Livestock

Guinea fowl rounds up the sheep

by
November 21, 2017

Guinea fowl taken to being a working dog on Jewell family's Finley farm.

After arriving on the Finley farm almost two years ago, Guinea Dog has become a part of the Jewell family.

Guinea Dog is never far behind the Jewells' working dogs Tiger and Rosie.

When the Jewell family makes the trek out to the paddocks to herd sheep, it’s not just the trusty working dogs that follow.

Having accidentally adopted a guinea fowl almost two years ago, the feathered friend — who they’ve dubbed Guinea Dog — has become a fixture on the Finley farm and has taken to imitating the family’s beloved working dogs, Tiger and Rosie.

When Scott Jewell, who manages the family farm, heads out to herd the sheep Tiger and Rosie will often come with Guinea Dog in tow, with the fowl doing its best to intimidate the flock with a combination of flapping wings and a pecking beak.

Now something of an internet star, the fowl has gained more than 400 Instagram followers who are equally intrigued and amused by the bird’s actions but, if you ask farm owner Jim Jewell, the feathered friend tends to be something of a nuisance on the farm.

‘‘She just started to come to the sheep yards one day and copied what the dogs were doing. It’s a bit bizarre,’’ Jim said.

‘‘It’s a bleeding nuisance sometimes but it’s a bit of a feature, I suppose. People will drop by to come and see it in action.’’

It’s an unlikely occupation for the bird who was one of a number of guinea fowls the Jewell family brought onto the property in the summer of 2016, in preparation for a wedding.

Although they were intended to be an interesting centrepiece, some of the birds met an untimely end and were found dead a couple of days later.

It was initially thought that Guinea Dog would be among the dead until, a week later, she came wandering out on the farm, trailing behind the dogs.

Since that day Guinea Dog and the Jewell family dogs have been inseparable, sleeping together and even sharing the dogs’ food.

‘‘One morning we noticed she’d fallen in the dogs’ cage at some point but she was still alive so I guess they’re not interested,’’ Jim said.

‘‘A dog will probably get it one day but it won’t be one of ours.’’

Now truly a part of the family, Jim said no matter where they were on the farm there was no leaving Guinea Dog behind.

‘‘We could be out in the paddock a kilometre away and you’ll turn around and Guinea Dog will have tracked us down and turned up,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s never far behind.’’

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