Friday, May 2, 2014

The Little Gang and Guardian Guineas (written with Wyatt)

Mid-September of 2013, we got one Rhode Island Red, two (Plymouth) Barred Rocks, one Pearl Grey Guinea, and one Lavendar Guinea, all chicks from Orscheln Farm and Home.  The Rhode Island Red is named Pippi.  The Barred Rocks were named Rudy and Litter Box.  The Lavendar Guinea is named Laverne, and the Pearl Grey Guinea is Shirley (shemezel, shimzel, hasenfeffer incorporated).
This is Pippi, our Rhode Island Red.

This is Rudy, one of the Barred Rocks (or Plymouth Barred Rock).

This is Litter Box, who was supposed to be the Dark Knght, but was the name Litter Box stuck, after this one found his way into the cat's litter box in the garage multiple times. 

This is Laverne. She is a Lavendar Guinea Fowl.

This is Shirley ( of Laverne and Shirley, Wyatt wanted a special name for the Guineas and Misty suggested).  Shirley is a Pearl Gray Guinea.
When they were little babies, they lived in the garage.  When they got bigger, we moved them into the A-frame chicken coop.  When the weather got cold, we introduced them to the big coop with the rest of our chickens.  We called them "the little gang", because they were always running around together.  You never saw one without the others nearby.  They were SO cute!

This is the Guinea Girls holding claws. See the two claws on top are intertwined.

The Barred Rocks grew fast and large.  We began to suspect that one, if not both of them, were roosters.  Once they started crowing (and they sounded like a wolf howling compared to our little bantam rooster!), we knew they were both roosters, and they couldn't stick around the homestead.  They were chasing hens, and upsetting Rotisserie (our resident rooster). Which was making Rotisserie aggressive, and he had been pretty tame.

This is Rudy.  Mr. Homesteader behind him.  And to the far, back, left is Toy Pony.

Here you can see Rudy, Laverne, Pippi, and Litter Box is behind Laverne and Pippi.

This is how they were usually seen, if not closer in a group.  Litter Box is in front of Rudy.  The Guineas are right next to each other, and Pippi to the far left.  The chicken farmer is up on the stairs to the back garage door.
The Guineas were loud as everyone said they would be.  We tried to take the roosters somewhere to be butchered (like we did with some of our meat birds, and the two previous accidental red roosters), but no one was butchering chickens around us anymore.  So, Thomas called on his friend, and they were going to butcher the roosters, and we (Thomas and Misty) decided the Guineas had been a long enough experiment, so they were going to be meat birds, too.  Only, the week that we were going to butcher them, the Guineas earned a pardon.  They alerted the kids and I to a coyote in our back acreage.  We had to scare the coyote off multiple times, and keep watch the rest of the day until the chickens went into the coop for the night.  The Guineas squawk was different than normal and alerted Wyatt.  When he looked outside, he thought it was a fox, or a dog.  Ellie thought it looked more like a wolf, or coyote.  I recognized the animal as a coyote.  The kids didn't want the Guineas to die anyway, but now I had a reason to like them, too.  I promised the kids, I would petition their Dad for the Guineas to live.  He didn't have much problem with that idea, when I told him how they saved our flock.

Here are our feathered watch dogs, Laverne on the left, Shirley on the right.

Wyatt is currently reading a book called Guinea Fowl that we purchased at Cackle Hatchery.  He is always researching and learning about his birds.  Guinea Fowl are called the feathered watch dogs of the barnyard.  We certainly agree with that!  They make a sound like "buck-wheat, buck-wheat", but the girls also make the "chi-chi-chi" sound that the male guineas make.  The males only make the "chi" sound. The "buck-wheat" sound is unique to the female guinea fowl.  If you are a brave homesteader, the meat of the guinea is supposed to be superior to any barnyard fowl or game bird (excluding the Royal Purple Guinea).  You could easily raise them for meat.  They don't require much feeding.  They love bugs!  Our chickens love bugs, too. We have had the least amount of bugs ever since having chickens and guineas.  Besides having a plethora of fresh eggs, the best part of having chickens (for Misty) is the lack of bugs!

Pippi, Shirley and Laverne; all that is left of the Little Gang.

Thomas and his friend, Michael, ended up butchering the Barred Rock Roosters.  The Guineas and Pippi were adopted by Rotisserie (our Black Cochin Bantam Rooster).  Rotisserie and the Guineas remind Thomas of Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers from Star Wars, because the Guineas look like the helmeted storm troopers and are frequently "guarding" the black clad Darth Rooster.

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