Bonafide Farm

Animal husbandry

March 19th, 2012 § 0

For a few weeks I’ve been monitoring the beak on one of my guinea hens. It was way overgrown, no doubt from spending a pampered life indoors and not naturally wearing it down on rocks while eating outside.


After three weekends in a row of free ranging failed to knock her beak back a bit, I knew it was time to take action. I had to steel myself for a fight, because nothing is easy with these wild birds.

I put on my gloves and thought about putting on a long-sleeve shirt, but didn’t feel like going into the house to change. I also briefly considered trying to grab the hen in my hands, like I do with the chickens. But at the last minute, I picked up my net. I entered the coop. A beak and claw explosion occurred, and each time the birds freaked into a whirlwind of flying dinosaurs in a small, confined space I huddled in the corner with my head protected in my arms. When they momentarily settled I took swipes with my net.  After about five minutes of this gauntlet, I got my girl.


One swift squish with the dog’s toenail clippers and her Frankenbeak was history. While I had her confined I also gave her a pedicure, getting rid of a very strangely spiked back toenail that was more than an inch long and stuck straight out like a thorn.


I hit the quick on one nail and had a bleeder. Don’t fear. It wasn’t terminal.


I untangled the guinea from the net and set her loose. Doesn’t she already look more comfortable now that she’s lost a half an inch of extraneous beak? I have to imagine eating with that thing was no picnic.


I definitely took one for the team, though, Team Idiot Who Doesn’t Wear Long Sleeves While Guinea Wrangling. In the feather flurry I got hit by somebody’s claws, and within ten minutes had this nice lump rising on my forearm. It shows you how powerful these birds are that they can raise an instant bruise the size of a silver dollar just by trying to escape a perceived threat. Though it maybe could have been avoided with long sleeves, the idea of a freaking guinea getting caught in my clothing sounds bad enough to make me thankful that I got away with just this quick hit. And thankful also that I didn’t get hit on my face!

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