Our Guinea hen

My husband had a guinea when he was a kid.  His name was Leroy.  He was entertaining and fun.  He would “attack” the sliding glass doors because he could see his reflection.  He was like a chicken in his behavior except a lot louder and at times more aggressive.  There was a friend of the family that Leroy would go after and try to attack every single time that this person came over to visit.  Guineas can add interest to a flock of chickens.  I was trying to talk my husband into goats, but he wasn’t into it.  He suggested guineas instead.  I never even  knew what a guinea was, but was up for something a little different than chickens.

We have one guinea fowl.  I believe that she is hen, but as I only have the one, I can’t be too sure.  We do occasionally get a small egg, but sometimes the chickens who are new layers lay really small eggs too.  Why do we have only one?  Good question.

We bought guinea eggs to hatch in the incubator, but none hatched.  I even cracked open the eggs to see if any baby guineas were developing and just couldn’t get out of the eggs.  None of the eggs had grown at all.  They were like regular chicken eggs that you eat.  Clear and with a yolk.  We had a problem, obviously.  I have never had anything to do with guineas, so I asked my husband who also didn’t know.

About that time, I saw a sign down the road that had guineas for sale.  I went and spoke with him and he told me that guinea eggs are pretty sensitive to temperature.  I had ordered my eggs from ebay.  He said that they could have gotten too cold, as it was early spring, or that they may have gotten x-rayed on purpose or by accident.

Anyway he had some that were hatched.  He incubated something like 100 eggs to get 15-20 to hatch.  I listened and it seemed like a long shot to be successful myself.  He had some for sale that were about 3 weeks old.  I bought 5 for $40.00.  I brought them home and all was well.  The seller told me to keep them caged for about 3 weeks so that they could get used to their environment.  I did this and all was well or so I thought.  I let them out of the cage and they went straight out of the chicken house and into the fenced chicken yard.  So far so good.  I watched as the 2 larger ones tried to get through the fence, but they were too big.  All of a sudden,  I realized that the other 3 were smaller and could possibly get out.  Sure enough, out they went through the fence.  I watched with concern, but they didn’t stray too far from the 2 that were stuck in the fence.  I didn’t know what to do.  I watched a while and everything stayed the same.  The 3 were out of the fence and 2 were in the fence.  I called my husband for advice and he said to keep the 2 in and not to worry about the three.  They probably wouldn’t make it.  They are so fast that there is no good way to catch them unless you have a net with a long handle, which of course we didn’t.

I hated the thought of losing them, so I did a really dumb thing.  I didn’t want the little three to be by themselves without the big ones, so I let the big ones out of the fence to keep track of the little ones.  I was thinking that they would stay near the chicken house and I could catch them when they roosted in the trees that night.  As soon as I let the 2 big ones out they all got together and took off!  They left the area and I didn’t see them for the rest of the day.  I looked for them in the that night, and nothing.  I was distressed.  I let them out and then they were gone.  My husband was distressed too, but for a different reason.  He had $40.00 in these birds and they were gone!  I was gone with one of the kids the next morning, so my husband was out looking for any sign of them.  Nothing for a while, but then he spotted on of them near the chicken yard.  He and my oldest son were trying to catch it, but with no luck.  They are so darn fast!

When I returned home, the three of us devised a plan.  My husband would chase it into the fence, my son would get on the opposite side of the fence on the outside and I would wait in the chicken yard and when it was inside of the fence I would grab it before it could get out, but if it got out, my son would grab it on the other side before it was free again.  The plan worked and I was able to grab it from the inside of the fence and put it back in the cage that it came out of.  There it stay for another 3 weeks, so that I was sure it couldn’t fit through the fence.

Once she was big enough to not get through the fence, all was well.  She hung out with the chickens, learned where her home was, and I was able to let them free-range again.  She stays right with the chickens, and even roosts with them at night.  She is entertaining and a joy to watch!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s