Our guineas think I'm their Goose Girl. I never really thought about that fairy tale. But at some point it did seem odd to me that someone would "herd" geese like sheep or goats. My impression of poultry was that they just scatter around randomly eating, and don't follow anyone. Not that I've ever raised chickens, guineas, or geese before, but that was my impression.
I assumed you kept them fenced to keep them contained. Then I heard about free-range chickens. I assumed that the perimeter of the property must be fenced, or that they just wandered randomly over a larger area, coming and going at will. I certainly didn't think anyone herded them.
Then we brought home our guineas. Apparently, they came to associate me with food while they were in the basement. When we moved them outside into a fenced pen, I was still the one that fed them. Then we started releasing them from their pen to wander the property. That was when I became the Goose Girl.
Their first few days of being loose, we realized that they never left each other's side. They traveled together in a tight cluster at all times. If one wandered too far away, the others would call out to him to return to the group. We also realized that they could easily be "shooed" into their pen by walking behind them, with your arms down toward the ground.
At first I would "shoo" the guineas back into their pen each night. But very soon, they just began to follow me instead. Apparently, they realized that once they were in their pen, they received fresh food.
Yesterday, I realized I had reached the pinnacle of "Goose Girldom" when I saw the guineas on the far side of our property. I called to them, "Here, Guineas! Here Guinea Guys! Here Guinea Guinea Guinea Guys!" and they all flew to me. I turned and walked toward the house, and they ran along behind me as fast as their little legs could go. They've never come when called from so far before.
Just call me the Guinea Girl. I really didn't expect that raising guineas would be like this at all. But it is kind of fun.
Trusting in Him,
April the Guinea Girl