Sunday, March 29, 2009

The guineas are free!

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you will know about our guinea hens. The one bad thing we discovered when moving to our "farm" in Nova Scotia last year was that the area has ticks. Fortunately, the ticks we have are American Dog Ticks, and they don't carry lyme disease (the other ticks do). However, we thought they were horrible because they latch onto the dogs and I spent months "tick checking" the dogs and us everytime we came indoors. We were actually devastated by the whole tick scene and wondered why we had ever wanted to move to Nova Scotia! The good news is that the ticks go away in the hot weather (which happened to be mid July last year). Other good news is that we raised two batches of guinea hens last year...they are our weapons in tick control. The poor guineas have been cooped up all winter. Saturday was their first day of freedom since Christmas Day (believe it or not, I spent part of Christmas Day cleaning their coop and some of the guineas escaped, but that's another story). We have 7 guineas and the three bigger ones came out as soon as they got the chance, but the 4 smaller hens were a little hesitant:
They all stayed up on their shelf in the coop...probably blinded by the light! But eventually they all came out and started their march around the yard. Too bad they can't do it quietly...they are loud creatures. But we're counting on them to eat all of the yummy ticks!
And they are ugly devils, don't you think?


aliceinparis said...

I actually like the look of them. Quite cheerful!How cool that you have a wee flock of them. Do they really keep the ticks down?

Jennifer said...

They are not one of the world's most beautiful creatures.
Do you keep them for eggs or (gulp) food? Or just for fun?

Sara said...

All the coutry folk around here assure us that guinea hens will eat up all of the ticks. But perhaps it's just a grand joke on us city folk! By the time the hens were big enough to go outside last summer, the weather was hot enough to drive the ticks away. So this spring will be the test and we'll see how well the guineas do at clearing the ticks. One guinea hen is supposed to clear one acre of bugs. And yes, Jennifer, you can eat guinea hens and also eat their eggs, but we just have them around to clear away the ticks.
I suppose we can always threaten the hens...if they don't do their job, they may end up in a pot on the stove! (just kidding folks)

Word Weaver Art said...

Guineas are so funny. And, yes loud. That just brought a long-forgotten memory to my mind. When I was in high school band, if we were sounding like an awful mess, our band director would say, "You guys sound like sunrise on a guinea farm!"
Hmmm... makes me smile.