In a previous post I wondered, “Why aren’t Guineas extinct?” The past few weeks have taught me a lot about how Guineas raise their young, and I have to say I’m very impressed. The biggest problem the Guineas have to overcome is that they don’t build a nest in the trees so they end up having to raise their young on the ground in the wet, cold, and dangerous forest.
Pictured above is daddy Guinea, I have never seen a more devoted father (for an animal of course). Every morning he leaves the coop and immediately flies over to where mama Guinea spends her nights. He calls to her and paces if she doesn’t drag the keets from the woods immediately.
All day long mama and daddy Guinea shepherd their younglings around the yard, catching and sharing bugs and choice bits of grass with the keets. The keets stick close to them, and one of the parents will immediately confront anything considered a danger.
I supplement their diet with noodles, mama brings the keets running towards me at lunch time.
The teen Guineas are still housed in the gazebo, I toss them long grass and weeds to let them get their fill of greens. They haven’t been moved to the coop yet because they need to get a bit larger to fend off the other Guineas that rejected them last time.
This morning I looked out the back window and saw that this little Guinea had punched a hole in the gazebo screen and was loose, that meant I had to go outside and round it up. After several minutes of chasing the mini-Guinea in circles I went back inside and grabbed a lacrosse stick that happened to be by the front door. (I have no idea why a lacrosse stick would be there as I have not ever seen anyone playing lacrosse in the yard since we moved here.) The stick had a web netting so it should help gather the mini-Guinea up safely.
After a few moments of chasing the mini-Guinea around with the stick mama and daddy Guinea began screaming and creating a racket like all heck had broken loose. I looked over to where the family had been foraging and I saw a fox chasing after the baby keets!
As I raced over to help I witnessed mama and daddy Guinea take turns swooping down to claw and body slam themselves into the hungry fox in desperate attempts to save their babies. Note the claws (talons?) momma Guinea is sporting in the picture above, she was going after the fox with gusto!
When I got to the scene of the crime I was able to give the confused fox at least two good whacks with the lacrosse stick while it rooted around trying to snatch up a keet or two, simultaneously trying to defend itself from now three angry parents (I include myself). At some point during the beatdown the fox gave up and began a retreat down the driveway with me in hot pursuit, swinging the stick all the way. As we emerged from the trees at the drives end the fox and I crossed the path of three power walkers who looked to initially be in shock at the spectacle. When the fox bolted into the woods on the other side of the road I gave up the chase and started to head for home.
It was at this point that the possible Sierra Club members decided to give me a piece of their mind. “Don’t you know fox are an endangered and protected species around here?” Flabbergasted, I replied; “That fox was trying to eat my keets!” Somehow I noticed that the power walkers had nicely manicured nails, an odd observation for someone who was on the verge of losing their cool. I calmly explained to them that; “Mr. Fox WILL be endangered if he ever tries to eat any of my Guineas or Chickens again.”
The enviro crazies didn’t seem to understand my point and wanted to argue some more; “Nature has its own circle of life and you shouldn’t interfere.” At this point I wondered if they could possibly be crazy? Don’t they know wolves prowl this area? I wanted to ask them that if a wolf grabbed one of them while they were out for a stroll would the other two not interfere with ‘the circle of life’, but I instead walked away. They really would have been shocked it this had happened yesterday because I would have been dressed in my pajamas instead of sweats.
As I walked back up my drive I heard one of them say; “She must be one of those Tea Party people.” This made me chuckle so I smugly turned as stated; “I’m a coffee person thank you.” They couldn’t have possibly been from around here, I mean going a single day without hearing multiple rifle shots would be a miracle. This area is about 70% woodland and 30% farms, who were these people?
When I got back to the yard I was so relieved to see that the keets had all survived and mama and daddy Guinea were only missing a few feathers.
Everyone got a big helping of noodles at lunch, those Guineas aren’t such bad parents after all!