Where Are They???

where are they?

On New Year’s Day, we decided to open the door to the guinea fowl house. They seemed to be getting less and less happy being “cooped” up all the time. The plan had always been to let them out once they were grown, fully feathered, and hopefully able to avoid predators. After all, the point in having them was to let them help keep down the insect population through patrolling the farm.

So, we decided, rather spontaneously, ¬†that January 1 was the day. Not without some anxiety (will they come back in at night, will they avoid predators, will they join the three “free-rangers”, will they find food and water, will they get along with the chooks, will they get along with the sheep…???), we opened the door. They seemed very happy to leave the coop.

Some nights, they all come back (sometimes with a little “herding” from us), some nights they stay out all night and some nights they mix it up. For example, tonight – six of the seven “chicks” are in the coop and one chose to go with the free-rangers to sleep in the mulberry tree (the free-rangers usual roosting spot).

So where do they spend their days?

…checking out the grain I put out each day

eating grain

…camouflaging ¬†themselves (can you see her by the wire fence roll?)

almost camo 2

…doing sentry duty

on upper pasture fence

…exploring the arena

in the arena

…exploring up by the house (a little too far away from home base!)

on the patio

…working the ground

working the ground

…and, yes, hanging out with the sheep. Looks like this might work out!

in with the sheep

Published in: on January 10, 2013 at 5:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Problem-Solving with Guineas

There is a really fun book called, “Gardening with Guineas” by Jeannette S. Ferguson that my husband got me as a gift – as we inherited four guinea fowl with our property. In it, she describes basic care of these fowl as well as providing some insights into their behavior.

Our friend Kathy recently offered us a hatching of keets (baby guineas) that had been abandoned by their mother as eggs. She hatched them and gave us this group of seven. After our first hectic day with them, I decided Jeannette could probably write a new book called “Problem-Solving with Guineas”. We thought we might be able to use our now empty chicken tractor. Looks like a good idea, right?

Plenty of room, ventilation, a place for food and water…..and a lot of gaps through which to escape. Here they are inside, but this didn’t last long.

After chasing them around for awhile we re-located them to a large wire dog crate, after I covered a lot of it with chicken wire (while my husband kept an eye on the escaping keets).

Looks like it should work, right? Not. They escaped, even with the chicken wire on it. So, we re-located them yet again to a smaller dog crate. This worked – whew! I was running out of ideas.

Kathy gave us a couple little dog rug scraps which they really like to snuggle up on.

They grew fast and we were having their permanent home prepared for them. While we waited, the free-range adults moved into the front yard. We weren’t sure if they were keeping track of the chicks or worried about their territory being invaded by the new arrivals.

Their new home was finished enough to move them in today.

The front and back walls will give them shade, along with the covered roof. The wired sides will give them ventilation. We will be adding a roost, a hanging feeder and an automatic waterer. But, in the meantime, I moved their old home (they had actually moved back into the wire crate when they got too big to get out between the bars).

When I opened the door, it took them literally seconds to rush out to explore their new home.

They really enjoyed pecking away in the grass.

They will stay in this enclosure for quite awhile. Eventually, I will let them out during the day and hope that they return to it at night. They are busy growing some really beautiful feathers right now.

I want them to grow but hope they don’t get as big as my friend Kathy’s new birds.

She recently rescued two emu juveniles. I think I’ll stop with chickens and guinea fowl!

Published in: on August 22, 2012 at 5:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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