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 2 – Boys Will Be Boys
The male guinea fowl know how to put on a show; their antics can be so amusing. I’ve mentioned that our lone female, Henrietta, is busy being an adult, laying eggs and sitting on her nest. The boys, especially her mate, Pumpkin Pied, have been spending most of their days now keeping an eye on her nest and protecting the area. There are times, however, when they just want to be young, wild, and free, and that can get a bit out of control. It starts with the two white boys, Prince and Whitey, chasing each other around. Sometimes Harry or Pumpkin get involved too, and you’ll see Harry try to in the video below.
So now not only do we have birds flying around and fighting outside, I’ve got a dog running from doors to windows, yipping and crying, because he wants out! It gets a bit crazy, as you can imagine! In the photos below, the white boys had been playing right after we’d had a lot of rain, and you can see how dirty they got! I swear, they are just like little boys!
Those boys have another little game they play, and we’re still trying to figure out what it’s about. They sometimes hunch down, get into kind of a huddle, and push against each other. Sometimes it will escalate into jumping on top of each other, but mostly they just move around in that odd position. It really is hysterical; and you can see just some of the reasons we enjoy these birds so much (I am going to try to get a video of that silliness too).
As a follow-up to Story 1 about Harry Who and the loss of his love, we’ve had an interesting turn of events this last week. While all of the boys keep an eye on the nest, Pumpkin was always the closest one to it, and he was often standing by the nest even when the others had gone off to eat or play. Now, oddly, Harry seems to have taken over that role! He is often the one closest to the nest, and the one who is there while the others aren’t. It was my impression that the guineas would mate for life, but now I’m starting to wonder if Harry is taking over for Pumpkin as Henrietta’s beau and protector!
Perhaps Henrietta decided Harry’s more serious personality is better suited for being a father. We’ll keep you posted, so stay tuned! I plan to tell the whole story of Henrietta’s nesting, but I’m just waiting to see how it all plays out. If she’s going to hatch any eggs it should be soon. Will she hatch eggs? Will she raise her young (most information I’ve read says guineas are not good mothers and their young may not survive)? Will we step in and get the keets and raise them in a brooder until we can – hopefully – sell them? Will we even be able to catch them?
Stay tuned for Story 3 to find all that out!