Fly prevention - guinea's arrived

Jessey

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Does anyone take steps to reduce fly population? get on the offensive with the annoying bug problem rather than just tackling it defensively?

After Jess was hounded until she injured herself last year I really want to try and get ahead of the problem this year, it was mostly the stable flies that were an issue, so I'm going to have my fields well harrowed in early spring, treat my muck heaps with insecticide to try and prevent laying, and set bug traps to try and create at least 1 area where there are less bugs. I've considered getting fly predators released but it seems that would be a pretty costly and routine thing. I'm considering using feed through fly killer too, but knowing my luck Jess would have a funny reaction to it :rolleyes: I also thought about putting up a shelter frame and covering with mesh so the horses can get in but the bugs would find it harder :)
 

MrC

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I use to put the fly catcher strips up in the stable block in summer to give Kia somewhere fly free. I had about a dozen inside and they helped quite a bit. Replaced them as and when needed and it wasn’t that expensive.
 
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Jessey

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Eeek, I've just put in an order for some guinea fowl when babies start coming along, apparently they will pretty much find all their own food and their favorites are insects (and larvae) and ticks, plus they are good alarm callers which might put people off snooping around - win, win :D Plus it avoids me using chemicals :)
 
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Jessey

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Well I decided against the guinea keets, but I am picking up some grown birds tonight :D I'm really excited :D They have to stay cooped up for 6 weeks so I converted the Hank hut temporarily, then once they know where they live they will be free range and just fed near the Hank hut, probably on the roof as they like high places :)
 
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Jessey

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The guinea's are settled in :D they're already pecking around in the dirt eating something :)
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Dan was really interested and stood watching them closely for at least 5 minutes, Hank had a nose too. Jessica is not so impressed, every time they peep or flap she's got eyes on stalks and rounding the boys up :p
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Jessey

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Haha well they had obviously been quiet all night, they were still sleeping when I went in with my torch :) but they just started chirping as the sun came up, and Jess reverted into meltdown because something was where it shouldn't be. The pigeons flapping in the tree above her head, fine, the guineas wiggle their tail and she's off :D :rolleyes:
 

Jessey

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What a menagerie you are forming :)

Do the Guinea birds help the flies then?
Yes they should do, they are basically wild and will hunt out most of their own food and that is mostly ticks, flies, larvae and other insects, so they should help break the life cycle of the flies at the breeding grounds. They are more carnivorous than other birds, they will eat seed and veg but not by choice. Apparently a flock will even kill rats and snakes!
 
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Bodshi

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Yes they should do, they are basically wild and will hunt out most of their own food and that is mostly ticks, flies, larvae and other insects, so they should help break the life cycle of the flies at the breeding grounds. They are more carnivorous than other birds, they will eat seed and veg but not by choice. Apparently a flock will even kill rats and snakes!
They sound really useful! Do they lay eggs, or do you need a man guinea fowl for that?
 

Jessey

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They sound really useful! Do they lay eggs, or do you need a man guinea fowl for that?
The eggs are edible, but they are really hard to sex so I have no idea what I have yet, the only way to sex them is by their call, females make a 2 syllable noise and males only 1 syllable and mine have been decidedly quiet so far apart from in the box on the way home the other day :p from that little bit I think I may have 1 male and 1 female, but it probably won't matter to much to me, as they will be living wild I will probably never find the eggs and will only know if they have been laid if they show up with babies one day :p
 

Jessey

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I love guinea fowl. They perch very artistically on roofs against the skyline, and they sound like creaky wheelbarrows! Good eating too if you get fed up with them ;)
I'm veggie myself but my friend has already promised them a warm home with a soft light if they don't work out :D I'll probably never get near them again once they are turned loose though so it's unlikely :)
 
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Jessey

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So the guinea's have been cooped up for 6 weeks, the advised time to contain them so they don't bugger off when you turn them loose.

This morning was release day, I meant to let 1 out, so it had a reason to stick around but not thinking I just let both out and within minutes they were off, next door, 2 properties, 3 before I caught up with them 1/2 a mile away.

I couldn't get near them without them panicking, running and screaming, so I was just slowly slowly putting very gentle distant pressure on and I'd walked them back a good way when the neighbours ponies came to help :eek: finally they calmed down, then that neighbour came out to help, it steadily went down hill from there. I've now left them in her swampy woodland.

They'll either come back for their dinner (doubtful), be the foxes dinner (highly probable as his den is in there), live out their merry lives in there quietly or the owner will complain they are causing trouble and I'll have to send a friend up to shoot them :( no hope of physically recovering them as I was just sinking in the swamp earlier.
 
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chunky monkey

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Oh dear. If they do come back shut them in for longer. Do they fly or are they ground birds. Could you make a pen up that you can let them out into each day. So they start to adjust to the outside before given total freedom.
 
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Jessey

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Oh dear. If they do come back shut them in for longer. Do they fly or are they ground birds. Could you make a pen up that you can let them out into each day. So they start to adjust to the outside before given total freedom.
Yes I will if they come back. They do fly pretty well.
 

selside

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What bad luck. From my (limited) experience guineas are thick as bricks. They will seek out ways to do themselves in. Our farmer's were taken by foxes, flattened on the railway line (where they weren't meant to be) drowned themselves, got stuck in things and seemed untameable. Remarkably nice but exceedingly dim.
 
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Bodshi

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There are still some wandering about the next village - they were displaced by the floods a few weeks ago. They don't seem to have any homing instinct or be very willing to be caught.
 
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Jessey

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What bad luck. From my (limited) experience guineas are thick as bricks. They will seek out ways to do themselves in. Our farmer's were taken by foxes, flattened on the railway line (where they weren't meant to be) drowned themselves, got stuck in things and seemed untameable. Remarkably nice but exceedingly dim.
I concur, very stupid.

I think mine may have come nearer to home this evening, I'm bloody sure I heard them. They definitely left the neighbours with the swampy woods and were seen heading back my way, we'll see in the morning!
 
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