Known by a few names such as African Pheasant and Guinea Hens, one could also call this African native the “Tick Assassin.”
In their homeland, these loud and prehistoric-looking fowl follow around the grazing herds and reportedly eat up to 4000 ticks a day.
Guinea fowl are relatively low maintenance. In the summertime, guinea will forage all of their food. They eat ticks, fleas, crickets, mosquitos, slugs, grasshoppers and small rodents (basically anything they can get their beaks on) without destroying the yard or garden as chickens do. Flocks of guineas have been known to eat snakes. They also love to eat weeds. A bit of feed in the coop will encourage them to come home at night. Coops can be provided, although flocks will find homes high in treetops, away from the threat of raccoons.
They are also free from most diseases that plague other poultry. They will give warning calls when unknown guests arrive, which helps to protect other farm animals. Their call will also keep unwanted rodents away.
Guinea fowl manure can be added to your compost and is a wonderful addition to nurturing the soil where your food is grown. Your plants will thrive.
Guineas are known for their hardiness, being able to withstand both hot and cold.
While not laying as often as chickens, guinea eggs may still be collected and eaten. Guineas tend to make their nests in hidden areas, so finding their eggs may be an adventure.
When starting your guinea flock, it’s best to buy them from keets (babies) so they will know where home is. Imported adult guineas will wander off.
If you have nearby neighbors, it’s best to check in with them first. Their squawking can be unbearable for some. However, given their reputation as tick assassins, having them in the neighborhood can be a helpful, healthy alternative to pesticides if you are living in a tick-ridden area.
Bear in mind that guinea meat is also a known delicacy, so if you start your flock and someone complains, you can also have guinea stew.