We first decided to add guinea hens to our flock last summer, and I wrote about some of the reasons we did so in our Post “First Line of Defense – Guinea Fowl”. One reason I didn’t list was unexpected for us, and it has turned out to be the most important one – they are very entertaining! While they can be a lot of work – they are messy when raising them in the brooder, impossible to catch, and some evenings they can be difficult about going into the coop (my hubby is best at that job, they will often follow him right in); we feel they’re worth it. Not only do they do their jobs of alerting us to predators and eating bugs, they are fun! I recently said that I had a few stories to tell about these crazy birds, so I wanted to start a series of some of those different tales.
Story 1 – The Sad but Hopeful Tale of Harry Who
Regular readers first met guinea hen Harry last year when I told about our Lab mix Luke attacking him. Harry survived that attack, healing well where Luke pulled his feathers out. But Harry has had more troubles in his short life too. In the spring, he paired up with our lavender girl, Violet, and they were the cutest couple.
Before any pairing off happened for mating, the flock would almost always stick together, and they were safer that way. When Violet and Harry hooked up, they wandered off too much on their own and we think that’s how a fox caught Violet unaware, and poor Harry was left alone. For some time, he would wander the yard calling, and I know he was looking for her. In time he seemed to accept that she wasn’t coming back, but he was still often seen alone instead of with the rest of the flock.
It’s ironic that Luke attacked Harry, I think (and I still think he just wants to play, but if that’s what he’s doing, he’s way too rough!!), because they often remind me of each other. Harry is timid and reactive just like Luke (though in truth all our guineas can be that way, Harry just seems more so; that’s part of what led to Luke attacking him), and he is prone to going off on his own. If he’s separated from the rest of the flock, we will usually find him in front of this cellar window. It seems to be his “safe place” just like Luke’s safe place is our bedroom closet. I don’t know if he can see his reflection in the window, or if he likes that spot because sometimes he and Violet hung out there.
Our lone female, Henrietta, has paired off with Pumpkin Pied, and the two white boys, Prince and Whitey, are often seen playing together (kind of roughly at times but that is another story to tell), and Harry might be with them, but he doesn’t often get involved. He sometimes looks like the poor child left on the outside, ignored.
It’s been a bit of a sad life for poor Harry in his first year. He sometimes seems more serious and mature than those other boys, like an old bird soul. Guineas only lay eggs for a few months, so I think and hope that once Henrietta is done nesting, the pack will be back together more, and it will be stronger with 6 more members who will join when they are old enough. I also hope that we will have some females in that 6, and that maybe Harry can find himself a new girlfriend next spring. 😊
Oh, and why do I call him Harry Who? He was originally Harriet before we figured out he was a male, and then I took to calling him “Harry Houdini”. That soon got shortened to Harry Who! I don’t know why, but I feel like that fits him.
Jodi Stone says
Poor Harry. Hopefully he will find a new mate, and he will be happy again.
He seems to be enjoying hanging out with the other boys again for now, so we think he’s doing OK. 🙂
I love Harry Who now! He does sound like an old soul. Like you, I hope that he finds a new girlfriend who can make him smile again.
We will be sure to keep you posted!! ♥
It’s interesting how the guineas (and all animals) have a social structure (friends, attachments, cliques) just like us!
It really has been fascinating watching them and how they interact with each other, and with us as well!
Harry sounds like a real trooper, but I feel bad for him that he grieves Violet so much. There love must have been strong!
They were such a cute couple! They were the first to pair off. Henrietta took far longer to choose her beau. It must have been love at first sight for Harry and Violet. 🙂
Ellen Pilch says
Poor Harry, that is sad.
I wonder if he really grieves, or if it’s just me putting my sad human emotions on him. :\
sand spring chesapeakes says
awe Harry you poor guy, you are a trooper. Lovely photos.
That is a tragic story of love. Poor Harry. Maybe another female will catch his feathers one day.
It will sure be interesting to find out how many of our 6 are females, and what his chances will be! 🙂
The Island Cats says
Harry sure is handsome. It’s sad that he lost his love….we purr there is another for him….
Or maybe he’ll get used to the bachelor life and come to enjoy it. 🙂
dor atras do joelho says
Oh poor Harry!
M. K. Clinton says
Well, my heart is broken for Harry and his lost love. I didn’t realize he was still grieving. Hopefully, some young chick will spark his fancy soon. ♥
We hope so! In the meantime, he does seem to be spending a bit more time with the pack lately.
Monika & Sam 🐾 says
We hope Harry Who finds true love (or at least companionship) with one of the newbies. I can see why you want to keep these guys. So entertaining!
We had no idea what we were really getting into, but we would do it all over again for sure!!
Mary Hone says
Hopefully he will find true love in the next batch of little ones. They are entertaining though. My moms hubby had a few, and they were fun to watch.
There is really never a dull moment with them around!
Ruby and Kristin says
Oh poor Harry! I hope he finds a new girlfriend next spring. That’s so sad that he was calling after Violet after she was gone. Interesting about Harry and Luke sharing some qualities as well. I have never thought of a hen (or any kind of bird) being reactive.
Oh, if you met a guinea hen, or even some chickens, you would think differently about that! There’s a reason they call scared people “chicken”. LOL
Shadow's and Ducky's Mom says
Aw, poor Harry Who. He misses his girl, Violet. They didn’t have 11 years together, like Callie and Shadow, but they were every bit a couple. Hopefully, one of those six new keets is a female that will cheer him up. I love the story behind his name, too!!
We still miss Violet too. She was unique not just in coloring but in personality too. 🙁
Brian Frum says
Poor Harry has sure had it tough but we’re so glad he’s still with you and hopefully he will find his happy soon.
We are so glad he’s still with us too, and we think he will find his new place in time.
we love harry who… and we love the story of his name… they are very smart and for me the ultimate n°1 … wish I could have a couple too…
I wish you could too! They really are such awesome birds!