We rely on our guinea fowl. They are our first defense against pests that eat our crops. We follow all organic practices here at HEF, so having these incredible bug eaters on the property really helps to keep our losses down. Most farmers spray pesticides and herbicides on crops to keep weeds and invasive bugs at bay, but that goes against everything in which we believe, so guineas are critical for a successful harvest.
As many of you know, our guinea flock went from a healthy number of 12 down to 2 in just a few days, due to a predator. Guineas are most comfortable in a group so the dwindled number has been a difficult adjustment for the remaining couple. For several days following the carnage, the two of them seemed to wander in an aimless circle close to their coop.
We have purchased eleven young guineas, but they must remain in the coop until they are more mature and until they fully understand that the coop is their home and to be returned to at dusk every night, otherwise they will sleep in the trees and meet the same fate as the freaked out guineas of last month. Until sometime in December, the two adult guineas must remain on their own, making due, during the daylight hours.
It has been interesting to watch the two remaining guineas adapt. Since they crave companionship and their compatriots are deceased, they have adopted us, the dog and all the other birds on the farm to keep them company.
When let out of their coop first thing in the morning they make a beeline to the house where they sit…..and poop on our bedroom deck. Not exactly the bonding experience I would prefer, but I seem to have no choice. At about 10:00, they wander out to the turkey pasture, munching on bugs as they make their way. They spend a couple of hours nestled up to the poultry netting laying right next to their new giant friends. They dust bathe with them before heading over to the chicken yard at noon, where they share a laugh and some quality time with the 45 laying hens. On occasion I find them perched on the roost right along with the chickens and have to chase them out of the coop. By 3:00 I can find them peering into their own coop as they watch the young guineas scamper about. They watch over them until it is time for us to do our evening chores. They wander over to Rebel and squawk at him until he moves out of the way so they can drink out of his water bowl. Then they follow me and Steve from place to place to place until our final chore, which is to put them in for the night.
Tomorrow it will unfold the exact same way. Who needs a watch when the time of day is told by two lonely guineas?