Lesson 689 – Apologies to our neighbors

You know those two Guinea hens that just a few weeks ago I proudly declared both to be female?

They’re not.

Guinea hens are notoriously difficult to visually sex, however, believing that I somehow had the magic power, I decided based on the comb alone, that both of my birds were girls.

Then we started hearing some major squawking from the hen house – sort of like the anguished cry of a clown horn mixed with a maniacal laugh. The first few times this happened, we went out to the henhouse to check on the birds’ safety. Maybe something had gotten into the coop and was threatening the birds.

It certainly sounded that way.

But no all the birds were fine. Hmmm, perhaps, my birds were just complaining about the cold weather.

Lord knows, I was these days.

Then when I was at the Poultry Congress, there was a young man who was trying to sell all of his Guinea hens. I was interested in maybe getting one or two, but I only wanted hens. The good news was they all looked like hens to me.

I mentioned to the gentleman that we couldn’t keep any roosters in our flock due to our neighbors and that’s when he said to me:

“Good luck in telling them apart.”

What? Wait…..do you mean?….

Yup, comb size (or lack thereof) is not an indicator of sex in a Guinea hen. Even this guy who was a breeder had difficulty telling them apart.

Pretty much the only indicator is their call –

Females have a two-toned call that sounds like they are saying “Buck-wheat”

Males have that shrill and constant call that tries to interrupt your writing thoughts and makes you think twice about going out in the back yard when it’s dark. (What the heck is that?)

Based on their calls, it looks like we have one female and one male. Not the worst thing in the world because I got them to eat ticks and not for eggs, so it doesn’t really bother me BUT, I’m thinking that my neighbors might have a different take on the situation once the warm weather comes and windows that had been closed tight to the winter winds are finally opened.

This is the best photo I could get this morning, the darn things won't stay still.

This is the best photo I could get this morning, the darn things won’t stay still.

***

And Congratulations to Stephanie Ryan you are the winner of that chicken garland! I’ll have to get details from you on where to send it.

5 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care

5 responses to “Lesson 689 – Apologies to our neighbors

  1. Lisa

    I have 9 and I think they ALL may be Roosters!!!!!!!

  2. Rich Kolb

    Bummer on the rooster.

  3. Linda Bickford

    Wendy, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tell them apart. Crazy birds…but we love ’em🙂

  4. I think your neighbors will actually welcome a different sound from the yard and who knows your guys may save them from getting Lyme disease!🙂
    I think the female call is not “buck-wheat” but rather “TICK-EAT” …🙂 and the males will shrill “Tiiiiiick, heeereee Tiiick!”🙂

  5. When I was a child about 60 years ago, my parents had what is now called a “hobby farm” in Southern California. Besides having chickens and Muscovy ducks, I milked a cow before and after junior high; later a goat.

    We had roosters (one of whose spurs scared me). Our coop/run was poorly built. The chickens climbed/flew out of the run and hid eggs all over out property and our neighbors’ property. Our cow (who had not been de-horned) periodically ran away as well; once eating flowers from the lawn of a neighbor (a not happy cop), once from the lawn of the high school. We never went the guinea hen route. Even so, my parents were not popular with me (for other reasons) and they were not popular with the neighbors. (I kind of lived in the library as much as I could.)

    I can’t imagine why my parents were not liked in our suburban community. Can you? Even though we now live on five acres of woods, I heard a rooster crowing this morning. Oh, well, I shrugged. Some “neighbors” have kids who ride “crotch rockets” (tiny motorcycles). My wife and I, working outside, hear the tiny motorized bikes and she grumbles about the noise. After she stops complaining, I start the (gasoline) chain saw again and we resume sawing wood for our wood stove.

    She is not amused when I point out that our chain saw makes as much noise as the crotch rockets. If I made a sarcastic remark about motes and beams I might find the chain saw headed in my direction.

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