My prediction that having our guinea hens finally allowed to free range would up the drama factor around here has turned out to be mostly true. So far, they are not any more dramatic than the chickens, they’ve just increased the volume around here.
They’ve also increased the entertainment factor. I don’t have to look far to figure out why I don’t get much done some days. I spend a lot of time bird watching, and we’re not talking wild birds!
It was a process to get them out of their separate cage inside the coop and integrated with the chickens so they could be outside their cage freely. We tried one time, and one of the chickens was pecking at them, so we decided it was too soon. We waited another week and it went better. We left their cage inside the coop and open for a time, until we knew they weren’t using it anymore. It gave them a place to feel safe, but eventually they decided they preferred to roost in the coop.
The next step was that we left both doors of the coop open and let them decide when they wanted to come out. It took some time. The first time they finally came out was a rainy day and they looked so wet and miserable we herded them back inside the coop and waited for a sunny day to try again.
Making the decision to have them in the coop to start with was perfect. They still consider it their safe place and sometimes go back in during the day. Most importantly, they go inside in the evenings. There was only one night that they didn’t, and we have learned how to herd them, which is fun, and we can mostly get them to go where we want them to (it does take some time though!). We started the herding technique to get them back in their cage inside the coop and I’m so glad we did!
They stayed close to the coop for the first few days, and in time started to wander further and further away, sometimes following the chickens to find new places to explore. They aren’t flying a lot yet, though one did find its way into the dog pen the other morning! Luckily Cricket was the only one outside and though she’s interested in them, she doesn’t bother them.
Luke is a bit too interested in them, so we need to be careful now. In time he seems to be getting more used to them, like he did the chickens, and he may just be having some fun with them too. It’s giving me good opportunities to work with him on some of his cues, and he’s been doing very well at leaving them alone when he’s told.
In many ways, the guineas are like the chickens. They enjoy taking dust baths, and just cruising around the yard pecking at the ground and eating bugs. They don’t seem to like the fruits and veggies as much as the chickens though (we’ve found the chickens are crazy for melons and tomatoes). As far as we know, they won’t be laying eggs until next spring possibly, and they won’t do it in the coop like the chickens (who still occasionally lay one elsewhere too). Though they’d been mostly skittish of us so far, they now come running towards us sometimes along with the chickens, so I think we’re growing on them.
We don’t even know which sex some of them are! We have now figured out that the lavender one who we call “Violet”, is a female, along with one of the pearl gray ones (Harriet). Females supposedly are the only ones who can do a two-syllable call that many people equate to “buck-wheat”, though initially we found it a stretch to interpret it to those two words. Judge for yourself in the video below. This video was shot one of the first times they were out and about. At that time, Violet was the only one doing the “buck-wheat” call, and she seemed to be leading the pack. More recently, she and Harriet had been squabbling and I think they were having a power struggle.
So far, the guineas stick quite close together for the most part, as seen in the videos (other than the first ones, where “Betty White” got left behind in the coop). The chickens did at first too, but they are often now spread far and wide and often alone. I have a feeling the guineas will always stick together though. In this final video, you get to hear some of their sweeter songs.
It does sound fascinating and very entertaining! It must be fun to be starting something so totally new and unknown. Keep us posted 🙂
Will do! They are not even full grown yet so I’m sure there’s lots more entertainment to come as they grow and change. It really is fun, and such a learning experience!
GROOVY GOLDENDOODLES says
Have mercy! I would have had no idea such shananegins could go on with guineas and chickens!
I didn’t either, but I’m sure learning a lot these days! 🙂
Sand spring Chesapeake says
Love them and the great pictures you took of them.
You know, I never understood why talkative women are called hens … but it hit me in the middle of this post. I never said I was smart! I envy you … even though my patience wears thin at times with just two cats!
Oh, that’s one I hadn’t thought about either – LOL! Someone asked us if we wanted some barn cats now, and I told them I think we need to wait on that one; I am a little overwhelmed with it all at times! Nothing new until next spring at the soonest. 🙂
They are so fun! I wish my phone wouldn’t have been upstairs on the charger because Rye was so interested in the buck wheat video. I’ll have to replay it for her when my phone is handy so I can send you a video 😉
I’d love to see it!! It’s been fun watching the dogs as they get used to having them out there. They love to run along the fence with them, and when they get noisy, Luke has to go check on them!
caren gittleman says
so cute!! They sure have a lot to say!
They seemingly never run out….LOL!
I loved hearing the guinea hens’ “buckwheat”! I never heard them make sounds before. I love how they move in a pack together, what cuties! 🙂
It really is cute how they move together, isn’t it? They make so many different sounds, but the chickens still might have them beat. Once in a while we’ll be in the house and hear them come up with something new, and we’ll be like “what the heck was that??”. LOL
The Island Cats says
We bet those hens are fun to watch. We wonder if we could convince the mom to get us a couple. Probably not….
Too bad….I promise they would keep you entertained; it would be a whole new level of “Bird TV”!
Crystal Stewart says
Looks like they just love their dust baths and they love sticking together. do they make a noise or fly? I really don’t know much about birds but my family had a duck once.
You can hear their different noises in the videos above. They do fly, but right now they stick pretty close to the ground. I’ve seen photos of some up on rooftops though, so it should be interesting when they get older!
Brian Frum says
Those sure would be entertaining to watch and they really are cute!
Mary Hone says
You have some cool looking ones. I always thought they were all the same. I’m so glad you are enjoying your farm.
I actually thought they were all the same too until we went to get our chicks, and discovered we had lots of choices!
The Daily Pip says
They are so cute! I love how they stick together in the videos. Also, interesting to read about how they are starting to integrate with the chickens. You mentioned that they “aren’t flying yet” so does that mean they eventually will? Chickens don’t fly, do they? Sorry for the silly questions. I don’t know much about them.
I don’t mind the questions at all! Chickens do fly, but they don’t get a lot of height, and they’re not graceful at all about it! The high roost in the coop is probably about 4 feet off the ground, but they usually walk up some logs we put in there to get up there (though often fly off). The guineas will be able to go much higher than that though, but right now they stick close to the ground too. I’ve seen photos of them on top of rooftops, and supposedly they like to roost in trees too, but I guess they’ll have to get older before they can go that high.
Shadow and Ducky's Mom says
One thing’s for sure: you’ll never be lacking entertainment between chickens, guineas, Cricket, and Luke! And hopefully Samantha at least once in a while.
Hubby and I have decided that the only reason Ducky barks – or continues long after the reason is gone – is simply that she likes to hear herself “talk”. She’s our “chatterbox”. Maybe it’s the same with your guineas. 😉😂❤️
You could be right about that!! 🙂
We’re certainly highly entertained around here. Samantha seems to think her job is more to keep us mentally challenged on how to keep her eating and using her litterbox. LOL!
Roby Sweet says
Sounds like never a dull moment! Those Guineas do have a lot to say, don’t they? 🙂
That’s for sure!! When things go quiet in the yard, like right now while I’m sitting here, I start to get worried! LOL
Interesting. We have absolutely no idea about chickens or guinea fowl. Enjoy them.
It’s certainly a big learning process for us. I keep busy doing research on the internet for sure, but I enjoy that part of it too!
they are amazing… the clowns of the berd-world :o) I love them … my uncle had them always to protect his peacocks from berds of prey… they can chase away any intruder with their funny noises ;o)
I really wasn’t sure what to expect with them, but I have come to love them too! They are definitely clowns!