Tag Archives: Guinea Hens

Dogs and Cats and TICKS… oh my

The appearance of a tick on your favored pet can give you the heebies for certain.  However, finding one attached to yourself can send you over the edge!  I have on several occasions found ticks crawling on me,  and now can sense almost immediately when I feel one on my skin.  EW!  And so it is, from time to time, that I have found them attached to me.  Shudder… and they seem to prefer that soft tissue around my belt line, or the hairline of my head.

This year the authorities have been predicting a high tick season, due to the unusually warm winter and early spring.   I think they are correct, because so far this spring I have found and removed two ticks from our bed, three ticks from myself, and HORRORS, one that was attached to me yesterday.

The cats and dogs of course are flea and tick free due to monthly applications of a preventive medication.  However, this does not mean that they are not carriers of the little beasties.  I got one from the cat when I picked her to put her outside earlier this week.  Fortunately, I saw it on my shirt and dispensed with it immediately!

So what can you do when you have been latched onto by a tick?  Well, read on, but warning… if you are squeamish then stop here.

But seriously? 

You need to know this!

How to safely remove a tick

There are many ways to remove a tick, but only one recommended and sure way to safely remove a tick.

What you will need:

  1. Alcohol wipes
  2. Tweezers with  long, smooth, pointed tips
  3. Fortitude and a steady hand

Procedure:

  1. Find the little sucker
  2. Clean the area with alcohol
  3. Grasp the little beast’s head down close to the skin… while trying not scream
  4. Now, gently but firmly pull straight out until the head and mouth parts pull free from your skin
  5. Clean the area with a fresh alcohol wipe and try not to pass out
  6. Keep an eye on the area of the bite to make sure it does not develop a redness or target shaped rash.  If so, get to the Doctor for treatment right away. 

THINGS NOT RECOMMENDED IN THE REMOVAL OF A TICK:

  1. Just wait it out.   The little sucker will get full and fall off all by itself.  This will guarantee the transmission of the spirochetes that give you Lime Disease if the tick is a carrier.  Do you feel lucky?
  2. Burn its little backside with the head of a hot match.  This is GROSS, and ineffective!
  3. Apply Vaseline.  This is not gross, but is equally ineffective.
  4. Grab the body, squeezing tightly, and pull.  This will cause the contents of the little creep to enter your bite site for certain.  GAACK!
  5. Grab the little sucker and give it a good twist and pull motion.  Do you really want to leave that head and mouth parts behind?  I don’t think so.

Yesterday, I found an infant, or nymph, sized tick along that belt line I told you about.

It was the size of the one on the right.

I used the preferred method, but unfortunately the little sucker has left me with a parting gift…  So this afternoon at 4:15PM I have an appointment with the Doc to have his little head removed.

GAACK!

Last night I told Bob that I will be ordering guinea hens.  Strangely, this time he didn’t argue with me.  :)

Yup!  That aught-about do it!

~*~

So what is it that can make your hair stand on end?

~*~

So what do a guinea fowl and I have in common with Dr. McCoy in a Star Trek movie?

Have you ever noticed how sometimes our lives can mirror the fictional experiences of well-known and/or loved characters from favorite books and movies?  You’re going along minding your business, getting the job done, and suddenly you are inexplicably relating to a character or living a similar experience to theirs.  Here is what I mean…

Those of you who raise chickens know that you can only have one rooster for every 8 to 10 hens.  I have 19 hens and two roosters, Grayson and Topper.  So, everything works out peaceably and my little hens are safe from becoming bare backed and injured from too much attention…  Or at least they were until the weather became more springlike.

With the longer days and warmer temperatures the Guineas have been feeling “… in the mood for love” and very aggressive.  I thought up until very recently that I had two Guinea Hens, and one male Guinea.  I was wrong!  I have TWO males and they ignore the Guinea hen in preference to the chickens.

Suddenly all my hens are looking bare on their backs and are unwilling to come in from the pasture at night.  I hear a commotion and look out to see the white guinea chasing a hen and he is unrelenting.  He grabs to poor girls feathers and she runs about with him in tow until the guinea is left behind with a  mouthful of feathers!  I ask you, how much can one chicken take?

The Farmlet is no longer a place where happy chickens abide.  I have a decision to make and watching at the window I already know the answer to my problem.  I am not happy.

I round-up the white guinea at bedtime and put him in the holding pen so that I can ‘do the deed” in the morning.  However, when morning comes I find that the gray guinea has moved right on in and is now taking up where the white guinea left off…  I go into the chicken run and round up the other male.

As stated, the job is not a happy one and it is made all the more difficult for their strength.  They are beating me with their wings and making the job nearly impossible.  I almost give up.  Then I look over at my hens and see how much happier they are already.  They have lingered in the chicken yard this morning and are dustbathing and just hanging out with Grayson.  I haven’t seen them do that for weeks.

WARNING:  Now, I promise you I will not go all gory on you, but if you are the least bit squeamish, then do not read any further.  If however you ever intend to butcher your own Guineas you need to know what I discovered yesterday.

The anatomy of a guinea hen is of course made up of all the same parts as a chicken, BUT… they are not all in the exact same place as a chicken!

Here for your reference is a diagram of the anatomy of a chicken.  And by the way, I looked high and low for a diagram like this for the guinea hen, but there were none to be had.

Now, again the guinea had the same “innards” but they were not where I expected them to be… and this made cleaning them awkward…

And it was at that precise moment that I recalled the scene in Star Trek’s “The Undiscovered Country, when Bones (aka: Dr. McCoy)  is trying to save the life of  Admiral Gorkon and fails.  Now I grant you, my mission was not the saving of life, but the preparation of food for the table, but the consequence of not knowing the precise location of some important anatomy nearly made the job impossible!  As was unfortunately the circumstance for Dr. McCoy.

As you can see from the diagram above the chicken’s body is very rotund and the crop is located well down into her chest.  Her gizzard is pretty well centered in her middle and her lungs are  compact more to the anterior location of her spine.

Well, first off the guinea’s shape is elongated as in this picture.

So, in a guinea you will discover, should you choose to go there, that the crop is elongated and comes up into the neck region.  The gizzard instead of being into the center of the bird is located along the bottom and in the posterior region. The lungs  seemed to be all along the interior spine, and in my observation nearly twice the size of a chicken’s lung.

So why does this make cleaning a guinea harder than cleaning a chicken?  Well, it doesn’t once you know where it all is.  However, there are three organs you never want to damage or pierce (for health reasons) when cleaning a bird and these are:

  • the crop
  • the gall bladder
  • and the intestines

Your successful accomplishment of the task of cleaning depends on knowing these locations.  So why did I mention the lungs you ask?  Only because I was so amazed at how really big they were.  Which explains perhaps why they are able to make such a loud and ear-piercing noise.

So today was a very quiet day.  The hens stayed in the chicken yard for most of the day, only visiting the pasture in late afternoon, and everybody was in the hen-house by sunset.  All in all, enjoyable if you were a hen.

And that is as it should be here on the Farmlet.

NOTE:  If you butcher your own bird you must refrigerate and let it sit for 2 to 3 days before you freeze or cook it.  Otherwise it will be very tough and hard to chew!

Roast Guinea Fowl

Rub down the outside of the bird with Olive oil.  Sprinkle inside cavity with kosher salt.  Sprinkle outside of bird with sage and Kosher salt and let rest for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350.  Place rack in a roasting pan, put bird in rack, add about 1 inch of water to roasting pan,  and carefully place into the center of the oven.

Warning: If you need to check the oven for any reason, then please stand back when you open the door to avoid steaming and or burning your face!

Bake for 22 minutes per lb. or until thermometer reads 180 to 185 degrees.    Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

If they only had a brain

The temperature dropped to 27 degrees just as the weatherman predicted it would.  I had made all the necessary precautions…

  1. Heat lamps for the chickens
  2. Plugged in heating base for the water fount
  3. Covered my little citrus trees and my precious succulents from California
  4. Hung the winter drapes

I was ready, “Bring it!” I boasted…

But what neither the weatherman nor I could have predicted was the hungry owl that would come in the night and steal away with one of my Guinea hens.  The chilling thing was that I heard the geese honking furiously last night at about 1:00 AM, and I should have known something was wrong!  Though I doubt there was little I could have done about it.  Owls, like hawks, gotta eat, and so it was that last night I lost another Guinea but to an owl this time.

The curious thing about Guineas is that they refuse to roost anywhere but up in a tree, which is fine if it is fully leaved.  But, when fall and the wind have stripped it bare it just doesn’t make sense, but then guineas have no sense.

~*~

Things Guineas are most likely to do:

  1. If left by your fowl friends on the other side of the fence, then you run back and forth for hours crying till your little feet have run a track in the dirt.  You could fly over the same way you got in, but this will never occur to you.
  2. Run in terror from a little white fluffy Cockerel who is easily less than half your size.
  3. Screech out “WEE-choo,  WEE-choo, WEE-choo, WEE-choo, at the top of your annoying little voice… all day.  Every day.  Until the husband of the owner of the ugly, little, brainless, feathered fowl turns to you and says:  “I HATE THOSE NASTY BIRDS!”  Whereupon you remind him that he was tick free this summer and he acquiesces.
  4. Come rain, wind, or freezing temperatures, you will roost in the trees to be eaten by a large bird.

So now I have a choice to make.  Let them take their chances or put them in the freezer for dinners this winter.  I can order more in spring for tick control and I know it will make the husband happy, if only temporarily,  that I got rid of them. What would you do?

~  Epitaph For a Guinea  ~

If I Only Had a Brain

(with apologies to the original author)

I could while away the hours, conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain.
And the dirt I’d be scratchin’ while
my thoughts were busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain.
I’d unravel every riddle for obtaining any viddles,
In sunshine or in rain.
With the thoughts I’d be thinkin’
I could be another chicken
If I only had a brain.
Oh, I would go inside to sleep at night,
I wouldn’t have to fear of  Owls in flight,
And then I’d live to see another day!
I would not be just a nothin’ my head all full of stuffin’
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry,
If I only had a brain.

 

Lyrics Kingdom(http://www.poplyrics.n et)

Photo credit:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Guinea_Fowl.JPG

Mid July on the Farmlet

Standing at the  dining room window I look out to see that all of my chickens (and the geese too) have decided to take advantage of the neighbors property.  It’s OK, the neighbors don’t mind.  In fact, they even encouraged us when we replaced the fence to put in a gate for the critters access and enjoyment.  And enjoy it they do!  Just try to keep them out!

I grab my camera and venture outside into the heat of the moist 93 degree weather.

By the time I get to the back fence the chickens have moved to the far side of the acre to forage under the oaks.  I could watch them all day if I didn’t have other things to do, but I give myself a break and watch for a while.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  ~*~

While I’m out I decide that the Keets and the Baby Roos are ready for the big turning out party.  With trepidation I open the gate of their little nursery and let them go… and OH-BOY, can those keets FLY!  They’re only the size of doves at the moment and one has landed on the roof of the house!  Now what?  Well, apparently it scared her too, so she came back down and started foraging the morning glories with the rest of the gang!

Maybe they’ll find all the little ‘invisibles’ that have been chewing the leaves to Swiss cheese.

I hear the geese honking behind me and turn to see that they have become bored with the field scene and are heading to the gate to come back into the poultry yard.  They are honking at me the whole way…

MOM, hot-hot-hot, MOM!  They seem to say.

I yell back,  “OK, I can take a hint! ”  And grabbing  the hose I fill their pool for them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  ~*~

OK, here’s just a bit more from yesterday…

I cleaned out the corn field because it was done.  It was a little disappointing again this year, yet better than last because what little there was,  was delicious!  That’s when I discovered all the Butternuts that were hiding underneath!  A whole twenty pounds of them!  Now what will you do with that much butternut and more on the way.  I ask you?  No really, I want your suggestions please!

I also watered the cukes and potatoes and that’s when I found these!

And there’s plenty more for this winter too!

I love my life here.  “:<>