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New animals at Dokmai Garden

November 23, 2010

This morning we released our five new guineafowl youngsters into our vegetable section. Their job, apart from just being lovely, is to gently pick various pests without scratching or nibbling seedlings like chicken do. They are supposed to be the best tick predators, but we hardly have any at Dokmai Garden, so I guess they will have to stick to larvae and snails.

Our guineafowl have spent nine days in a bamboo cage, just to get acquainted with the staff and animals at Dokmai Garden. If you release new birds too soon, they may escape due to panic and get shot and eaten by the neighbours.

Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) belong to another family (Numididae) of birds than chicken, peacocks and pheasants (Phasianidae). They originally come from the drylands of tropical Africa, and are therefore quite fit for the dry monsoon gardens of Chiang Mai.

Guineafowl eat insects, ticks, snails and seeds. With combined forces they can also kill an attacking cobra, although with some casualties.

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