Yes, Guinea fowl do eat ticks. It’s often listed as one of the main pros of keeping some Guinea fowl in your backyard flock as they help prevent Lyme disease and other health issues associated with ticks and chickens.
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How Many Ticks Do Guinea Fowl Eat?
I know what you’re wondering, if you have a persistent tick problem will Guinea fowl solve the problem?
They just might, yes.
I’ve researched a number of articles and asked around in poultry forums and I’ve seen estimates stating that Guineas will eat anywhere up to 4-5 thousand ticks in a day!
That’s more than I can imagine anyone has in their yard. So, if you have a few Guineas - which you will as they don’t do well alone - it’s fair to say they will be effective at tick control.
Ticks, along with other bugs, pests, and some plants make up the bulk of their diet. They aren’t just doing it to help you out, this is the staple of their diet in the wild.
How Dangerous Are Ticks for Chickens?
If you’ve spotted ticks within your flock, it’s a potentially serious issue that you need to do something about sooner rather than later.
Some of the health issues that you’ll start spotting as ticks grow in numbers and infest your flock are:
Anemia - This is usually the first sign that ticks are feeding off the blood of your chickens. Your hens will be visibly more lethargic, weaker, their egg production will be interrupted, you might notice their combs and/or wattles turning pale, and it can be fatal if left untreated.
Tick Fever - This is a pathogen carried by ticks and some other parasites that like to feed off chickens. Symptoms include weakness, fever/chills, aches and pains, and some other general signs of being unwell.
If you spot any of the above symptoms in one or more of your chickens, the first thing you should do is take a close look in between their feathers.
Look for red spots and skin issues as signs they’re being bitten. This will confirm you have ticks or some other parasites infesting your flock.
Other Natural Remedies for Ticks on Chickens
Bringing some Guinea fowl into your flock is one natural solution.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds either. There are some other benefits to keeping Guineas as I’ll cover later, and they’re easy to keep so it is a serious consideration.
However, another good natural remedy is diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a naturally occurring substance that comes in the form of a white powder.
I’m a huge fan of DE because there are number of uses for it if you keep poultry, such as:
- Scattering some across bedding in their coop/run to rid parasites.
- Dusting it on your chickens to kill poultry lice, fleas, ticks, and other parasites.
- Using it in their dust bath so it finds its way into their feathers.
- Using it anywhere else you think parasites may be hiding out.
In short, DE works by drying out small insects and killing them with tiny sharp particles. Neither of which harm your chickens, or you.
Here is one of the best quality food grade (it has to be food grade to be safe around chickens) brands on Amazon:
Are Guinea Fowl Easy to Keep?
If you already have Guinea fowl and you wanted to know if they’ll help out with a tick problem, you now know they do.
If you’re considering getting some for their awesome pest control abilities, I recommend it as they’re easy to keep and will provide a number of other benefits.
First of all, Guineas are very easy to look after. Chickens aren’t exactly high maintenance, but Guineas are lower maintenance than chickens.
All you need to do is provide some commercial feed, fresh drinking water, and give them access to as much space as you have to free-range.
They do like to have more space than chickens, and they will roam further from their coop. Something a lot of people aren’t aware of is that they can fly pretty well too, although they seem to choose not to very often.
Guineas are known to be much more hardy and disease-resistant than chickens too. In the summer months, they tend to find almost all their food by foraging around.
They do lay eggs, although not as many as chickens. Which is the main reason why they’re not kept as commonly on homesteads and as backyard pets.
Related - Can you keep Guinea fowl with chickens? Read this first before buying Guineas.
In Summary - Do Guinea Fowl Eat Ticks?
Yes, “pest control” is one of the main pros to keeping Guineas in your backyard. They are as effective at keeping tick populations down as some commercial and natural solutions - and a lot more fun.
If you can raise them from keets (the name for baby Guineas) and socialize them as they develop, you’ll have a confusion (the name for a group of Guineas) of friendly, quirky, tick-munching birds patrolling your property.
Common Diseases of Backyard Poultry - Agriculture.vic.gov
Image credits - Header image by barendlotter and tick image by Nicooografie on Pixabay.