We first decided to add guinea hens to our flock last summer, and I wrote about some of the reasons we did so in our Post “First Line of Defense – Guinea Fowl”. One reason I didn’t list was unexpected for us, and it has turned out to be the most important one – they are very entertaining! While they can be a lot of work – they are messy when raising them in the brooder, impossible to catch, and some evenings they can be difficult about going into the coop (my hubby is best at that job, they will often follow him right in); we feel they’re worth it. Not only do they do their jobs of alerting us to predators and eating bugs, they are fun! I recently said that I had a few stories to tell about these crazy birds, so I wanted to start a series of some of those different tales.
Story 4 – Crazies in Training
As our “mini-guineas” got older, we wondered how they would get along with the four full-grown boys we had left after losing our two females. Would this group join them, or run in their own little flock? Even before we recently started letting them all free range together, we had a pretty good idea from watching them what the answer was, and we were right.
They are pretty much inseparable. The little ones follow the big guys around, and the big guys are showing them all the details of patrolling the yard. It’s been so much fun to watch. Occasionally some of the little ones will get stuck inside the fenced-in run, forgetting how to get out, and we will go out and herd them towards the door, so they can get back with the group.
(On a funny and interesting aside, the new chickens we got do stay in a separate group. The pullets and full-grown girls tend to be in their own groups when they are free ranging or in the coop and run.)
The guinea boys are showing the minis how to fly up onto the coop, run, and garage, and they’re showing them how to play their crazy games, though the young ones do not fight at all yet. One day the boys were having one of their rowdy days, chasing each other and running around the house, and it was so funny watching the little ones trying to keep up. There is one that seems to be a bit more advanced than the others – he or she is always the first one to sit on the fence with the big boys, or to fly up and join them. He was the only one that could really keep up with those antics; more than once two or three would get left behind on the other side of the house. They’d carry on squawking until either I went and got them and herded them back, or the rest of the flock did another round and found them.
They also got a lesson in guarding the yard. I was sitting at the dining room table where I do my bookkeeping work when I heard some squawking arise. I looked out the window to see the four boys marching down the yard. When they march like that, it usually means there’s an intruder in their territory. I ran to the door, worried it might be a fox (luckily the chickens weren’t out free ranging yet at least), only to see two deer running out of the yard with the guineas right behind them!
It is such a sight to see, these small birds chasing off big deer! By the way, all the “guineas in training” had stayed up by the fence/house and were only observing, except for that one bold young bird who joined right in the pursuit! Once they had the deer chased off, they came back and joined the others at the fence, then they all marched along it, squawking away, to be sure those deer didn’t dare come back. That’s what you see and hear in the short video below.
Funny thing is, as frightened as the deer seemed, one of them did come back later. I heard the guineas at it again down by the garden. The deer was wisely on the other side of the garden, happily eating away at something, while the guineas squawked from behind the fence on the opposite side. Apparently, the deer knows that fences can often be challenging for guineas; even though they certainly can get around or over them, sometimes in their excitement they just forget how. 🙂
I still have a few past stories saved up that I’ll be sharing, and I’ll certainly be writing about any future craziness. With ten of these entertaining birds now cruising the yard, I imagine there will be many more stories to come!