Guineas: That Great Speckled Bird

| 6/6/2019 8:11:00 PM

farm signI love Guinea Fowl! When I was a teenager, Mom got the first flock for our place. It was a dozen lavender colored birds with white speckles. They raced madly around the place flowing together like a wave on the ocean. Almost immediately we noticed a difference in the pest population. Ticks disappeared from the yard and in a wide radius around the house and barn. Fleas also disappeared, as well as flies, and gnats.

And the Guinea were good entertainment. Back then, it was common to find most families sitting on their porch, or under shade trees in the late afternoon having a brief rest and glass of ice tea. We sat and watched the guinea race about dodging each other and snatching treasures from each other's beaks. Whoever invented some of the early video games such as Asteroids, or Space Invaders must have spent hours watching guinea fowl in action. They are the original epitome of ADHD.

guinea fowl

Of course, there are drawbacks to having these winsome birds. They are LOUD. As soon as the first rays of the sun peep over the horizon the guinea are up and talking about it. They make a wide range of sounds, but only the female can say 'buck-wheat'. Females (which is typical of any of the species) can imitate the males as well as make their own calls.

This rather spectacular sound makes for a good alarm system. Guinea Fowl are intensely aware of their surroundings at all times and notice the least thing out of place, or any sign of an intruder. Let a shadow drift across the yard from a large bird or a grandchild's kite and the air is filled with warnings. Move a lawn chair from its original position, or introduce a new one, and it is immediately surrounded by a circle of chattering birds. They have also been known to gather and stare in my front door to see what they can see.

looking in the door

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