Life just got a whole lot easier on the farm with all birds, young and old, chicken and guinea fowl, living together in (mostly) peace! We had the “mini-guineas”, now 11 weeks old, and the pullets, now 18 weeks old, together for a while. It seems the chickens don’t turn into “mean girls” until they’re older! It’s said it’s best to wait until everyone is the same size, but we got impatient and decided to give it a try anyway, since the guineas had been inside the coop, in their dog crate, for several weeks. They were outgrowing it and we could barely keep up with keeping it clean for them when they were constantly dumping their food and water.
They could only go out of their cage when the older chickens were out free-ranging, which is usually for a few hours in the afternoon/evening.
They were easily flying up onto the roosts, so we felt like they knew how to get away from the big girls if they needed to.
The older birds do pick on the younger ones still a bit, but the younger ones are learning to get away, and there are no serious fights. Now with the dog crate out the coop is cleaner, roomier, and there are less feeders and waterers to keep full. The only thing that is a little work is getting the “guinea boys” out in the morning without everyone getting out. It used to be easier, but now they are pretty fascinated with the young ones, and not so anxious to go out!
The guinea boys free range all day, but spend a lot of time right next to the coop and run! We will probably try letting the young guineas join them for at least the afternoon as soon as the Dadz and I get some time where we can both be around to keep a close eye on things.
The pullets have done some free-ranging, but not a lot yet. Soon we’ll have everyone out together and that will be fun and make life easier as well hopefully; though we have to remain diligent. Luckily things have been quiet on the predator front lately – knock wood.
In other good news, some of the pullets have started to lay eggs! We can tell, because their first eggs are quite small.
We know one of the pullets laying is our Auracana, Kermie, and we had thought she would lay blue or green eggs. Apparently, that’s not always true, and hers are a pale cream color. We hope our other Auracana might give us a colored egg, but we’ll see. We’re not sure which of the others is laying right now, since we haven’t caught one in the nesting box yet.
So I’m finally getting a bit of that down time I was hoping for! A little harvesting still goes on in the garden, but other than waiting for clean-up time and preparing it for the spring, there’s not a lot to do. I am thankful to be getting a bit of a break right now, and to be able to spend more time just enjoying our birds and being outdoors in the cool autumn weather!
Jodi Stone says
I bet that takes a whole bunch of pressure off, having them all integrated. Glad you are getting some ‘down’ time too. We all need that.
I am really enjoying having more time to get some other things done, and to relax a bit too!
I’m glad that you’re getting a bit of downtime! It sounds like things are much easier now that everyone’s able to spend time together. That picture of the eggs is fascinating–I can’t believe how much bigger the full grown chicken eggs are!
That was one thing we didn’t know when we first got chickens….that they lay little eggs to start with!! I can’t remember now from last year how long it took for them to get to normal size, but at least we are starting to get more little ones anyway!
Sand spring chesapeake says
Looks like they all are doing great. I love the guinea ugly heads.
They give them character, right? 🙂
You were so patient in bringing about the integration. Congrats on life being a little easier now!
Patience does not come easy to us either, but we’d rather take our time and do it right than to have to do it all over again, or have anyone get hurt!
Lynn LaChance says
So glad the integration has gone well, Jan! All looks great! So, now that things are quieter, Shannon wants to know if you might want a couple of donkeys for the farm?
LOL…I think I’ll enjoy my break for a while longer before adding anything new!!
Ellen Pilch says
I am glad things are working out with them together. I guess Grandma Samantha gets a break 🙂
She’s definitely in retirement mode now!
Comedy Plus says
This post made me smile. When I was growing up we had chickens too. Being on a farm and all. Brought back memories.
Have a fabulous Thankful Thursday. ♥
I always wish I had grown up on a farm. Sometimes it takes a long time to finally make dreams come true! ♥
LLB in Our Backyard says
You deserve a bit of down time :-). Enjoy!!
Thank you, I will!!
Melissa Clinton says
I am glad the birds are all getting along for now! It’d be awesome to eat fresh eggs each morning. ☺
It absolutely is! My hubby doesn’t eat breakfast though, so he really misses out! 🙂
Christine Caplan says
Oh this is such a great post – so I love that you can run them all together. I just let the neighbor’s babies out of their playpen as I put them in quarantine for 72 hours and everyone seems fine. The bigger girls seem to peck them when it’s appropriate so hoping it’ll stay that way! They’re still kind of sticking to their playpen area of the barn and aren’t exploring as much as I was hoping on day 1 but I think that’s ok for now! it’s like a science project. 🙂
It’s definitely a trial and error kind of thing! When we first started letting the young birds out of the coop and then the run, it sometimes took them several days before they’d even venture out! The pullets still stick mostly close to their home, which is fine with me….when they venture further I have to keep going and finding them. The weeds are so tall in areas of the yard they can be pretty well hidden!
Looks like you’ve got this whole “farming” thing down to a science. So happy to be able to keep up with everything. Continue living your dream.
Thank you! We’re still learning things as we go – but we’re definitely making lots of progress!
All Things Collie says
That seems like a lot of eggs to collect, with so many feathered friends. They must keep you so busy! A friend with collies tried to raise guineas because she read they were great at keeping the property free from ticks. Unfortunately, some critter, a fox or raccoon got most of them.
Oh no, that is so sad! We lost two guineas to a fox, but overall they seem a little more safe from predators, because they can fly better than the chickens. Maybe your friend only had a small number? It seems they do better when they stay in a big group.
Nice to have all the birds together. The kennel thing would be a serious mess I’m sure!
If we do this again next year, we’re going to come up with a better plan!
Monika & Sam 🐾 says
Their heads may be morphing into something other than pretty, but their feathers are soooo beautiful. Congrats on the integration. Life should be a little easier for you, just in time for the cooler autumn weather. 😇
Yes, they are pretty birds, and their heads just make them more interesting. 🙂
Autumn is my favorite season, so it will be nice to have a little more time to enjoy that – longer walks and just taking in the pretty colors!
It’s facinating to see them all. Enjoy your ‘easy’ time while you can!
Before we know it, snow will be on it’s way, and there will be lots to do to get ready for that!!
Mary Hone says
Everyone looks happy, and healthy. And easier for you is always a good thing.
I have nothing against hard work, but sometimes you just need a break! 🙂
Brian Frum says
They are so fun to see and we love that photobombing Luke! Thanks for joining the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!
Thank you for giving us reason to remember the things to be thankful for!
Shadow's & Ducky's Mom says
Hurray for Easier!!! Glad to hear you’re finally getting a break! I bet Luke is happy about it, too! We’re having intermittent showers today, so I might be putting Ducky on the treadmill a bit more often during the day. I think I’ll put Shadow on it, too. Have a great day!
Yes, Luke doesn’t have to be quite so patient when waiting for his breakfast or his walk now! I’ve had a little more time to work with him on his new trick too, which we’ll be sharing in next month’s Trick or Treat hop.
We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately, but some nice weather in between at least. Yesterday was a perfect autumn day here!