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.