Foxes...I love 'em, but I hate them too. As a poultry keeper it's my responsibility to keep my birds safe from these natural predators. I have had losses this past winter - my entire flock of Ixworth (my fault as I didn't shut the coop door quick enough after dark), my prize and beloved Silkie hen (fox chewed through her wooden coop) and a few chickens here and there (again, my fault, as I didn't count properly when I put them to bed).
I'm pretty happy with my night time arrangements - the coops are safe. But what about the day time?
Day Time Attacks
I haven't experienced a day time attack as yet but it's something I fear. My neighbour lost her birds at 3pm to a fox, and one of my egg customers sees foxes behind her garden all day long. Unfortunately, the way in which my garden is set up, my main poultry coop has an outside yard with no netting or fencing and it would be almost impossible to build anything. So, that means, I want to create an 'alarm system' for when I'm at home and my birds are out. And that's where the guinea fowl come in.
The Guinea Fowl Call
Guinea Fowl are notorious for being loud. I mean, VERY loud. But having worked with them in my day job I've come to realise that like chickens, they're only really loud when they're anxious. By spending time with my birds at work, they've quietened down immensely because they've become used to me, my colleagues, birds flying overhead etc. And so, this is my aim with my own birds - get them used to Saad and I, to the dogs, to overflying birds and hawks so that when I hear them going on at the bottom of the garden, they're going mad for a reason!
Start with Keets
By all accounts, it's honestly best to hatch your own eggs and start with keets. Not only are guinea's loud but they're very well known for flying away and doing their own thing. You've got a much better chance at keeping them where you want them by a) wing clipping and b) training them nice and early.
I've hatched out three lovely keets and they're growing fast. I'm getting them used to me and my dogs as they're currently living alongside 4 chicks in the living room. At some stage we'll venture outside but I don't think they're quite ready for that - nor the neighbours!
They're curious little birds and the keets are extremely cute when compared with the bone, naked-headed adults (though I, personally, love their dinosaur look)! They are also SO HARD TO TAKE A PICTURE OF. Boy, these things do NOT stay still!
So this is the start of my guinea fowl alarm system. Do you keep guineas? How do you train them? I'd love to see some pictures in the comments, so if you have them, show me! :D
Thanks for reading,