Guinea Fowl, Ticks and Lyme Diasease 

Guinea fowl can help control ticks and other harmful bugs. View a video and read about the benefits of gardening with guineas in this article found on the WBZTV.com website, featuring Karen Tetrault, GFBA Member.

 

The article below, by Michael Hill of the Associate Press was printed in newspapers across the USA.  Next is a second article printed after guinea fowl were presented to Rosie O'Donnell on her TV show in April 2000.

The last article shows how inmates are raising keets to distribute freely to the community residents to help control lyme disease. 

While no one can swear guinea fowl will eat every single tick as fast as ticks can enter a property, those of us who raise guinea fowl will tell you we very seldom find any, if ever.

For educational use:  TickStudy-WilsonBulletin p0342-p0345.pdf
The Effectiveness of Helmeted Guineafowl in the Control of the Deer Tick, the Vector of Lyme Disease


This newspaper article by Donna Wright for THE WEEK is written about mosquitos being controlled by guinea fowl on range, but can easily be applied to ticks as well. I have permission from the Newspaper Editor to post the article on this website for my readers.

Guinea Fowl Peck away at Lyme Disease Ticks

 

Madison’s tame tick-gobbling  guinea fowl
appears on Rosie  O’Donnell Show
4-24-00

By JAKE MOONEY
          Daily Progress staff writer

          HOOD — In five short months on earth, a Madison
          County guinea fowl named Peep has lived its own
          version of the ugly duckling fable, with a modern twist.
          Rescued from impending doom by a Hood family, Peep
          faced scorn from his peers before gaining a measure of
          redemption. Not as a beautiful swan — he’s still rather
          odd-looking, to put it generously — but as a television
          star.
          Peep appeared alongside Tim and Vicki Watkins, his
          owners, on the April 13 episode of the Rosie O’Donnell
          Show in a segment on the benefits of guinea fowl as a
          means of insect control.
          His rise to celebrity status began in November, when
          Charlene Watkins, Tim and Vicki Watkins’ daughter,
          rescued 11 eggs from horses that were stomping on their
          nest, Tim Watkins said Friday.
          After three days in an incubator, Peep hatched, and the
          bird has remained attached to the Watkins house ever
          since.
          He never mixed well with the other guinea fowl the family
          owns, Vicki Watkins said. Unlike the other birds, which
          roost in a cedar tree on the family’s 243-acre cattle
          farm, Peep prefers to stay closer to home, spending his
          nights in a cage in the house’s sunroom.
          “He won’t leave us,” Vicki Watkins joked. “We’re
          going to be sending him to college soon.”
          Peep’s brief life story has had other plot twists, like his
          close friendship with a goat named Billy, who lets the
          bird ride on his back. The bird’s crowning achievement
          so far, however, has been his national television
          appearance.
          Vicki and Charlene Watkins were watching O’Donnell’s
          program on April 11, when the host wondered out loud
          about guinea hens.
          O’Donnell had complained of finding a tick on her
          daughter, Chelsea, and said she had received numerous
          letters telling her that the birds can prevent ticks.
          “The fact is they are meat-eating animals, and they are
          very easy to care for,” Vicki Watkins said Friday of the
          birds. “You don’t ever have to feed them.”
          “They’ll sit in front of a beehive and clean it out,” Tim
          Watkins added. “They’ll eat every bee.”
          Almost immediately after the show, the Watkinses
          contacted O’Donnell staffers and offered to share their
          guinea fowl knowledge. Within an hour, Vicki Watkins
          said, O’Donnell’s people called back and offered Peep,
          Tim Watkins and Vicki Watkins a spot on the show two
          days later.
          The trio drove to New York the next day, spent the
          night at a hotel — one without a strict no-pet policy —
          and appeared on the April 13 Rosie O’Donnell Show
          that also featured supermodel Cindy Crawford, singer
          Shannon Curfman and “All My Children” star Walt
          Willey.
          The Watkinses sat in the audience for most of the show,
          and even got to perform the coveted duty of introducing
          the host.
          Peep, however, was uneasy.
          “He reacted to the music and the strong beat of the
          drum,” Tim Watkins said. “He doesn’t like sharp noises
          at all.”
          Because of his initial skittishness, Peep spent the majority
          of the show in a cage backstage. He came out later,
          though, for a segment in which the Watkinses presented
          O’Donnell with two guinea fowl of her own. She called
          them “the best gift anyone’s ever given me.”
          Vicki Watkins said the family also plans to send
          O’Donnell a book on “Gardening with Guineas,” and
          possibly more birds later in the year.
          For his part, the Watkinses said, Peep has recovered
          from his case of nerves.
          In fact, Tim Watkins said Peep came home from the trip
          with a new favorite hangout: the family car.
          “Somewhere in his beady little pea-sized brain he’s got
          an imprint of that car,” Watkins said. “He liked it, I
          guess. He liked going to New York.”




Ms Ferguson,

I ordered your book last winter when my wife and I were researching non-chemical means to rid our yard of ticks and Japanese beetles.

We ended up raising 10 guinea fowl from 2 day old keets using your book “Gardening with Guineas” as a guide. They are now 16 weeks old and have been free ranging on our ten acres for a few weeks. I have not seen a single tick in more than 2 weeks. Our four children can now play outdoors without me hearing, “DAD!! I HAVE TICKS!!”

An article was written in the local paper (below).

Thanks for all your help!

Sincerely,

Don Kovasckitz

Sanford, NC

 

Top Stories for Thursday, July 13th, 2006:

County official uses alternative method for pest control
COUNTY SPOTLIGHT


County official uses alternative method for pest control
By JUSTIN STORY
Herald Staff Writer

SANFORD — At its peak during the spring and summer months, tick season can disrupt many outdoor activities. But one local family is making sure the pests don’t get the best of it.
Don Kovasckitz, Lee County’s director of strategic services, had contended with an infestation of ticks in the yard of his Willow Creek Road home in the northern end of the county for several sum­mers.
“Every time my kids played outside, I would always end up pick­ing ticks off,” Kovasckitz said.
The blood-sucking pests transmit the germs that carry Lyme dis­ease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, hiding out in grassy and shrubby areas and attaching to people and animals that pass by.
This summer, Kovasckitz decided to use birds to beat back the bugs.
Specifically, he bought a flock of 10 guinea fowl in March that he raised from chicks and released into his yard about three weeks ago.


The birds are native to Africa, though many different species of guinea are domesticated and often used to control against tick infestations or wasp nests.
“Most of the people who come here for guineas use them for pest control,” said Jennifer Doss of Carolina Town and Country farm and home supply store, where Kovasckitz special­ordered his birds. “They’re not the best animals for pets, though some people buy them as pets.” Before leaving for work each day Kovasckitz releases his guineas from their cage to roam in his yard, where they graze for seeds and ticks.
At the end of the day, the birds end up back at their cages virtually without assistance, with more food waiting for them there.
Kovasckitz did not arrive at his deci­sion to order a flock hastily.
He researched methods of pest con­trol last winter, spraying a pesticide occasionally into his yard.
“I really wanted to move away from using chemicals,” Kovasckitz said.
He ordered a book called “Gardening with Guineas” by Jeannette Ferguson off the Internet last year and consulted Susan Condlin, director of the Lee County Cooperative Extension Service.
Condlin shared some chemical-free pest control solutions with Kovasckitz.
Condlin said she has been impressed with the success Kovasckitz has been having with reducing the tick popula­tion at his house, and that while she has no scientific research showing how guineas control pests, she knows many others who have used the bug-eating birds for just that purpose.
Kovasckitz said he has not had to check for ticks on his children or pets lately and that the birds have also been effective at reducing the number of Japanese beetles in his yard.
The flock tends to stay together, and Kovasckitz’s pet dog and cat do not interfere with them.
“It’s fun to watch them peck during the day,” he said. “They can get loud sometimes, but I still like to sit on the porch and watch them do their thing.”

JUSTIN STORY/ The Sanford Herald These guineas protect Don Kovasckitz’s yard by eating disease-carrying ticks. The domesticated guinea is often used by people for pest control.

 

Sanford, North Carolina


helping to control Lyme Disease
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