Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Guinea Fowl Saga

We got 5 guinea keets last October, and have watched them grow from cute little peepers into strange looking, loud birds.

Oct 17, 2009



Jan 8, 2010



We got the guineas to keep down the ticks in our yard.  We were told guineas are great tick-removers, and we have a bad tick problem here in Maryland, especially those tiny deer ticks.  We were told if the guineas were raised with chickens they would protect the chickens and get along with them fine.

We had a tough time finding guinea keets, but managed to get just 5 from an Amish farmer, who threw in a Leghorn chick for free.  So our 5 guineas were raised right along side with our chickens.  We had gotten 25 chicks and a hen a few days prior to getting the guineas and leghorn. 

We haven't had much luck with guineas.  One of them was killed one frightful day in the chicken coop by the hen, Freckles.  Freckles hated the guineas from day 1.  The guineas hated her, too.  Enemies right from the beginning.  Eventually, as everyone got bigger and started going outside, out of the coop, they all became friends.  I think the problem was that Freckles was defending her chicks.  When the chicks got big, then Freckles stopped worrying about them and therefore stopped hating the guinea fowl.  Now they all get along fine.   

One of the guineas has deformed legs and has a problem walking.  She sort of limps around.  She's been like that ever since she was a baby.  But she does get around fine, even though she is smaller than the other guineas, so she's still with the flock.  The small guinea is on the right in this picture.




As the guineas grew, we realized that we have 3 males and 1 female.  The female is the small one who limps.  Great.  The males grew strange bumps on their heads and make a loud squawking noise.  They notify everyone when something strange is in the area (such as if a songbird flies near the chicken pen, or if I sneak up and startle them in the pen, or if I try to grab one to cuddle with him).

Up close pic of that head bump on the male guineas

   

All the guinea fowl have the most beautiful blue eyes.  And the most ugly heads.

   

Guinea standing on the flock block (seed block) inside the coop



Sadly, just yesterday one the guineas flew away.  He flew over the chicken fence, and kept going deep into the woods.  Randy tried to find him, but he was gone.  He didn't come back last night, and we didn't find him during our search today.  We haven't let our birds free-range yet, and didn't plan on it until the weather is a little warmer and the birds are older (they're only about 3 months old now).  In the mean-time, everyone got a wing trim today.

If anyone in MD finds a stray guinea fowl, let us know!

4 comments:

AJ-OAKS said...

Ooooh, you have Guineas. I was thinking of getting some for two reasons. One, they are great watch birds and two that they eat all the bugs. But, never did get any. Well, at least not yet!! Ha Ha They are such neat birds.

Poconoangel said...

Ohhh-- so sorry to hear about the guinea that got away! You have raised them all since little chicks! It is interesting how the guineas turned out! I love reading about your chicken adventures! - Let us know if the guinea comes back!-Barb

Gail said...

Be careful, if one can fly out, hawks can fly in.

Razzberry Corner said...

Cindy - Yes, that's exactly what we heard about guineas - they are watch-birds and bug-eaters. So we had to get some!

Gail - You're right, hawks can come in. We need to put a roof on the enclosed chicken pen. It's next on the project list.

Barb - It is interesting to see how the birds change as they get big. I'll keep you informed!

-Lynn