We have a real tick problem, and have been talking about getting guinea fowl for a while. We found out today that our dog has Lyme's, so we're making this a priority. We only have half an acre, and there's a tidal creek as one of the boundaries (the other sides are fenced). I worked on a farm for a while that had guineas, and I know that they're pretty damn dumb. Do I need to put up some sort of barrier so they can't get into the creek? Or will they stay away from moving water?
I've read that if I get keets, I should keep them penned for about 6 weeks - meaning they probably won't be much help with the ticks this year. There's someone nearby who is selling 6-9 month old birds. Will birds that age be too difficult to manage?
I don't know much about guineas myself but if they prove to be a problem, eat them! In the meantime, keep your other animals dusted with DE and than should help. Ticks are a damned nuisance, I nearly lost a dog a couple of years ago to tic bite fever and one side of our current property bounds a neighbour who runs sheep on and off all year round. I am considering Guineas myself but I think I will watch and see how you get on. Good luck!
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Their intelligence compared with other such birds is not that low, at least my experience, if it was not for the noise they are one of the finest animals I had the pleasure to own, if someone invent a silent breed I will take some again for sure. I am pretty sure they wont jump into the water, or even if they do so it wont be a problem for them.
They are in between being wild and domesticated, an animal only becomes dumb if domesticated for too long, it will lose some instinct to cope in real conditions, the guineas are some of the best fowls to have in real wild conditions, they are very agile and fast, they fly pretty good, and are really a badass animal. I love all about them even their noise, but my neighbors had really hard time with that.
They may look a little bit insane, but thats how you manage to survive in Africa, with so many predators.
I am a bit of a guinea fowl evangelist, so bear with me.
We hatched ours out and handled them, talked to them every day and now they just hang out in an 80 foot radius around the house and gobble up all the bugs they can find. They nest on the chicken coopfence at night. They are, like all fowl, strongly habitual and can be trained with consistency and reliability. Dog trainers will do clicker training with chickens and guineas are not so dissimilar from them in ability and temperament. I just found, for us, that handling them, given them special treats, and raising them from young babies was advantageous for us.
They get used to their environment for sure, and with older birds you might find a bit of loudness (think undulating, mechanical screeching noise starting at 5 am and persisting at random intervals throughout the day until nightfall). The ones we raised from hatch only screech when someone new shows up at the farm or they are hungry or I'm blasting Shakey Graves while working in the garden. Mayhap they regard him as a kindred spirit? It will take a bit of time to train the older ones but just do the same thing every day with them, talk the same way, use the same words, treat with the same treats and they will attach to you.
I have found they don't go near water. But they will go into roads. In front of school buses. They will also sit on rooftops. And nest in trees.
A small chicken tractor that you can move easily around your yard will give them lot's of access to ticks and fleas. They don't scratch like chickens do. But they will dust bathe and like to frequent the same holes of dirt over and over. Once they attach to you and know you carry all the treats and they can rely on you, they won't wander too far. 6 weeks is a good time period to keep them penned up to build that attachment to you and your land, for sure.
I know some people can't stand them, but I think they are hilarious and look prehistoric and we haven't had to use NEARLY the amount of flea treatment on our dogs since getting them. I think with some time and patience the older ones would work out great.
Also - I'm so sorry about your dog!! Poor, sweet baby. Lyme disease is no joke.
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