Farm life has its ups and downs. Seeds started, and crops failed. Eggs hatched, and meat birds butchered. It can be an emotional roller coaster, but it makes you value the successes all the more!
The story of our guinea flock is filled with highs and lows. From the day we decided to order guineas, and found that we would have to wait months before we could get them.
We wanted guineas to take care of our tick problem. Last year while remodeling the farmhouse, we often found ticks on us as a result of walks through the yard. Knowing this year’s warm winter would make for an even worse tick problem, we decided to get proactive.
So you can imagine how happy we were when we found another hatchery that could get us 20 guineas the following week! So exciting!
Guinea Keets are just about the cutest things you’ll ever see. But like children, once they hit adolescence, everything changes. They start to push boundaries. It started one night, we went into the garage to feed the keets, and found one guinea had flow out of the brooder. No big deal, just throw him back in.
Then there were 2 out. Then 6.
Soon it became a horrible poultry version of mr bucket.
I’m mr bucket… Put one bird in my top
I’m mr bucket… 3 more birds will fly up….
Yea, there’s a reason that toy failed. There’s nothing fun about an endless cleanup choir.
So it was time to get the guineas out of the basement. Knowing guineas to be a more wild bird, we hoped to lock them in Rihanna’s coop, let them acclimate, and then once they learned that the coop was their home, let them loose to fight our tick problem. The goal was to have them return to the safety of the coop every night.
The problem was that the “safety of the coop” was not really safe. Remember, this was Rihanna’s coop. She had already been known to peck the Cornish x chicks that were now on pasture. Knowing Rihanna’s violent tendancys, we made a dividing wall of chicken wire to protect the Guineas. Then we moved them in.
So yes, there was a dividing wall. But remember, adolescent guineas act like your 17 year old. Rules are made to be broken, walls meant to be jumped. The dead Guinea found on Rihanna’s side the next morning proved this.
Crushed, we had lost none as baby’s, but now our own chicken had killed one. I made a repair to the wall. But then Captain Jack made his move.
We found him lying beside Rihannah’s waterer in the morning. There was a large, bloody hole in his head. His eye was scarred and swollen. He was barely breathing.
“Should we just kill him? Put him out of his misery?”
“Let’s see what happens” Kendra replied. “you never know.”
Kendra carried him inside, and placed him inside an empty brooder, dressed his wounds and placed him under a heat lamp. Time would tell if the little guinea would make it.
The next morning, our little one eyed guinea was dubbed Captain Jack (no not sparrow, guinea). He was slowly walking around the brooder, scarred and bruised, but alive. A few days passed, Jack had healed up and was ready to return to his cohorts.
After his incident we had completely fixed the dividing wall, and there had been no more Guinea deaths. They were totally safe from their worst enemy, Rihannah. Soon the Guineas were again outgrowing their housing, and it became apparent that they needed to be let out for the day. They had flown out of the protective wall of their brooder, and through the wire to Rihannah’s realm. Would they fearlessly press forward into the great unknown yet again? The door to the coop opened. Slowly, ever so cautiously, Captain Jack and his band of guineas begain to exit. Ad the last of the remaining 20 Guineas stepped out of the door, we smiled. Brave little Guineas. We just hoped they would return to the safety of the coop at night.