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The truth about guinea fowl and wild boar

April 5, 2011

The information derived from anecdotes, legends, rumours, gossip, newspaper articles and even scientific publications should be tested. You can only trust your own senses. Take guinea fowl for instance. At Dokmai Garden we love them for their appearance, but the romantic view they do not touch your vegetable section is not entirely true. They do not scratch like chicken, which is good, but they do eat young corn seedlings. Interestingly, this is the only bird I know which also eats scallion leaves (Allium fistulosum).

The guinea fowl are adventurous and walk about everywhere in our garden. We keep a bowl of grains for them so they remember where they can always have food, hoping they will stay with us and not get shot by the neighbours if they peek into their gardens. The leader of the pack is a female, which is revealed by her call. If possible, guinea fowl are even more social than chicken. They always stay close together, and recently they began sleeping in a longan tree like our chicken. I once observed a member of the pack ending up on the wrong side of a fence. It became desperate and tried to walk through the chicken net. The other four on the inside were upset too, and they stayed close to their comrade to encourage him. Eventually he made his way back by climbing the fence in such a strange acrobatic-dinosaur way I still do not grasp how he did it. He could have used his wings, but somehow he forgot that. I love their seemingly troubled faces. They look like pierrots with dunce caps and over the top makeup.

Our wild boars Lala and Lolo do not eat garlic or scallion, but they love Amaranthus viridis which grows like a weed here. In fact, wild boars are quite picky. They prefer peeled bananas, they do not like sea almond leaves or any citrus fruit, but they love crickets, snakes and large bugs and grubs. Are pigs dirty? Well, they poo in a special corner of the pen, which is quite civilized. They grunt and wag tails to greet us, and so they seem quite friendly.

Eric Danell

Yes, you can make pork from weeds and kitchen waste! However, Lala and Lolo will never hit the frying pan. Together with Ruben they are our most affectionate pets.

A picture of one of our guineafowl from April 10th. Photo: Marie Bedell.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2011 1:22 PM

    Can we see pics of the guinea fowl please Eric?

    • April 5, 2011 1:46 PM

      Dear Ricky,

      I tried to take close-up pictures, but they do not like me when I stand still. I think they remember the time when I followed them and threw a dead snake at them because I thought they would eat it. They were terrified. I offer anyone with a good tele-camera a lunch in exchange of a great close-up picture of one of our darlings.


  2. April 5, 2011 1:33 PM

    Now here’s something to try:

    In south Vietnam at the Cat Tiien National Park there appears to be very little natural regeneration of trees in the Dipterocarp family. In Chiang Mai at the Sri Lanna National Park the staff attribute lack of regeneration of Irvingia malayana trees to pigs eating the kernels of the fruit that falls to the ground. Soon there will be lots of fruit fall from Hopeas, Shoreas and Dipterocarpus trees.

    So how about adding some of these fruits to the pigs culinary choices?

    • April 5, 2011 1:55 PM

      Dear Ricky,

      Absolutely, we should try all sorts of fruits. When I returned from Krabi I brought them Archidendron jiringa. I did not like the fruits, but the pigs did. I do not believe the poor forest regeneration is due to pigs. In Europe natural beech and oak woodlands would be full of wild boar. Wild boar is native to these Thai forests too. We have a poor tree regeneration around Dokmai Garden, which I believe is entirely due to the arsonists burning the land every year.

      Cheers, Eric

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