I was given many reasons why having guineas was unwise: more difficult, less domesticated. I was told not to expect them to be like chickens. I've never had chickens, I didn't know what that distinction was.
A Royal Purple male defied every stereotype. He wasn't the alpha, but his trust in me got the others to give me a chance.He was hand fed, calmly allowed me to pick him up, flew to my hand on sight, rode on my shoulder, sat in my lap, came when called.
"Male guineas only make a one syllable sound & certainly can't talk!" True. Sort of. When I approach the coop, I say "good morning" in a sing song voice to alert them. Bluey picked up the tune, soon responding. In time my other males did as well.
I'm still greeted cheerfully. Another tone sounded like "For Real!" So I'd say it back. It became another common phrase around the coop.
His mate pecked at his toes relentlessly until 1st aid & shoes were no longer feasible,1 had to be amputated. He never fussed or fought the toes nor the amputation.The missing digit never slowed him down.
When the rest of the world was fretting about Covid & the isolation of lockdown, I was revelling in free time to sit out w/the birds, Bluey in my lap munching on celery.
As with Cath's rooster, normal morning, counted heads as the guineas filed out to graze while I cleaned, but was a head short. At 1st I thought mating season, another male had attacked him, but there was no physical sign of this.
I found him in a corner, head tucked as though sleeping.
People said,"it's just a bird." There was no way to explain - they already thought my attachment to what they considered an ugly bird odd.
But I had a flock to care for with keets hatching.I prayed a little RP would hatch with his Daddy's spirit. That didn't happen. But as others have been around to watch them grow this year, they've learned to understand enough to no longer think I've gone around the bend. 😉
I've had more losses & hatchings this yr: hatches are like Christmas morning, the losses always hard. Each changes the dynamics of the flock.
I haven't quite got control of my "leaks" yet, so try not to think too long about Bluey. But whereas change affects the dynamics of the flock, he changed them for me.
I still don't know what chickens "are like". Many think I'm either crazy or exaggerate my experiences because their guineas don't behave as mine. I break every rule given about not letting them imprint on me. I'm the first they see, their only caretaker, who answers the door when they knock. Who else would they "imprint"on? I've been challenged & bit by a jumbo male during mating season. It didn't hurt, we're still buddies.
Once upon a time I would have bolted if a bird flew at me, much less used me as a perch. Now nothing gives me greater joy.
I've realized that choosing to avoid painful experiences by not being involved only denies us of life's incredible experiences.
There may well never be another Bluey in my life. But I hope there is for others, at a time when they need it.🕊