These are guineas. The originate from Africa but have become quite common to have here. I wanted to add some flavor to my flock so on one excursion to Collinsville Trade Day in Alabama I picked up six keets (chicks). One died unfortunately soon after I had them. The other five thrived. You have to keep them penned up for quite a while or they will wander off never to be seen again. With these growing up here from keets I was pretty sure they would stick around. They did, BUT, I have ended up with four boys and one girl. Not a good ratio. Guineas are not like chickens...the lady will choose one mate and the others just have to get over it.
I was told that they may begin to pick on the chickens. Well, they don't pick on the roosters, but they have run off about ten of my girls to the other side of the house where Derby resides. They pull feathers and chase them. You know I can't have that. My girls are top priority around here.
A neighbor stopped in to get some eggs day before yesterday and I asked her if she would like to have a couple of my male guineas. She was delighted and said she just loved guineas. It reminded her of some way back times at her aunts house when they would go over and have drop biscuits and eggs. She always associates the sounds that a guinea makes with good memories. I told her I would catch two and bring them over the next day.
Now you would think I was killing them when you get a hold of them, they scream and they holler and it is LOUD. I managed to round up two and put them in carrying boxes. I headed over to her house, its just a minute away. Knocked on the door, and could see it was just ajar, but no one came...so I looked out in the pasture up at the barn and saw Jim out there with someone else herding cows through the barn into a trailer. He is a hay farmer and a cattle farmer. He raises the black cattle, I cant think of the breed right off hand. Anyway I started up the way there to the barn. Now I am going to tell you something and you are going to think I am nuts.
As I walked up through the pasture to the barn there were of course plops here and there. Cow plops don't really smell like poop so to speak. They have an earthy smell to them, probably because it is just processed grass..kind of like horse poop, same thing. Cow poop smells a little different than horse poop though. Anyway, I like that smell. Not that I want to have it sitting in a bowl like potpourri on my dining room table...LOL..but it is a smell that reminds me of the Fair...and I love the fair. It is a natural smell without being offensive. Okay, label me a poo sniffer, thats okay, it won't hurt my feelings...lol.
Back to the guineas. I got up to the barn and he said Linda was in the house she just may not have heard me knocking. I went back down to the house and she was already coming out the door and getting some shoes on. The plan was to put these two guineas in the pen that they had set up for a dog. The dog kept getting out so they gave up on that and he is pretty good about staying on the property so it is not a big deal. Linda does have one Black Austrolorp hen that roosts in that pen at night. I didnt realize that. The whole reason I was getting rid of these two was because the boys would pick on the hens...so I didnt think it was a very good idea to have them in there, even at night, with her hen.
We decided to cut some fencewire and half up the pen so her hen could go in and out without the guineas escaping or bothering the hen. This was temporary as she just needs to keep the two penned til they know this is home now.
Well darn it, before we arrived at this decision I had released the two of them out of the boxes and into the pen. Everything would have been fine, except I had just closed the gate door to, I had not latched it. No big deal until their big old dog (a hunting dog at that) started jumping on the sides of pen and running around and around the pen...scared the you know what out of the two guineas. I thought they were going to break their necks sticking their heads through the fencing and pushing! One good push and out and away one escaped. You will never catch them once they are out like that. Off goes the dog to chase the loose guinea. I told Linda to keep the one penned and the other hopefully will come back to be with the penned one and they can catch it once it is asleep and put it in the pen with the other.
I helped her half up the pen with the fence wire, got it all set up with food and water and put tarps over the top in case of rain. Once we were all done I needed to get home and start supper. With Ian working over a lot I want to have supper ready when he comes in from those long hours.
Before I left though...Jim mentioned to me that he still wished I would use the Saxon Math Books to teach Shelby math. I didnt know he had them! He is a high school math teacher as well as a cattle and hay farmer. Talk about a busy schedule. Linda picks at him a little bit, because it really doesnt end up being very profitable with the hay and cattle, but he loves it, and thats why you do what you do, just like my hobby is not profitable, but I love it. Anyway, we went upstairs and he gave me this year and next years math books, real text books. It is the answer book, so I will have to copy the pages and white out the answers, but what a gem to have. He then handed me a 9th grade Algebra One text book..so I am set for math! WHOO HOO! Shelby isnt really that excited, but I sure am. On top of that I have some really great literature books they gave me too...isnt that something! I have real textbooks, not just workbooks...I am just so excited!
Well, to end this entry, I went out to take these two pictures this morning of the three remaining guineas. They have that look in their eye, can you see it in that one picture of the one by itself? That is the female. It is a look of distrust. They are keeping their distance from me...they won't get as close. Maybe they are not as dumb as I thought. They will have to get over it though...I just can't have my girls being picked on.