Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Release of the Guineas

The guineas have been in their coop all this time.  I've been hoping to condition them to seeing the coop as their home or safe place, calling, "guinea, guinea, guinea" as I feed them in the confined space, so that they know my call means food.  It works for chickens, but guineas have a bit different temperament, so I don't know if it has worked yet.  Another reason for keeping them in the coop was to give the dogs time to accept them as part of our farm family and not view them as prey.  So, the fowl are big enough to be let out to forage for themselves and I had some free time to devote to watching them to make sure the transition would be safe.

To get ready, I put Harry on a leash and the shock collar on Ginger just in case the guinea activity triggered their chase response.

I opened their little sliding door and they all crowded around the opening, afraid to venture out.  The ones in front got pushed out by the ones in back and then they all piled out in a rush and congregated around the front of the coop eating grass like they were starving.  Maybe they were...I guess they can only bear to eat the chicken scratch for so long.

Harry was perfect.  He only spared them a glance and then seemed completely uninterested in them.  Ginger perked up and watched them for a while.  Then, as I saw her crouch into her stalking stance, as soon as she took one step towards them, I gave her a shock.  She immediately stopped and turned away from them.  She didn't try it again and, although, she gave them a few looks out of the corner of her eye (as if just looking at them might bring on a shock), she didn't try to rush them again.

We stayed out there a good long time, then I put the dogs out of the paddock and just watched the birds  from outside the fence as they went in, out, and around the coop.  After about an hour, they seemed to tire of eating grass and most of them went back in the coop.  I took that opportunity to herd the rest of them in there and close the door.

I'll let them out for longer periods of time each day until I'm fairly confident that they'll be reasonably safe and can be left out all day to free range like we do the chickens.

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