|Guinea flock with Girl Guinea in front.|
The guineas were raised in the chicken coop and chicken pen. The two older guineas were raised beside chicks; they are the only two surviving from a group of guinea keets purchased at the same time. One is a male, one female. The male flew away last winter and was gone for three months. We thought he had died, but amazingly, he returned to us after the very cold, snowy, harsh winter. We have no idea where he went during the winter. We named him Boy Guinea, and the girl is Girl Guinea. Not original names, I know!
Girl Guinea thought she was a chicken and wouldn't fly like a guinea fowl should. She just hung with the chickens and did as chickens did. She came running when the roosters clucked about food, she roosted in the evenings besides the hens in the coop. She laid eggs in the coop just like the chicken hens. She thought she was a funny-looking chicken.
Then we got the batch of guinea keets in June this year, and they quickly grew big. Boy Guinea became the guinea flock leader; he is a very good leader. Boy Guinea showed the guinea flock how to fly out of the chicken pen and walk around the yard eating bugs. Girl Guinea wanted to go, but refused to fly away from her chicken family. When she was forced out of the chicken pen by human intervention, she sat right outside the gate begging to be let back in all day long. The guinea flock begged for her to go with them and be a guinea, but she refused. She was a chicken after all, wasn't she? This went on for weeks. During this time, the guineas continually flew in and out of the the chicken pen, begging her to fly with them. But Girl Guinea couldn't fly. The guinea flock would never go far away from the chicken pen. They knew one was left behind and refused to leave without her.
It was then that Randy started giving Girl Guinea flying lessons. Every day he would throw her up into the air, forcing her to use her wings to fly back down. After weeks of flying lessons, one evening Girl Guinea flew by herself. All the Guineas were preparing to fly up into their night sleeping spot: a tall pine tree which is in the chicken pen. The guineas were all flying up the tree and back down again, trying to encourage Girl Guinea to come up with them. They all were screaming loudly ~ guineas are not quiet birds, you know. Finally, as Randy and I watched, Girl Guinea tried to fly by herself for the first time! She finally decided maybe she was a guinea after all! She didn't make it up the tree that night, her wings just couldn't take her, despite her attempts. But she did fly again the next night, and she made it up the tree and slept beside the guineas, who welcomed her into their flock with open wings. And she's been flying ever since.
Girl Guinea now has become a guinea and no longer is a chicken. The chickens really don't miss her, anyway. The guinea flock is now complete, with their female leader right beside the male leader. All the guineas now wander the fields and yards daily, happily eating bugs and talking as only guineas can talk. They wander quite a distance, but always return to the chicken pen to roost in their pine tree at night. If one of them is inside the chicken pen during the day for any reason the entire flock stays near until that one flies out to join them.
|Guinea flock walking down the road. Girl Guinea is the third from the right. Boy Guinea is on the right.|
|Guine flock wanting a treat from me|
Here's a short video of the guineas: