The great escape – guinea hen

On Monday I have “the great escape” 6 guinea hen headed for the hills (well being Houston there were not to many hills).

How did this come about?

Guinea hen on the run

The guineas are 8 weeks old now. They can fly to land on surfaces about 4ft of ground it seems.

We move our chicken/duck/guinea tractors regularly to give them fresh  pasture to scratch at, and fresh bugs to eat. When moving the guinea tractor the door sprung open and 6 made a dash for the door. That left 2 in that tractor – the second was still sealed with 10 in it. 3 of the birds ran a short distance and froze. With some effort I bundled them back in.

3 down.

2 of the ran and ran with short flights. But the sight of grass hoppers kept winning over, so they landed or slowed to eat the bugs. That gave an opportunity.

I went to the store and retrieved 25ft plastic chicken fence (very handy to have around, and great for quick day runs when predators wont be an issue). I ran this into a shell spiral

spiral fence for guinea
perfect spiral

OK- it was not as neat as this. but I was able to encourage them in, grab them and return them.

That left 1, he was the biggest and best developed male, and best in the air. He flew off to the woods. I spent 2 hours playing hide and seek with the guinea, before I had to give up Monday at 16:00

Birds on fresh pasture, feeders and water loaded I had to go.

I returned Wednesday at 10:00.From 100 yards there was a deafening guinea hen scream. Checked all the tractors, everyone live, happy and keen to get out on open pasture. But still the guinea scream. After some investigation I found the run-away guinea under the shade material on one of the guinea tractors trying to get back into his home and back with his family. Seems the bag bad woods were too much. He may have tried to walk back, but the electro mesh fence would have stopped that.  So he must have worked out how to get home, and flown in. I snagged him (his claws are now VERY sharp so he cut up my hands) and got him back home.

guinea on pasture
mixed pasture 8 week guinea with 4 week broilers – they get on fine

I have one mixed tractor guinea and chicken. It seems the presence of the chickens calms the guinea. This is the birds out of the tractor on open pasture.