More Adventures on the Farm!
On a recent afternoon, I sat at my computer by the dining room window watching some of the chickens and guinea hens scratching around the yard. I got up to do something else before heading outside to check for eggs in the coop again.
I was alarmed when I got outside to find all the guinea hens on the porch squawking frantically, and all the chickens, just a portion of our flock that had been there, nowhere to be seen. My stomach was in knots as I searched for the chickens. I just knew by the guineas behavior that something was wrong, and previous events contributed to my worry.
You see, just the previous day, some of the chickens had gone missing. One thing I don’t like about the cold weather is that we’re inside more, the windows are closed, and I can’t keep as close tabs on the birds. With windows open I can better hear where they are.
That day I headed outside because I hadn’t seen many of them for a bit. The guineas were right around and so were our 4 Rhode Island Reds. But the other 2/3 of the chicken flock were missing. I walked up and down the road and along the perimeter of the yard, and never could find them. My hubby was at work, so I decided if they didn’t show up, when he got home we’d both go looking.
Not long after I looked out the window to see those 8 hens marching along the dog yard fence, headed to the front of the house. I opened the door and yelled “Where have you been?!”. Just like the rest of the crew around here, no one was telling.
The next day my hubby was home and once again those same chickens disappeared. This time hubby was out working in the yard, and usually the girls like to stick close to us when we’re outside, and nose in on whatever we’re doing.
After a bit, I asked him if he’d seen them and he hadn’t, so he went looking. When he came back a while later, he let me know that those birds were up at our neighbor’s house! As if that’s not bad enough, our neighbor told him that she had seen a hawk take a dive at them, but luckily only came away with a couple tail feathers. The girls were now hiding around our neighbor’s property, under bushes and in her shed. He decided to leave them there and let them chill out for a bit.
Now we’re back to where I started….when I was sitting at the table watching them that next day, I noticed that three of the girls had come home from the neighbors. I knew exactly how many that were there, and when I did finally go outside and find the guineas upset, I started to look around and found just 3 chickens hiding under the bush next to the porch.
The guinea hens did not let up their squawking like they often do when I speak to them, and that was why I was sure something was wrong. I went in to wake my hubby from his nap, and he came outside to try to help find the rest of the flock.
All we could figure was that hawk must have found its way to our house and taken another dive at the chickens, even though I never saw or heard anything, and that sent the girls in to hiding and put the guineas on high alert. We didn’t see any signs of extra feathers or anything else to indicate anyone had been attacked (there’s always feathers around the yard, so we couldn’t be 100% sure though!).
Hubby headed up to the neighbors to see if any of the birds were still there. He had a bag of their favorite treats, dried mealworms*, and was able to lure them home with those – 5 birds, so we were still missing 4. Eventually 2 showed back up, and we found 2 more hiding in one of our brush piles. We tried to get everyone in the coop with the worms, but they were too nervous still to cooperate with that (just like a scared dog who won’t take a treat). We did more than one head count to be sure we had everyone back around. We had been outside for quite a while, and never saw any sign of a hawk or anything else, so we decided to open the coop and let the ones we had gotten in back out. It was getting close to dusk by then anyway, when they’d all go in on their own.
I feel pretty sure that our guinea hens did their job, and scared that hawk away! After all, they were standing out in the open even though the hens had scattered to hide, and that hawk never came back to take a swipe at them. (We also feel hopeful that this was just a migrating hawk passing through).
Something else good came out of this, other than learning that our guineas truly are the watch dogs we were told they would be. Since that day, over a week ago, all the hens have stayed closer to home, and for the most part, they are all sticking together too.
I guess they’ve realized that there’s safety in numbers, and maybe also that sticking around their home with the guinea hens on watch might be a good idea as well. They’ve all been spending more time under and around the porch and in the barn and garage too. I hope they continue to remember that home is not only where the heart is, but often the safest place to be.
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Auntie Sheryl says
I love that picture of Harry! Have you named all of the birds? Thank goodness they were all safe! 🙂
I’d named the guineas, but since figuring out some were males, I had to revise some names. I can’t tell the white ones apart, but I think they’re both males and need new names. But Harry, who I know is a male, tends to go off by himself more, so I can tell him apart.
I am glad that all of the hens were okay. That must have been very scary while they were missing. I hope that the hawk is gone, gone, gone. Who knew that birds would need so much attention?
I sure didn’t! I also had no idea I’d get so attached to them! We haven’t seen any sign of the hawk, so I really do think he was just migrating through.
Jackie Bouchard says
Wow, that’s so interesting that you have “watch hens”. Good job, girls! Glad nobody got carried off! We have “our” hawks in our ‘hood that we love to watch, but I know there’s a neighbor who has hens and she has to keep an eye out for him!
It is so cool to see those birds, I’ve always loved watching them too. We had one hanging around in the spring/summer, and kept an eye on it, but it never went after the birds then. We have other deterrents around the yard that hopefully keep them from coming closer (and I had to replace a lot of the reflective tape that had blown down).
The Island Cats says
That’s kinda scary. Thank cod for the guinea hens. We sure hope that hawk stays away.
There has been no sign of him since, thank goodness.
Brian Frum says
They sure did there job well and hopefully the hawk will spread the word that it’s too noisy at your place!
That’s the plan!! 🙂
Sand spring Chesapeake says
Phew so glad No one got hurt and all came home. Those guineas are great!!
I am SO glad we got them!!
caren gittleman says
Well done Guinea Hens! I am sooo glad this had a happy ending!
Shadow and Ducky's Mom says
I didn’t realize – like other folks – that guineas were watch birds. I think Harry and Friends earned an extra treat for their squawking!
Like Jodi, I had to laugh at you asking the chickens where they’d been. I know I’d have done the same thing! When Ducky’s behind one of the utility buildings while I’m looking for her, I always yell out “Ducky! Where are you?!” If she ever yells back at me, I’ll know I’m in trouble! 🙂
Ha ha….I talk to all of my animals. Yup, the day they talk back, we’re all in trouble! 🙂
Melissa K. Clinton says
Isn’t that the “birds of a feather” thing? LOL! I love seeing hawks sitting and watching for things but I wouldn’t be so happy if they were watching my chickens. Stay safe chicks!
We had a hawk that was around a lot during the summer, but it never went after the chickens. This one, that was most likely migrating, must have been hungry from all of the traveling! 🙂
Jodi Stone says
I would have been a nervous wreck! What were those chickens thinking? Also, I had to laugh at you asking them where they’d been. I’m sure I would have done the same thing. LOL
Glad it turned out well, and hope the chickens have learned their lesson.
We talk to our dogs – and cats – so why not chickens, right? 🙂
So far, so good, they are still sticking close to home!
Mary Hone says
You have adventurous chickens. We found a chicken outside the RV, in the yard the other day. (we are staying in the in laws driveway) I walked right up to her, and picked her up. She followed me, and I left her alone for a bit. It was getting dark though and I knew she would want to roost. I took her to the backyard, and put her on the porch swing but she followed me back to the RV. I picked her up and put her on the bar that runs under our slide out. She spent the night there. Before it got light, I got her and put her in the garage bathroom. Then later I took her to my friend who has chickens. She is really tame, and they are getting eggs from her. She had a cut on her back and my friend fixed her up. I wish I could have kept her.
I have heard so many stories about chickens wandering into someone’s yard and staying! In fact, I think it’s one of our readers here who started her chicken keeping that way!
I’m glad you found a good place for that one too, though too bad you couldn’t have yourself. It has really amazed me what social creatures chickens are!
Da DB Boyz says
Wow, what an adventure! We had never heard that guinnea hens were watch dogs either!
So glad everyone found their way back home safe and sound!
Me too!!! 🙂
Well, chickens can learn too. Hopefully yours have.
I never knew guinea fowl were watch birds. For a while I was wondering if you’d need to adopt a livestock guardian dog who likes to sleep with his charges. But it seems like the guineas have got this!
Oooh, also sounds like you have some great neighbors. Good idea to let the chickens recover from a scare under the bushes.
Our neighbor was so great about having the chickens in her yard! She didn’t mind at all.
Their ability to guard the yard was one of the reasons we got the guineas, though someday we still might consider a guardian dog. Luke does a pretty good job at times, when he’s outside, not indoors lounging on the couch. 🙂
The Daily Pip says
I would be nervous wreck counting all the chickens all the time. Glad everyone is safe and sound. So the Guinea hens really scare off the hawks? That’s so interesting.
We live in suburbia, but still see hawks frequently because we are not far from the river (where I think is where they mostly hunt or fish)
Hopefully the guinea hens can scare off other predators too. That was part of the reason we got them. Others get roosters to protect the flock but that can cause other issues. They can be mean sometimes, plus there’s that early morning crowing thing. 🙂
Oh boy. Mom would be a wreck counting chickens all the time. I think if we had free range birds, it would still be a cage, just a big part of the yard with a fence and a cover to keep them from leaving! Glad everyone is okay.
I had the same thought….but the hubby wouldn’t go for it. I do see how happy they are completely free ranging, so it is tough to think of fencing them in at all.
well done Harry&crew…. one of our hens disapperead via hawk-airforce and we pondered to cover the whole pen with chicken wire… but that was not the best idea, so we switched to brahmas … they are too big for berds of prey ;O)
Now that’s a good idea – seems much easier than all that chicken wire!