The Barnyard Groweth


I’m pretty sure I have what qualifies as a full barnyard now. Donkeys, sheep, chickens, goats, duck (just one for now, sigh!), dogs, cats, and a milk cow. Where is my barn????

Oh, well, no matter. The barn is just a detail.

It shall appear in due time…. I keep telling myself. Build the barnyard and the barn will come! Right?

52 brought me a surprise. (And it wasn’t even my birthday anymore!) He set a box down in my lap, as I sat in my rocking chair on the porch in the evening dusk, and he said, “Be careful with that.”

I looked on the side of the box. It said Tire Inflator. I might need a tire inflator. I have a back tire that keeps going low. I wondered if it was a glass tire inflator if I had to be careful with it.

Gingerly, I opened the box to peek inside. And nearly dropped it when I saw four striped humpbacks. TOADS! HE BROUGHT ME TOADS!

I closed the box back up quick before they could jump out and slobber warts all over me. Or something. I’m scared of toads. For no good reason. (I don’t even think that’s true about the warts. Is it? Wait, the internet will tell us! Click here if you need to know.)

Anyway. 52 assured me that he had not, indeed, given me toads. So I cautiously opened the box again to take a better, longer look. CHICKENS!

52: “Not chickens.”


52: “Not ducks.”


52: “Not geese.”

Not toads. Not chickens. Not ducks. Not geese.

Then I was out of guesses so I made him tell me.

I have guineas!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!

I’ve got them set up temporarily in a box. I’ll move them to the brooder soon so they’ll have more room.



  1. Knotted Tome says:

    Nope! No milking the guineas.
    …. but they will contend with your roosters as biggest noise makers when they get older. ๐Ÿ˜†

  2. Karen Anne says:

    I can see why you thought they were toads ๐Ÿ™‚

    The web says they eat ticks and so reduce Lyme disease. Who knew.

  3. Thunja says:

    OK….so like I think I’m in love w/ 52. I know that you know what I mean.

  4. Rose H says:

    This just gets better! Congratulations on your guineas, they look so cute, and no need to milk them! ๐Ÿ˜†
    52 is a real treasure.

  5. Nancy in Iowa says:

    They’re beautiful! And I understand they make great watchbirds!! 52 gives the BEST gifts! He’ll probably build you a barn next week, or move a marvelous weathered antique to your land!!

  6. Charlotte says:

    Too cute! House them close to your chooks when they are young and they’ll imprint on them and hang around them when you let them out to free range. Otherwise I’ve heard stories of them being let out then just flying around shrieking madly and then flying off! But seeing as I’ve never actually owned Guinea Fowl, I could be completely wrong…..

  7. Stevie Taylor says:

    Guinea keets are adorable. But they are loud when they grow up!!! Everyone who comes to my farm comments on how they will never get guineas after hearing the racket mine make when someone arrives to pick up eggs or milk. Or when the dog barks. Or when the door opens. Or when the wind blows. My guineas send up an alarm about everything!!!!

  8. Tracey In Paradise,Pa. says:

    :happyflower: Morning!!
    Over two years ago we bought our land and built our home.We had ticks everywhere. I mean door frames window screens and in our hair.UGH! Bad…I wanted to move. Well after doing some research we bought guineas. 25!! After a few months they went outside. Well to make a long story short. We have had three for two years and rarely do we see ticks. My chickens and guineas are doing a fine job..They can be loud but so worth it..Love my crazy looking guineas!! Fine job once again 52!! What a keeper!!
    Granny Trace :happyflower:

  9. Sheila Z says:

    The loudest birds on the face of the earth. They are funny. Insane funny. They will alert at anything that moves and sometimes at nothing at all. Every evening before sunset they go into a good half hour of earsplitting calls. I love mine. I only have two, both males, and need to get a couple more this spring. Don’t be afraid to eat them, they taste like pheasant to me. They should since they are an African pheasant.

  10. Diane says:

    52 is a treasure. Got to love a man who goes out and thinks about you all the time like that. Cute gunieas. Cant wait to see them all grown up. Now you do need a barn. How about planning an old fashion barn raising!!!

    Oh and just a hint I would not let that man get away from you. You might want to think about Marrying him or something like that. My oh my I am in love and never met the man. lol.

  11. lizzybef says:

    Just a warning, guineas are perhaps the stupidest creatures on earth, God bless them (I mean, they can’t be very bright with their head smaller than a spoon). My neighbor once had “free range” guineas, but they all got hit on the road in no time. He got another batch, and they’d sit on the fence and our Border Collie would have great fun chasing them (he’s a notorious chicken killer, though). BUT they eat mosquitoes and ticks, so I’m a fan!!

  12. Barbee' says:

    I can’t believe it! I have missed my grandparents’ guineas for decades and have been wishing for some. How did 52 know?! Now “We” have guineas! Oh, thank you, 52! Suzanne, when they get grown, please do a little video with sound so we can hear their singing, please. I know it’s noisy and sounds weird, but I miss it. :happyflower:

  13. Lori Skoog says:

    You will definitely need the barn pretty soon! I take it that milking is pretty time consuming…have you started making cheese yet?

  14. vande2 says:

    My great-grandma kept guineas, and I have also heard (like many of the commenters) that they eat ticks. I’ve also read that they will just roost in the trees at night. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing!

  15. Tovah says:

    I don’t know anything about them but they sure are cute as babies!

  16. Betty Ireland says:

    Suzanne, do you still have pigs?

  17. Abiga/Karen says:

    Thanks for sharing all the good and difficult things,(cow milking) It helps us who struggle to do things too. We have 6 guineas and they do eat a lot of bugs. They are loud at times. The really bad thing is they bully the chickens and peck their tail feathers off. Now that the weather is warmer they seem to be too busy to bother the chickens. Blessings.

  18. CindyP says:

    Guineas! They’re adorable! 52 is wonderful!!!! He must have a barn laying around somewhere waiting to go up…..he’s just full of wonderful gifts!

  19. carsek says:

    Guineas are great!! Yes, they do get hit on the road and the ones I had would daily go to the nieghbors but came home to roost in the trees EVERY night. Rain, sleet or blizzard. Honestly. BLIZZARD!!! They had access to 2 barns but I never, ever saw them go in. Keep them penned up until they can get out on their own, they are horrible flyers but they will get out, and they will always come home at night. An added benefit, after my guineas started going to the neighbors they said they didn’t have any more mice. But they are horrible parents, the odds of them raising their children to adulthood are slim. But I am sure their are exceptions. Enjoy!! I was known as the lady with the weird chickens 20 miles away.

  20. Glenie says:

    Sounds like i need some guineas.

  21. LauraP says:

    Love, love, love guineas. They’re loud, funny birds. Sometimes meek, more often barnyard terrorists. But they’re awesome at pest control and you’ll never have to worry about anybody or anything sneaking up on your place. They’re the best alarm system ever created.

  22. Tabitha2 says:

    My father used to raise guineas for a company who sold them to cruise ships. The cruise ships marketed them as “pheasants under glass” for dinner, LOL! (Not exactly truth in advertising there, huh?)

    As another poster commented, they are not the brightest crayons in the box. My dad saw one almost drown itself in the rain once.

  23. Ang. says:

    OOOOH! I want some little bitty keets! They are on my list to look for at the chicken swap meet this weekend. I want to see how well they do for bug control in the garden. And of course the ticks. Gad, the ticks are bad this year!

  24. MMT says:

    When I was young (in my 20s) and still a party animal, I lived next door to people that had guineas that drove me crazy. I had a pole light at the corner of my house next to my bedroom window where they would have a happy bugfest every morning starting before the crack of dawn. I wanted to choke them then, when I really wanted to sleep in, but I would love to have atleast a few of them now. Alot older and can appreciate the bug control so much more. How lucky you are Suzanne. Hope you get a barn soon!

  25. marymac says:

    I love Guineas, but I did trade mine back to the friend I got them from for 6 mature hens. You will get used to the noise after while, and they are funny in their stupidity. But they are also smart. Why can’t I be like that? LOL. I think you will love them.

  26. Carol says:

    Suzanne, I’m guessing your pigs have been reincarnated as bacon, chops, etc. and now ‘live’ in the freezer. Am I right?

  27. VaGirl2 says:

    My sis-in-law next door had 4 guineas…they roosted on her roof and made her front porch their home…and they were SO NOISY.

  28. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    We have 5 right now. At one point, I had 37 and let me tell you… was LOUD! I sold most of them but kept a few and plan to raise more to sell. Just remember that once you let them go, you won’t be able to catch them unless they go into a pen or something and you can close the door on them. Mine roost high in a tree over our barn. My husband has a deal going with my Dad, that if he can catch one of our guineas, he’ll pay him $20. That deals been on the table for over a year and my Dad tries each time he’s here LOL.

    I like them because they eat ticks and they don’t tear up my garden and flower beds!

  29. Connie Crowl says:

    Think about a surge milker. If and when I can get a cow I know I will. My old hands get horrible cramps from using them too much and it would be a necessity for me.

  30. Jo says:

    I’ve read that the female guineas are much louder and “talkative” than the male guineas. (imagine that! lol) Guineas are on my wish list too.
    Are you going to name all the guineas too?! How do you keep all the names straight! I can’t wait to hear all the stories you’ll discover from the guineas. I read a hilarious story recently about guineas and can’t find it now! If I come across it again, I’ll send it to you.
    Can’t wait ’til 52 figures out how to get you a barn! :shimmy:

  31. Donna Mc says:

    My Grandma had guineas. I remember them well…they were her ‘watch dogs’. Nothing/no one could enter her yard without being announced. I thing that’s a good thing. Add in the tick eating skills & you’ve got a winner. Good luck with them!

  32. Lisa says:

    Adorable !! :snoopy:

  33. Heather from KY says:

    Ok, am I the only idiot? I’ll admit, I clicked on the link to see if toads can give you warts. Not because I would be touching them EVER in my WHOLE LIFE, but because I have 4 young boys and one needs to know these things! Who else checked out Suzanne’s link?

    Maybe I should check into getting some guineas if they eat ticks. I’m just saying, if I’m terrified of toads, I would be close to calling 911 if I had a tick attached to me – only after I recovered from fainting! I am such a wimp! **sheepish grin**

  34. IowaCowgirl says:

    I think you are safe on the milking issue – their udders are pretty small…….

  35. Drucillajoy says:

    Guineas are cool…my mother used to have them & they roosted in the lilac bushes at night. What I want to know is, does 52 have a single brother that might like to live in NY?

  36. Julia says:

    I like 52 better and better every day. The guineas are cute as can be. But I must say at first I was excited about the toads. I was anticipating a wonderful explanation. A man that could lovingly give you toads would be truly unique.

  37. Kim Gibson says:

    They ARE cute! But surely you aren’t getting tired of milking that lovely cow yet are you? Fingers aren’t sore yet? Wrists aren’t aching? Mine hurt just remembering. But I did get used to it eventually, and I only had two to milk, and only one goat.

  38. Teri says:

    I got 8 guineas from someone out here. We ended up with three that stuck around. Last summer the 2 came up from our valley in the front of our house with a surprise. They had 8 babies! The babies are now grown and all are sticking around the yard. They’ll wander for part of the day but always come back at dinnertime. They’re starting to get brave and come very close to us when we’re outside. I had 7 of them following me the other day when I was walking the goats!

  39. Melissa Marsh says:

    Wow. You have a true blessing in 52, Suzanne. What a guy! :snoopy:

  40. Suz in the Tules says:

    :sheep: Guineas are awesome! They are wonderful alarm systems!
    They kill centipedes, snakes and scorpions!
    Hey, peacocks. You don’t have peacocks!

  41. Cate says:

    Oh, they are just precious. That 52 is some guy!

  42. Klabmom says:

    It is baby chick time! I just got four new babies yesterday, love guinea hens….but I have to say when we were first married we lived by some people that had about twenty and when the would let loose in the middle of the night I always woke up thinking I had heard a woman scream!!!! lol, enjoy!

  43. Betty Ireland says:

    Will you be getting more (live) pigs for the farm?

  44. CherShots says:

    You keep bringing back so many childhood memories for me. We used to have guineas on the farm. NOISY, but cool is about all I can say! Enjoy!

  45. EightPondFarm says:

    You are *SO* going to wish those had been toads when they get older.

    I am not sure they are doing much to the ticks around here, but they are very good alarms. One thing unique about them is that they are better in searching the sky for predators than other critters are. The females are the ones who will make the two syllable “buckwheat” sound. Females can also call the single syllable male call. They will lay eggs but will not be very organized about it. Same with having babies of their own — they are very haphazard and terrible mothers. But, they sure are fun to watch.

  46. Nancy K. says:


    My mother was also terrified of frogs and toads. We never knew why. I used to torment her, when I was a child. Our family would all be piling out of the car, after a trip to McDonald’s or some such place, and as Mom was about to step out onto the driveway, I would say, “Mom”, watch out! There’s a toad!” She’d get SO mad at me. She knew there was no toad but just the possibility made it impossible for her to get out of the car.

    I was a terrible child…


    (I can’t believe you mistook Guinee’s for toads!)

  47. cgReno says:

    I had NO idea what a guinea was until today. I have seen them, but no clue. So i am moving at the end of June somewhere that has “ticks’ and centipedes and bugs in general ewuuuuu. Where I currently live is pretty bug free because of elevation. Maybe two guineas are exactly what i need! Gonna check this out!

  48. Jenny says:

    We have two guinea hens that a broody hen hatched for us last year. Ours just started laying a couple weeks ago. Their eggs are smaller than our banty eggs. They are noisy, but I love the noise they make. I really wanted a pair of guineas so we could possible have more, but we only got two hens out of all the eggs we set under her. They still hang out around their “mama” hen a lot.

  49. Runningtrails says:

    Guneas are great at bug control and eat a lot of ticks. They can fly very well. I have read that the babies will fly away if you don’t keep them inside a covered pen until they are grown. Then they will hang around where they grew up but you will still have no control over them.

    I would love to have just a few, maybe 4, for and fly control. Muskovies are good for this too, or so I have read. I have a friend who wants to give me some muskovies.

  50. Margi in Ky says:

    OMG I love guineas BUT they do breed quickly and you will soon be overrun with them nesting in the trees. You haven’t lived until you hear 20 guneas skreeching at 5 am. I still loved them but they did make a hugh racket. They are so cute and can eat a hugh number of bad bugs and they will keep the place snake free. Have fun.

  51. Pete says:

    Just got our first two guineas this morning, so we will be learning together the joys of these marvelous critters, Suzanne. :snoopy:

  52. DonnaTN says:

    They look awfully sweet all cuddled up together! Congratulations on your growing barnyard family. That 52 really knows how to keep you happy!

  53. Estella says:

    Guineas make good watchdogs!

  54. whaledancer says:

    Ooooo, guineas! Now I’m jealous. I thought yesterday’s post had eradicated any farm lust I might have, but today’s brought it back. They are so cute! And they’re supposed to be the best bug-eaters (well, except for maybe toads ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

    That 52 is a keeper, methinks.

  55. Andi says:

    You will love your guineas! They are wonderful “watch dogs.” Not that you don’t have those in the form of dogs and donkeys and goats, too? Anyway, they will not let a snake on the place. That looks like fun!

  56. princessvanessa says:

    I grew up out in the country and the “batty lady” (my dad’s description) two houses down got herself a passel of guinea hens. As soon as she let them loose they raced, screaming their heads off, straight over to our property. They worked our yard over for bugs, grubs, and worms. The blades of grass were few and far between after they came over and claimed our place as their own.
    They roosted in our trees and hollered all day. The patio had poo all over it as they looked at their reflection in the sliding glass doors.
    Gad, my dad was fit to be tied.

  57. farmershae says:

    Aaaaaaaahhhhh! I am so jealous! I miss my guineas so much!!! We raised ours with chicks and were very lucky that they really thought they were chickens. So no nocturnal roosting and they even laid in the nestboxes. The best part is making them run. I would wait until they were across the field, then call them and throw out corn. They look SO FUNNY when they run. Kind of like footballs or battleships….You enjoy those little guys!!!!!

  58. catslady says:

    How come you thought they were toads? roflmao.

  59. WKF says:

    I think we should have a post about the pigs higher calling or did I miss the post?. Was it traumatic? or did a magic truck show up and then little pkgs came back? I haven’t graduated to “enlightening ” my own critters yet. living vicariously through you and cheering you on!!

  60. lavenderblue says:

    Guess guineas would not be good “in town” chickens, but it sure would be fun to annoy the neighbors. Hey, townies need “watch birds” more than country folk, I would think. We have a higher concentration of bad guys and you guys have the hunting rifles.

    Is it cowardly of me to want to do the “magic truck” thing if I get a farm? Except maybe for chickens done Herrick Kimball’s “Whiz-bang” way. I don’t think I want to tackle anything bigger than a chicken myself though.

    And if you don’t raise pigs this year, what are you going to do for bacon and lard? Once you get used to your own, wouldn’t be hard to do without?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      lavenderblue, I don’t know how I will do without! I’m already not looking forward to that…. I do want pigs again, but it was a big effort and with all else we have going on, I’m not sure we will do it again this year.

  61. MousE says:

    on the other hand, if you DID have to milk them… you’d need tweezers./

    Wait that doesn’t sound right…..

  62. Joycee says:

    OK, now you’ve gone too far. I coveted your chickens and ducks, goats and milk cow…now you have guineas! You have it all! Lucky you!

  63. Lisa says:

    Haaaaa, you have your very own guinea gang now! Any idea what color they are? We’ve had a variety of colors. Last year we sold the ones my husband had because the neighbors were trying to sell their house and the guinea gang kept going over there making their noise. The ad I wrote for craigs list started off: Take my guineas, please! My neighbors are trying to sell their house and the guineas aren’t helping. . . . We love watching them move around the yard.

  64. LK says:

    I have been talking about getting guineas for quite a few years now. Because I don’t have them yet, I keep reading about them so that I know what I am doing once they get here. I might actually get chickens this year, so that is a start!

    I have read that they do fly (I think that you can get their flight feathers clipped?) and they will roost in trees. They don’t make good mothers and will have nests in the woods wherever if they are loose. You would be lucky to find the nests unless you step on them. The eggs are small and you can eat them if you wish, but I would rather hatch them!

    I plan on keeping some in a chicken tractor when I get them as the dog loves to chase birds. She chased our wild turkeys away. Didn’t hurt them at all, but we still would have loved to have them closer than around the neighbor’s bush. Anyway, when I keep some locked up in the tractor, I can move it around and they can still have their tick candy to eat. I HATE ticks. I may try to see if the dog will accept them and after an introduction and after they have been here awhile, will try to let some out, but not all! I want to keep some going…

    Also, I have read that they LOVE to admire themselves in mirrors, and if you keep mirrors in their coop, they will often lay behind them. You can then take their eggs and put them under a broody hen to hatch some more, unless you have an incubator. I have a book called, “Guinea Fowl.” It is written by Van Hoesen-Stomberg, and published by Stromberg Publishing Company. It says that it covers every feature of Mating, hatching, rearing, feeding, housing, marketing, cooking and serving guinea.

    My grandpa used to have some. He built them a little log hut. He said that they were warm even with temps down to -40*. They were noisy, and announced all intruders and visitors, but foxes eventually got them.

  65. Stephanie says:

    I love my guineas!! (We have 9) Ours free range and come back to their coop to be locked in every night (for safety). The trick was keeping them in there for 6 weeks after they were old enough to go outside. That way, they know it’s their home and will come back there to roost. I wouldn’t clip their wings if they’re going to free range as flying is their best protection from predators.

    They are very loud, but so worth it with their tick control and hilarious antics. Good luck with them!

  66. Callie says:

    I just found your blog and I must say that I’m in love. We too liveon a farm. Well we currently live in town, but some day very soon we’ll actually live on the farm. We have about 30 head of cows, 6 horses (3 of which are actually miniture/shetland cross ponies), a cat, a dog, and we’re about to have 2 bunnies. No sheep or chickens or any other birds for me. I’m a crafty stay at home mom and I’ve recently decided to have my blog include all of my farm life goings on as well. Okay… I’m off to finish going through all your fabulous recipies and give them a go. Can’t wait to report the results on my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  67. Mary says:

    You don’t have a farm, you have a zoo. Miss talking to you.
    Mary :wave:

  68. Christy O says:

    I love my guineas, they are the funniest birds. They will hide their eggs and you’ll be lucky to find them. I found a nest with 16 eggs the other day. I removed all but 3 of the eggs which I marked with a marker so I’d know the new ones. Of course, they stopped laying there. Now I have no idea where they are laying again. Guinea eggs are delicious though! Like chicken eggs but eggier.

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