Raising Chickens and Poultry for Home Pest Control
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Multipurpose homestead partners
Whether you choose chickens, guineas, turkeys or ducks for your homestead fowl, be prepared for the adventure of a lifetime. And even if you think you only want eggs, meat or living lawn ornaments, with a little management and the right attitude, you can put those birds to work and enjoy their entertainment at the same time.
Pamela Maynard writes from a 7 1/2-acre happy homestead in New Hampshire she shares with her husband, son, three dogs, two cats and nine guinea hens. In her spare time, Pam fills full-time roles as wife, mom and MRI technologist.
Although guineas share a U.S. Department of Agriculture poultry classification with chickens, they range farther, fly higher and are more active than chickens.
Guinea guano is high in nitrates, making it an excellent free fertilizer.
Guinea fowl have an innate spring in their step that helps them bounce and keep their balance. Harvard scientists spent months chasing helmeted guinea fowl down a 20-foot plywood runway, trying to trip the birds. Their goal wasn’t to torture them, but to understand how ankles, knees and hips react on uneven ground. This research aids in creating prosthetic limbs and legged robots than can move over rough terrain.
The Muscovy’s original name was "Musco Duck," because it is known as the "Mosquito Duck" for eating mosquitoes. One of the main reasons they were brought to the United States several hundred years ago was to help keep down the mosquito and bug populations. That they do, and they do it well. There are billions of insects on an acre of land, and Muscovy ducks are worth their weight in gold when it comes to eating mosquitoes and insects. They eat mosquito larvae in the water, and they nip the flying insects right out of the air.
Benjamin Franklin so admired the big bronze bird that he wanted it for our national emblem. Comparing it to the bald eagle, he said: "The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original Native of America."
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