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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 29711
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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We are having trouble with our "pet" guinea fowls who have

Customer Question

We are having trouble with our "pet" guinea fowls who have just decided that it is a good idea to scratch up our Kikuyu grass in patches. It looks like they are digging holes to China. They started this about 2 wks ago and have been here for a few years already. We keep chasing them out of the garden and never feed them in the garden. Do you have any ideas as to why they would have started this all of a sudden and any ideas how to deter them.
Thank you so much Melanie
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner, Melanie. We don't have many avian vets on this site. This is from Guinea Fowl International: "Though they are not as destructive as chickens, they most definitely DO scratch, which can damage some plants, foliage and surroundings with their dust bathing and appetites. This does need to be mentioned and owners should be prepared. This is not to say that the benefits do not outweigh the negatives, BUT to lead others to believe they are no trouble this way is really deceptive. It helps if you dedicate an area of soft dirt or sand for their dusting; they will be less likely to choose your favorite flowerbed."

My two ideas for you, then, are to provide them with more live feed (mealworms, crickets, e.g.) where you'd prefer that they spend most of their time feeding and also provide them with dust boxes containing sand and either diatomaceous earth, kaolin clay, or sulfur. Such dust boxes will also help keep mites at bay. A study in hens using dust boxes with any material showed a reduction in ectoparasites by 80-100% within a week. Sulfur was ideal because it provided a residual effect up to nine months post-removal of the boxes in the study.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.