Friday, September 13, 2013

Guinea Update v3.0

Yesterday I fixed a place outside under the out building deck where I could put the cage for the guineas.  It would be dry and high enough off the ground where predators shouldn't be able to reach them.

I couldn't get the guineas in the cage.  They were more scary than before all the attacks but they were still relatively unafraid of me.  I just can't put my hands on them.  Not anymore, they were too fast.  I could still herd them but they refused to go into the cage.  After several attempts I gave up trying.

About dark they flew up in their usual tree to roost.  I need to explain about this tree.  It is not really a tree.  It is some kind of shrub that resembles a tree.  My nephew the gardener said years ago it was the largest of its type he had ever seen.  It has grown considerably since then.  Anyway it is probably 18 to 20 feet tall but as you can imagine being a shrub, the trunk and limbs are small in diameter.  You can shake it easily and I wondered why the guineas liked roosting there because the limbs they roost on are unsteady at best.  At worse they sway wildly when it's windy.  I have an oak tree near it.  Its first branch reaches out to the top of the shrub.

Around 2:00 AM this morning I was nearly asleep.  I heard a slight sound like a small limb brushing against a window.  I figured it must be Leo wanting in but it didn't really sound like him and he wasn't at the door.  I went outside and looked up into the shrub.  At least two raccoons!  It seemed impossible that they could be walking on the limbs they were on; the limbs were so small.  Before I thought I grabbed hold of one of the shrub trunks and began shaking as hard as I could.  Then I remembered the story of how dangerous raccoons can be and backed off.  I had left a shovel on the deck and I grabbed it.

How I wished I had a gun!

I heard one of the guineas fly but couldn't tell where.  The raccoons did not fall out of the tree.  Instead they just climbed higher and over onto the oak tree branch.  They wouldn't come down out of that tree.  I finally gave up and came inside.

One thing I realized.  Maybe why the guineas preferred that shrub was how flimsy the limbs are.  Its shaking could warn them of danger?  Maybe it was an evolution thing.  How they survived?

This morning I went out to see if any of the guineas had lived through the night.  Incredibly all five were alive and well!

16 comments:

Phillip Oliver said...

David, I'd never considered shooting an animal until I dealt with raccoons! They are so annoying and clever. I have one of those cage traps and catch them and release them somewhere else. They destroy our bird feeders and love bird seed. I had to catch a few a few weeks ago but at the moment, it seems we are raccoon free.

The question is - what was the raccoon doing on the shrub? Do they kill guineas? I've never heard of this. They could be nesting in your roof so you might want to check that out.

ADRIAN said...

Alls well that ends well. You'll have to start sleeping during the day or employ someone to work the night shift.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Clever birds to escape them. Maybe you should get an air rifle to deal with those raccoons.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm glad you still have the five. But, like I said, I couldn't do what you're doing without having had them in a cage all along.

David Oliver said...

I've no doubt now that the raccoons killed all of the other guineas except the two the dogs got. The raccoons would have gotten the last five guineas last night had they been on a limb big enough to support the raccoon's weight. At least that's what I'm thinking. I might have heard the raccoons before they got to the guineas and scared them enough that they left the guineas alone even after I came back inside but that is unlikely. These last five as Adrian said on the blog have gotten wiser, I think. We'll see.

I did some research on raccoons after I came back inside. The article I read said to put Cayenne pepper on birdseed. It won't bother the birds and the raccoons hate it. Pity I can't put Cayenne pepper on the guineas.

David Oliver said...

A guinea guard? Actually I'm already awake most of the night but I have to worry about the dogs during the day.

David Oliver said...

I'm thinking I'll go to Wal-Mart and tell them I want their best non lethal weapon. And maybe a double barrel shotgun. I'm wondering if I could load the shotgun with rock salt in one barrel and shot in the other.

Truthfully I would have had no problem sending those raccoons last night to heaven. I might have regretted it as soon as my anger cooled down...

David Oliver said...

Yeah. Still, I would have to worry about when I eventually freed them. Because the point in getting them was to kill the fleas and ticks. Which I have to say despite all the trouble with them staying alive, they have done an excellent job on reducing both the flea and tick population as best I can tell.

Phillip Oliver said...

You might try cutting out the thickest branches on the shrub. They should not be able to climb the flimsy ones.

David Oliver said...

Phillip, that's a thought but I don't think I can do that. You'll have to look at it to see...

rhymeswithplague said...

I do hope there will be a Guinea Update v4.0 and v5.0 and...

"they have done an excellent job on reducing both the flea and tick population as best I can tell"

Yes, but have you checked the raccoons? Maybe they were on their way to have their fleas and ticks removed by the guineas.

Do you talk to the animals? Are you Dr. Doolittle? Have you acquired a Pushme-pullyu yet?

Don't mind me. It's the medicine talking.

David Oliver said...

You made me laugh. :)

I had to google Pushme-pullyu; I have never seen Dr. Doolittle. I do talk to the animals though.

You might be right about the raccoons but I'm harboring great doubt. I've only seen them perform tick and flea removal on their own bodies.

HermanTurnip said...

Wow...I've never heard of Raccoons going have prey like Guineas. I'd be more concerned about my trashcans that the guineas. I'm sure they know that they're safe up in that bush!

David Oliver said...

The guineas are safe or at least relatively safe in the bush. But there was another episode this morning about dawn. Their survival is questionable. Suffice it to say I was outside at dawn this morning chasing a raccoon with a shovel.

I have heard stories of bad troubles with raccoons and garbage. At least I don't have to worry about. My next door neighbor is a sand plant. They have a dumpster and let me use it. Whenever I have enough garbage to take outside, I take it to the dumpster.

A Beer For The Shower said...

These little guys are certainly keeping you on your toes, aren't they? You know, my friend had raccoons invade his garden about a month ago. He bought a trap to catch them, and then drove them out into a field in the country to release them. Fun fact: you have to take them at least 5-10 miles away from you, otherwise they can track their way right back to you (and will).

David Oliver said...

It's become clear that raccoons are not only incredibly cute, they are incredibly smart and brave as well. I doubt I could kill one unless I saw it while killing one of the guineas. The reason I was running around with a shovel was the raccoons were unafraid of me without it. At least their fear of me was less than their desire for a guinea meal.

It would be pointless to trap them and haul them away. This area is mostly woods. There are dozens if not hundreds in the area. If I end up losing all of these guineas I'll try again but do it differently. I'll make pets out of them so I can get them into a cage at night.

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