We had a pretty good hunch that the guineas have been able to fly up on the top edge of the brooder box and roost up there. The nitrogen rich guinea fertilizer on the tile floor around the box was the first hint. (We're not rocket scientists but we do have common sense.) But every time that I went down to feed or water the chicks and guineas, they were always down in the box. Because of initial evidence, we decided to lay down a precautionary measure around the perimeter.
The picture above shows the perimeter protection after I replaced it. Let's just say it didn't look so white in the "before" picture.
Tonight I went downstairs and to my surprise, I caught them. All seven guineas hanging out on the edge, some of them in position to drop an external bomb! I guess they aren't pine shavings trained yet. (Technically one was on the light bar, but there have been some bombs outside the paper perimeter, so I think that guy is scooting all the way to the end of the bar before dropping his bomb!)
The Lego people staring over from the table next to the box must have thought that a flock of terradactyls had shown up and they were on the edge of ruin. I just hope the guineas don't decide they like Legos, because I'm not about to go sifting through guinea fertilizer for some Lego pieces! We'll just have to wait until next year and then find them in the garden after the fertilizer has served it's purpose and released the Lego.
Since we knew it was probably the guineas that were dropping the bombs before this discovery tonight, on Saturday we figured it was a beautiful day for them to be introduced to their outside run. We caught all the guineas, stuck them into an empty plastic dog house that we had available, since we didn't know how else to get them from the house to the run without them trying to "free ranging" early, and put them into the run for the afternoon.
The first one grabbed a leaf and the rest started tearing it apart, figuring that he must have something special. They pretty much stayed in a huddle and walked from one side of the run to the other while our dog walked around the outside from one side to the other. I don't think Fenix, our dog, has ever been so tired at the end of the day. We threw a little feed on the ground but they didn't seem too interested. I couldn't tell if they were eating any bugs or anything, but by the end of their time in the pen they were walking around pretty good and seemed relaxed in their new environment. I even put that stick in the corner of the fence for them to roost. I did see one using my contribution to their outdoor enjoyment by the end of the afternoon.
At the end of the day it was staring to get cool so it was back into the plastic doghouse for the ride back to their box in the basement. When we got back to their box, the chicks seemed so peaceful. I think they were finally relaxing without the nervous guineas there. But they were all back home together again.
This event has just confirmed my hunch that I need to get them outside and into their permanent home sooner than later. If it ends up being later, they make decide to roost on the bookshelves and fireplace, and I wouldn't want to have to clean up that mess! I'll keep you posted.