I present you, a guinea:
I came upon guineas when I was trying to find a natural method for bug control in my garden. There’s nothing worse than putting countless hours into a garden that eventually gets eaten alive by bugs of all sorts. In my particular situation my potato patch was being destroyed by ants and earwigs. My spring laying hens were finally old enough to be out of a cage so I decided to put them into my garden to take care of bugs. Bad idea. Within a day they had scratched up a majority of my potato plants and were actually eating the plants! I gave the chickens a couple chances to redeem themselves but it just got worse everyday, so I pulled them out and was getting depressed as I saw my garden slowly get eaten by a variety of pests. Thus began my research.
I came upon guineas on a website saying they were great for gardens because they don’t scratch things up like chickens do and they also don’t eat the fruits and vegetables that grow. It sounded too good to be true but I was pretty desperate to keep my garden alive without pesticides. After a quick search on Craigslist I found someone who had full grown guineas for sale; I had a hard time paying $15 a bird, but I figured only buying two wouldn’t hurt too bad. When I arrived at the sellers house she grabbed a fishing net and kept saying, “Whatever you do, do not let them fly over the fence.” Thankfully after only two of her six guineas flew over the fence and we successfully caught these dinosaur looking birds. Guineas are really strong compared to chickens, my husband has the scratches to prove it.
When we got them home we immediately clipped one of their wings because they can fly much better than a chicken can, so we didn’t want them getting out of the yard. The birds were quite skittish when we first got them, but calmed down after a couple weeks. However, within the first day I went out to my garden to see potatoes dug up all over the place. At first I was furious, cursing all those bloggers who said that guineas never scratch but I decided not to kick them out and wait and see a couple days if they would continue to scratch up my potatoes. After a couple days less and less potatoes got scratched up and it seemed like the bugs in my potato patch were taking a steep decline. Guineas also make lots of noise when strangers approach or when a bird of prey flies overhead. They wake up at 5am and let you know they are awake… But we were already used to that, because Cecilia wakes up around that time and so does the rooster.
Now after having these guineas for over a month I would say they are the best things I could’ve added to my yard/garden. Guineas are vicious on the bugs, especially ants and earwigs and will continue to hit an ant pile until it’s totally eradicated. I absolutely recommend getting guineas to anyone who doesn’t like to use pesticides.
Benefits of Guineas:
- Eats bugs like crazy!
- Won’t scratch (unless going after an ant pile)
- Won’t eat fruit of vegetables in your garden
- Hens lay eggs, hard shell and super orange yolk (terrible mothers and difficult to find eggs, because they very rarely lay in the same spot).
- Poor man’s watch dog, make lots of noise when strangers approach or birds of prey fly overhead.
- Creatures of habit so they will stay in the same place once they become aquatinted to the area.