I have been writing somewhat of a journal on facebook, detailing life with guineas. I decided to move it over here, so that I have a more accessible record for when I finally write my book. I will move the earlier posts over sometime soon...
Today, on Guineas in the Rain, we find the hopeful Homesteader standing by the Big House, watching all the young chicks enjoying their new found freedom outside the run. There are worms to pull out of the damp ground and leaves to chase, big hens to dodge...it is quite an enjoyable way to spend a warm, rainy, winter afternoon.
I had just turned all the big chickens out of the run, when I heard a squawk on the front porch. I looked up to see our main roo Jasper working his magic with one of the banty hens, when out of nowhere a guinea jumped him from behind and chased Jazz Man away from the hen! Much put out by this unexpected interruption, Jazz turned to engage this rude creature and he was summarily jumped by all THREE of the male guineas (collectively known as Jack)!
Now, if you are new to guineadom and have not seen guineas fight before, there is a lot of head bobbing and wing flapping while the females bunch around and cry their "buckwheat, buckwheat, buckwheat" call...it is quite annoying, to humans anyway. However, when three guinea males gang up on one roo, the fight looks a little different. One of the males enagaged Jazz from the front, pecking at his head and neck, trying to get a good hold on some of those beautiful neck feathers. The other two were diving in from behind, trying to grab the fluffy white under-feathers right above the base of Jazz's tail. Now, I'm no rooster, but I would have to guess that having your tail feather pulled has gotta hurt!
Across the yard and through the woods they came, Jazz putting up a good fight, the three males in it for all they've got, the two females with their annoying "buckwheat" call...it is a regular back alley fight! I am watching carefully, and all the while, cheering Jasper on. "Way to go Jazz!! Show those Jacks who's boss!"
Around the Big house they come, a roiling mess of feathers and noise 'til they end up right at my feet! Jazz is breathing heavily, the Jills are still yellin' at the top of their lungs, baby chicks scatter in every direction...it is pandemonium in the hood! Well, except for Princess, our Gold Lace Black Polish. She is so oblivious to everything going on around her because of those crazy feathers that hang down in her face. She just calmly strolls through the middle of everyone, looking for that next sweet taste of bug.
Anyway, as Jasper comes back up for air, after shaking the last Jack off his tail, he calmly and smoothly strolls into the run, leaving the guineas in the yard. I close the door to give him a minute to collect himself and go up to talk to the Hillbilly for a minute to tell him all about the drama I have watched unfold. I say "Those darn Guineas are six steps from the soup pot, if they don't back off my rooster!!" We decide to let Jazz out of the run and see if we can even the odds a bit. I mean, Jazz does need to step up and own this yard..there are lives at stake here!
As soon as I open the run door, the boys are back at it again...they all rush toward each other and meet in the edge of the woods, but this time, Jazz Man is not flying solo. The Hillbilly and I try to stay out of the fight as much as possible, only stepping in when it becomes and uneven fight (read: three to one), by pushing the extra birds out of the melee. Jazz quickly realizes that he is liking this help and the Jack realizes that he is in way over his head, and after a few tussles in the woods, the run is on...and on...and on! Jazz is chasing the Jacks around and around and around the house. You will hear the Jack yellin' as they turn the corner, cryin' for Mama. All the other guineas, by this time, are hiding together under the azalea (also known as Command Central) hoping that Jasper does not see them as he runs by.
This goes on for quite a while, until Jazz has three of the guineas penned in the run, and they finally show submission to him by cowing down and going under his chest. He seems quite satisfied with himself by this point and when I came in a few minutes ago, the Jacks and Jills were hiding out at Command Central, trying to figure out if the there is a Rooster Consultant they can hook up with, while Jazz Man is perched on the run door (his favorite spot) crowing and looking around the yard with an expression on his proud rooster face that says "I am King of all that I survey!".