It’s important to note that if there is something unusual around, like hawks flying high above, all the guineas will call out loudly until they go away. This type of thing has continued to happen, but it only happens when they feel the need to be the watchdogs that they are. Other than that, instead of all the previous loud screeching, they give the sweetest little whistle, or a cute little chirp. They tend to do that all the time as they are very talkative birds! We all love to hear this sound… so the household is happy again.
It would be most remiss of me if I didn’t share with you about their bedding arrangements. If you are reading my page because you are thinking about acquiring some of these birds, I feel it’s important to share the whole story.
Up until the mating season arrived, all the birds… that is… the rooster, the 6 hens and 7 guineas (and very often the duck) would go to roost in two pens. This is one building divided into two. To begin with, the keets (guineas) all went in one side together with the duck, while the rooster and chooks took the other side.
As they grew, most of the keets wanted to go in with the chooks so it became a little crowded in there. One or two of them would spend the night in the second pen with the duck.
Right at the time of them mating up with each other, was the same time that all previous arrangements went out the door! Suddenly, this one didn’t want to spend time with that one, and all sorts of emotions flared. Lavender wouldn’t go in the second pen where all the guineas were because they’d chase him. He would only go in with the chooks. The rooster was absolutely fine about this just as long as he had eaten his fill and had flown up to roost. Then, and only then, was Lavender allowed to eat. He soon learned the rules.
Now because two of the guys had their own lady-loves, they would guard them jealously against the other bachelor boys. They obviously didn’t trust them at all. And, because there were no other girls around, who could blame them?
It became increasingly difficult at night to get them all into bed where they were happy with the arrangements. I started requesting help from the family. They’d go from one pen door to the next, wanting to eat, but afraid to go in. It was becoming a little nightmare.
Then one night the guineas decided to roost in a nearby tree. By this time the duck (I call her Angel) was quite happy going over to where the ducks spent the night. She was going there regularly now, so that sorted itself nicely. But next thing I’m dealing with is all the guineas in a tree!
I decided I wasn’t going to get myself upset over this and let things take its course. But, they didn’t get any food that night. Anyway now, sometimes they spend the night in the Guinea Tree, and other times in the pen.
I’ve learned to tune into them and to understand more what is going on. I began to comprehend which bird wouldn’t go near another, and why.
I love to watch and listen to the pairs as they communicate with each other. If one bird flies up into the tree it will call continuously until its mate comes up. Only last night this was happening. He had his feed and then flew up into the Guinea Tree, but she wanted to eat some more. He started calling her “Chip, chip, chip, chip”, to which she responded, “buck-wheat, buck-wheat, buck-wheat”. She called as she ate… she was a hungry little birdy! Then she flew up beside him where they sat together gently whistling to each other. Oh ain’t love grand?
I’m looking forward to receiving 2 new females into the flock and very hopeful it will sort itself out nicely. The two males who have their mates get along quite well when their paths cross. It’s just the two bachelors who are still fighting, or chasing each other. Not sure what they expect to accomplish.
Anyway, if you are considering guinea fowl, be prepared for the rules to change as they grow. What they are perfectly happy with today might not be the same next week. You simply have to “go with the flow”! With the chooks, each night is virtually the same as the next… and even the ducks are pretty much on an even keel. But guineas… things change.
I mentioned the sleeping arrangements because it’s an integral part of the mating process. I would have been happier to go to bed each night knowing all the birds were locked away, but really, I don’t think there is anything too much that could happen to them up in the Guinea Tree, although I do wonder about the owls. Fortunately for us, the Guinea Tree is not near the homestead, or the cottage either. Not that it matters quite the same now anyway, because instead of screeching out for mates constantly, they are quiet when they come down out of the tree in the morning.