Guineas in a Vineyard?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by lilyduck, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. lilyduck

    lilyduck Chirping

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    Feb 6, 2010
    Hi all -

    I'm a veteran duck-keeper and thinking about getting guineas for pest control in my 1-acre vineyard in California. I have tons of questions!

    First - we have tiny blue-green sharpshooters invading our vineyard and spreading a deadly grapevine disease. The mature adults are flying insects about 1/4 of an inch long, and the nymphs are smaller. Will guineas eat bugs this small??

    Second - I assume that the guineas would try to roost in the grapevines and/or eat the grapes, so I think I would have to clip the flight feathers on one wing. Will clipping their wings keep them out of a approximately 4ft tall grapevines?

    Third - I'm wondering about a night-time coop. The vineyard is surrounded by a 12 ft tall electric fence, so predators such as bobcats/foxes really can't get in. So, absent the concern about predation: what kind of home do guinea's like to roost in at night? If I've clipped their wings they won't be able to go up in the vines or the trees, but I'd assume they'd want some kind of shelter. Would a simple lean-to with some short roosts make them feel at home?

    Finally - I've found someone on craigslist selling 2 guineas, but I think I need more. Anyone selling adult guineas in the San Francisco Bay Area?

    Please help me with your infinite guinea-raising knowledge! Any comments or thoughts are appreciated.

    --LilyDuck
     
  2. lilyduck

    lilyduck Chirping

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    Feb 6, 2010
    OK, so I've read more of the info on this board about guineas, and sobered up about the possibility of being able to clip their wings and expect them to stay inside the fence.

    I guess the real question is: Is there any way I can get two adult guineas off craigslist, clip their wings, put them inside a 12-ft tall electric fence and expect them to stay inside the vineyard and eat bugs?

    Any thoughts are welcome!
     
  3. daylily

    daylily Chirping

    I wouldn't clip their wings at all!. They need those. The only way to KEEP any Guinea is to keep them in The coop they are to live in at night for 6 full weeks! No if ands or buts. They will be happy to eat your bugs believe me, not your grapes and they will go back to their coop at evening. If you do not you are subject to loosing them to other things. If they do fly over they will fly back in to their coop. Unless they land on your fence. Yes they may sit on the beaches of your grapes IF they are strong enough to hold them, but how else will they get the bugs higher. Good luck. But please be wise and keep them inside the coop for the six weeks, so they will know that is there home ground.
     
  4. JLeigh

    JLeigh Songster

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    Apr 19, 2012
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    There are flying predators to consider, like owls and hawks. All free-ranging guineas are at risk during the day, but keeping them in a covered pen or a coop at night considerably lessens the threat from night predators, like owls. Clipping their wings makes it impossible for them to escape a predator - day or night, flying or ground.

    I would consider your guineas a pest control investment, and coop them at night, leave their wings intact and let them range in your vineyard during the day. With some time invested, and money if you don't have a coop, you'll find they are very good at their jobs, and you'll keep them around a lot longer, and your vines will benefit tremendously.

    If you get adult guineas, or sub-adults, or keets (you'll have to brood keets for six weeks too), you should keep them penned for six weeks at least to prevent them from running away. Daylily is right about that. Others will tell you the same thing. There's no quick way around it.
     
  5. lilyduck

    lilyduck Chirping

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    Feb 6, 2010
    Thanks for the excellent advice! It seems like getting adult guineas in my vineyard NOW is not realistic. The problem is that these disease-spreading insects (sharpshooters) are flying now, and will be mostly gone in 6 weeks. I think I'll pick up some chicken pullets for this year, and plan to raise keets over the winter so that they will be acclimated to the site by next summer.

    If guineas can control the sharpshooters (the bugs) and actually don't eat the grapes, they could be a good thing for California's wine industry! I'm sure I'll be writing in with more questions once I get keets.

    Thanks again!
     

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