I have 1500 apple trees, 48 chickens, 3 donkeys, 4 sheep and 18 acres. The chickens do a pretty good job taking care of insects in the area around their coop, but not too much into the orchard. I have read that guinea fowl wander more than chickens and do an excellent job eating insects. Anyone have any insight into using them in an orchard or tips, tricks, etc? I have room for about 4-6 more birds in my current coop, we are going to add an additional 300 sqf in the next 6 months, so I can expand if need be.
Would probably be best if you’re hard of hearing and have no close neighbors.
But, guineas are pretty good watch dogs…
making a ruckus if they feel threatened.
Had guineas when i was a teenager…they would not go in the chicken coop…roosted in a big old persimmon tree in the barnyard.
I can’t make any claims to their contribution to insect control, but they constantly drew my dad’s ire for disruptive scratching about in the vegetable garden.
I enjoyed watching them…they’re just barely not a wild animal…and they are quite noisy.
Our place is reclaimed range land. Many miles around us is range lsnd. In dry years the grasshoppers are probably 25 to the square yard. Yes, that bad. Until we brought in guineas the grasshoppers made it almost impossible to have trees. They defoliated and then girdled them.
I built a coop in the “orchard” and put guineas in it. You confine them for 45 days or so. They get used to being in the coop and know it’s home. When they are able to get out they come in at night like the chickens. They are great for insect control. They are more carnivorous than chickens. Yes, they are noisy, but not all the time and I don’t mind. D
I didn’t mind the noise. They were better ‘watchdogs’ than our dogs were.
They’re more fun to watch than chickens, imo.
Around here, the meth cookers have Guineas. The best watchdogs that exist
i had 10 of them about 5 yrs ago. i kept them in the coop for 60 days with the chickens but once let out, they prefered to roost in my big pines. thought the cold weather would force them back in but i wound up having to shoot them out of the trees. they were tasty tho.
Wow! 1500 trees? Where is your orchard located? Do you have significant predators?
The guineas we had went out each morning and traveled a similar route every day and returned in the afternoon. They were often out of sight while eating bugs through our pastures, yard, and the neighbor’s pasture. Like others have mentioned, they roosted in trees at night (a big oak in the back yard). They were safe from coyotes up there, but the owls would pick them off quite easily.
Unfortunately, it only takes one owl to decimate a flock of guineas.
We had guineas once… Don’t raise them or feed them anywhere near your house; ours roosted on top of the house and we’d hear them scurrying across the roof in the evening, early morning, and during the day. They also loved to eat the grit out of the asphalt shingles so they’ll destroy your roof if you let them (by pecking or by pooping phosphoric acid).
mine would occasionally prefer to sit on my neighbors garage. it caused some friction until i got rid of them.
Guinea fowl are great for insect control though like people mentioned they are noisy and they usually refuse to use a coop. They will lay eggs and hide they making it hard to find them if you want to incubate any of them. If you don’t have close neighbors or life on a major road they should work fine. They love to get on roads and eat the gravel and they get hit by cars.
We are located in Salem Wi. The problem we would have is that we are close to the one of the county highways…we are fenced in all the way around with 42" field fencing, but birds can make it over no problem. We have some larger oaks, locust, etc on the property where the birds would probably end up roosting, but a coop is best for us. Any other species of birds that will help with insects side by side of our chickens?
You might ask @PomGranny how her Aflac ducks worked out. In the post I linked, she said they appeared to eat a lot of Japanese beetles! I have had other people tell me ducks and geese are great to have around for bug control.
I don’t know if this would work, but maybe if you clipped the guinea’s wings to keep them from flying over the fence, they would also be easier to pen up in the coop at night (since they wouldn’t be able to fly up in the trees to roost). Maybe that’s an option?
It’s not just gravel roads… they have a deathwish affinity for paved roads, as well. Not at all uncommon to see guineafowl ‘puffed’ on/alongside the highway!
They make you appreciate the intelligence of chickens.
True story: Cold night. We were trying to sleep. Guinea hen started up. Close to the dog run. After a few minutes we heard the coonhound in the dog run slowly stir himself, pad over towards the sound: Woof! Sound stops. We hear coonhound slowly pad back to his house turn around a couple of times, and lie down.
A few minutes go by, and the guinea hen starts up again. Same sound of coon hound getting up and slowly pad towards the sound. This time the sound stopped in mid call. The sound of the coonhound slowly padding back to his house, turning around a couple of times and lying down.
The next morning we found the guinea hen in the dog pen with his head neatly bitten off.
I was going to suggest ducks as well though they seem to leave a lot of mess behind. Though they do seem to eat a lot of bugs.
Poor little guineas. Strange that they have an affinity for the road.
The Stooges got to be too much. My husband wanted the ducks . . . but ‘Guess Who’ ended up taking care of them? You know that story that many parents tell their kids, when the family dog meets an untimely end . . . ‘Snoopy went to live on a farm where he has lots of room to run and play’. ? Well . . . our 3 ducks went to live on that farm, too.
Seriously . . . they really did. I found a ‘rescue’ that took farm animals and found them new homes. When my husband was gone for the weekend . . . I took them to that rescue.
Japanese Beetle report? When the ducks were here, we had very very few beetle sightings. Once they went to ‘the farm’ - the beetle population grew each year. Last summer was the worst. We put out lures and traps - and had fun every night, playing ‘Bop the Beetle’. We caught hundreds . . . maybe more. We are very curious to see how our ‘game’ affects the 2021 Japanese Beetle population.
We had chickens for years. So entertaining! Chickens are great for insect control - but hard on any landscape beautification. They dug up all my flower beds and threw mulch everywhere. And then there is ‘the poop’. Not only did it always end up in the house, but my Jack Russells loved to roll in it. I got tired of having to bathe them all the time.
The chickens ‘went to the farm’ too.
I maintain a flock of guineas on my farm for tick control and they also are great for eating any other pest bugs. I can actually grow squash and pumpkins without squash bug issues. They need to be kept out of the beds when starting young plants but after that they are great. I had issues with them sleeping in the trees until I let a a few broody chickens raise a flock, that flock wanted to go in with the chickens at night, they tried one cold night out in the trees after the first snow where one was eaten by an owl then they decided it was best to be in. They are very loud but if that doesn’t bother you or your neighbors I highly recommend them.
Do you think that mature guineas that are currently using a coop would take to a new location and coop readily? There is a seller with several birds available, I would hope that they would take to a new coop quickly. They currently are housed with chickens. Thoughts?
id keep them cooped for at least a few months to get them used to it but its no guarentee they will come back to it guineas are guineas!