Guinea fowl are described as a “jack of all trades” species of bird. Often overlooked due to their high-pitched screeching and odd appearance (some people even buy them to get revenge on noisy neighbours), they make for excellent watchdogs against trespassers animal or human.
Another helpful skill? They eat just about everything, including ticks.
Which is why Heather Squires from Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia keeps around 35 on her farm. With workers and volunteers continuously roaming the property, she acquired these birds as a way of protecting against the insects.
“I think they’re marvellous,” Squires told CBC. “They look like dinosaurs, in a very small form.”
This is one example of how Canadians are looking into alternative ways of protecting themselves from Lyme disease, which black legged ticks can spread by biting.
These birds aren’t for everyone, and though Squires really enjoys them, others seem to have a love-hate relationship with these fowl. Their high-pitched screeching, tendency to wander onto the street, and perceived lack of intelligence can be a little discouraging.
“Sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating to see the same bird, you know, casing a fence line unable to understand that if it walked another three feet it could get out,” Squires said.
Even with these points against the fowl, Squires notes that there is a demand for guineas in Nova Scotia. “Every single day there’s somebody calling or emailing or Facebooking me looking for guineas,” she said.