Life with Guineas: a love-hate thing

A month ago, Marie and Antoinette came to live in our garden. We built them a coop out of old pallet planks, and an outside enclosure out of bamboo. We’re… still getting used to each other.

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I didn’t even know what guinea fowl were before I came to Malawi. The first time I saw them was when we were driving through the countryside to the Dzalanyama Forest Reserve on the Mozambique border. They were running around on the side of the road outside a village. I thought they were the coolest looking birds I’d ever seen. We originally planned to raise turkeys, but I was so curious about guineas that we got them instead. They are so awesome but SO UNBELIEVABLY NOISY. They squawk and shriek and bark and bray so loud that sometimes we just want to wring their necks and shove them in the oven already.

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These birds are a source of constant entertainment. Last week, as I was trying to get them into the coop for the night, Antoinette decided to go for an evening stroll. She pushed past me and scurried into the garden. I chased her for ten minutes but she was too fast for me so I went into the house hoping she would get bored and wander back to the coop. But no. She flew over the wall, over the neighbor’s property, and onto the street, where we could hear her squawking. Javi and Jackson, our night watchman, managed to shepherd her closer to our house, but then she flew up into a tree and refused to come down. It took almost an hour of swinging a makeshift net on a long bamboo pole to catch her and put her back in the coop.
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