Yesterday morning when I was hanging out laundry to dry, I looked down and saw a black snake a few feet away. Normally when this occurs, my automatic reaction is to let out a bloodcurdling scream, and begin hyperventilating. The fact that I didn’t should surely qualify me for some kind of medal of bravery.
The chickens and guineas were nearby, so I called them over to me, and picking a handful of grass, tossed it over towards the snake, hoping they would think it was food and go investigate. Pea brained as the birds are, they didn’t fall for it, and I stood, staring at the snake.
Gathering my courage, I ran over to the barn, and grabbed a cupful of chicken food, and returned to the clothesline, where the snake had begun his retreat (away from, not towards the house, thank goodness). The birds knew I had food with me, and were underfoot. I tossed the food by the snake, hoping the guineas would figure out their job was to attack.
The snake did not appear to be fond of having a chicken food shower, and slithered away like a shot, while the birds all gobbled down the food. One of my main reasons for getting guineas was the hope that they would decrease our snake population. I affectionately call my guinea trio the Snake Slayers, hoping that a nickname like that will bring on good results in the snake ousting department.
The guineas are now full grown, and I suspect they are all males, but I’m not 100% certain. Apparently the only way to be completely sure of their gender is to examine their nether regions with ones fingers, and honestly, I’m not that curious. I’ve read that the males and females make different sounds, and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard some of the ‘chi-chi-chi-chi’ sounds that males are supposed to make. However, they all make a horrific racket all of the time, so sound identification is inconclusive as well.
Guineas do lay eggs that can be eaten, although the birds usually aren’t smart enough to use nesting boxes like chickens. Apparently they pretty much just squat and lay an egg where ever they happen to be. I’ve kept an eye out, but haven’t discovered any random eggs in the chicken house or in the yard.
I have seen the guineas fight the roosters, although fight is a pretty generous term for what they do. It pretty much consists of the guineas running up behind the roosters, grabbing onto his tail feathers with their beak, and hanging on for dear life until the rooster outruns them.
Guineas are industrious little foragers, and require very little food if let out to free range. Ours get lost from each other often, and will scream for each other, until they locate their friends and are once again reunited. I was hoping that we’d end up with at least one male and female, so as to increase my guinea flock, but I may have to buy more keets this summer, in my quest to live in a snake-free farm.
Are there any other methods of getting rid of snakes? I’ll try anything!