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Friday Favorite: Guinea Fowl Feathers

October 27th, 2017

We lost our last guinea fowl a few weeks ago, he sacrificed himself to a skunk to save the ducklings. Guinea fowl are loud, obnoxious birds, but they are fantastic to have around for protection. Their feathers are quite lovely, especially the pearl guineas with their polka dots.

I’ve always saved the feathers when I see nice ones floating around the gardens. I have this idea of making a wreath of sorts with a few deer antlers, guinea & turkey feathers, and perhaps a few dried sea holly flowers. Even if I never use them, I enjoy seeing my little stash when I come and go. I have some songbird feathers in my stash too, we lave loads of bluejays around here, so I find their feathers quite often.

Do you notice any song bird feathers in the garden?

Sweet Littles

October 14th, 2014

Our guinea hen has been doing a great job rearing her littles. We haven’t had much luck letting them raise their own in the past, this year maybe she’s just more mature. I let her sit on 5 eggs and she hatched out three. Watching her teach her littles how be guineas is such a beautiful thing.
babies 1
Just last week they were finally big enough to not need brooding any more, these photos were from the week before. I love seeing the babies snuggle under mom to warm up on a chilly fall day. After they’re warm, they pop out and away they go, searching for delicious things to eat.
babies 2
Keeping fowl has many benefits besides eggs and insect control, it’s amazing learning experience. We often don’t get to see wild birds raise their young, I find that watching this process is one of my favorite things about keeping birds.

Have you ever been lucky enough to watch a bird raise a clutch from egg to fledge?

Friday Favorite: Guineas

June 27th, 2014

I have a small flock of guinea fowl roaming about the garden.  The chickens went behind an electric fence a few weeks ago when they started getting into the main edible garden.  The guineas are allowed to roam free because they aren’t as destructive as chickens.  I especially love them because they eat insects and not the plants themselves. They don’t scratch much at all, unlike chickens which will make giant holes and dig up plants quite easily.
guinea fowl 1 (1)
guinea fowl 1
guinea fowl 2 (1)
guinea fowl 2
guinea fowl 3 (1)
guinea fowl 4
A few weeks ago I noticed potato beetles in the potato patch and asparagus beetles in the asparagus. Then I noticed the guineas making daily rounds through them eating up all the bugs they could find. They’ll even peck through the mulch around the asparagus looking for the beetles that try to hide there. They are also making quick work of any cabbage worms they see. I saw defoliation of my cabbage and broccoli, and then I noticed the guineas lurking nearby. When I checked for worms they were gone – perfect!
asparagus beetle
potato beetle
It’s not all peaches and cream with guineas, they can be loud and obnoxious, especially when you have a large group of them. If you want a few for your garden I’d stick to three. If you want a large group you should make sure you have a large area for them to roam. My guineas roam over about 5-7 acres around the house.  My guineas will also eat the occasional strawberry in the back garden, I could easily throw cheesecloth over it to keep them away, but they only eat a few so I don’t mind.  It’s a small price to pay for fantastic insect control in the garden!
guinea fowl 3
Overall, they are great birds to have around if you have a garden. They are also invaluable watch dogs alerting all the other birds and Tara when there are foxes and hawks nearby.

What’s your favorite pest control method?

That Turkey

May 17th, 2014

Mr Chiots is a hunter and it’s spring turkey season here in Maine. He’s been out a few times without any luck.  Of course this past Sunday morning there was a BIG tom turkey right below the house trying to impress our guinea hens with his display.
Needless to say, they were less than impressed and went about their business of eating bugs and grass completely ignoring him. Lucky for him, it was Sunday morning, no hunting allowed. Otherwise he’d be in our fridge.

What wildlife have you spotted in your garden this week?

Growing Again

April 25th, 2013

The day before yesterday I picked up a few more fowl to add to our flock. They’re guinea fowl, beautiful little birds that are supposed to be really great at eating ticks. Since we live in an area with lots of ticks and lyme’s disease, we figured they’d be worth their weight in gold.
guinea hens 2
I bought four from a local farmer and a friend is giving me her female, who is very lonely since her mate became fox food.  She’ll fit right in with our 3 females and one male.  Hopefully I can get some better photos when they get more used to me and when we start letting them outside.
guinea hens 1
These little guys are very beautiful. Dailon turned a storage area in our coop into a little coop of it’s own. They’ll be living in there for a week before being introduced into our flock of chickens. We’re also going to be adding more feathered friends to our flock in the coming week, stay tuned to see what we add.

How many feathered and furred friends do you have in your garden?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.