Thursday, September 29, 2016

Guinea fowl and snakes???

I noticed a report that a school in Fremont County, Wyoming, on or near the Shoshone Reservation, has a problem with rattlesnakes migrating near the premises.  There's a long list of precautions taken by the School Board and local authorities to keep children safe.  One of them is:

After speaking with a biologist with the Game and Fish, the district is looking into the feasibility of having a Guinea Fowl farm in the affected area.

I did a quick internet search to find out what guinea fowl had to do with snakes.  Some references claimed that the former kill the latter, or at least drive them away.  Others spoke disdainfully of guinea fowl ignoring snakes, even going so far as to let them hang out in their warm coops.

Can anyone tell me - and perhaps other interested readers - how guinea fowl can/may/will help with a snake infestation?  Please let us know in Comments.




riverrider said...

from my experience in my youth on the farm, they love to scratch and peck around in the brush and would peck any baby snakes they ran across. we had a terrible copperhead problem until we got the guinea fowl. i hated them critters until the snakes disappeared. they make a terrible ruckus when any little thing moves out in the yard and like to run back n forth in front of your car, and chase little kids. great alarms. meat not bad either. they also drew in the hawks, so maybe the hawks got the bigger snakes. they tore the crap out of our guinea herd.

Anonymous said...

I saw a few places in the south were they let guinea fowl range free around the house. I'll confirm they are noisy and like to raise a ruckus. The owners claimed they were better than any watch dog. I didn't hear about snakes, but I'll believe they wouldn't feel safe around all that pecking and scratching in the dirt that the birds do.

Farm.Dad said...

IMO Guineas have the reputation of being hard on snakes because of the aggressive rucus they raise at any provocation squawking and flapping and raising all manner of hell be it a snake or a car pulling in the driveway . They will get your attention with their antics .
The truth of the matter is that ALL birds that are too large for a snake to eat hate snakes and will drive them off / kill them if they can . Snakes eat eggs and thus birds don't like them around . Ground nesting birds especially .

Uncle Lar said...

Best cure for a snake problem is either teen age boys with .22 rifles or a pack of wild hogs.
Hogs love the taste of snake, and are remarkably resistant to snake venom.
Of course then you have feral pigs to contend with.

Akatsukami said...

@Uncle Lar: That reminds me of a recommendation I saw once to dispose of excess fish by using them as bait in walrus traps: "But that brings up the problem of walrus disposal, compared to which fish disposal is child's play". :-D

Judy said...

Hogs, chickens, or Guinea Fowl are great for snakes. The added bonus with Guinea Fowl is they will also get rid of a tick infestation. As others have pointed out very Noisy.

Hllbillygirl G said...

Don't know about guineas, but our hoglot had NO snakes. Or anything else alive, either. Anything that wandered in or fell in, the hogs would eat. There's a reason everyone freaked out when Dorothy fell into the pigpen.

JimP said...

I can attest to the Guinea Fowl raising a ruckus about any intrusion of a farm ..... better than any guard dog ever, during daylight. They are cheap, and prolific ..... they will eat any baby snakes and harrass any too big to eat.

Dwan Seicheine said...

My cousin told me that his chickens will eat rattlesnakes. I actually saw a rattlesnake swarmed under by a pack of chickens.
As for the guinea fowl...I don't know.

Sport Pilot said...

The biggest thing I've seen is the Guinea's draw so much unwanted attention to copperheads and cottonmouth water moccasins the snakes learn to avoid them over time. I've heard the same said about rattlesnakes.

Quartermaster said...

They are death on Ticks.

Rez Zircon said...

Same with peacocks. Place I used to live had some. One day they were making a ruckus in the lower field so after a while I went down to look, and found where a nest of baby sidewinders had come up out of a hole. By the marks on the dirt, none of them got more than 20 feet.

Downside of peacocks is they sound like women screaming "Help! Hellllp!" and they'll also eat any plant smaller than a tree.

Chickens... one of my old hens was setting a nest and one night I heard this terrible chicken-fight. Went out to see what the heck and here's a gopher snake in the nest, trying to gobble the eggs, and the hen is beating on it every which way. Flung the snake out in the pasture... next night it was back, and brought a friend. Geesh. Upside: if you have enough gopher snakes, you won't have any rattlers. If you're not sure which you're looking at -- a rattler has a slit iris like a cat.

I thought I had a lot of rattlers in the desert (killed 60 in 10 years, tho a neighbor told me he killed about 200 a month... we don't get excited, we just get a shovel)... barely a starter kit: Friend's mother-in-law lived up on a mesa in Colorado... rattlers were such a problem that she wore tin stovepipes on her legs to work in her veggie patch, and you'd hear ping-ping-ping from the regular strikes.

TRX said...

A friend keeps guineas. They raise a commotion when they see a snake, but the snakes go for them anyway. A copperhead bite will make one really sick, though they don't always die.

Opossums are immune to most snake venom and will eat snakes. Unfortunately, they'll eat chickens too.