Guinea Fowl – What to Expect
Guinea fowl have had their moments as a popular dish in gourmet restaurants and many of those who have chosen to invite them into their gardens have soon observed their pheasant-like flavor, usually because guinea fowl have an eerily loud cackle that can grate on the nerves. Those suffering from Lyme disease symptoms may wish to hang-fire if considering purchasing guinea fowl as pest control as the birds take some looking after, are far from being cute and cuddly, and may not even be allowed as household animals in some jurisdictions.
Natural Tick Control
Keets are a new generation of guinea fowl being sold as Lyme disease defence and retailers are happy to report a sharp uptick in sales. Residents of New York and Connecticut are proving to be fans of the birds who patrol their lawns and clear the area of ticks, but it is important to note that they are just one part of an overall Lyme disease reduction strategy. Guinea fowl have been used as pest control for centuries and were a common feature on farms of old as they helped keep crop yields high by dispatching plant-munching critters and fertilizing the soil as they go.
Lyme Disease Prevention
Unfortunately, there is no research into the efficacy of using guinea fowl for Lyme disease prevention through tick control and so the general advice is to carry on being tick aware, using tick repellent, and wearing light-colored clothing so as to spot ticks more easily for swift removal. Guinea fowl need appropriate shelter to protect them from foxes, dogs, coyotes, and other wildlife but they are generally happy rooting around outside during the summer once fully grown. The birds can be quite noisy and even aggressive if they feel they are under threat and some people see them as effective watchdogs as they will cackle loudly in the middle of the night if they are startled. The downside is that the guinea fowl will likely scratch up your lawn and possibly even you if you come too close to their eggs or chicks. Fortunately, guinea fowl have a reputation for only eating insects and bugs hanging around on leaves within their visual range rather than scratching at flower beds like chickens.
Guinea Fowl Drawbacks
Those keen to get guinea fowl should note that, given enough time and care, it is possible to train the birds to come when called and even get them used to being held, groomed, and petted. Novice guinea fowl purchasers should exercise caution, however, as this takes considerable effort and guinea fowl are notoriously hard to catch as they run faster and fly higher than chickens, even getting up onto a roof or high into a tree. Male guineas (cocks) are generally a little quieter than the hens as they tend not to sing to each other as much, despite still making cackling noises when alarmed. If you plan on getting guinea fowl for Lyme disease control then talk to your neighbours first as the birds will, inevitably, end up in their garden as they are keen fence-jumpers. It may be that your local area does not allow wildfowl to be kept on residential property so check before investing in a predator-proof coop, feed, and the birds themselves.
Considerations Before Buying Guinea Fowl
A few other things to consider before buying guinea fowl include their need to roam over around three to five acres, with a preference for open areas rather than woods. Local zoning laws may restrict you from keeping guinea fowl and it may be that you have difficulties getting supplies and feed for them if the birds are not a common feature in your neighborhood. If you have children then make sure they know not to chase the birds and if you have toddlers or infants it might be best to wait until they are a little older as, whilst the birds are generally safe, guinea fowl can scratch and bite if alarmed. These odd-looking birds can be a lot of fun to have around if they are looked after properly so if you have the time, inclination, and space you might consider getting guinea fowl for Lyme disease tick control and reduce your risk of repeated infection from tick bites.