The Guinea Effect

Meet Mrs. Guinea, our farm mascot. For reasons I forget, I purchased a flock of baby guineas (keets) several years ago. Mrs. Guinea is the lone survivor. That she has lived this long amazes me. The others succumbed to predators. Of interest to me at the time was their penchant for eating bugs and insects. They eat ticks and mosquitoes. They also eat weed seeds and kill snakes. So I figured that part of the value in having guineas around would be environmental. What I didn't know is that they have entertainment value. Guineas are funny. Searching for bugs, Mrs. Guinea darts around the farmyard at an obscene pace. When she decides to set wing, her flight path can span a good 200 feet. It is a beautiful sight. She feeds in the tall grass, active with insects, and occasionally the woods.

Like chickens, guineas graze naturally. Unlike chickens, they don't typically scratch around in, and damage, my plant beds. If Mrs. Guinea lays eggs, which she probably does, I have never found them. (Guinea eggs are smaller than chickens' eggs.) I would be remiss not to mention that guineas can be loud. I guess it is their defense mechanism. In keeping with their nature, Mrs.Guinea knows the difference between who belongs on the property and who is an intruder. Now and then, when pandemonium breaks out, I have learned to pay attention. Her presence on the farm is purely that of enjoyment. In the spring, I intend to purchase some new keets. I hope Mrs. Guinea adjusts to having some kin. Long live the guineas.