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The Grand Guinea fowl challenge: How can I catch them with ease?

Photo: Guinea Fowl shrieking

Photo: Guinea Fowl shrieking

Do you remember the last time that we tried to catch the guinea fowl? It was a disaster and freaked out our entire flock. Guineas can run fast and they have very strong wings to force those low slung tug-like bodies to become airborne. When you grab them your hold has to be firm yet gentle  as those wings will try to flap.

Guinea fowl are short sighted and might not spot the best bargain in the store but they are blessed with 20/20 hearing and have the intelligence to twig when they are the subject of a human plot. In our case they are correct.
We have identified a new and better home for our pair of Guinea fowl, Thunder and Cloud. A large estate where they can choose to live wild or become semi domesticated at meal times and on frosty winter nights. The problem is catching them so as to transport them to nirvana. They are happy living with us and bullying our flock for play. But they have to go, especially with the imminent arrival of our new chickens.
Yesterday I had a long think and devised a master plan. Some of the bird seed had germinated in the locked Emerald Castle (the ark, our maternity wing) grounds and had grown into a luscious green jungle that any latter day Sleeping Beauty would have been proud to snooze within. Perhaps I could tempt the guineas into the Emerald Castle grounds and then into its sleeping quarters. In the confined space and they would be easier to catch.
Guineas are real night birds. They stay up much later than the hens, calling through the dusk. So I waited until all the hens had retired to bed and crept into the run.The guineas were still out and about. I closed the chicken house door and opened the door to the ark.
I heard the curious metallic sounding “prrrriiing” – which indicates that they have discovered something interesting and possibly delicious. They both stepped over the threshold into the Emerald Castle grounds and began to guzzle. As there was at least a day’s worth of greens to feast on, I pottered off to water the greenhouse. They were both happily scratching and guzzling when I returned but Thunder rushed out of the Emerald Castle as I opened the door to the run.
I laid a sparse trail of tempting corn across the run to the door of the castle grounds, Hansel and Gretel style, with a tempting handful inside. It almost worked. They pecked there way to the threshold, stretched inside and hoovered it up whilst I stood by trying to look like a feed barrel that just happened to be wearing a cardigan.
They were on full alert. If I moved a finger they shot away with a shriek.
“Eventually they will settle and go inside the castle to roost,” I told myself.
I crept down after dark to find them standing by the closed hen house door. A little later I spotted that they had roosted on the roof of the Emerald Castle. What I hadn’t taken into account was that they had eaten their fill. I could have put the equivalent of Guinea Fowl caviar and champagne into the run without a reaction.
I gave up.
I’m now planning to attach a string to the castle door so that I can pull it shut from a safe distance. This will require a bit of around the box thinking as I don’t want the guineas to get caught up in the string and the awkward angle dictates that I’ll have to hide behind Danny’s herb bath at the end of their run. But then I won’t be able to see if they are both in the ark. Perhaps D could run up a simple periscope from the cardboard inserts from the kitchen roll and his shaving mirror?
I must work on plan B.


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12 Comments

  1. Jane Jackan

    I have a small flock and I did make sure they lived in coop and pen till they were adolescences,, my pen is covered with chicken wire so they can’t fly out or eagles , hawks and preditors can’t get in. Mine go into pen well before dark, I learned if you have a pen door that goes inward if you leave it open about three inches only they are only smart enough to go in and can not find their way back out hehe I am not even kidding ! so there you go! easy peasey! I let them out at 7 am and they are back in pen by about 6 pm and I lock them up for the night.
    I also keep water outside pen in case they get thirsty while out running around and inside pen and inside coop and feed them inside coop. And I talk to them all the time They might feel safe here also as I have a Maremma dog that is here to keep them safe.

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