they learn how to get away from hawks, cats, coons, etc. They
are most vulnerable when they are bedded down as a group at night.
As they grow, they will become old enough to eat Layer Pellets or scratch. (Food for
domestic chickens) You can get these if you have a feed store in the area.
You can start letting more and more out. Eventually, they will all be
released. If things work out, they will tend to hang around where they were
raised. Make sure that the kids don't chase the birds or they may move off
to a quieter location
One hard learned lesson Ė Donít release young birds on days of heavy rain.
They cannot fly when their feathers are wet and they will probably settle
wherever they happen to be which leaves them quite vulnerable.
The adolescents are vulnerable at night until they learn to roost in the
trees. That will usually be after several of them get killed on the ground.
The adults require very little care. It is a good idea to feed them a little
bit of layer feed every day in the summer. Not too much or they wonít eat the
bugs. Leave water out for them. In the winter, you will have to leave water and
chicken feed for them.
In really cold, wintry weather, you may need to capture them and bring them into a
shed. You can usually do this with a large towel. Treat them gently and donít
hang them by their feet like you can hang a chicken (a chicken will usually go
limp when carried this way).
One bird of the flock will eventually become the alpha male.
You can purchase our guinea hen mug by clicking the link
The birds are pretty safe around most children, but I would be careful with
toddlers and infants. Also, donít let the kids chase the birds.
The end result of raising Guineas is that they are a lot of fun to have
around. The bonus is that the bug population in the immediate area will be
Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel commissioned a study of the effectiveness of
guinea fowl in reducing lyme ticks. The Duffy Study showed a clear correlation
between guinea fowl and reduced deer tick populations.
We hope to be adding some higher quality movies shortly. Please check back.
Our two male Guinea Fowl have adopted the nine keats from our latest
batch. I've been feeding them a little bit of poultry layer feed every day.
They've begun to associate me with food, I suppose. Now, most times when I'm
out, they come running over.
Ticks The Prevention and Treatment of Lyme Disease and Ailments Caused by
Ticks, Scorpions, Spiders, and Mites.
Rabies, Lyme Disease, Hanta Virus: And Other Animal-Borne Human Diseases in
the United States and Canada Dr. Lendell Cockrum explains how bats,
rodents and rabbits infect humans with infectious and parasitic diseases.
Encephalitis (5 kinds), Lyme disease, Hanta Virus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS),
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Chagas' disease, tularemia, rabies, 5 kinds of
plague, rickettsetialpox, typhus, valley fever and other diseases are fully
described. This is vital information for the concerned layperson, as well as
The information in this site is
for general informational purposes only. You need to see a physician if
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