I have yet to hear a story about Guinea hens being even remotely intelligent. Heck, I’m not even talking at the top of the class, I’d settle for not crashing into the side of the chicken coop when I approach. But I haven’t heard one.
Instead I keep hearing stories about how when released they can’t find their way back into the coop.
Or when they lay eggs, they forget where they’ve been laid, the eggs slowly going to waste.
And the noise, in the infamous words of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas, “Oh the noise, the noise, the noise, noise, noise, noise.” A Guinea hen has a unique call which can best be described as a cross between a goose honk and a smoke alarm. It’s the sort of sound that initially makes you take notice but after the 7th, (8th, 20th time) you find yourself wishing the bird would understand what the term “quiet time” means.
There must be a place in evolution for these awkward creatures. At some point their little football shaped bodies must have accomplished something or at the very least been found to be delectable. But no, Guinea hens, although eaten by some, are not exactly considered fine dining. I don’t know of anyone who looks forward to a Guinea hen dinner.
Either they’ve evolved out of their usefulness or being the tiny, freaks of nature that they are, perhaps they never really had one at all.
We have our Guinea hens as a way to control our tick population. Someone, somewhere, told me that chickens find ticks to be bitter but that Guinea hens find them to be yummy, yummy. On that piece of information alone, last fall we added two hens (well actually it’s only one hen and one male) to our flock. In exchange for a theoretical massacre of our ticks this Spring, we put up with the constant honking, the odd looks as people ask us – “what’s wrong with that chicken?” and a mother hens’ constant worry that our Guineas will one day forget to look both ways before they cross the road.
I write about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact me at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.