Can I just tell you how annoying guineas are? I mean, really, really, really annoying. We started with 8 guineas keets and high hopes. We now have 3 and our hopes are considerably lower. There's a pretty bad tick problem around here, and guineas love eating ticks and other creepy-crawlies. People who have guineas say they never see another tick after getting them.
However, guineas are very loud. They make a sound that has been characterized as "buckwheat! buckwheat!" They will go on FOREVER making this noise once they start up. They're sort of like watchdogs. Little annoying yappy watchdogs. They "go off" at anything perceived as dangerous, like, a leaf falling in the woods. You know, really scary stuff.
The other thing about guineas is that they appear to be really really stupid. One person described it this way: "All the guineas in the world share the same brain."
That pretty much sums it up.
As an example, they will fly over the fence and wander around the yard, or they will fly up into a tree, and then fly down. Then they walk over to the fence and run up and down the outside of it, because they can't figure out how to get back inside the poultry yard!
Last night one forgot to come in for the night, so she spent it up in a tree somewhere. This one also happens to be the one that makes the most unnecessary noise. This morning, just as it was starting to get light, I heard this incredible racket. It started out like the usual "buckwheat!" thing, and then rapidly degenerated into something that sounded like she was being slowly pulled limb from limb. I really thought something must have gotten hold of her and was taking her apart. About the time I got out the back door, there was only silence. I flicked on my flashlight, and she exploded out of the tree directly above me and went over the house and it sounded like she flew directly into a tree. As in flew INTO it, not landed in it. You know, like Daffy Duck as Robin Hood: "Yoikes! And away!" [whump!]. I went out on the front porch and I could see her silhouette up in a tree, apparently still all in one piece. So I went back to bed.
When I got up an hour later, she was on the ground, running along the fenceline, trying to figure out how to get back into the poultry yard (sound familiar?).
After breakfast I went out to do chores. I always feed the sheep first. She had by that time flown up to the top of the chicken coop. The whole time I was taking care of the sheep, she was on top of the chicken coop screaming to the world. A nice quiet Spring morning. When I finished with the sheep, I threw a scoop of scratch down and she flew down and started eating, and FINALLY shut up.
I've been told that after they reach a year old, they mellow out a bit. That will be sometime in June. If they don't relax this summer, they are either going to freezer camp, or I'll sell them to someone who likes guineas and/or doesn't mind the noise. I think the chickens and Muscovies will do their part to reduce the tick population and the guineas may not really be necessary. At this point I'm almost willing to take the chance.
If you really like guineas, don't be offended. They just aren't for everyone. Maybe you'd like to make me an offer? ;-)
Oh come on they aren’t all bad. And the babies are really really cute!
Have your scovies started dancing for you yet?
No, not all bad! But the noise is really an issue. It’s not so much that they can be loud, it’s that they have no discretion in what they choose to alarm at. And that they go ON and ON and ON. And the sound really carries. And they really do seem quite stupid at times. Yep, they were cute as babies, but this batch was really really flighty. They would pile up on each other and scream at the slightest movement. I think maybe we just got a particularly freaky batch of keets.
The ducks have started dancing. I love it! They are so cute. And nice and quiet. ;-)