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NBFarm
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:20 PM
I am looking for some input on keeping Guinea hens on horse farms. I have heard that they eat ticks and all sorts of pesky bugs and that they are pretty self sufficient. Does anyone have some living on their farm? Are they noisy or disruptive (I have boarders)? How much care do they need? Thanks!!

county
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:28 PM
I've had them for 30 years now and would never be without them!!!!! We have virtually no tick problem for about a 20 acre radius around the buildings. They require virtually no care mine just run free year round I never feed them or water them. They live on bugs and grass in the summer pick up grain off the ground in winter. Summers they drink from the stock pong winters they drink from the auto waterer., If attacked or startled they will make noise how much depends on how many you have I like to keep mine to 5 to 8 birds.

BramblewoodAcres
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:29 PM
I have Guineas...and you really can't tell the difference between male and female visually. Their calls are different, that's all.

They are VERY effective as far as keeping ticks, small snakes and bugs down. I didn't have a single tick this year, not on dogs, people, horses, nothing. I LOVE my Guineas and plan to get a few more this spring.

HOWEVER...they are LOUD and may not be appreciated in a more public setting. They are often called the "poor man's alarm," because they do alarm. Loudly. On everything. I never have to wonder if someone is coming down the drive or if hawks are hovering over my chickens hoping for a tasty snack...the guineas let me know!

chism
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:51 PM
I had some and they were the STUPIDEST things ever. I got them because they were supposed to be easier than chickens, didn't need to be locked up because they could roost up high to get away from predators. Really, they were great on bugs, but they didn't have an ounce of self preservation. If I got near them (and I was the food lady), they'd fly up on the roof of the run-ins, but they roosted at night on my board fence. The coyotes picked them off like taking candy from a baby, all 12 of them. :( Mine were bought as chicks from the grain store, my friend has some that were farm raised and appear to be much more clever than mine, at least as far as their longevity goes. ;)

chestnutmarebeware
Jan. 21, 2009, 05:31 PM
Like Chism, I agree that they are incredibly naive about their personal survival (I wouldn't argue with term "stupid"). Mine would sit in the trees during the day, yet roosted on the ground at night, where they, too, were picked off quickly. I even caught them sharing a food dish with a FOX one afternoon! But they were too wild to be rounded up into the chicken coop.

After the adults became fox food, I bought day-old keets and kept them confined until they were old enough to fly, and when released these promptly disappeared into the woods and were never seen again (by me). The neighbors gave me occasional updates for a few weeks, but then the sightings ended.

And about the noise—if you have neighbors close enough to hear a gunshot on your property, they'll probably not be thrilled with your guineas screaming on and off all day.

county
Jan. 21, 2009, 06:17 PM
I agree any of them raised in captivity are dumb as rocks. But we have over 6000 acres of state wildlife land around us full of fox and coyotes and we've never lost one of wild type guenias we have. Lose a few keets now and then, once we got 3 white ones from a place that had them penned up they last about a week. But the ones we've had that survive from keets to adulthood die of old age. We have a rooster called " No Toes " ( they froze off one winter ) thats been here 12 years now.

Rebmik
Jan. 21, 2009, 06:35 PM
We have a NO Females policy. We loose them when they lay on eggs.
But the males we have are great...I thought I would hate them at first b/c of the noise. They make great alarm systems. Ours know who is supposed to be here or where stuff is supposed to be, you change anything or UPS truck comes in driveway and they will let you know.
We were down to 3 last summer and had ticks, prior years had 10+ and NO ticks!!!
Back up to 8 now and will probably get more.

RubyLink
Jan. 21, 2009, 10:14 PM
We had guinea hens here on the island because we have a crazy tick population here. Everyone, except my boss, thought it would be great to have them and everyone would be happy with less ticks. Let me tell you, when I came back from school everyone was ready to have the entire island over run with ticks as opposed to having quinea hens. They are loud, obnoxious, loud, dumb, and LOUD. 4:30am they were under my boss's window screaming their little heads off every day. All day long they screamed and all night long.

We also have a lot of foxes here that would always snatch them up when they refused to come in for the night. One time a fox caught one of the hens right in front of another hen. Didn't the free hen run away? Oh, no. It stayed right where it was screaming until the fox ate it as well.

Sorry for the long vent. It's just everytime I think about them I shudder.

mroades
Jan. 21, 2009, 11:28 PM
They are loud and poop all over everything!!!!

pj
Jan. 22, 2009, 01:07 AM
Big relief here when the last one was gone. They are LOUD and go on and on about nothing!

chism
Jan. 22, 2009, 08:07 AM
I'm with you PJ!

hijack - I love your siggie.. Have you heard this one?
"Do you know why the indians rode Appaloosas into battle? So they were good and MAD by the time they got there!" ;)

pj
Jan. 22, 2009, 11:02 AM
I'm with you PJ!

hijack - I love your siggie.. Have you heard this one?
"Do you know why the indians rode Appaloosas into battle? So they were good and MAD by the time they got there!" ;)
:lol::lol: I swiped my signature from someone here on Coth. It wasn't their signature but they posted the joke and I loved it.
I love your joke, too. Here is one that was on the endurance board the other day.
"Why did indians ride appaloosas? Because they were the only horses they could catch!"
I get a lot of Appy jokes sent to me...good thing that I know that they are REALLY superior!! :yes:

jump4it
Jan. 22, 2009, 02:00 PM
As a neighbor of someone who owns these obnoxious creatures, I would not advise them. We still had ticks and bugs and those things are always in are yard. If you live in the sticks then I would go for it.

chism
Jan. 23, 2009, 11:06 AM
I get a lot of Appy jokes sent to me...good thing that I know that they are REALLY superior!! :yes:

Well, Duh! I love 'em! ;)

theoldgreymare
Jan. 23, 2009, 11:24 AM
they were great on bugs, but they didn't have an ounce of self preservation.

We lost all 18 in the one year we had them. Some would roost on low branches and get picked off by fox. Those that roosted in the higher branches got picked off by owls. Great bug eaters and they do make great security alarms...anyone that pulled in the drive was ceremoniously anounced by a flock of screaming Mimi's. My neighbor hated the noise and wrote a not so anonymous letter to the newspaper. We replaced them with a donkey in his honor!

chism
Jan. 23, 2009, 12:13 PM
My neighbor hated the noise and wrote a not so anonymous letter to the newspaper. We replaced them with a donkey in his honor!


My neighboring farm has both. They also have black angus cows that don't believe in fencing. Do you suppose they don't like us? ;)
My non-farm neighbors never complained when I had the guineas, and they were LOUD and obnoxious as only guinea hens can be. I'm very lucky I suppose. They do complain when the farm next door spreads their fields or use the air cannon in the summer. The neighbor's jack (named Jackass, natch) IS pretty loud, but luckily he's some distance from our house. I really don't mind it. It's just part of the sounds & smells of living in the country. I couldn't imagine any other life.

5
Jan. 23, 2009, 12:28 PM
We have a couple at our stable. They are opinionated I'll say that.
You will get a dressing down from them faster than a mother in law.

horsetales
Jan. 23, 2009, 01:08 PM
Our neighbor has them and they are a good 5+ minute walk from our place (so not right next to our house) and I can easily hear them when I'm outside. I don't know how they sleep as I will hear them when I have been coming in late or leaving real early. We don't have a tic problem and maybe if I did I would be more inclined to have them. I don't see any big difference in their fly numbers. In addition we use fly predators and they will also eat good bugs such as the predators, so I stick with just those.

kari
Jan. 23, 2009, 06:20 PM
We have a couple at our stable. They are opinionated I'll say that.
You will get a dressing down from them faster than a mother in law.

Funniest thing I've heard today. Thanks for the laugh! :D

Go Fish
Jan. 23, 2009, 06:34 PM
I have Guineas...and you really can't tell the difference between male and female visually. Their calls are different, that's all.

They are VERY effective as far as keeping ticks, small snakes and bugs down. I didn't have a single tick this year, not on dogs, people, horses, nothing. I LOVE my Guineas and plan to get a few more this spring.

HOWEVER...they are LOUD and may not be appreciated in a more public setting. They are often called the "poor man's alarm," because they do alarm. Loudly. On everything. I never have to wonder if someone is coming down the drive or if hawks are hovering over my chickens hoping for a tasty snack...the guineas let me know!

Exactly right...:yes:

yellowbritches
Jan. 23, 2009, 09:13 PM
Oh God. I can hear them now. Dumb and loud. Very loud. I would never have them, ticks or no. I can think of other ways to keep ticks off of everyone.

Appy joke: Why do people ride Appys? Because they are too proud to ride a cow, but too poor to ride a horse. ;) I have one, so I've heard them all, EXCEPT the good cowboy one!

NBFarm
Jan. 24, 2009, 08:15 PM
Thanks everybody! I think I'll steer clear......:no:

Trevelyan96
Jan. 24, 2009, 09:36 PM
Awww... that't too bad. We had wild ones when we first moved in and they were really cute, and not too loud either. Not sure what happened to them all, I'm guessing as the neighborhood grew they were either hit by cars or one of the neighbors decided they tasted good.

I kind of miss them, as they really did keep the bug and tick population under control.

lolalola
Jan. 24, 2009, 09:41 PM
Get chickens instead. They'll eat bugs, lay eggs and are not as loud or stupid.

mommy peanut
Jan. 24, 2009, 09:48 PM
We tried raising them. Got them as day old keets & started leaving them outside( within a penned area) once they had some feathering. Once they could fly we let them out with free run. Well within a few days one of the dogs had eaten all 6 of them. We'd like to try again, but I don't want to go through all the hassle of raising keets, just to have them eaten again!! So if anyone has any hints that'd be great!!!

foggybok
Jan. 25, 2009, 12:31 AM
until the night they woke her husband up one too many times at 4:30 am........ :eek:

horsecents
Jan. 26, 2009, 08:25 AM
A friend had some, they enjoyed running back and forth over the metal barn roof. Made too much noise for me! She also had a peacock and he was cool.

Daldove
Jan. 26, 2009, 02:15 PM
We had them a short while. We got adults and released them one by one over a couple weeks. Once the last one was out, they all disappeared. Then got babies, they all died or disappeared. How do you guy get them to stay on your place????? We tried several things folks around here told us but nothing worked. Very annoying and EXPENSIVE. When we had them, I didn't mind the noise and the bug population did DROP dramatically. Fleas, ticks, june bugs, flies, everything. Wish they would have stayed... :(

BramblewoodAcres
Jan. 26, 2009, 03:03 PM
I am kind of surprised at the number of people who say they are dumb and advise strongly against them. I raised my guineas with the chickens...and I've had the same guineas for four years while I've lost a good dozen+ chickens to hawks, fox, coyote, whatever. I really enjoy mine, a lot, and I'm looking forward to more this spring.

They put themselves up in the coop at night, they run for cover if they see a hawk or a vulture and they act as guardians for the chickens. The chickens would stand out in the middle of the field and be killed by overhead predators if they didn't follow the guineas into the underbrush. I raised them from keets with my chicks and they always come home at night. They don't get on my vehicles or my house, they keep the ticks and the snakes down and they amuse me.

The only drawback is they are loud. But, I'm out in the middle of nowhere, my closest neighbor is a mile away. The guineas alarming doesn't bother me at all, but I can imagine there are those who would complain about them.

Arcadien
Jan. 26, 2009, 03:37 PM
I love my guineas - my flock is down to 2, and I'm going to try to get it back to an ideal of 5-6 in the spring. More, they are too loud for me; less not enough to handle the bugs. A side benefit, they scratch all manure piles - I never have to pick up paddocks, they are nicely scattered by the time I get to it!

I find having them around rather soothing. They have such a set routine, I know just where they will be and what they will be doing at each time of the day. On summer evenings I enjoy watching the cats pretend to stalk them as they come to roost on a tree over my porch (they are too big for the cats to kill, but it makes for much kitty fun to try!)

To increase my flock by 4, I intend to buy 8. I find that yes, some are just too dumb to live, but the ones that do, last a lonnngggg time. Its like they figure out all the things & places to avoid watching half the flock get picked off, and after that only a fluke kills them. My last 2 are about 10 years old!

I find they are as noisy as I am. Ie, if I had a lot of company outside on summer nights, I could see it getting annoying as they get loud when the people talking do. But I'm a pretty quiet person, so they don't find much to cackle about here!

YMMV,
Arcadien
(PS yes, avoid the white one for running loose - those were picked off one by one the first night they were set loose! Lucky owl, unlucky hens)