With lots of first time guests coming to the ranch this winter, there have been many questions like “what kind of bird is that”  or “those aren’t turkeys, are they”? No, they are guinea hens. I tell folks that they are working birds on the ranch. A guinea hen will eat its weight in wood ticks in a season, they view them like snickers bars – they love them. Also on the menu are  mosquitos; small rodents; and even snakes.  They are excellent watch dogs, and will raise a ruckus if anything seems out of the ordinary. They love to range around the yard,  generally stay in one large group or several small groups. One of them usually stands guard while the others hunt and peck. They can fly sort of, not long distances and depth perception is really not there best skill as I have seen them aim for a branch, miss, and fall to the ground only to pick themselves up, dust themselves, and look around as if to say none of you saw that did you. They are not the brightest of God’s species as they will sometimes lay an egg, and sit a number of feet away. Because they range all over the ranch, it is really hard to gather the eggs. In 11 years I have only had one hen with the motherly instinct to actually make a nest; sit on the eggs and hatch out the chicks. They do have natural predators, and fall prey to an occasional owl; fox; or fisher. In order to keep them safe, we do keep them in a coup at night where they roost and rest for the next days adventures. Guineas actually come in 17 different colors, although, mostly we buy in the pearl grey birds as they seem the hardiest for our environment. Enjoy watching the guineas working at the ranch!