Lost & Found Guinea Hen!

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by Sunny Side Up, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    We have only one guinea hen left from the batch of keets I bought 5 years ago. Blanche, a pretty lavender, spends her days free-ranging the yard, tolerating the other chickens, ducks, & geese, and calling to the invisible guinea whose call echoes off the house next door.

    She has a wire cage where she is kept for safety at night. Many nights she will hop into it all by herself, or at least roost nearby at nightfall. Recently we've had a bobcat prowling our yard and it's all the more imperative that she is safely behind hardware cloth after dark.

    But perversely, right at this time Blanche has decided to go to roost in different places each night, forcing us to go searching by flashlight for her. (We blame this on the radio signals she must be receiving from the Mother Ship through the knobby antenna on top of her head.)

    Last night she was particularly difficult to find. At nightfall she wasn't anywhere near her cage, nor in any of her usual perches, and nowhere to be seen up in any trees or fence rails. I feared that she might have already been taken by the bobcat, who often hunts at sundown. We had to leave to take my teen son to his church group, but when we returned several hours later, another son & I went out again with flashlights to look some more.

    We scoured the entire yard, looking up every single tree, and on top of every structure and piece of furniture or play equipment. Absolutely everywhere around the whole huge yard. We did not see Blanche anywhere.

    We did see, to our delight, 2 lovely little screech owls!

    I was re-crossing the back yard at the very end of my circuit, despairing of ever seeing Blanche again, when, while walking under the mango tree, I heard a very faint little whistling noise that sounded very guinea-ish. I stopped, waiting to hear it again. My son came up behind me, and I shushed him, saying "I think that I heard a guinea sound, listen!" and walked forward, scanning the area for Blanche. My son shone his flashlight up into the mango tree (where we had already looked several times) and said "Hey Mom! I see Blanche!"
    [​IMG] And there she was, 'way up in that mango tree, in a spot that wasn't very easy to see from the ground. If she hadn't whistled then, I may have never looked there.

    Blanche made all her sputtering stuttering angry noises when I climbed up the ladder to reach her and bring her down. But I'd rather have an angry guinea than a dead one!
    [​IMG] Thank You, Jesus, for answering our prayers and helping us find our dear Blanche. His eye is also on the guinea!
     
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Glad she is safe and you were able to get her pack to her cage. [​IMG]

    The bobcat may have checked her out in her cage and spooked her, which could explain why she's choosing to roost elsewhere. She may not feel her cage is safe any more. One of my flocks consists of 12 full-time free rangers that roost in the oak trees that are somewhat lit up by a mercury vapor yard light... after predator spooks (usually owls) they will move to a new tree the next night. Sometimes they will switch trees 3-4 nights in a row until they finally settle on one tree that they feel is safe.

    It's kind of gross, but pouring human urine around the perimeters of your yard and all around the area her cage is in might help ward off the prowling bobcat. Male urine seems to be the most effective...
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  3. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    4,726
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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Her cage is right up next to the house, and up on legs 4' tall, so I wonder if a bobcat would venture so close, & so high. Happily, tonight the voices in her head told Blanche to go right into her cage at nightfall.
     
  4. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    It's hard to say, but around here bobcats can be very brazen, especially when hungry and in hunt mode. Right now this year's offspring have all gone off on their own, separated from the litter and are fending for themselves... and now that it's getting cold, the small rodents and birds they've been hunting are getting harder to find for an easy meal, so domesticated poultry is the next item on the menu (Spring and fall are the worst seasons for predators around here). Young cats typically aren't as wary/leery of humans as an adult cat that's already learned to avoid us and our areas is... all the young cats see is FOOOOOOOD. And they follow their nose, that's why I recommended the urine trick. Bobcats are climbers and can jump really well, they can silently scale any fence they want and climb trees to sneak up and snatch sleeping Guineas right from the limbs they are perched on, so a wire cage 4 feet off the ground is nothing, maybe just confusing to the cat. I'd be willing to bet your Hen has had a nightly visitor of some sort spook her (be it a bobcat, an owl or some other nocturnal predator) and that's why she moved to the tree to hide where she felt safe. Guineas are notorious for having a routine and sticking to it (there is usually a method to their madness), so IMO if she broke her nightly roosting routine there has to be a reason. I'm sure after so many nights away from home she was happy to be back in her cage again, I know I would be, lol. Hopefully the cat (or whatever spooked her) moves out of your area and your Hen stays safe!
     

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