Friday, September 24, 2010

The Skinny on the Guineas

Glenn and I moved the guinea fowl over to their new roost several weeks ago. We let the guineas get used to their new home, then decided it was time to let them see the world. Teaching the guineas how to leave the roost and fly back in the evening has been a patience-testing experiment.

First, we had to get the guineas to leave the roost. Glenn opened the doors and expected them to take flight right away. The first day, only two guineas ventured outside to the perch, then quickly retreated. Oliver decided to give them a lesson about the joy of flying. The guineas were not impressed and stayed inside.

On day two, all of the guineas finally decided to go outside and check out the view. We waited quietly under a tree until finally, all at once, they took to flight. I was happy I had the camera ready to capture their first moments in the air.

Once the guineas were out, the next big challenge was figuring out how to get them back into the roost. Glenn and Oliver spent many hours trying to find the easiest way to get the guineas back inside. In the picture below, Glenn and Oliver have herded the guineas under the roost and are contemplating their next move. The local wild turkeys stopped by to watch the action.

Glenn thought trapping them with a bird net and putting them back one by one would be a good idea. Oliver and Glenn expertly herded the birds into the net. Oliver's bird herding skills are truly remarkable (if only school tested him on THAT ability rather than his ability to pick out the letter "P").

Glenn decided herding the guineas into nets was too stressful for the birds, so he has tried many other methods over the past three weeks. On various evenings you could find Glenn and Grammy up in the hills with headlamps, Glenn and Oliver patiently sitting under the roost, or me and Pearl, covered in baby poop, yelling at the guineas to just fly inside already! One day we even had Glenn, Grammy, Pop and three boys in capes all trying to help the guineas get back to the roost.

The guinea fowl might be time consuming, but they are definitely intriguing creatures. Once they learn how to roost on their own, I'm sure we will feel better about all the hours we have spent outside with them. Pearl found them so interesting she had to pop her head out of the Moby to watch as I took pictures. Lotta also finds them fascinating. We won't tell her how delicious we heard they are.


  1. soooo.... how crazy loud are those guineas anyways? Ive been thinking of getting some myself but i dont know if i can handle their noise. lol!

    (btw.... in case your thinking to yourself... who the heck is this person, i "know" you from SLOCM. lol!)

  2. Several points to be made here... First of all, your page format is rocking my world so I'm trying to adjust and I think I like it! Is that your own produce? Secondly, how is Pearl getting so much bigger already before I get to see her!!! Wow! Thirdly, love the pics of Oli jumping! He's so full of life! Fourthly, can't wait to visit and see everyone- maybe within a monthish?

  3. Anon-They are loud at times. It feels a little bit like we are at the zoo when they start screaming. Did I remove bees from your neighbor's property?

    1. That is a picture of our harvest from last year (with Oli's arm). The background is a bit busy.
    2. Pearl is getting bigger, but more fun!
    3. Thanks
    4. Can't wait for your visit!

  4. no, you didnt remove bee's from us but ive send a couple people your way who needed hives removed. You have so many amazing things happening on your little homestead. My husband and i have been working on a few of the same things as well and hope to someday add bee's to the mix.

  5. So, why exactly do you guys want these Guines birds? Are they for eating or eggs or just for the challenge?

    I never knew fowl had to be "trained" to go in and out of a coop...I think I'd just stick with chickens - they know what to do ;-) do you still have regular chickens? Haven't heard any chicken stories lately.

    I can't believe how big Pearl's getting and you are so casual about it - no fanatic new baby stories, just live as usual, only with one more!

    Take care and have a great week!
    Doris and Gizzy!

  6. Doris,
    They eat lots of bugs and scare away snakes. We have had a few rattle snakes in the garden and guineas make a good deterrent!