Today was moving day! The Guineas got to enter the bigger, wider, sunnier world of the outdoors. Before lunch we finished up the gate. We could barely contain our excitement long enough to sit down for a sandwich before we bolted back out for the big transfer. We didn’t have the door from the coop to the run started yet. After some consideration we decided it would be less stress for the Guineas if they were not in the coop at the same time as Ede was sawing through the wall. Quite a bit less stressful for Ede too!
We took out the cat carrier and one at a time I caught the Guineas and then carried them around to the gate to get into the run. The first out was Beaker. I thought it would be easier for him if I opened the door to the carrier beside a roost … but he was having nothing of that. He had been throwing himself at the door – but when the door opened he was hiding as far back as he could! (Seems the cat carrier has the same effect on Guineas as it does on cats when you’ve traveled to the vets.) I ended up unceremoniously dumping him on the ground. His first reaction was to fly! Fly! Fly! Good thing we made the run seven feet tall. We both cheered as he had so much room he could flap around to explore. Soon enough he found the perch. Back again … this time for Chip. When he got his first look at the run it had his good buddy there – so he zoomed right up to the perch.
By the time I went back to the coop to catch the next Guinea confusion reigned supreme. Beaker and Chip could hear the other two – and vice versa. Sir Henry caught the next taxi. He too flew directly up to join the other two. And finally, Miss Charlie (who can put up quite a good fight!) made the trip. She stood stock still and silent on the ground and I swear her beak was agape … The roosters were all up on the perch. She froze … and her eyes ogled the new world.
While Ede and I worked on the door to connect the coop to the run the Guineas explored their new surroundings. I put hay down as I knew they would be familiar with that feeling below their feet. They pretty much stuck to that area for quite a while. When I would leave the coop they’d raise a ruckus. Mostly we were there with them. When I took some time out to sit on my ‘milk carton’ to watch them they garnered the courage to leave they hay bed and had a great time rooting through the leaf cover. Eventually the jennies came along. What fun to see them get a full view of the Guineas. And the Guineas got a full look at the donkeys. I think this will help a great deal with interactions when the Guineas get to free range.
When we finished the coop I still had an hour or so of chores ahead of me. It was lovely to come back to the Guineas when the sun was buttering the woods … just half an hour or so before it would disappear. There they were, all sleepy eyed, tottering on the perch in the sunglow. Hmmm… I didn’t want them to fall asleep out there. So I herded them down off the roosts toward the coop door. Of course they had no idea what that door led to. I gently scooped each one up without much fuss at all and placed them inside. I swear they cooed like doves … sort of a soft sigh that said ‘home’! I think they were plumb worn out … as are we. But happy campers all around.