Friday, June 13, 2008

Home for Wayward Guineas

We currently have three guinea fowl - Grey Guinea, a male that took up residence in our chicken coop years ago after a neighbor tore down his coop and set all his chickens and guineas free when he moved away (the jerk! If we'd known he was going to do that, we would have taken them all in. As it was, the coyotes had a field day. Grey was the only one smart enough to move up into the trees, and then when the weather turned cold, he was smart enough to figure out that inside our coop would be nicer. He's been here ever since); Mrs. Guinea, Grey's mate and one of a brother/sister pair given to us half-grown (her brother, The Bachelor, disappeared two years ago - moved on or more likely, coyote chow); and Tweedit, a single chick Mrs. brought home in late September three years ago. We hand-raised Tweedit inside the house that winter, and she'll still eat out of my hand.

Guineas are semi-feral. They easily fly out of the pen and roam about. About a week and a half ago, Tweedit didn't come back to the coop at night. That meant either we'd lost her, or she'd hidden a nest and now was going to set on it. Happily, I've seen her every now and then, grabbing a bite to eat and a quick drink of water and then she'll disappear again. A couple of days ago, I was able to follow her, and found her nest out in front, next to the shed between the house and the garage. Outside the fence is a dangerous place to be nesting, but at least she picked a pretty good place, down underneath some very prickly Oregon Grape.

And then today, while I was out working in the garden, I saw her getting some food. Since now I know where the nest is I ran to see how many she's setting on. I counted about 25 eggs. Usually, not all of them will hatch. Last year, both she and Mrs. brought in a dozen keets each (we put a notice on Craigslist and gave all of them away within six hours). My Old Farmers Almanac says a 26 - 28 day incubation period for guinea fowl, so I'm thinking we should have some babies around here about the 25th. When she brings them to me, the new chickens will have to move from the dog run to the chicken coop, so Tweedit and family can move in.

1 comment:

frogtailrae said...

Wow! What a bunch of eggs!! Just keep them rotating, don't you... :-)