Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Guinea Day!

Today we continued our Farm Guardian workshop with guineas!  Guinea fowl help to protect the farm by serving as our alarm system.  They scream loudly at the sign of a predator (or a squirrel... or a chipmunk...) and will circle around it!  Although guineas are small, they are mighty.  Their claws are very sharp!  We discussed the structure of a guinea, including the funny "helmet" on the top of its head.  The class heard stories of how our own guineas have saved the day.  Once, my 10 guineas even surrounded a FOX who had gotten too close to their nest!

Guineas also eat LOTS of bugs... especially ticks!  They spend all day foraging, and 90% of their diet is made of of bugs and grass grains.  As long as you can handle the noise, they are great to have around!

Unlike chickens, guineas will not lay eggs in a nesting box.  Instead, they hide their nests in brush.  They go in pairs to lay eggs.  The female lays her egg while the male stands guard... which is usually the giveaway for me when I'm hunting down their nest!  The class got to see the old guinea nest, which a predator found, first!  Then, I took the class to see the guineas' new nest.  It is well hidden, at the edge of our pasture in the briars just on the other side of the fence.  Although you can collect chicken eggs daily without the chicken minding much, the guineas will abandon their nest and start another, hidden one if they suspect that you (or a predator) has found their nest!  Because of this, I have to plant golf balls in the nest when I collect their eggs!

Guineas are loud, jumpy, nervous little creatures who like to roam.  As freerangers, guineas have a much, much larger radius than chickens do!  Just ask our neighbors...  our guineas will travel far and wide!  Not only that, but here are some links to guinea calls.  If you have houses nearby, guineas may not be the right fit for you!

Guinea Crossing!

The class learned about the incubation of guinea eggs.  Chickens take 21 days to hatch, but guineas must incubate for 28 days.  We have guinea eggs in the incubators in our classroom, and the class was also able to see some two week old guinea keets!

Guineas originated in Africa.  We talked about folktales and how they are usually explaining something in nature.  The class then listened to an African folktale, How the Guinea Got its Spots".  This story had a guinea and a cow that look just like the ones right out the window!

I really enjoyed hearing the students' Super Donkey papers!  This is a great way to motivate writing, and also to give them an outlet for sharing with the class.  We work on respectful listening, speaking skills, and we talked about different things that the authors' did well... like the use of great adjectives!

As a teacher, I just can't help but throw in a spelling/grammar/phonics lesson when given the chance!  The younger class talked about vowels, and how funny the word "guinea" is, with four different vowels in one little word!  During guinea terms, the older class learned the word "hock", which is the meaty part of the leg, right before the shank.  I explained the spelling of this word as opposed to "hawk", which is not a guinea's friend!


The classes both finished up their dog collages from last week and began their guinea project.  We will be working on our guineas next week, as well!

Reminders- Please no sandals!  Even the smallest goats will HURT a little foot if they step on one!  In order to keep kids safe on the farm (my TOP priority!!), I need all toes to be covered! 

Here is a link to this week's writing assignment!

See you Friday at 9:15 for Inman Farm Heritage Days!

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