Bizarre? Yes; Stupid? Far from it

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

By Harold Brummett

Denmark Star Route

When doing research for this column it was with some dismay several references called Guineas unintelligent or even stupid. While agreeing that some of their behavior is bizarre, these animals ride the short bus to the gifted class.

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While I’ve never eaten Guinea it is noted to be a dark meat with fewer calories and fat than chicken. Guinea meat is supposed to have a rich flavor differentiating it from chicken. Guinea eggs are small, light brown, speckled, have thick shells and otherwise cook up like chicken eggs.   

Guineas on my farm, beside the occasional accident or predator, can expect a long life.  

Guineas eat bugs. Lots of bugs, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders and even garden slugs are just a few of the items on their menu. Ticks in particular have all but disappeared from my yard. 

No pesticides are used, just a skirmish line of Guineas parading across yards and pasture. Land lines are not a barrier as Guineas do not care to acknowledge such human constraints. Guineas choose to live the life of free birds following insects wherever they may lead.  

Guineas like to chase each other. Toothpick legs churning, feathers swaying on their bodies like travel trailers in a high wind as they take hairpin turns during the chase. All the while, their heads are on gimbals steadily looking around as if what was happening with their undercarriage was of no concern. 

Guineas like sameness. The same old people, cars, dogs, other barnyard animals will not cause an alarm, but let one thing not like the other show up and pandemonium will ensue. 

Guineas give an alarm call that all the creatures on the hill know. Dogs rush out barking to see what the upset is, chickens head for cover and I look to see what the Guineas are about. The UPS man in the large brown truck is cause for alarm, so is the postman. 

Once, a friend visited in a shiny new truck. Chrome everywhere. The Guineas formed a circle around the vehicle screaming at it. Their reflections looked back at them from the chrome, which only incensed the birds further. 

Then one brave Guinea walked up to the truck, pecked its image and seeing no reaction turned and walked away like flipping a switch there was no more alarm. 

If Guineas see a snake they do not kill it, they worry it to death. Guineas, known to eat small snakes form a circle around the snake leaving their legs and bodies as far behind them as possible while extending their neck and head to the very limit of extension. Then they scream. 

The snake having no avenue to exit has two choices, lie still and wait for the birds to lose interest or make a run through the circle. If the snake runs, it starts a chase that Guineas practice on a daily basis. 

Guineas are not stupid or unintelligent. They are unique, special, and lend another ingredient to the farmstead that makes it a special place.