Growing up in the country and often spending my summers at my grandparents farm, I was very familiar with all of Old McDonald’s barnyard animals and the livestock stabled and in the pastures surrounding the farm. Part of my daily chores was to milk cows feed the horse or mule, and shuck corn and shell it out to the chickens and guineas. I loved feeding the chickens and guineas as I did all the animals and sometimes they would come so close I could reach down and pet them or catch one if I had wanted.
Grandpa’s corn crib was near the chicken coop where the hens and roosters were shut up at night and once when I was shucking corn for their morning feeding, I was covered up by chicken mites. I had not previously had experience and did not know they even existed but they were all crawling all over my arms and itching. I first thought they were ticks! I ran down to the creek and washed them off using creek sand as soap. When I told grandpa he sorta of grinned and spit that Brown and Williamson’s juice and told me “they won’t hurt you, they must have gotten into some of the corn stored in the crib.”
Grandpa always had guineas and they didn’t stay in the chicken coop but roosted in the tress around the farm. They are a noisy fowl and had the run of the farm sometimes making their way to the corn fields where in the late fall bird hunters often came to hunt. One morning two bird hunters drove down the dirt road to grandpa’s house and had two dead guineas in hand. He had come to pay for mistakenly shooting them when the covey of guineas had been flushed by the bird dogs. Grandpa took the money and then gave these hunters a stern warning. they were trespassing and had not ask permission to hunt o his property. Even as a young boy, I thought it was somewhat funny these city slickers didn’t know the difference between a covey of Partridge and some big old noisy guineas.
Sometimes in the summer the guineas would begin to set and we would find huge nests containing their eggs. Smaller than hen eggs and speckled in color, we often ate them for breakfast. To me there was no difference once the egg was cracked and in the frying pan. My sister-in-law bought a covey of baby guinea chicks at a flea market near where we live several years ago. She took them to their place which was a part of my grandpa’s original farm and the guineas grew and grew. I think she bought them to try and rid the farm some ants. Guineas eat bugs and I think that is why grandpa had them about the farm to help control beetles, bugs, and other harmful insects that attacked the vegetables he grew. She had heard guineas eat ants and she bought enough to take care of the problem. As the guineas grew and were able to fly, they began to roost on top of their home and this didn’t set well at all and she now considered them somewhat of a nuisance and made a decision to sell them. Next problem, how to catch them.
I was at Wal-mart a short while after she had made her decision to sell the guineas and met my uncle coming out of the store as I was going in to shop for something we needed at our house, he was carrying a huge fishing net. He had recently had a heart attack and darn near died and I ask him if he was planning to do a little fishing what with that huge net he was holding in his hand. He laughed at me and said,”No I’m not going fishing but I am going to use this net to catch them guineas my wife bought.” Well I think it turned out to be a good investment and to my knowledge most of the guineas have been caught and sold. Guineas make a good watchdog and make lots of noise when intruders come on the place. I just like to watch them as another on e of Gods wonderful gifts to man.