Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Guineas' Reign of Terror

We recently tried combining our small flock of wandering Barred Rock hens, and the three guineas that think these geriatric chickens are their mommies, with our younger brood of Rhode Island Reds.  We had tried this once before, because we'd heard that when the chickens were all the same size, the older ones would be less likely to murder their juniors and the pecking order would kind of work itself out.  Well, that time it didn't go so well for the Reds.  No blood was shed, but the older hens used the old divide-and-conquer technique to dominate the two feeders we had out.

So what possessed us to try it again?  Poop on the front porch.  Poop on the back porch.  When you have wandering chickens, they wander (and poop) wherever they please.  And since we feel ghetto enough as we live through a renovation, a little less poop to squish through our Crocs as we walk out the door would be heavenly.

The results?  We put the Barred Rocks and guineas in the hoop house with the Rhode Island Reds, and the Barred Rocks were awful, as usual.  Pecking any Rhode Island Red who came near the feeder.  Forcing them out of their nest boxes.  But the real villains were the guineas, whose Reign of Terror kept the Rhode Island Red populace heading for higher ground (the roost bars) most of the day.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll shut up for a minute...

The guineas plot their next move while one of their Barred Rock mommies keeps watch for any errant Rhode Island Reds.

Several (probably hungry) Rhode Island Reds brave flying down from the roost bar and huddle in a corner of the hoop house, waiting for an opportune time to snag some food.

A guinea takes notice and issues a loud series of commands...

The Rhode Island Reds briefly consider a revolt... 

...but swiftly begin to acquiesce to the three dictators by heading for the roost bar.  And the rooster?  Worthless. Granted, he did come down several times, but the guineas (who are half his size) descended on him almost instantly, sending him flying back to safety.
In the end, the flocks are separate again and we are dancing around the droppings on our front porch.  Has anyone out there had success combing flocks?  If so, do tell!

A Rural Journal and my friend, Lisa, at Three Bears Farm are beginning Rural Thursdays, and I'm linking up!  Click here to check out the blog hop at Three Bears Farm, and here to check out A Rural Journal!

Rural Thursday Blog Hop

Also linking up to Farmgirl Friday at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House!


  1. This is so funny. But not. Oh but the pictures ARE funny! I hope you figure out a solution soon. We frequently have poop on our porches as well. We just use caution in stepping ;-)

    Thanks for linking up! :-)

  2. oh dear! squash the guinea rule!

    came over from rural thursday to say hello!

  3. My goodness gracious, reign of terror, indeed! YiKeS! Here's to finding a solution to the terror! LoL! =)

  4. First, I would like to thank you for linking up and sharing your horror story with Rural Thursday. I can relate to your problem very well.

    When we had more than one guinea, they would chase the chickens (especially the rooster) and pull out their tail feathers. Not good. We had to keep them separated. Now we only have one guinea left, thanks to a raccoon, and he isn't dumb enough to take on the chickens by himself.

    It's always difficult when introducing new chickens into the flock. Sometimes they forget and eventually get along, and sometimes not.

  5. oh no! doesn't sound easy but i am in love with your pics!

  6. OMG! That first picture of the guineas "plotting" cracked me up! We did finally integrate older and younger chickens but they were all Barred Rocks and there were NO guineas involved! ;-)
    I have been told if you put them together at night after they have turned in that they all wake up the next morning and say "Hey, where did you guys come from?" I hope you can get things straightened out!

  7. I found you via Rural Thursday, and I'm so glad I did. I love your story accompanying your photos. I can almost hear the words of the commands being issued by the guinea. I'll be following you to learn what I can of real-life sustainability.

  8. I was given a new flock in November and have a number of posts on my blog about integrating the 2 flocks (you will just have to scroll past all the holiday posts lol)
    My biggest problem was the 2 roosters and finally rehomed the new comer to a flock that had no boy chickens....My girls will still squabble now and again in the evening at the water dish, but since most of their days are spent roaming there is no really problems with the girls now.

  9. Wow, gangs in Birdland! Good luck little Reds.

  10. It's really hard to combine different groups of birds. I have geese that have all been here for years, and they've divided themselves into groups that do not mix at all.

  11. Wow - thanks for all the comments and input, everyone, and I have enjoyed looking at each of your blogs! These birds are definitely happier now that they're separate...I guess it's worth trying, but in the end it's a bit of a toss up as to which flocks get along. Kind of reminds me of high school. ;)

  12. came over from "rural journal" to say hello. great shots. i'm curious ... do you name your birds? i know my hubby had a pet duck named "killer bill" so ...i thought i would ask. (:

  13. Hi, Beth! We don't generally name our chickens since someday they will be stewing hens, though we do have a limping Barred Rock hen who our neighbor named Mrs. Hobblewobble!

  14. Oh my,
    I had noticed that my in-laws guineas are very aggressive, even toward their dogs. I hope you are able to help those poor sweet Reds. Please share when you figure out what works and I hope it doesn't have to be a culling of the guinea herd. haha. Thank you for sharing this informative post on Farmgirl Friday.