Training (?!) Guineas

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by JLeigh, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2012
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    Training day 1.

    My goal is to train them to free range on the lawn, and not my snarky neighbor's property.

    I have six guineas - two males, two females, and they're all about 5 months old. I've kept them penned and cooped 24/7 until today. For the first time I opened the door to the pen to let them free range for "a few minutes". (Yeah. Right.)

    I was ready with my herding sticks and mud boots, but also had a chair handy because I thought it would take them a while to get up the courage to leave the coop. Not so. They all six booked it out the pen door and headed for "anywhere" as soon as I stepped back.

    So off I went. My goal was to keep them on the lawn and out of the woods, which was successful in the end, but it took some doing!

    The funny part was they wandered fast - aimlessly and fast - and they looked up, down, up, down and side to side honking and buck-wheating their hearts out. - until they realized they could EAT WEEDS.

    I think we've had the "buck-wheat" all wrong. I think they're saying, "What's THAT? What's THAT?" because they stopped and investigated every single thing they came across. It was a little noisy :).

    Poor things. But they had an hour and a half of weeds, grass, moss, bugs and oddly - lavender. They LOVED the lavender shrub we have, and unfortunately, my Pieris Japonica shrub. They all stood around it like it was a buffet table, munching away. I let 'em. What they hay - the shrub wasn't growing well anyway. :).
     
  2. KrisH

    KrisH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Silly question, if you have six and two are boys and two are girls, doesn't that leave two unaccounted for?

    now I am distracted trying to do the math and wondering what is up....

    just joking, but I am definately interested in how the training goes. tell us about the snarky neighbor. what have they done?

    RobertH
     
  3. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey, Robert, it's MY universe, okay? Two and two make six, okay? LOL I have NO idea why I typed "two" females, other than I didn't edit for the stupid mistakes I always make.

    I have four females, and since I really do live in the same universe as the rest of you, Two and four do make six. I have six guineas. Yeah. I got it right this time. LOL.

    A little over a year ago, I had two "ideal" guineas. I didn't know at the time that only a few guineas weren't a good idea - I lost the third one to a dog a few days after I let them out to free range - and I was left with two: 1 male/1 female and they bonded immediately. (I'm checking my math here, lol.) They were the quietest guineas I've ever been around or heard of. They ate from my and my husband's hand, wandered up to us when we were out in the yard....I was EXTREMELY lucky. They seemed happy and well adjusted even though there wasn't a flock with them. Of course, in my alternate universe I might have been able to ask them if they were happy, and they would have answered, but in this universe where two and four make six, I didn't bother to ask if they were happy. They just seemed that way.

    They free-ranged during the day and I penned them in a small covered pen at night. They had a grazing routine going to the point where I could pretty much predict where they would be at any given time of the day (not always of course - "always" never applies to guineas). Part of that grazing routine included my neighbor's property.

    Larry, his wife and his mother are "the neighbors", and the wife and mother kept complaining about poop to Larry, but admitted that they hadn't actually seen any - they were just worried about stepping in it. Then the female made her nest in the back woods area of their property and they didn't like that either, even though I collected the eggs for hatching, and they never saw the nest - Larry just told them about it. They were also worried about the guineas getting into their garden - even though they didn't. Larry came over one day and said he was tired of the women complaining and he asked that we pen up the guineas.

    At that time, we didn't have the money to expand the pen, and had no idea when we would be able to do it, so I had to re-home the guineas. The pen situation we had wouldn't be fair to them.

    People have a right to their property. I have a right to mine, and if a neighbor's dog were coming onto my property, I would have the right to demand that they keep it contained. There was no way I could argue. Larry is a nice guy, his wife and mother are.......not.

    The guineas went to a fantastic (better than mine actually) home, but I was really upset, and angry, about losing them. More upset than was logical. It took two weeks to get over the desire to, as one wise friend suggested, spray their entire garden with Roundup. I didn't do it, but I wanted to. I really, really, really wanted to, but forensics is too good these days, and I probably would have gotten caught.

    I got a rooster instead - ha. Keeps 'em up every morning. Love it. Larry said to my husband one day, "Lemme know when you decide to get rid of that rooster!!" Success.

    Now I have a much larger, sort of "modular" pen, plus an ample coop for my six guineas with a system of doors that I can open/close to give them more access to the chickens' pen and coop when the chickens aren't in it, but I can't let them free-range unless I control their ranging - which I hope to do. That's going to require the daunting task of training six guineas. Yes, I said it, "training six guineas". Still have one foot in my own, personal alternate universe I suppose.

    I'm going to stake and string up a large area of our property (abt 1/2 an acre) and put bright red/orange flags on the string and let them out about an hour before dusk and hopefully train them by herding them with sticks (and using the flags as a visual) to keep them in the area I want. I'll slowly expand that area, but hope that I can let them out for about an hour a day without strict supervision - - next year LOL. It will take a long, long time.

    They'll never get a full day of free-ranging I guess, but an hour or two a day is better than nothing. I think I can do it, and my husband is on board with it so I'll have help. I'm gonna need it.

    Thanks for reading my long story. Believe me, this is the Reader's Digest version, too!

    Leigh
     
  4. KrisH

    KrisH Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have read PeepsCA suggest hanging old CD's and other shiny things used to keep birds away from an area you do not want them to go near. but you will have to occasionally move them around so they don't get too used to them. or those twily whurly gigs that spin in the wind. they will help too. especially if you can get squeeky ones thay the neighbors can hear[​IMG]. then tell them it's at their request to keep the birds out of their yard.

    it annoys me that neighbors complain about BIRDS in their yard, but THEIR CATS walking on my car and pooping in the garden is OK by them! [​IMG]

    OK, I don't have a garden, but i'm sure everyone knows what I mean.

    RobertH
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  5. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2012
    North Georgia
    Great idea, Robert - I'll get the noisiest things I can find. Hadn't even thought about it!!! LOL. It pays to put things out to others, no?

    If the neighbors get a cat and it comes onto my property, I'll send my husband over to tell them to keep it confined. Then, if I see it, I'll shoot it. I'll tell them I was afraid I might step in cat poop, or that the cat might have kittens on my lawn. Same with a dog. But so far, the neighbors don't have any pets. They only have grandchildren (nice kids, too) and, well, I'm not THAT angry :) LOL. I doubt the kids will poop in the lawn anyway! [​IMG]

    Thanks for the suggestions. I like the idea of the CDs hanging. If you think of anything else, let me know.
     
  6. TarheelBirdy

    TarheelBirdy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Even though I have lots to share about Guineas,etc, all that sticks with me right now is how those two women are MISERABLE, BITCHY and otherwise UNGRATEFUL. I get that they have a right to keep unwanted birds off their property, but I know guineas do not lay eggs in a well-known area. Sorry....I just believe that the closer we are to animals, the better we are.
     
  7. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2012
    North Georgia
    Thanks, TarheelBirdy, LOL, that's so true, they are miserable and bitchy but all I can say now is "better them than me". :).

    I would have a lot more animals if I had more property, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of my guineas and chickens. We thought about goats, but I'm not ready for that yet. :). I wanted to make cheese and cream...etc., until someone reminded me that I have to go MILK them darned things and that just did it. No Goats. [​IMG].

    PS - I'd love to hear about your guineas!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013

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