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Fleas and ticks ... advice please! (General Discussion)

by adamshand, Friday, December 09, 2016, 01:05 (411 days ago)

Hello everyone,

My first post here, hoping for a little advice. I live in New Zealand so it's late spring here. :-)

We got five keets just under a year ago hoping that they would help with fleas and ticks (so many stories of them helping!), however they don't seem to be helping much. I just pulled a tick off the cat and the fleas are (if anything) slightly worse this year than in past years (though we had a very warm winter and wondered if that might happen).

They don't have a coop and have free ranged since they were adult size, They roost in a tree near the house and rarely go farther than 50m of the house (even though we have 12 acres of paddock). We feed them twice a day (maybe 2 cups each time).

Has anyone here had success with guineas controlling fleas and ticks? How dramatic was the difference? How long did it take to notice a difference?

How much do you feed them? I wonder if we're over feeding them but they seem to be spending a reasonable amount of time foraging and get unbearable noisy if we try cutting back their food.

Any advice greatly appreciated!


My experience

by Barbara, Friday, December 09, 2016, 01:47 (411 days ago) @ adamshand

Hi Adam! Nice to have you here. I wish I could say that guineas always controlled ticks and fleas everywhere, but most guinea keepers do seem to have a great deal of success with tick control, especially. Every so often I hear a story about a reduction in fleas, but that doesn't happen a lot.

Personally, we didn't have a tick problem when we got our guineas. But, over the 14 years that we kept guineas, we never saw many ticks. I do believe our guineas helped.

We always kept food out (in the coop) for our guineas. I think that encouraged them to return to the coop more often. I don't think it mattered as far as their bug eating activities were concerned. They seemed to prefer going out to peck at bugs and grass even though they had plenty to eat right in front of them.

It sounds like your guineas are doing what they are supposed to do. They may not be wandering very far yet, but I suspect that they will venture out farther as they get older. From my experience and from what others have said, I think you will see less ticks over time. It may be a little early to notice much difference in the first year. I wouldn't give up on them just yet. :-)

My experience

by adamshand, Friday, December 09, 2016, 01:49 (411 days ago) @ Barbara

Thanks Barbara, I appreciate your experience!

same here

by BennieAndTheJets, Friday, December 09, 2016, 12:04 (411 days ago) @ adamshand

Hi adamshand,

I agree with Barbara

I think the Guineas need a year to grow up and dare to go out further

also, I think they eat the adult ticks very efficiently, especially when they emerge in the spring to mate and lay eggs

each adult female eaten means a few less of her offspring the next year

I used to pick 5 a day from the horses in the spring, now 2 a week - we had our guineas for 4 years - I am thinking they will keep reducing the tick population without pesticide, yeah!

our guineas run their beaks along each blade of grass, from the bottom up, so I think they are very well positioned to get all the ticks that sit on those blades

no experience here with fleas - we just don't have any

hope the Guineas will work out for you

oh, and yes, we feed them as much as they like, too - they still go out to get the bugs, no problem

you don't have any predators, right? - not that many mammals in New Zealand (bats and ?), but there is no chance to bring our flock if we were to move and join you over there, so not an option for us at the moment :-( :-)

same here

by adamshand, Friday, December 09, 2016, 15:17 (411 days ago) @ BennieAndTheJets

Sadly I don't think you would be allowed to bring your guineas to NZ. :-) We do have some predators which cause havoc with native bird populations (rats, Australian possums, ferrets/stoats/weasels, hawks and of course domestic cats and dogs) but they haven't bothered our guineas. Our neighbour has had problems with weasels in her chicken coop but we have dogs and cats which free range and I think that helps keep others at bay.

Thanks for the thoughts, good to know that people are having success and that the amount we feed probably isn't the problem.

Might try setting them up with an automatic feeder away from the house to see if we can encourage them to roam a bit farther and make noise a bit farther from the house!

same here

by BennieAndTheJets, Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 17:18 (405 days ago) @ adamshand

not to be too negative, but I would be careful with food out there

it attracts the other critters, too, and then they are hard to get rid of and they may snack on your birds also:-/

same here

by adamshand, Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 17:37 (405 days ago) @ BennieAndTheJets
edited by adamshand, Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 19:05

We've already made many of those mistakes! :-)

Just built an autofeeder and in the process of training them to use it. Hopefully that'll get the guineas as much food as they need/want and keep the critters away too.

Just slightly worried that our border collies will start using it. :-P

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