Friday, December 28, 2007

Guinea Hens

Many people who own livestock of one kind, manage to collect other species. Last summer, after thinking about chickens for a long time, we acquired three guinea hens.

We had no prior experience with birds of any kind.

They came home and my husband, Chuck, created a small shelter for them in the barn to try to contain them. We had heard if they get fed in one area for awhile that they will return to it and not fly or wander away. They promptly left that shelter and wandered around the barn and barnyard. Several times, my husband found them straying so he herded them back toward the barn.

Now, we don't worry about them anymore and they stick pretty close. Life with them is pretty uneventful. The noise everyone had said could be a problem, isn't a problem for us. They do squawk from time-to-time but it isn't bothersome and our neighbors aren't close enough to complain. Maybe it's because we have just three.

The one annoying thing they do is roost on the edge of the water trough and poop into the trough! They do the same with the alpaca feeding trough.

Their strangest behavior is in a snow storm. The first true wintry storm we had with howling winds, swirling now and bitter cold, they flew all the way up to the top of Chuck's shop and perched on the ridgepole. They stayed that way, all hunkered down, throughout the storm. They had never perched there before!

We didn't notice where they were during the next storm, but after it was all over, we noticed one on the very edge of the barn roof. We could barely tell it was one of the guineas--it just looked liked a blob of feathers and we assumed it was a dead bird.

When Chuck went to pick it up to put it in the compost pile, it was literally frozen on. When he pried it off, it started to move and was actually alive. He set it down in the hay and a day later it was up and walking around again.

It's like they are cats with nine lives!

If you want to see the alpacas, or learn more about Maine's Bellemont Farm alpacas, click here.



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