Jul 22, 2009

Snake Killers Or Snake Oil?

Guinea fowl have a variety of uses around the farm. For instance, these African birds have long been touted as snake hunters. But then, others dispute this claim. The two arguments seem to line up based upon who's trying to sell what. Talk to a guinea fowl seller, and these birds are great insect and tick eaters, along with snakes. But others, in the pest control field for instance, say that guinea fowls aren't much good at snake killing.

I have some friends (really, I do) that own some guinea fowl and swear by their snake killing talents. Can anyone else corroborate this?

Photo source: goincarcrazy

10 comments:

Robin said...

wikipedia says they eat seeds and insects. maybe you got these birds confused with trumpeters, which farmers keep to get snakes

Soujin said...

We have a flock of guineas, and when they see a snake they all crowd around it shrieking at the top of their lungs, but they don't really DO anything, just kind of go "OH MY GOD EVERYBODY IT'S A SNAKE COME LOOK AT THE SNAKE HOLY SHIT WHAT KIND OF WORLD IS THIS WHERE THERE ARE SNAKES IN OUR YARD SNAKE SNAKE SNAKE WHOA NELLY WHO LET THAT SNAKE IN HERE CAN I POKE IT SNAKE SNAKE".

Joe Lapp said...

LOL. Sounjin: Maybe they really do kill snakes. If they crowd around snakes so the snakes can't get away and go on and on like that, maybe the snakes kill themselves.

Soujin said...

I sure want to when they start doing it!

cynth said...

I used to have a flock of about 50 guineas and while they would kill lizards and small snakes and eat them, I think most of their "snake hunting" ability is by combing the brush for bugs and what not. They cover a fairly large area in a day and they travel in a group thus disbursing snakes. I have seen a group of guineas pick at, spur at and wing hit larger snakes they did not kill it but they did "chase it away". And yes they do "scream" at the top of their lungs when they come across anything out of place.


When they are nesting never under estimate a guineas nest and chick protecting abilities. I have had them beat the living crap out of me for stumbling too close to a nest when I was changing sprinklers in the pasture.

cynth said...

And by "small snakes" I mean baby snakes 6 inches or less.

morgan said...

I know for sure that they'll chase wandering cats out of the yard--a friend with an outdoor aviary (of smaller, cat-shy birds) swears by them.

LisaL said...

My husband's family own some guinea. Never heard about them killing snakes though. Their heads are ugly, but overall they're neat looking birds. They'll usually fly up on to their roof.

Kristina said...

The only good I've seen guineas do is get hit by cars. A neighborhood farmer kept at least ten of them, and they would always be in the road whenever I would drive by. I warned the owner that if someone came down that road who was unfamiliar with it, they could get hit, it Was the middle of tourist season.
A week later someone had plowed through four of them, poor guineas.

Sarah said...

Yeah. They do make some crazy noises. Good for bugs, not snakes. Although I like the "driven-crazy-by squacking-to- death" scenario.