Guinea Garden Solutions Needed~ Pics & New Info Added

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by Cadillac Jill, May 24, 2011.

  1. Cadillac Jill

    Cadillac Jill Out Of The Brooder

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    The author who proclaimed guineas will mosey through the garden "without harming a single tender leaf!" was dead wrong. (She also claims that guineas "don't scratch like chickens do", even though mine basically tilled the garden plot for me. If all else fails, I guess I can construct miniature mobile guinea runs that are precisely one row wide and utilize them as living tillers.)

    The guineas ate my okra, zucchini, and squash plants right down the the nub--everything they had access to at the time. I guess that's one way to control squash bugs--eliminate the attractant and you eliminate the pest. What they didn't eat immediately, they stomped to the ground. When I saw what was going on, I tried to protect the plants with poultry wire barriers, but they didn't hold up to guinea traffic.

    I have replanted and constructed sturdy guinea-proof cages to go around each plant out of 1" hardware cloth, but it's a lot of work, and kind of expensive. Until now, they've only had access to about 1/3 of the garden. We'll be expanding the guinea area to include most of the garden this weekend, so they'll be able to get to everything. There's no way I can cage every single plant. I was wondering if anyone has tried spraying plants with a soap solution to keep the guineas from eating the foliage. I know it works with some garden pests, so I have my fingers crossed. I'm thinking if I can keep the plants caged until they're big enough to withstand the traffic, perhaps I can train the guineas to believe that vegetable leaves taste bad by spraying them with soap.

    Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  2. KellyHM

    KellyHM Overrun With Chickens

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    We hang soap on the baby orange trees to keep the deer off of them, so maybe it will work for the guineas.
     
  3. robin416

    robin416 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2007
    I think I know who you're referring to. My garden is fenced. When the plants are still very small the Guineas are not allowed access. When they have grown large enough to handle the traffic then the Guineas are allowed in.

    A mistake that is also made, because a certain person said it was OK, is feeding Guineas vegetable scraps. Doing that encourages them to help themselves when foraging in the garden.
     
  4. melroseladi

    melroseladi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could you make arches over your garden with cow panels (kind of like hoop coops) or 2x4 welded wire, then cover that with deer net or chicken wire to keep the guineas out? I have seen pictures of some of the cow panel arches over gardens and they look really cool and that would probably be easier and less expensive then using hardware cloth.
     
  5. babalubird

    babalubird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I doubt "hanging" the soap will work as for deer. Birds, save a few species of buzzards, have absolutely no sense of smell. Connie
     
  6. Cadillac Jill

    Cadillac Jill Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, that field test is over, and I can now confirm that agricultural soap spray does not deter guineas in the least. If fact, they seemed to find it a piquant addition to those delectable plants.

    I'll be trying hot peper wax spray next, and will report my findings.
     
  7. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The author who proclaimed guineas will mosey through the garden "without harming a single tender leaf!" was dead wrong.

    "Dead wrong"... no, I disagree.

    I have a pretty decent sized garden and I've never had my Guineas a destroy or consume anything but tender seedlings, so obviously I do not let the Guineas in the garden at this stage in garden growth. Most people know enough to keep their Guineas out of the garden until the plants are well established. Many of us follow this simple common sense guideline and have no issues with our Guineas mowing down our gardens. It's also always a good idea NOT to feed the Guineas anything from your garden that's of value to you, because they will indeed help themselves to it when they find it, be it seedlings or full grown plants.

    If your garden is the only thing green on your property for the Guineas to graze on... then obviously they will consume whatever vegetation they can find, because Guineas need greens in their diet. Try planting a special area of greens just for the Guineas, away from your garden, especially in the early spring and during the dry hot months of summer and fall. Also providing them with fine stem leafy alfalfa hay in the coop or run will help satisfy their need for greens.

    Guineas don't usually scratch an area unless they are confined to it, or if it is just too tempting as a prime dust bathing area to them. Are you sure they weren't just dust bathing in the loose dirt? If that was the case then you maybe need to provide them with alternative dust bathing areas, again, away from your garden.​
     
  8. racuda

    racuda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It only takes a 2 foot fence to keep out guineas and chickens. It doesn't occur to them to fly over. My garden is small so it was easy to do, but 2 foot poultry netting is not very expensive even for a big garden.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. tgperg

    tgperg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I must have had hoodlum guineas. The very first THING that occured to them when encountering ANY barrier was to fly over it, 3 ft. chicken wire fence, 5 ft. property line fence or my 10 ft. rock retaining wall on the west side of the house. Now my chickens wouldn't fly over it. They would just stand there clucking and staring at the guineas who were by this time perched on TOP of the wall screeching at them and calling them a bunch of losers.

    Traci
     
  10. Cadillac Jill

    Cadillac Jill Out Of The Brooder

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    Many thanks to all who have contributed. I truly appreciate having access to so much expertise! I’m going to continue/expand this thread, and I hope you’ll give additional input. Please know that I have no desire to be “right”. Our guineas may be mutant freaks, or perhaps guinea behavior varies more widely than people know. I am sharing my observations and empirical evidence because a) I’d like to leave some breadcrumbs behind for others who are encountering similar struggles, and b) I really, really want to make this work, and I need help! If you have tried and true solutions, or just have some unconventional suggestions, please share them.

    Here are some things you should know about our situation:

    1. We have never fed our guineas any part of edible plants, nor have they ever had access to them elsewhere. Their taste for these things seems to be spontaneous.
    2. Our guineas already have established dust bathing areas, which they utilize frequently.
    3. They have access to an abundant supply of fresh green grass and weeds. We even left most of the weeds by the veggie plants as a decoy.
    4. They have free choice access to feed.
    5. The guineas do not consume large quantities of our vegetable plants. Rather, they have brief interludes of mischief that can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. They go for stems, tendrils, blossoms, and leaves. Four guineas can do a lot of damage in 60 seconds of curiosity. And one bite of a stem near the base of a plant will kill it.
    6. I have consistently witnessed the damage in progress, so I know it’s not some other critter.
    7. To combat this problem, we plan to employ a combination of physical barriers (our garden is now littered with an ugly and peculiar array of makeshift solutions), topical deterrents, and decoy plantings (maybe). So far, we’ve found agricultural soap spray and hot pepper wax to be ineffective.
    8. In many hours of observation, I have never seen our guineas eat a bug. On several occasions I have come across creepy crawlies in the dirt (grubs, tiny beetles, crickets, etc.) and have taken them to them as a “treat”. They will scratch and peck at it, but quickly lose interest. The only exception is a mealworm, which was quickly devoured by the first guinea to discover it. I have started joking about my vegetarian guineas, but I do hold out hope that I’m just not seeing the carnivorous action.
    9. We got our guineas for the express purpose of creating a symbiotic relationship between the garden and the fowl. We want to keep them IN the garden area, not OUT of it. We’re looking for creation-friendly pest and weed management. We’ve attempted to construct a guinea habitat where our four guineas can thrive and be safe and happy. We call it Guineapolis.
    10. We love our guineas and our very attached to them.
     
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