You may remember back in the summer when we first rolled the guinea mobile out to pasture. With 20+ guineas onboard it was quite a ruckus. After our "House Guineas" amazed us with their tick destroying abilities we decided to see if a team of "Field Guineas" could do the same for the rest of the property. The guinea mobile would also provide shade and shelter for the goats. In the latter respect it performed admirably. The goats are always dry when it's raining and cool in the shade when it's hot. When it comes to the whole "guinea housing" aspect, however, it's over.
It all happened in September/October when the guinea mobile was in a paddock near the house. Since we move the goats on a regular basis and the guinea mobile always goes with the goats it was just a matter of time before the goats and their guinea mobile made their way close to the house. In the back of my mind I worried that the respective guinea clans would hear each other and form a pack. I figured if anything the House Guineas would join the Field Guineas since the Field Guineas had a bigger posse. Then we'd be out of luck for tick control around the house... and that would be a disaster come spring.
In reality, it happened the other way around. Before we knew it there was an onslaught of guinea mayhem occurring in our yard every morning... day... and night. The Field Guineas, for some unknown reason, would not stop squawking. Anyone that's every heard a pack guineas carrying on will commiserate immediately. Just imagine over 20 of those birds right outside your window at 6am EVERY SINGLE MORNING. Not only that, but they'd keep making noise ALL DAY. It was bizarre. Our five House Guineas would hardly make a peep. Now all of the sudden this giant pack of guineas wouldn't shut up. Nor would they go back to their mobile coop!
For the first couple months I would dutifully herd the Field Guineas back to their coop and lock them inside for a few days to re-acquaint them with their proper living space. After repeated failures I lost hope. It got to the point where I'd herd them down the path all the way to the back pasture (maybe 100 yards) and as soon as I'd give them any inkling of freedom they'd get right back on the path and come up to the house!
By the end of November I gave up and now we're eating a lot of guinea. Including Christmas dinner! Good thing guinea is really tasty. It's kind of a blend between turkey and chicken. I prefer it to chicken, actually. It's far richer in flavor and makes and incredible broth. One day we'll post a recipe or two.
As with all things that end on the farm new things begin. We now have our first true Egg Mobile. It's the same as the Guinea Mobile, just filled with layer hens. To be specific, 5 barred rock, 4 Rhode Island Red, 1 Black Giant, and 1 Leghorn/RIR cross. The chickens were dropped off yesterday and are adapting well. We gathered 6 eggs out of the 11 hens this morning, which was far more than expected. Usually it will take a while for hens to adapt and start laying again. They must like their new home!
Hope they keep it up. If the system works we'll hopefully have a few eggs to offer along with our cheese by the springtime.