Category Archives: guineas

Keet care share

The keets have been around more; they even got walked nearly to the house.  I hear their cheeping like tiny bells (they will grow into klaxons).  They already have dart-and freeze-in-the-grass skills, scratching, dozing, and following skills.  Little beings the size and weight of ping pong balls, walking, eating, pooping, thinking.   They’re so cute I can hardly stand it.  They are already surprisingly independent, with a noticeably larger radius of dispersion than two days ago, and the flock moves faster.  They aren’t obsessively dependent on mom at all, more that it’s important to them to stay with the group.I went out today and found a grey bird  sitting on the chicks in the cool morning.  The white (mother) hen came up nuzzling, like she was checking on her kids under the babysitter.  I thought awww, Galahad’s at it again, sitting on the keets.  Then I realized Galahad, who has been shadowing them the last couple days, was sleeping in the sun behind me.  So who the heck is this co-parenting?!

You guys have complicated relationships. 

Guineas are just SO lovely.  They have a different social system than chickens and it seems very evolved.   They accept the keets as tiny new additions that walk with the flock (reminds me of elephants).  The keets will run to any of them, it seems, and any of them might run and get a left-behind cheeping chick.  The males are super involved in keet care.

They’re so special and interesting that I just put up with the bloody noise.  Even that, though, often means something.  Not always, but often, there’s something they’re trying to say.  Like, visitors are on their way, put some clothes on!  They’ll come to the house together and yell at me, looking at me, then five minutes later someone walks up.  Don’t say we didn’t tell you.The white hen spent some adult time lounging away from the keets today, who were all with someone else.  Then all the birds were doing walkabout together with the keets flowing among their feet.  I felt very “approved of” that they let me stand so close to their pile of chicks.  When I walked right through the group was the first time I got a hint of mom flaring, reminding me of how crazy, insane cobra mom the last guinea mother I had was.  This one is zenned right out.

The other white hen was also around today!  Wolfing down food.  So maybe she’s nearing the end of her sit as well.

I’m looking forward to when she stops leaving to hunker down with them at night, and brings them to the greenhouse for bedtime.  I’ll need another laundry rack.

 

 

OMG KEETS!!!

I went out to feed everyone lunch and got stopped in my tracks by a tumble of new keets!  A whole new cast of characters.  I think there’s 13.  They’re hard to count.  Little white ones and brown ones!

We already have a candidate for the lag-behind

The white guinea hen is back with a hugely successful brood!  I’ve been seeing her at the food trays occasionally the last couple of weeks wolfing down food, at off hours, so I’ve wondered.   I’ve also seen her at the end of the driveway, where I’m pretty sure she nested – the others were making not very covert visitations down there.  That means these little keets have already had one heck of a long walk to get here.It begs the question, are the others ok?  Did they survive the rains and raccoon and other roving predators?  Are two other hens going to roll out of the woods (any day, since they all disappeared at the same time) with a baker’s dozen of keets?Galahad of course, is right at her side, rushing at anyone who thinks they might get close to the keets (which is usually the chicks, who don’t understand why he’s mean all of a sudden).  She gets to be all calm and serenity, with her bulldog security detail. 

OMG, they are so much tinier and more adorable than I even remembered- so small!  Having trouble climbing out of the pot lid:) They do  come out of an egg about the size of a Silkie egg. 

 

Nosy guineas

I was sitting on the sill of my open front door, a convenient place I’ve found for potting up starts, my dirt and trays arrayed in front of me, when the guineas wandered up.

They arrived quite suddenly, maintaining their constant twittering conversation about everything, and they came right up on the deck to see what I was doing.   Whatrya doing?

I was so glad I was in arms-reach of my camera.  I thought they were after the green stuff, but they didn’t make a move for it.  Then, they apparently reached a conclusion about what was happening here, and, inspection done, they turned and left just as quickly, still ceaselessly conversating.Carry on. You passed. I’ll be checking up on you later, Cheeks.

Notice Cheeks was with me at the side of the deck, and she was subject to inspection too.  She looked a little nervous- she froze and her eye got big.

Guineas are so funny.  Strange, and funny.  They’re different.  I’m so pleased with this bunch.   They roll around like friendly patrol cops on a beat, keeping tabs on everyone, including me.   Oh, gardening?  That’s acceptable.  Hi again, how’s the job coming? I haven’t seen them on the deck before, but it’s great that they come around the house so close, instead of insisting on being cagey distant wild animals.

Guinea was here

The snow is almost all gone now, but when it was still here, it didn’t stop the guineas.

They tramped up and down and all around, and made a fantastic constellation of footprints.  They were so pleased to be out, they put up with a little cold feet.

Who says we’re jungle birds?  We’re Canada birds now.I found them at the end of their footprints!

Escape escapades

Little Nosey, being herself. I’m teasing her with a litter grabber. She’s like Why. Why are you pointing a robot arm at me?

The guineas had a big adventure, escaping in the morning. Good day for it. They came yelling down the trail, went grazing in the woods, but around lunchtime they were wanting back in. It’s cold. We would like to be back with the food.

They found this challenging.
I propped the fence open, away from the corner of the greenhouse. One of them got stuck unable to comprehend going around the end of the fence. The white one appears to be on the way in, but no!
She managed to be looking the wrong way when the other one figured it out, and so dithered around Where’d everybody go? Oh look, there’s a door!

Shortly after the guineas ran back in, a flock of chickens escaped somehow. I arrived later with lunch, and a visiting dog (because, all the chickens are put away, dogs are cool), and ten chickens and a rooster are sauntering around on the edge of the woods. What the!

I tried to get them back in. The dog didn’t help. They fled into the woods and reconvened around the rooster.

Thus they got to stay out until nearly bedtime, when they were all waiting by the door. On the bright side one rooster earned his keep. The leghorn rooster was out with them, and they were all glued to him; he was herding and leading them. It’s good to know who a quality rooster is.

He probably talked them all out the gap in the fence in the first place, but he was taking good care.

Guinea grazing

We have snow, everywhere but in these pictures where the sun shone.  A light crunchy layer of snow.  It was very nippy today and I thought the guineas weren’t going to even come out for their graze.They’ve taken to climbing up the pile of sticks during their recess.  No grass up there.  Maybe they just want to look around. This little one is the most successful greenhouse escapee.  She darts out right in the middle of the guinea pack so I cant’ turn her back.  Cheeks’ old stunt.  I can preempt most of the chickens, but never this one.  It’s a pain when chickens get out with the guineas, because they’re not on the same schedule.  Chickens will stay out until the bitter end of light, so after the guineas run back in after a graze, I get to herd chickens.  This one’s not too bad at going back in, and makes the cutest little noises, but tonight she was so intent on digging a hole, she kept running around me and back to the spot, and was very displeased to finally have to go in.  Peep peep PEEPpeeppeep!I’ll just have a bit of rest here.

Escapee

One of the guineas escaped from my carefully constructed bird shield.  It flapped and scramble-ran up the plastic, therefore slipping under the edge of the mesh and out into the clear air.I actually saw it in progress, yet was unable to stop it from happening.It had just enough foot friction, I supposeI’m up here. Now what? Looked neat from inside.  I left her up there to figure it out.

Later… how’s that guinea doing?Well, it’s on the wrong side of the mesh, and now suspended, like it’s in a mesh bag. We’re helping!

Its friends (whites only), were trying to help by pecking.  Not helping.

I can get them down from here pretty easily though, by bounce, bounce, bouncing them on the mesh, until they slip under the overlap mesh- wish I could say I designed it like that – and flop unceremoniously into the yard they’re supposed to not be able to escape from.

Roof sitting

Apparently the coop roof is the place for the guineas to camp out.It’s nice to work in the greenhouse for some time, enough to see them relax into completely ignoring me and resume their chicken activities.Dozing on the roof. Grooming…Chilin’ This is the gang that hangs out on the other roof.  Too bad the roofs don’t get washed by the rain when in the greenhouse.

I won’t forget to close the doors again

Forecast:  Snow changing to ice pellets then developing to rain later in the afternoon.

In other words, gross. This morning at dawn already there were a couple of inches of snow accumulated, and it was eerily dark in the greenhouse, but also very warm, with the blanket of snow.

To my horror, only one guinea was walking around.  What the?  I started closing up the drafty holes in the wall for the chickens to access their yard.  I could see by the snow that there were no footprints using them. Last night I’d remembered that I hadn’t shut these hatches – it’s a new close-up task – but the guineas wouldn’t go outside so no biggie.  Where were they, though?  I looked for bodies, fearing a massacre.  None.

I looked outside.  There they were, huddled two feet from the open door, standing in two inches of snow.  Outside in their bare feet!  I waved my arms at them from the other side of the fence.  They stared at me morosely, snow accumulating on their backs and tiny heads (emergencies aren’t time to get the camera).

I had to squeeze through the fence, approach them – almost touching them before they moved – and shoo them through the hole in the wall. Oh, there’s the door.

Oh no.  Still one missing.  I looked around the yard, saw nothing, and went inside to feed the chilly beaks.  Still one missing.  I feared it was a frozen lump frozen to the ground somewhere.  I shut the doors.   Then, flapping beating against the wall of the GH, on the outside.  Alive!

Happily, I warmed both food and water this morning.  It was warm in the GH, above freezing, but I felt cold with the snowy mess outside, so the birds got warm breakfast (I’m cold, put on a sweater).  I hope the guineas all make it.  They don’t do well with cold, and can drop dead after getting chilled, or almost any reason.Grosbeaks, doves, and blue jays are all here gobbling.

The guinea graze

The guineas haven’t had their evening graze for a couple of days due to rain, and I let them out a touch early.  (Time change!  What time is it?  Old time or new time?)Perchick shot out along with the guineas.  That’s a Cheeks move, to get in the middle of the guinea crowd and run where they’re going.  Can’t see me!  Guinea speed is a dead run for a chicken.I wouldn’t mind some grass too.Then a few other chickens squeezed out.What’s going on out here? 

That little Whitey is an escape artist.  It came out for a graze once and ended up spending the night outside, luckily alive.  Sure enough, I looked at closing time, couldn’t find him, figured he was already in, then he reappeared 10 mins later in the corn stalks.Then there’s this one. I’m FREEEEE!Perchick stuck real close to the guinea flock.  Even with me looming over them on bobcat watch, they seem nervous outside. It’s such a weird thing that the guineas are colour segregationists, but the grey (pearls) don’t get along with the white/buffs.  They are aggressive and unkind to the non-grey ones.  The whites sleep on a separate perch now, and get attacked.  The greys are all cliqued up.  So strange!   Even though the guineas move like a school of fish and are all attached by invisible elastic bands that  stretch but then sproing back, the whites are distinct outsiders, constantly being forced away from the core of the flock.  They’ll have to go to their own white-only home.Back inside, the guineas are ready to go to bed but the chicks are hogging their stairs.  The laundry rack is exceedingly popular, all day.

I’m worried about this buff guinea.  It tends to lie around, in corners by itself.  Knowing how they can act like that at noon and be dead by two, it’s worrisome, but perhaps it’s just avoiding the prejudice.  It’s been a couple days and is still fine.