the guinea wrangler

With the fencing finally up around the new, larger coop, it was time to move some birds from the smaller coops which had become too crowded.  We tried moving a few of the older hens but they did not fare so well, constantly being picked on by the established residents and always in a panic to get back to their own flock.  I felt so sorry for them that I moved them back.  It was always our intention to have the guineas in the new area and allow them to fly in and out to roam as they pleased.  Up until now, they were always in the yard that was covered by netting so we didn’t have to worry about them coming back to the coop each evening.  I was not quite sure how to introduce them into the new, uncovered yard and allow them to get used to a new roosting area to be sure they would want to come back in the evenings.  We couldn’t just keep them locked inside as the chickens needed to have access to the food and nest boxes.  I had been thinking for some time about the best way to accomplish this move.  The other night as we were moving the older hens back to their original coop, we came up with the idea of clipping the guineas’ wings to keep them from flying out of the fenced area for awhile, which would give them time to adjust to the new roosting arrangement.  The operation ran smoothly, with no major injuries or blood loss (to us or the guineas). They are extremely fast and strong – difficult to catch and can really scratch you up trying to get away.  Todd has become quite the guinea wrangler and was able to catch each one in turn and hold it properly for me to complete the wing clipping.  They went into the new yard and seemed to settle in fairly quickly.  The hens and roosters didn’t bother them since they don’t fit into the chicken pecking order and we found them roosting on the outside perch alongside the original occupants the very first night.  I think it will take a few months for them to be able to fly over the fence and by then, they should want to come back to their customary roosting spot for the night.  I think I feel better about keeping them in the fenced yard all winter as there are more hungry predators on the lookout for a meal during the colder weather, so we may have to clip their wings once more and let them start roaming next spring.