The guinea-fowl is pecking away at tick-borne illness

Posted by Mosquito Squad

June 20, 2011

You could say chickens are beneficial, after all they are a double commodity producing eggs for us as well as providing us with those chicken wings we so dearly love. Turkeys too, many can argue are a regal bird aiding in bringing families together and giving thanks on that one special day of the year. However, I  have found a “fowl” that is definitely not “foul” in its eating habits. This little creature kills snakes and eradicates all sorts of harmful insects that invade our gardens each year, but the grande finale  is that it eats ticks.

The guinea-fowl ( Numida meleagris)  eats the disease-carrying tick as part of their natural diets. They feast on other insects as well and can often be seen darting quickly across a yard on the heels of an insect such as a japanese beetle, a grasshopper or even a mosquito.

These little polka-dotted birds can be found in many barnyards and farms across North America. Some are  kept as sentinels or “watch birds” that alert you with their memorable “chi-chi-chi” noise when a stranger approaches or a predator threatens the flock. Other guinea-fowl are also kept as pets, with their comical chattering slumber parties lasting well into the night, especially under the full moon. Some doll makers and other artisans actually keep them around to collect their shed feathers which are coveted in doll making and other crafts.

I write this story from experience. My childhood was spent listening to the soothing song of the guinea fowl from a huge old oak that sat on the back of our property. My family raised and showed Tennessee Walking horses and I guess, nowadays, you could say I grew up on what some would call a “farm”. All sorts of critters drifted in and out of my life, including the guineas that we ordered as eggs, hatched in an incubator, and raised to adulthood and released onto our property. I can’t remember many mosquito OR tick encounters as a child. I also remember my mother’s garden bore fine delectable specimens of every vegetable we sowed.  My mother’s prized flowers always had huge, bug free blooms each spring as well. I guess I was de-sensitized to the many beneficial habits  of the guinea-fowl because they had become part of our family.

I realize that many of us do not have the acreage to go out and get a guinea or two. It is enlightening to know that there are animals who actually eat ticks as part of their diets. Folks with small farms or a little patch of land with minimal restrictions may have the perfect scenario to put these little birds to use. For the rest of us, Mosquito Squad has the answer to your tick and mosquito woes. We offer season long prevention with a no worry program tailor-made just for you.