The time had come to allow the young guineas out of their coop during the day. They have been locked in since we purchased them two months ago. They needed time to grow and also time to get attached to their coop before allowing them to roam freely. Ensuring the guineas associate their coop with nighttime safety is vital to their longevity.
The first couple of days of freedom are always adventurous for the guineas, Steve and me. Everything is new to them and they don’t quite understand how to successfully navigate the farm. On the first morning of freedom, the young guineas stayed pretty close to their coop, always having it in their line of sight. Every hour of freedom increased their confidence and stupidity.
Between the hours of 11:00 and 4:00 I needed to “rescue” the young guineas from the chicken yard five times and Steve did the honors about five more. Mind you, guineas can fly short distances and somehow managed to fly into the poultry-netted yard, but couldn’t seem to use their teeny tiny brains to fly out. Yes, leaving them in the chicken yard was an option, but the constant squawking by them as they raced from one end to the other was maddening.
Day two was no better. With confidence at an all time high, the young guineas squawked loudly at us as we approached their coop to free them. There was no tentative milling about near the coop that morning; instead they charged out of the coop, took flight and landed squarely in the chicken yard. Squawk, squawk, squawk! I swear their shrill vocals could have been more effective than waterboarding at Gitmo.
The second day of freedom also led them to the felled live oak tree in the field near the planting beds. Steve beamed with pride as he watched them learn to jump from branch to branch, playing, what seemed to be, a game of tag. Higher and higher they climbed as they explored their new playground. Yes, it was adorable until that evening when it came time to put them up for the night. Seems the youngsters figured out how to climb high into the tree, but had no idea how to get down. Squawk, squawk, squawk they yelled to Steve as he walked towards their coop with their evening treats.
We were left with one option: Steve stood near their coop shaking their treat feeder as I shimmied up the tree in an attempt to scare them down. Higher and higher they scrambled as I got closer. I kept yelling, “you dumbasses!” with every limb I scaled. Finally, at the top, I got within branch shaking distance and shook until they flew, one by one, out of the tree, squawking loudly as they descended. Success!
In my feverish attempt to get the guineas out of the tree, I failed to pay attention to how high I was climbing. Crap, I looked around to realize that I was wayyyyyyy up in the tree and must now figure out how to get myself down. I gingerly placed my feet along lower braches and knots in the trunk, working my way down slowly. I was ¾’s the way down when, while feeling with my foot for the next resting spot, I realized there was none. And then I started to slide, slowly at first, but picking up steam as I went. Yep, seconds later I lost my grip and was in a free-fall, landing squarely in a patch of torn bushes. I arose scraped, bloodied and full of thorns. It was then that I realized who the real dumbass was…….and it wasn’t the guineas.