People say that having chickens is a slippery slope. Like you get “just a couple chickens” and then one day you’re going to lose your balance, slide down the hill, knock yourself out, and when you finally come-to you realize you’ve become crazy bird lady.
For me that day was today.
Technically I started down that slippery slope a few months ago when–after an unfortunate number of glasses of wine–I decided to buy some guinea fowl eggs for my broody hen to hatch. Then she decided she didn’t want to hatch them, and on the very same day (when I was debating what to do with the egss) my dude is out on the town for a bachelor party, and strikes up a conversation with a woman who has a broody hen. Facebook friendships ensue, her Silkie sits on the eggs, and a few weeks later, this!
The only problem was that of the dozen eggs, only four hatched, and of those four, only one Guinea made it this far. Just one.
I went to pick up the one chick (technically they’re called keets) today, and after some conversation about how the foster mom was getting picked on by the other chickens at her place, and the desire to have her raise the chick a bit longer, I ended up with one very fluffy black chicken and her foster keet in my barn.
This would be all well and good if Eva (the silkie) was raising a baby chicken, but she’s raising a guinea hen. The whole point of the guineas was to try and help minimize the tick problem I have every spring, and one guinea who thinks she’s a chicken probably isn’t going to do the trick.
So then I found a nearby farm that had some guineas for sale, which is how I also ended up with this…
Do you know what it’s like driving for 30 minutes with guinea hens in the cat-carrier in the back seat of your car? Like this…
Except it goes on for eternity.
These guineas are a few weeks older than the chick, so they need their own spot until the other little one is big enough to leave mom and join them. I decided to make use of my old chicken coop (this one.) Luckily my neighbors tractor has forks on it, so it made quick work of moving the coop to a new spot in the pasture.
After it was all set up…
The body-to-head ratio on these birds cracks me up.
They also are super uncool with selfies…
They certainly aren’t going to be lap-nugs like some of my other birds…
Which is fine, as long as they eat all the ticks.
And THAT is how I ended up with five more Nugs on my property, like a crazy person. I think I’m done with birds now, at least for the winter.
(Famous last words…)
You are well on your way to crazy bird lady. Congrats! I’m very proud of you. So, ducks, now yeah? Pond? Koi fish? C’mon, you know you want to.
Wait, so chickens for eggs and guinea fowl for ticks? More lay person bird explanations, please?
Aw gawd!!! I do love a guinea. We had one discover our property several years ago. I’m guessing she heard our rooster and just followed the sound. We’re in Austin, TX and not really rural. Luckily I have tolerant neighbors. That guinea hen has stayed with us for about 3+ years now. She lays every summer and has never left our property since finding it. CONGRATULATIONS!!!
You’re still at the upper region of the slope, there’s still hope. Dig in yer heels girl!
LOL…..you think the keets make alot of noise?!? Wait until the adults let rip!! I guess it’s hard to keep them ‘home’ too, unless you confine them to a run for weeks and weeks….or get lucky.
Do some browsing here, might find some helpful tips, http://www.backyardchickens.com/f/45/guinea-fowl , tho you may well have already researched all this.
But they do eat ticks and it’ll be a great experience and provide lots of blog fodder.
Best of Luck to Ya!
Love guinea hen! So cute! They make such fantastic sounds. Which are probably more endearing when you’re not trapped in a car with them.
I just can’t get over how your chickens love to sit with you! Adorable.
It’s really just one chicken who likes to sit with me… she’s in all the pics. The other ones are much more chicken-like (they tolerate being held, but don’t really love it.)
Oh guinea… my granny had chickens and had guinea until they attacked me-they got sent away after that (yes, it was terrible). They are wild, don’t like to be penned and can bring me to tears with their terrible noise.
I love love love chickens though… they can be so sweet and loving, which your nugs obviously are. 🙂
PS – do you get to keep the fluffy black chicken once the foster hen/keet is grown? the fluffy black chicken looks fun!
We’re going to see how well she integrates with the flock. She was getting picked on by the other chickens at her last home, so if she gets along better here, she’ll stay. (And, frankly, may need a few silkie buddies to join her…)
Yes, because no one wants to be the odd-one-out!
There’s that slippery slope we were talking about…
Yes, I’m one of those crazy chicken ladies. Three years ago I bought 6 rhode island red hens. They were 16 weeks old and just starting to lay. Last September I lost one to a mystery malady. Today I lost my second. Tomorrow I’m picking up my second batch of 6, giving me a total of 10 (max for my coop). My family and friends laugh at me because I call them “my girls” and they have names – all flowers. They follow me around the yard when I let them loose and would come into the house if I allowed them. I make them special treats like cornbread and oatmeal with raisins. My only concern is integrating the new younger chickens with the older ones. Does anyone have advice on dealing with this. Do I need a “chicken sitter” when I’m at work or separate crate till they get used to each other? I don’t want any bloodshed.
I did a few things to integrate my new Nugs with the older ones. When it was time to move the littles out to the coop I used my brooder (a dog crate) and put it inside the coop. They stayed in the little coop-inside-the-coop for a few days while the bigger chickens came in and out of the coop, as per usual. Then I started letting them out in the larger area together, but employed a few tricks: 1.) hung heads of cabbage around the coop so the chickens would have something to occupy themselves with, other than pecking the little’uns, 2.) propped the door to the dog crate open just enough so the little ones could run back in to safety if they were getting harassed. The little ones learned to steer clear of the big ones pretty quick, there were a few feathers lost in the process, but in a couple of weeks they seemed pretty well integrated (and all sitting together on the roost) which is when I finally took the crate out. I think it stressed me out more than any of them!
I divided off an area in the run so the youngsters could be seen and heard but not pecked to death. When I let them out to free range a few hours a day, they are all together, but busy doing their thing so no youngsters got scalped. They are now almost as big as the adults and will be laying within a month so I moved them in with the big girls. They do get reminded who’s boss from time to time, but are big enough there are no injuries involved and I imagine they will be asserting themselves into the pecking order soon. I now have more new babies on the other side of the run. Slippery slope indeed. I ended up with an unintentional rooster but now I’m glad I did because I’ve been incubating and hatching Easter Eggers. I’m in free fall down the chicken slope at this time. I also ended up with two drakes out of five so I have the same problem with ducks. Incubating eggs, more ducklings, etc. LOL.
*winces* Oh dear. Guineafowl can be SO loud! Like… murderously loud. I wish you the best with ’em. 😉
Oh, and truly… DUCKS are so the way to go! They tolerate the cold so much better than chickens, and wet conditions, too.
Its utterly impossible to be in a bad mood around a duck, they literally quiver with the joy of life (okay well, lettuce, bread and bugs, specifically…oh and water, they looooove water!) Also, ducks are fantastic bug and weed eaters.
Duck eggs are a gazillion times more amazingly tasty than chicken eggs could ever be–you and your dude would love the awesome rich tastiness of duck eggs in you cooking!
So yah, in conclusion: Get ducks. You’ll never regret it. 😀
I watched that video and all I could think was how much nicer that sounds than the sound of my toddlers screaming “NO!” and “MINE!” for the thirty minute drive we have home everyday…
Guineas are a lot of fun! Constant source of entertainment and they will let you know if anything on the farm is amiss….even a leaf….