Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Sadness, that is the feeling around here today. Last night four guineas refused to sleep in the coop, preferring to remain outside, and that choice ultimately sealed their doom. This morning as the Commander was doing the normal feeding and watering he discovered their frozen headless bodies. It seems some predator took them one by one during the night, they just weren't smart enough to save themselves. We looked for tracks in the snow but couldn't find any, so we think it must have been an owl. Lost to us was the lone white guinea, two royals, and a lavender.

I am now worried that whatever dined here last night will return, I hope the remaining guineas all decide to spend their nights in the coop for a few days.

The remaining guineas haven't left the coop area today and were slow to leave the coop this morning. I am worried sick over their safety, and that of the chickens, but I can't make them get into the coop tonight.

They may be loud and they may chase the chickens but I love them, stay safe my guineas!


  1. I will cross my fingers for your others. My experience has been what ever gets them does come back the next night to try again. Even if everyone has been locked up the remains of the birds in the compost pile will be gone or moved the next night.

  2. I am sorry for your loss! We have owls and hawks so that when I built my hen run, I added a chicken wire roof, lathed onto 2X2 framing. So far, it has solved that aspect of raising poultry. With just the heads missing, I was wondering if you had weasels?

  3. Elizabeth, The bodies have been tossed far away into a marsh and everyone is tucked away safe for the night. It is so cold, single digits going to below zero, that there isn't much we can do.

    Ian, With the heads gone we too thought of raccoons, skunks, or weasels, but there were no tracks or drag marks in the snow. That left owls, and we have seen some of those around. We had a plastic mesh across the top of the coop but the snow adhered to it and so it collapsed under its frozen weight. Repairs have to wait for spring unfortunately. Thank you for your sentiments.

  4. Oh, my. Yes, had this experience with the chickens. Lost one of my favorite roosters that way. But sometimes they just don't realize that safety is what you are trying to give them... Too bad we can't speak bird, or cat, or (insert animal here), and explain that we are trying to help them.

    Then I think of trying to explain to people, and wonder if it would matter... :/

    I hope they do okay. Cold isn't good, but guineas seem to be tough birds.


  5. Thank You Nancy.

    Cat, When you put it that way - if we can't get people to do what is in their best interest how can we expect animals to do the right thing - it makes a bit more sense.

  6. Oh, what a sad post. The poor birds. So very sorry for your loss. Hope everything goes okay tonight.

  7. BMKW - Everyone is tucked away safe tonight, it will be one day at a time from now on. Thank you.

  8. I'm thinking weasels also. We've come down and actually found chickens, their necks pulled through the chicken wire fence, but heads gone. Weasels like the blood. Once a weasel or two made a huge mess of a whole flock of just feathering chicks in a chicken tractor outside. The blood all over was incredible.

    You'll likely lose more, but I sure hope not. They don't like people or dogs, or cleared areas. If you can get a combination of all three, it will reduce the weasel attacks.

    I'm so sorry. That's so disappointing!


  9. Raising poultry can be so heartbreaking. I am sorry to hear about your losses. I hope the rest continue to go in at night.

  10. So sorry to hear about your loss. I was out of town for Thanksgiving and my son was house sitting. The coop didn't get closed in time and something got half of my chickens. It's sad that these things happen but it all falls under the heading of keeping a homestead.

    You didn't do anything wrong. I have heard that Guineas like to roost high and don't like coops. Good luck! I'll keep the remaining few in my thoughts.

    BTW, My guess is that it may have been a Raccoon or Gray Fox (they climb trees) I doubt an owl would have eaten just the heads off, more likely they would have disemboweled them.

  11. Faith, I would agree but we didn't find any tracks. The Commander took the dogs out to the coop last night and he and they marked their territory if you know what I mean - that might scare any ground predators off.

    KenLeigh, I would be devastated whatever it is got any of my chickens - or heaven forbid Honey.

    Marchwind, That is so sad. I was thinking raccoon at first but I'm not sure now. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  12. That's so sad Chai Chai.
    I hope no more losses after this.

  13. Oh, Chai Chai - I am so sorry :( I understand about poultry that won't come in at night though. I have 3 teenager chickens that absolutely insist on sleeping in trees at night. We've tried everything, but chasing them out of those trees only drives them further into the woods. I know we'll lose them to predators and it breaks my heart to think of it, but this is about you - I hope the rest of them will come into the coop at night so you can safely tuck them in. (((hugs))) Stay warm!

  14. GrandPa - I hope so too.

    BTB, Every night I dread going out in case one of the Guineas decides they don't want to be in the coop. You are right that chasing them does no good, one can only hope for the best.

  15. Oh, I am so very sad. I love your guineas, I feel close to them as we both got our guineas at the same time and sort of raised them "together". And now 4 of yours were killed! I'm so sorry! I can't imagine it was an owl that took off the heads, but I have no experience in your area of the country. I know you just can't contain guineas, they like to sleep in the trees and do their own thing. It's near impossible to catch them, too.

    Randy tells me he's surprised that we haven't lost any guineas yet. Every morning I count them - 7 grey ones, 1 white, 2 dark. They run to us whenever they see us. We give them treats of bread now that it's so cold out - they love bread. I worry about the guineas surviving out in the trees during the below freezing weather. If a stranger comes to the house they run around screaming which always scares the person. Good guard guineas. Whenever a vehicle drives in the driveway the guineas always circle it and scream. They've gotten to know our cars and are less of a pain in the neck to us, they let us drive in now. Any strange car has a hard time getting on or off the property because of those guineas. I've had many, many laughs from those birds.

    Will you get more guineas to make a bigger flock next year? I know they are flock birds.

  16. One more question - Do your guineas roost in the coop beside the chickens every night?

  17. Lynn, If they would nest in the trees then I wouldn't worry as much - but they instead nest on the fence or on the top of the coop. Both places leave them very exposed to predators. I miss their calls, and now they rarely leave the coop area.

    They mostly sleep in the coop with the chickens which is probably a good thing now with the extreme cold and predators wandering about.

    We will absolutely need more next year, hopefully my remaining guinea girls can hatch a few keats (with the help of chickens).