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buschkn
May. 18, 2011, 08:54 PM
Have heard a lot about guineas being excellent for controlling the bug, and esp tick, population. Someone else suggested bantams. I hate flies and ticks, but I also hate bird poop.

IF, big IF, I get any birds, what are your suggestions? I am concerned about poop, noise, destruction, special care, and predation. I want something pretty self sufficient if I get anything. My feelings won't be hurt if you say forget it. ;)

Darko
May. 18, 2011, 08:59 PM
You may not want a couple hanging around... but bats are super for this.

ToTheNines
May. 18, 2011, 09:03 PM
Purple martins.

sketcher
May. 18, 2011, 09:05 PM
I considered New Guinea hens but then read that sometimes they roost on your (or your neighbors) roof and can make obnoxious noise. I can just see my beautiful wood roof, gunked up with chicken poo and pockmarked by the holes from my 22...

tasia
May. 19, 2011, 06:30 PM
Purple Martins!! Also blue birds and bats!! Anything that eats a bug is welcome here!!

sid
May. 19, 2011, 07:33 PM
As well as swallows. Love them.

tasia
May. 19, 2011, 08:19 PM
As well as swallows. Love them.

:yes:Tree swallows, barn swallows. A purple martin is a swallow also.

Alagirl
May. 19, 2011, 08:32 PM
but an array of birdhouses up around the property. Nesting pairs need lots of bugs!
I don't think the species is too important (and a ditto on the bats! they take it from where the birds go to bed, you can put bat houses around the property as well. Batcon.org has some on their webside)

Bird poop is only a problem really when the birds are big (like chickens) or congregate, like around a feeder or favorite perches.

If those spots are not in places of traffic you should have little to no problems.

pAin't_Misbehavin'
May. 19, 2011, 08:47 PM
Someone did a thread on guineas - four years or so ago? was it Auventera Two? - that made me weep with laughter but really have second thoughts about owning any. I did a search and sadly can't find it. But if noise is a problem for you, based totally on vicarious COTHer experience, maybe guineas aren't just the thing.

I have blue birds, bats, dragonflies, and swallows. I spray the horses twice a day and muck stalls every day. And I still have flies to rival the fourth plague of Egypt. :sigh: Don't know what to tell you.

fooler
May. 19, 2011, 09:10 PM
Someone did a thread on guineas - four years or so ago? was it Auventera Two? - that made me weep with laughter but really have second thoughts about owning any. I did a search and sadly can't find it. But if noise is a problem for you, based totally on vicarious COTHer experience, maybe guineas aren't just the thing.

I have blue birds, bats, dragonflies, and swallows. I spray the horses twice a day and muck stalls every day. And I still have flies to rival the fourth plague of Egypt. :sigh: Don't know what to tell you.

Another South Carolina person here. I use Fly Predators (3rd year) and Fly strips but also have a horrendous number of flies :eek:. Putting the horses out tonight so I can scrub the walls in the feed bucket corner and hopefully get rid of some of the monsters.
My new neighbor said she has had more flies than normal at her 'old barn' in NC. So much for cold winters killing off the insects :lol:

horsefaerie
May. 19, 2011, 09:12 PM
Bantams.

Roosters make noise but there is nothing that says you need a rooster.

Hens make a loud excited noise when they lay and egg. Eggs are good to eat. THis makes them easier to find.

The only thing I know they will destroy is styrofoam. Not sure why. Keep it away from them and all is well.

Their poop is tiny.

A roosting bar up high is all the care they need besides fresh water and if you want, some feed and grit if you don't have a gravel driveway.

They are likely to fall victim to desperate critters in winter but not at night with the bar.

Best bug control ever.

SanJacMonument
May. 19, 2011, 10:31 PM
Purple martins are great but get the right kind of house and a pole you can pivot down to clean the houses once or twice a year.

They are agressive birds - saw them kick sparrows and baby sparrows out of their little housing complex. I've seen them eat flying insects but not the ones on the ground; would think you'd need ground birds if you want crickets and ticks eaten.

Purple martins are loud In the evening for some reason. They quiet down after the sun sets. They will tell you when a cat or snake is in the yard too.

I'd recommend purple martins but not too close to the house because of the evening singing can ruin an otherwise relaxing back porch.

buschkn
May. 19, 2011, 10:49 PM
Maybe I need bantams, guineas, AND martins, and a few bats thrown in. In addition to a high quality set of ear plugs.

I have 15-20 horses on the property and own 93 acres but the main areas used are probably 15 acres for the most part. How many bantams would it take to help control my insect population? Do they eat flies? Fly larvae? ticks? Do guineas eat flies and fly larvae? I am so clueless. Bantams sounds less offensive than guineas, but they are a lot smaller so probably need a lot more birds?

Any help or specifics would be great. I can't find much doing searches. :confused:

Nootka
May. 20, 2011, 03:09 AM
Are there any minus to having bats?

I am thinking of having these ppl install

http://ocala.craigslist.org/grd/2324680226.html

horsefaerie
May. 20, 2011, 05:58 AM
Wow! That is a deal! Wish we had someone local doing the bat house thing.

I bought a bat house for a friend who complained of skeeters. She said within just days she could go outside without being eaten alive.

Bantams will spread manure and eat the larvae. They eat ticks as well.

They also eat rolly pollys, garden pests and other annoying creepy crawlies. As a bonus they will eat baby mice and other rodents. They must be hairless and tiny but they will be gone as well.

I would guess that about 30 birds would do it. I have had anywhere from 7 to 18 birds for up to 9 horses. Hens with a rooster can produce babies which are more vulnerable to varmints but the itty biddies are very cute.

I use fly predators once a year as well (in the south they come back on their own without a brutal winter) and homemade fly spray but compared to other farms without chickens I have very few flies. I only saw ticks when I went without for 18 months. Never again!

deckchick
May. 20, 2011, 06:08 AM
I am getting a pair of ducks this weekend just for fly control. I have read a few articles (http://www.entomology.wisc.edu/mbcn/live409.html) stating up to 84-93% reduction!

I freaken hate flies.

tasia
May. 20, 2011, 07:45 AM
Are there any minus to having bats?

I am thinking of having these ppl install

http://ocala.craigslist.org/grd/2324680226.html

I bought my bat house at homedepot:cool: One bat moved in last year:D We are hoping for more this year. We put the house on a purple martin pole.

Jumpin_Horses
May. 20, 2011, 08:45 AM
Purple Martins!! Also blue birds and bats!! Anything that eats a bug is welcome here!!

where did you get your martin house? ive been thinking about getting these

BEARCAT
May. 20, 2011, 09:00 AM
Anyone know a good website that lets you know what kind of bird house to put up depending on your location?

Cowbirds are my favourite for bug control. they totally brake down the manure piles scratching/pecking through them.

ToTheNines
May. 20, 2011, 09:43 AM
Agree with the "natural" solution such as martins and bats. If you encourage this wildlife, instead of domestic chickens, etc. then you won't have to come on here later and complain about foxes, etc killing your hens. This is the beginning of the vicious circle for wildlife, who are the losers when people move out to the country. Sorry, but one of my pet peeves is people who move to the country, profess to love it, then go about destroying the wildlife.

buschkn
May. 20, 2011, 10:24 AM
Agree with the "natural" solution such as martins and bats. If you encourage this wildlife, instead of domestic chickens, etc. then you won't have to come on here later and complain about foxes, etc killing your hens. This is the beginning of the vicious circle for wildlife, who are the losers when people move out to the country. Sorry, but one of my pet peeves is people who move to the country, profess to love it, then go about destroying the wildlife.

How exactly is getting chickens destroying wildlife? And wanting something to eat the bugs is destroying wildlife? I do love the country and have done nothing to destroy the wildlife. I am not sure where your post is coming from based on all the responses here? People are advocating natural pest control instead of pesticides, etc. You have an interesting take on it.

tasia
May. 20, 2011, 11:32 AM
where did you get your martin house? ive been thinking about getting these

Purple martin conservation assoc. Their website is purplemartin.org. It's an expensive house, but it's been up for 7 years and it's doing great. We only clean it out once a year. It slides up and down the pole which is soooo easy:cool: I have another less expensive house and it's falling apart, will probably replace it with the more expensive type, trendsetter I think. Once you get Martins you will be hooked, they are cool birds:D

wireweiners
May. 20, 2011, 02:19 PM
Martins and bats are great for flying insects like mosquitoes but don't do a thing for ground insects like ticks, grasshoppers, etc. I would suggest either guineas or English game chickens (the kind they use for cock fighting). My dad once had a flock of 30 guineas. They were rather noisy but they were quite amusing. They didn't roost on the house or cars but roosted in some pine trees at the edge of the property. They would get on the roof of the house and run along the roof top, then glide off the roof. Then they'd fly back on the roof and do it again like kids taking turns on a slide. Dad also had some English game chickens. They are beautiful birds, especially the roosters. They would also roost in the trees but did get on the cars occasionally. The upside to the chickens is that they produced great eggs, slightly larger than a banty egg. The hens were great mothers and the things multiplied like rabbits. We'd have the occasional agressive rooster but they were done away with quickly. If you can find some from cock fighting stock, they are the best as they have more of a survival instinct.

horsefaerie
May. 20, 2011, 08:59 PM
Absolutely agree with Wire about the fighting birds.

I used to have them and the hens are fabulous moms. The roosters can be tough! Beautiful and varied too! No match for a cur dog though.

Bantam roosters are more aggressive I think but too little to do much damage.

Let us know what you decide!

Leprechaun
May. 23, 2011, 11:45 AM
I know from experience that guinea hen shrieking is a bit much!

ponygirl
May. 25, 2011, 11:34 AM
It depends on the type of chicken you get in bantam size as to how aggressive, noisy,flighty, etc they are. Cochins are very gentle birds. I have standards and bantam sizes. I also have a wide variety of chickens but my band consists of friendly, gentle breeds. They will need a coop to keep them safe from wildlife. I never thought I'd have chickens and now I'm addicted to them. The benefits of having them outweigh the chicken poo aspect of them. :)

You will *not* like guineas. They are loud, loud, loud and are probably the dumbest bird I've ever met. Yes they eat ticks but...

I highly suggest the purple martin/bat route. Little upkeep and they do a fine job! I have a bat house. I'm planning on acquiring a purple martin house.

sar2008
May. 25, 2011, 12:08 PM
I know from experience that guinea hen shrieking is a bit much!

Ummmm, yeah. We have one guinea, along with a mixture of rhode island reds, ameraucana's and blue marans. The guinea is by far the most aggressive, loudest, obnoxious one out there. He chases the others, comes after car tires squaking and carrying on....

Not to mention when they free range, the chicken s&!$ everywhere......totally gross. Especially when it's in the barn....

halo
May. 25, 2011, 10:41 PM
I had a monumental tick problem. I couldnt let my chicken free roam to eat them, as they totally destroy my gardens and flower beds, so I got 2 guinea keets. Oddly they turned out to be one girl and one boy, but they were hysterically funny and highly entertaining. Fended for themselves, would mosey among the garden but not destroy anything. And since I have had them, I havent seen a single tick. Not one. Not. One. I used to spend each evening picking ticks off the dogs; even had them in the house, crawling up the walls. All gone.

They roost in the barn, waaaaay up in the rafters, because they are good flyers. If you get them as keets (babies) they will stick around. Funny birds.

Another great advantage with guineas is they are terrific watch dogs. They know everyone who belongs and who doesnt. When strangers show up they make a racket. And I havent seen a snake either since I got them.

sar2008
May. 26, 2011, 08:38 AM
Another great advantage with guineas is they are terrific watch dogs. They know everyone who belongs and who doesnt. When strangers show up they make a racket. And I havent seen a snake either since I got them.

Funny you mention it, because they really are. I was thinking last night driving into the barn, why is the guinea running after the repair guys truck behind me and not mine! :lol:

Amwrider
May. 27, 2011, 02:06 AM
My neighbor has a flock of guineas. I think I recall her saying that they will tear anything apart, even small chicks and other small wildlife.

I have a small flock, 8 hens and 3 roosters. The Polish crested and Barred Rock roosters are agressive and stay in the coop during the day so they don't go after boarders or visitors. All of my hens and my little silkie roo free range during the day and are locked up at night. The 3 silkies put themselves to bed in a cage in my feed room, then the coop is opened and the big roos come out for a little bit to pick in the dirt and chase the hens, then they all settle down for the night in the coop and I shut the door for the night.

I have only been in this barn since September and I have already had someone who boarded there previously wonder where all of the flies went. Simple....my chickens....and I don't feed sweet feed, I think that brings more flies. They swarm around the feed and also seem to swarm around the fresh poo more if the horses are on sweet feed.

cloudyandcallie
Oct. 22, 2011, 07:10 AM
We welcome the buff backs when they come up each year from Florida. It seems that at least one or two is "assigned" to each horse.:lol: Although I've not seen them get on the backs of horses as they do on cattle.

Cattle egrets are great! I wish the hawks would leave them alone so they could stay longer. Buff backs eat tons of flies and bugs.

Jay-N-Jete'
Oct. 22, 2011, 08:57 PM
Another vote for "all of the above"

The purple martin and bats take care of a lot of the flying things (except white tailed hornets :mad: )

The chickens spread the manure and the guineas eat all the ticks, ground bees, and Japanese beetles.

The nice thing about the guineas is that they delicately pluck the bugs off the plants without disturbing the plant bed. Chickens tend to scratch everything up (good in the field, not so much in the plant beds!)

We live in the wet woods and we've had NO tick problems since the guineas came!

Auventera Two
Oct. 25, 2011, 03:27 PM
Guinneas are a total nightmare to manage, but they eat more bugs than chickens do, I think. Guinneas are the loudest, most obnoxious birds you'll ever meet, and they are incredibly stubborn and strong willed. Smart but they live by their own agenda. But just a few of them will eradicate every bug, snake, mouse, and stray cat on your property and you will always know when someone pulls in the driveway.

They seem to have a knack for waiting until you're doing something particularly dangerous or tedious with a horse and then explode into a fit of sqwaking and flapping as close to the horse as they can manage.

Just when you're swinging a leg over a 3 year old greenie for the first time...the guinneas show up.

Just when you're about to get the stubborn horse to load after 45 minutes of trying....the guinneas show up.

Just as your frazzled rescue horse settles down enough to let the farrier hold a foot...the guinneas show up.

And they don't show up anywhere quietly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMUQckEa_ME Turn your speakers up on full blast and play that on a repeating loop for 4 hours. Or try it with this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoM9BtVZ724 That should help you decide if you can live with the little potrackers.

These crazy buzzards do NOT possess any DNA whatsoever that tells them to shut the hell up.

SunkenMeadow
Oct. 25, 2011, 03:40 PM
Okay scratch guinea hens off the list of "Creatures I Want"

tasia
Oct. 25, 2011, 03:42 PM
Thanks!! I'll stick with purple martins, blue birds, chickens, bats and my praying mantis!!!

Gloria
Oct. 25, 2011, 04:51 PM
Wait. But after one year of age, and you get over the burning desire to kill them all (or maybe after you develop the uncanny ability to ignore the squawking), they (guineas) aren't that bad. They actually quieten down - really...

Since my flock deflected and joined my neighbor's flock, they start to lead their flock to come to our place to peck at ticks, and return to their place to squawk at them. Love my neighbors.:lol:

tasia
Oct. 25, 2011, 05:07 PM
Wait. But after one year of age, and you get over the burning desire to kill them all (or maybe after you develop the uncanny ability to ignore the squawking), they (guineas) aren't that bad. They actually quieten down - really...

Since my flock deflected and joined my neighbor's flock, they start to lead their flock to come to our place to peck at ticks, and return to their place to squawk at them. Love my neighbors.:lol:

:lol: Maybe loss of hearing:D Too funny, they return to the neighbors to squawk:cool:

Eous
Oct. 25, 2011, 11:20 PM
I've had Guineas for 4 yrs now. First year in our new home and we had to have an exterminator come out 4x a year for $$$ not to mention the chemicals! After bringing in guineas not only did we not have to resort to chemicals or exterminators, but the tick population dropped. Our neighbors became so enamored of them and their tick/bug eating behavior that they put feeders out and even shoveled paths through the snow during winter so that they would come over to their yards. They commented that they haven't had a tick on their dogs in years now. They are hillarious and fun to watch. It's like your own farm episode of "Dumb and Dumber".

Downsides... They do make noise and they put a lot of mileage on those little feet. They are always on the go... so make sure your neighbors like them. They eat everything, bugs, toads, frogs, snakes, and more. They have no sense of self preservation and will try to stand up to any intruder... Even if it's the type that eats them. With the farm dogs, they find it humorous to run just a few feet ahead of the dog... even though they could fly. Or cruise the dog pen to get the dog in a tizzy. Better yet perch on top of the dog pen. They do love tormenting dogs. Oh and anything that makes noise (leaf blower, lawn mower, pressure washer) MUST be trumped with a stunning display of tone deaf cackling.

Daydream Believer
Oct. 26, 2011, 07:48 AM
Regular old fashioned chickens will eat bugs as well as kitchen scraps and give you delicious, nutritious eggs as a by product. I'm told you can eat Guinea eggs as well as eat the guineas but they are some odd flighty birds. I prefer my lovely Wyandotte hens!

Chickens can easily be protected and moved by using electric poultry netting or even a chicken tractor. It's not like you have to let them free range and be predator bait.

Daydream Believer
Oct. 26, 2011, 07:52 AM
Another thought is a heritage type turkey. They are strong foragers and do not dig up stuff like chickens do. In gardens, certain types of ducks can be huge help with bugs and you can eat them or their eggs. Geese will "weed" rows of plants also.

The downside to turkeys (and I have about 50) is that they fly rather well unless you clip their wings and they have a tendency to wander off and not find their way home well.

LauraKY
Oct. 27, 2011, 06:00 PM
Geese will weed your pasture of nice young shoots too. :(

We have purple martins, bats and blue birds. Not much of a fly problem and I stopped using fly predators this year. I don't find the martins annoying...our road has martin houses everywhere. They show up around March 23 and leave about August 23. When I'm mowing, they dive along in front of me.

tasia
Oct. 27, 2011, 07:03 PM
My martins start arriving January 24th. I can't wait!!!

Nes
Oct. 29, 2011, 12:42 PM
Muscovy Ducks.


"For years, some Canadian farmers have sworn that few muscovies took care of all fly problems on their farms. In 1989, Ontario biologist Gordon Surgeoner and Barry Glofcheskie decided to put this to the test.
"Starting with labratory trials... put a hungry five-week-old muscovy into a screen cage with 400 living houseflies. Within an hour it had eaten 326. ... it took flypaper, fly traps, and bait cards anywhere from 15 to 86 hours to suppress the populations that much."
Microlivestock (http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=1831&page=130)


They are not nearly as messy as other ducks, they like water but don't require it, incredibly easy keepers they will get fat just foraging. Also they produce tons of eggs, are supposed to have a very nice tasting meat, so they have a good secondary use.

Plus they are adorable and wag their little tails when they are happy. If you get them as ducklings they can become quite tame.

Daydream Believer
Oct. 29, 2011, 01:16 PM
Muscovy's are excellent meat ducks also. I intend to get some breeding pairs in the Spring and raise them as part of our farm business. Their pasture area will be my organic garden. I hope they like stinkbugs...

smokygirl
Oct. 29, 2011, 01:45 PM
Muscovy Ducks.


Microlivestock (http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=1831&page=130)


They are not nearly as messy as other ducks, they like water but don't require it, incredibly easy keepers they will get fat just foraging. Also they produce tons of eggs, are supposed to have a very nice tasting meat, so they have a good secondary use.

Plus they are adorable and wag their little tails when they are happy. If you get them as ducklings they can become quite tame.

they are adorable lol

Nes
Oct. 29, 2011, 07:09 PM
they are adorable lol

Ridiculously so!!

The farrier was over yesterday and she was just telling how she'd had some nasty ones when Huey & Lewie can waddling over, doing their ducky dance, making that funny quack-less sound, shaking their little bums looking for food :yes:.

They are great on the farm, they hardly make any noise, and while they can fly, mine never go more then a few feet, and the boys can barely get off the ground - which is pretty funny to watch :).

I don't know if they stinky bugs, but I have heard they are excellent as meat birds. Not greasy like other ducks, but dry, more like a steak. You might want to be a little careful with them in the garden. Ours got into my garden this year, the turkeys ate the bunk of the veggies, but I'm pretty sure the ducks helped :lol:.

smokygirl
Oct. 29, 2011, 08:06 PM
I heard Aylesbury (sp) are also really nice for bug patrol.

Spooks
Nov. 2, 2011, 09:55 PM
I am building a little horse property next year so fly control will soon be part of my life! I would love to utilize wildlife or domestic birds as much as possible. I live in a forested area.

Nes - I see you are in my neck of the woods. How do your ducks fare in the winter up here? How do you house them?

Also, I know this is an odd "problem"...but DH is vegan, I am veggie. We would not be consuming the ducks, or their eggs. I would prefer that there not be eggs in fact. Clearly I know nothing about ducks...do they always lay eggs, or only when you have a male in the midst?

buschkn
Nov. 3, 2011, 12:48 AM
Can't believe this old thread is back up, how funny. I saw the title and thought, oh good. Then realized I started it! LOL :lol:

Now, FWIW, I got 4 guineas, 2 of whom remain, and I LOVE them. They are dumb as hell but really cute and funny to watch, and they eat bugs nonstop. I don't think they do much for the fly population, so I might add some muscovy ducks in the spring and get more guineas, but mine are great. We thought the 2 missing got eaten, but then another disappeared, and re-appeared a few days later, so I think they're simply doing their own thing. Which may involve becoming coyote bait, but so be it I suppose.

Mine are NOT incessantly sqwaking, only if you really chase them or make them mad. Mostly they are very quiet, believe it or not. I have rare quiet Guineas. They DO love to torture my German Shepherd and will stand ten feet from the fence, or up on the dirtpile overlooking to dog fence, while he barks his fool head off. My GSDs are much louder than my Guineas so far, hands down.

SO, for now, I am a happy Guinea owner. I think they're funny, and everyone here seems to enjoy them.

buschkn
Nov. 3, 2011, 12:50 AM
What do I need to do in the winter for my Guineas? I will be sure they can get water, and will start feeding them some chick feed again I suppose, but beyond that do they just grow more feathers and stay warm perched up in my tool shed or the trees where they stay? TIA!

smokygirl
Nov. 3, 2011, 01:09 AM
I am building a little horse property next year so fly control will soon be part of my life! I would love to utilize wildlife or domestic birds as much as possible. I live in a forested area.

Nes - I see you are in my neck of the woods. How do your ducks fare in the winter up here? How do you house them?

Also, I know this is an odd "problem"...but DH is vegan, I am veggie. We would not be consuming the ducks, or their eggs. I would prefer that there not be eggs in fact. Clearly I know nothing about ducks...do they always lay eggs, or only when you have a male in the midst?

They still lay eggs, just not fertile ones. You could offer them to neighbors if you wont use them. you can break them. But if you have female poultry of reproductive age, they will pass their eggs on. Just like all non-altered females of reproductive age lol.