I’m continuing with my Guinea Fowl Facts as I learn from personal experience on how to care for guinea fowls. Some people have large quantities of these birds and most probably never learn the intimate details of how they think, act and react the way I do. As I only have eight, I’ve been able to learn a lot about what makes them tick.
Free range Guinea Fowl eggs taste absolutely wonderful, plus having them around is good for keeping down the bugs and ticks; acting as watchdogs over the other birds… and just plain good fun!
Anyway, the last post I wrote was when they were preparing for the beginning of their guinea fowl mating season. As everything to do with them was completely new to me, I’ve had to learn each step of the way. What does this mean? What does that mean? It was not always straight forward.
To read my other posts on Guinea Fowl:
- How to Raise Guinea Fowl Keets (up to 8 weeks old)
- Care for Guinea Fowl Facts – Part 2 (facts and features)
- Care for Guinea Fowl Facts – Part 3 (facts and stories)
- Guinea Fowl Facts – Prepare for Mating
- Guinea Fowl Facts – Ups & Downs (this page)
I’m afraid boys will be boys!
I left off when I had seven guinea fowl, five boys and two girls. Of-course, that’s a bad mix… I know. The time had come when they were beginning to to chase each other and sometimes actually fight together. I didn’t like this. Occasionally I’d see one of the girls try to break them up, but nothing they could do, or me, would stop those boys when they had it in for another guinea.
The two main birds fighting are Silver and Streak. Other birds join in and it’s all on, while the females try to break it up.
As for the girls, they were calling out endlessly all day. This made me think that the girls were the really noisy ones, so I wasn’t keen to buy any more. In hind sight I realise that the girls were calling for their mate, while the boys were busy working out who was going to win the mating rights.
After about two weeks, two couples paired off and began to separate themselves from the rest. This was different! I also noticed that the two girls were nice and quiet… no more calling, just soft little chirping sounds to their mate. It was amazing… all that noise stopped overnight.
I had decided to sell one of my boys as I knew of someone who had three girls waiting… I heard back that he was one happy boy!
This left me with two bachelor boys who had no chance of obtaining the girls of their dreams, but even so, they chased each other almost until they were almost exhausted. One would chase the other and at some time the battle changed so the chased became the chaser… on and on.
Girls ready and willing, but where are the boys?
It was decision time for me… what to do? I could see these two boys weren’t going to settle down so I decided I should buy a couple of girls. Previously I had hesitated to do this, as the constant calling of the females was getting my family off-side! The penny dropped when I saw the change in them when they were bonded with a male. That’s when I realised they were calling for a mate while the boys were too busy squabbling amongst themselves to notice!
Two new girls arrive
Anyway, fortunately in about two weeks, someone answered my Gumtree advertisement and I became the proud owner of two lovely new girls. One of them I called “Rose” as she had a lovely rose coloured neck and chest area. Also the markings around her head were quite striking. The red was very red. She was a beautiful bird. The other I called “Lavender” after her colour.
Please note: The bird I first called Lavender was actually a boy so I changed his name to Silver.
As I free-range my birds and only lock them up at night, and have no fences apart from the ordinary 1 metre high farm fence, all my birds, which includes ducks and chickens, are free to fly away any time they like. But they don’t! They just choose not to as I think they feel they’ve got it pretty good at home!
I needed the new girls to learn the perimeters of the property, as well as to bond with their male. To do this I would need to lock them up, day and night, for about two weeks.
How to lose $25 in one easy lesson!
When it was time, I let the first two birds out, (Streak & Rose) towards evening. This was to give them a little free time before they started to think about going to bed. Disaster struck within minutes as Rose flew off over the fence and didn’t stop until she was far, far away!
Why did that happen?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, don’t you agree? As soon as I let them out, the other males began to chase Streak around. This freaked out Rose so much she decided it was best to “get out of there!”
I was devastated! $25 flown off into the wind!
Silver & Lavender released
I decided there was no way I was going to let Silver and Lavender out so they stayed there for another few days while I thought about the situation. As we couldn’t keep them locked up forever, we decided to cut one wing on each of them.
In fear and trepidation, we unlocked the door… all was well for about an hour before the female jumped up and over the fence, crossed the road, over another fence, and made her way through the paddock on the other side, cut wing and all!
What is this? I couldn’t believe it! There goes another $25 into the dim, blue beyond!
We tried to chase her but she outsmarted us, and the last we saw of her was when she was way over the other side in the opposite direction to where Rose went.
The great prayer of faith… not!
I was very upset that night. I had spent $50 on two birds which were gone in a flash. Now I was back to where I started with no girls for my bachelor boys! Both of them were distressed and trying to call their mates back, but to no avail. Fortunately though, they didn’t chase after the girls.
That night, Silver couldn’t settle and wouldn’t go to bed. He chose instead to roost in what I call the “Guinea Tree”. I didn’t worry about him.
That same night, before I went to sleep, I prayed a very simply prayer… “Lord, turn them around, and send them back home please!” I wouldn’t say it was a faith-filled prayer, it was more in desperation, I think.
Next morning, I was woken up by the sound of a female calling. I knew Silver could hop down out of his tree just as soon as he wanted, so I figured it was him out on the back lawn. Then I thought: Hang on, I’m hearing a female, not a male!
I jumped out of bed and ran outside, and sure enough, there was Lavender running up and down on the other side of the boundary fence. I couldn’t believe she had returned.
Wait… there’s more…
A few minutes later, I suddenly realised that Rose who had been gone for three days, had also returned! All four couples were contentedly walking around in their pairs as if nothing had happened.
Can you even begin to understand how I felt? My, it was only last night I prayed that almost pathetic prayer, and now they’d come back! Thank you Lord! To me it was miraculous.
I was overjoyed and happy to see that life amongst the guineas had settled down.
Unfortunately Rose died a few days later. Her call became very squeaky and was getting softer, and later one afternoon I found her dead. I found this very hard to understand, as first the miracle and then…
I picked her up and examined her little body. There was one place that the feathers were matted but I couldn’t see anything other than that. The only thing I can come up with is that while she was away for the three days, she spent a lot of time in the long grass so maybe it was a tick. I know Guinea Fowl love to eat ticks but still one could have burrowed into her.
Do you have any idea what else it could be? She seemed to be perfectly healthy in every other way. If you have any ideas, please leave me a comment down below.
Now my boy Streak had no partner… oh when will this end? Lavender was most distressed with Rose’s passing (remember they came from the same property) as she called and called all day long for a few days. Meanwhile, I went back to buy another girl from the same place, as I thought to myself that Lavender will know her and it might settle her down. Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened.
How to care for Guinea Fowls – Success at last!
I locked Streak back up with his new girl Sally for only a few days, but this time, when I let them out I chose very early in the morning before I let the other birds out.
This gave them time to wander around together without the other birds hassling them. Fortunately it worked!
The other birds had to wait a couple of hours and by then Streak and Sally were elsewhere on the property.
Streak was happy to have Sally, so all was well. She didn’t make any attempt to leave and we hadn’t cut her wing either.
I think most people who keep birds such as chickens, ducks or guinea fowl, never get to learn how they think and operate. In most cases it doesn’t occur to people after all, they are just birds… so what can you expect? But I have learned how very individual they all are, and how each bird has his own characteristics. Birds do not deserve the terrible treatment most of them receive from the hands of humans.
As I’m writing on how to care for guinea fowls, I’m sharing with you much of what I’ve learned. Really, they are wonderful, intriguing birds who find a way into your heart. If you are considering getting some, then please do… just be sure to read my pages carefully so you have an understanding of their ways. I had to learn from my experience so you will have an advantage over me.