Snakes are one of the most problematic pests to poultry and backyard chickens in particular.
They can steal eggs, harm or even kill chickens, and are very adept at sneaking in through small gaps in coops.
Guinea fowl and snakes have a different relationship though. Guinea fowls are not as scared or as vulnerable as chickens are.
I’ve seen Guineas come across snakes a number of times. They will bunch together and circle the snake and will kill or scare away most small snakes.
So, if you have snakes in your area will adding some Guinea fowl to your flock bring some added protection for your chickens and other animals?
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Do Guinea Fowl Keep Snakes Away?
Guinea fowl are a lot more effective at keeping snakes away than chickens are, as I’ve already explained.
They are not as scared of snakes and they will actively gang up to scare them away or start pecking at them if they feel the need.
A lot of Guinea owners in Australia and some parts of the U.S. talk about this a lot. If they had incidents of snakes scaring or even harming their chickens, adding some Guinea to the flock put a stop to it.
You still need to put some other measures in place though. Snakes will still slither into the coop at night if you don’t block all possible entry points.
Do Guinea Fowl Kill or Eat Snakes?
They will eat small snakes, yes. Guinea are much better at foraging and finding their own food than chickens are.
You should make some commercial feed available, but with a decent space to roam they will find almost all their nutrition from the land.
This is because they’re willing to eat a lot more bugs, insects, and weeds than chickens are. In fact, one of the best reasons to keep some Guinea is that they feed off ticks and parasites that otherwise infest chickens.
They are also a lot quicker to sound an alarm when they see or feel that predators are near.
Plus they are a lot louder than chickens. You may see this as a pro, while your neighbors see it as a con!
Either way, if a snake enters your yard, coop, or anywhere your Guineas spot it, it’s going to get harassed until it goes away or gets eaten.
Related - Do Guinea fowl eat ticks?
Will Snakes Eat Guinea Fowl Eggs?
Snakes will steal and eat their eggs if they can find them, yes.
If you keep chickens and Guinea fowl, it’s often more likely they will steal the Guinea fowl eggs than your chickens.
There are two reasons for this:
Guinea fowl eggs are typically smaller than chicken eggs, so they’re easier to steal.
Guinea fowl like to make nests somewhere they feel it’s hidden. This often means outside of their coop or nesting box, making them more vulnerable overnight.
All you can do to stop this is find where they’re nesting their eggs and scooping them up as soon as possible.
This will also stop them from building up a clutch of eggs and going broody too. Which is something you should do unless you’re intending to hatch some keets.
Pros and Cons of Keeping Guinea Fowl
Protecting your yard and other animals from snakes isn’t the only pro to owning Guinea fowl, although it’s a pretty big one.
Here are some of the other pros why they might be a great choice for you:
General Pest Control
It’s not just snakes you need to be concerned about. Ticks, spiders, and some other creepy crawlies can cause health issues within your flock.
Insects are a staple part of a Guinea fowl’s diet. They eat bugs as quickly as they can find them, which is always welcome.
Easy and Inexpensive to Keep
Guinea fowl do not eat as much commercial or shop-bought foods as chickens. They are also much more self-sufficient and less likely to have any health issues.
They will not make as much use of nesting boxes and internal roosting bars either, so you don’t need as much furniture.
Guineas are basically more wild than chickens. They’re still domesticated though, and if you raise them from baby keets they’ll be affectionate and social with you.
They Lay Tasty Eggs
Let us not forget that Guinea fowl also lay tasty eggs. Admittedly, less often than chickens and smaller eggs, but tasty nevertheless.
I also keep hearing that the meat is delicious, but I’ve never tried it.
I don’t want to paint the picture that keeping Guinea fowl is perfect and everything will be fine once you have some. Here are some of the cons to be aware of:
They Don't Respect Boundaries
Don’t be fooled by their round and heavy appearance, Guineas can fly when they want to. They also naturally like to forage further afield than chickens, so the more space you have for them the better.
They Can Be Incredibly Noisy
This is often the main point of contention when people are debating if they should keep Guinea fowl or not.
They are a lot noisier than chickens. There’s little chance you will be allowed them in an urban setting, and if you have neighbors nearby it’s only fair to discuss it with them first.
In Summary - Guinea Fowl and Snakes
If you’re looking to increase your backyard security against snakes, rodents, and other similar predators and pests - Guinea fowl might be exactly what you’re looking for.
There are a number of benefits to keeping Guinea fowl as I discussed above - not just for employing pest control.
Whether you’re homesteading, like raising your own eggs and meat, or just have an interest in poultry, I recommend considering keeping Guinea fowl.
Image credits - Header image by MonikaP, snake image by Pexels, and Guinea fowl image by zoosnow from Pixabay