I’m so pleased to have sorted out the guineas.
I’ve tried so much. Building them a sky coop…
well come to think of it that’s about it. And giving them roosting apparatuses, like the laundry rack.
They’ve tried lots of things. Roosting on the sky coop, roosting on top of the greenhouse, roosting in the trees, and roosting on my apparatuses, like the laundry rack. They are choosy, and illogical, and stubborn.
But I’ve got it. They are accustomed now to living in the greenhouse all winter, and they have their stick swings where they sleep. So I’m letting them continue to use the GH in the summer.
In a reversal of form, at night when the chickens get locked up for their safety, the guineas get let into the greenhouse. The GH which is off limits to all unrestrained chickens, because they would unleash devastation in minutes. And have.
Not so the guineas. They’re different. They don’t do the so entertaining but v. destructive chicken scratch dance. And they have different tastes. I wasn’t 100% sure about the guineas around the baby tomato and cucumber plants, but I thought maybe I could just trust them, and cautiously tested my theory.
The guineas use a chicken door that I open at night just as I close the chickens. The chickens all go to bed before the guineas do. The guineas hop in, file down the aisle, and fly up to their roost. They’re very content about it. I leave the door open and they let themselves out in the morning before I come out for the hens. It’s working!
The big test was the pepper plants. I was out early the first morning, crouched watching them secretly through the opposite chicken door. They flew down from their roost, milled around, gave the peppers a thorough visual inspection (Something new here!), and left, following the leader out their door. Success! Awesome. Before long, the starts will be too big to harm anyway,
This should reduce their mortality rate this summer. Guineas have a way of kicking the bucket in frequent, creative ways. They make up for this tendency by producing vast clutches of keets when they reproduce. It evens out.
I only have three birds now. I gave half my guineas away some weeks ago, and then a few days ago, I came home late for the magic moment to let them inside. Finding their door shut, they had resorted to flying up on top of the greenhouse. It was cute when they did this last year, until the owls discovered the buffet.
I had to throw my hat at them until they flew down and scampered inside. Oh, door’s open now! But there were only three. Was the third lost, bedded down in the field, in some brush? The light was very dim, and I’m looking around the field, and I see it, like a grey rock as usual, but it’s still… stone dead. And cold, dead in the afternoon. No injury. Another mystery death. It was one of the cocks. The remaining three seem perfectly content together. Any day the hens will fail to show up at bedtime and there will be just the male coming home to roost for a few weeks.
I really threw them for a loop last night. We got a frost, and anticipating same, I covered the four rows planted in sensitive stuff with row cover.
Wow, the guineas could hardly get down the aisle for staring, tiptoeing along, heads low and necks at full extension, suspicious of the strange white stuff. And more, they needed herding out in the morning, they were so freaked out by it, not wanting to step on it and flying back and forth across the greenhouse, afraid to land. Happily for their nerves, the long term forecast is saying a week til the next frost, if that forecast holds.