Spring plans

Every year we take baby steps to be more of a farm and less of, well, whatever you are called if you live on a farm without really being farmers. The above pic are guineas. We’ll be getting maybe 3 baby keets this spring along with maybe 3-4 more baby chicks. Aren’t they weird looking? They’re loud as hell, too, and somewhat wild (befitting the fact that they haven’t been domesticated for long). They, unlike the chickens, will free-range, though they’ll live in the coop with the birds. How will this happen? Well, they can still fly! Well enough to hopefully evade the hawk, that is…

11 responses to “Spring plans

  1. Guinea hens are very cute. I think you will like them. They are sort of wild though, so be prepared to find eggs everywhere and anywhere. A guinea mom with her tiny little chicks training behind her is an adorable sight.

  2. Meredith…do you have them? It seems that every neighbor who has chickens has guineas, too…the one thing I’ve heard is if you keep them confined in a pen until they start laying they’ll always lay there. I agree they’re quite beautiful.

    We have wild (??) peacocks around here that really remind me of guineas, especially the hens.

  3. the Contrary Goddess

    I have never known anyone around here actually be able to keep guineas that they didn’t keep them penned. They always get killed. So I will be interested in your experience.

    Our chickens free range during the day and are confined in a critter proof coop at night. Sometimes in the summer they will try to start roosting in trees and we have to run them out so they will go in the coop because if they are in the trees, eventually something will eat them. We’ve shot a possum out of a tree as she was going to get them (I almost touched it! thinking it was a wet chicken!), and owls will get them, and just about everything else at night. We lose one now and then during the day to a hawk or a fox but nothing like the losses you get at night.

  4. You’re right CJ they’ll probably meet an early death. I lost two chickens this year to a hawk, thus the last 3 are penned. I will REALLY miss seeing the little chookies going about their business around our land, so I thought the little guineas would fill a void. Our neighbors’ experience is that they’re good watchdogs; they pen them all at night…which I will do, too. Need to build a bigger, more permanent pen for the lot, though. (Tasks never end as you well know.)

  5. When i was a child our neighbour had a lot of animals that ran wild (my father wasn’t too happy when the pigs rooted up our yard or the goats ate a newly planted tree). I distinctly remember my cousin an i chasing guinea hens around. We thought their faces were “freaky”. It was also a blast hunting for their eggs.

    Thanks for refreshing a memory.

  6. El – I know what you mean abot missing free ranging chickens – ours are penned since the fox attack. It is a great pity as, to be honest, I’m not as attached to this lot as they don’t follow me about all day.

    We also got a dog and she chases them – not to bite them, just to run, but not surprisingly they don’t like it.

    We are going to move then to the top of the field and let them free range there as I can keep the dog out. Still the problem of foxes though.

    Guinea fowl sound great – beautiful feathers.


  7. El – good luck with the guinea hens! I’m still fantasizing about owning land and chickens myself, but that just means I’ll have to live vicariously through you for a while.

    Anyway, thanks SO much for the link to Ferris farm. I had no idea anyone so close to me was growing and selling organic wheat for flour, and I’ve been looking for a while. And Eaton Rapids is so close to me! I think it’s time for a little road trip (or an order form, since they don’t mention having a store or stand on their website – correct me of I’m wrong). Thanks again!!

  8. You know, it’s just so simple to keep a couple of hens in your backyard for egg production — I just don’t think most people realize this. Anyone out there know of any good websites that deal with this topic? Or books? I’m about to buy a few hens next month after not keeping any for many years & would like renew my knowledge of this subject. Any thoughts would be welcome!

  9. Burdockboy: Your snowdrifts reminded ME of my own childhood, so I am glad to oblige.

    Jane: I understand, and hope I am not likewise less prone to “love” the new batch of birds. I had such fun gardening with the old ones.

    Sara, I lived vicariously for years before we bought this place. Two (both, really) of my neighbors in Minneapolis bought hobby farms in Wisconsin.

    And Artemisia: there are a lot of “backyard chickens” websites out there. I ended up NOT buying any books (rare for me) and just borrowed one from the library, absorbed it, and have gone back to the websites if I have had questions. Luckily I haven’t had any sick birds, so far…

  10. No, I don’t have guineas. I’ve been to a few farms that had them though. Really, wild peacocks? Peacocks scare me for some reason.

  11. the Contrary Goddess

    as to sick birds, sick homestead animals in general really, the only thing to do no matter what any expert will say, is to take them out of the competition and let them “get better or die”. Or (as we did with our beef when she got a twisted gut), slaughter early and put her in the freezer.

    Did I mention I generally am hostile to the experts? They are so into useless minutiae. Don’t ever, no matter what, put your hands into an animal’s vagina to “help” them have a baby — you are NOT helping. Etc. Blah blah blah. I should find a way to rant about this on my own blog!

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