The fin­ished tun­nel­house, good for at least an­other 20 years.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - The Good Life -

Zep­pelin re­ced­ing sky­ward.

At this stage, the ends of the plas­tic were rolled around bat­tens which were tacked on to the end-frames and tem­po­rary tar­pau­lins were used to close in the ends. That’s when the three-day­old struc­ture with­stood its first test, a full broad­side of a nor’ west gale gust­ing to more than 70 knots (130kph). It was a big wind, tak­ing out a 50 year old rowan tree at my Dad’s place on the same day.

You can spend a lot on se­cu­rity alarms and cam­eras, but you still won’t beat the goofy guinea fowl for its 24-7, no-fail warn­ing sys­tem.

Talk to own­ers of guinea fowl and they’ll tell you th­ese birds are crazy. You can lav­ish your love and at­ten­tion on them from the mo­ment they hatch, but they’ll still be about as friendly as a half-tame cat and throw out that same warn­ing call when you ap­proach – even at a reg­u­lar feed­ing time – and it’s one hell of a warn­ing.

They’re the type of bird that doesn’t ap­pre­ci­ate fences ei­ther so if you’re go­ing to choose to in­clude guinea fowl on your block, it pays to have your neigh­bours on­side with their call­ing, wan­der­ing na­tures, and/or live a dis­tance away.

The good thing is the noise isn’t like a crow­ing rooster at 4am, but it is a loud, very ef­fec­tive warn­ing if a guinea fowl spots an in­truder. Which may be at 4am.

Guinea fowl have been known to scare off cats, fer­rets, weasels and even hawks, so they are an ideal bird to have in­te­grated into your chicken flock as guardians. Prob­a­bly the only com­mon preda­tor a guinea fowl can’t take on is a dog.

You’ll want to get at least two guinea fowl, up to six to start with, so you al­ways have your own pest erad­i­ca­tion team on pa­trol.

Guinea fowl don’t feed in quite the same way as chick­ens. They like a good dust bath, but they won’t dig up gar­den or lawn to cre­ate one, al­though they will take ad­van­tage of open soil. Gen­er­ally they tend to be heads down, bums up, search­ing for any­thing that moves, be it snails, slugs, cater­pil­lars, bee­tles, ants, cock­roaches, fleas, crick­ets or best of all, ticks, mice and small rats.

They’re also happy feast­ing on seeds and weeds, so you get a great all-round death-to-pests ser­vice in the one bird.

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