We all know that I have a love/hate thing going with the guinea fowl, but the longer we have them the more intrigued I become. They become more homely by the day; I swear they grow another appendage off of their nasty little heads every other day. And they still scurry around in a manic fashion that freaks the crap out of me. Their beady little eyes still dart back and forth menacingly and they seem to have little brain capacity. With all of that said, and maybe I have been living in the country too long, but these birds are actually incredibly entertaining!
The guineas are fiercely territorial and stick together like glue. If any of the flock stray even a few feet, the rest make the most ear-piercing squawk. If the flock senses danger, they will emit the same high-pitched vocals. It is loud, frenzied and most certainly gets everyone’s attention. It has become my “white” noise here on the farm.
A couple of weeks ago a kitten, which looks to be a few months old, adopted us. At first, Steve was pretty nervous about the cat going after the guinea, but their first encounter set his mind to rest. The cat, which I affectionately refer to as “flea bag”, stalked the guineas as they were feeding in the field. That ugly mob of fowl started squawking, and on their gnarly little legs, maneuvered in a flash, forming a circle around Flea Bag and began closing in, squawking like a pack of rabid hyenas. It took all of the cat’s cunning to dash for the nearest tree. From that first day, the guinea make a daily sporting event out of finding the cat and chasing it up a tree; better than television, I promise.
The guinea fowl are instinctively programmed to stay within a specific range so we chose their coop site carefully. But let’s face it; judging by the size of their teeny tiny heads in relation to their big round bodies, their brains cannot be very big, so wandering off is inevitable. Yesterday, we couldn’t locate them as sundown was approaching. They had somehow managed to make their way under the neighbors barbed wire fence and ended up with the cows…. and then couldn’t figure out how to get out. As we approached the neighbors pasture all was quiet until they saw us and then all hell broke loose and the panicked squawks began….”squawk, squawk, over here! Over here! Squawk, squawk! We are such dumb asses that we are stuck in here and can’t find the opening. Squawk, squawk, save us, save us! Squawk, squawk.” (okay, I occasionally…… ummm, make that daily, pretend that I know what they are screaming and then I repeat it in a frenzied voice).
It took a half an hour jockeying through mounds of fire ants to herd those squawking rodents back to the hole in the fence and chase them onto our property. When they reached the clearing, I swear they were squawking, “I see it! We made it home! OMG, that was the scariest day ever!” And as the flock of guinea fowl scurried past the chickens, which chose to spend their day safely near their coop, the guineas seemed to be exasperated as they squawked their cautionary tale about wandering too far from home.
Honestly, this is how I spend a large portion of my day; I watch the animals as I go about my work. This is farm life. If this is insanity, sign me up.