We got a small flock of Guinea fowl 5 weeks ago. I wrote about it in a piece I called The Guinea Chronicles. At first we kept them in a pen for 4-1/2 weeks to make sure they'd forget their old home and bond with the new one. Last week when everything was quiet we released them early in the morning so they could begin their intended job as snake early warning devices. I was anxious as I watched them tentatively leave their pen. What would they do? Would they fly off into the wild, never to be seen again? Would they immediately get eaten by a coyote or a great horned owl? We kind of kept an eye on them as we did our chores all day. After a while we lost track of them and it seemed as though they had disappeared. But that evening as we went to feed the cat and collect the eggs we saw them roosting on the riding arena fence. Bad idea guys. You're easy pickin's that low to the ground. We had no alternative. They were meant to roam free, so we had to trust them and let go. We were not going to pen them every night. They had to find high ground on their own. We had evidence that they could because we have a Methuselah pea hen who has lived here wild for years. If she could do it and be safe and thrive, so could they.
The next morning they were nowhere to be seen. So I went on my rounds and kept my eyes peeled. As I rounded the main house there they came, all ten of the little beauties, headed for the vicinity of the hen house. They had made it through the night and they didn't leave for parts unknown. Success and relief.
Can we come in and play with you?
Now I have little troughs of water for them in strategic places and when I feed the chickens I scatter mealworms and game bird crumble on the ground near the chicken pen. They are starting to expect me and come running. I don't think that they will gather round my feet like the chickens do but it's nice to see they are somewhat OK with me.
I call them The Keystone Cops
I've been struggling as to how to describe the noise Guinea fowl make. If you own Guineas you will certainly know what I am talking about. They make an awful racket that sounds like party noise makers on steroids. Or the edge of a big metal spoon on a washboard. Then it hit me. They sound EXACTLY like the Martians in the movie "Mars Attacks!"
"Ack! Ack! Ack!" Think of ten Martians ack, ack, acking all at once and you will have a pretty good idea of what Guineas sound like when they are upset or excited.