This bobcat got a surprise when he tried to sneak a meal from a flock of chickens. He was driven off by several guinea hens. Credit: Courtesy of Deb Dean

Deb Dean has had the same bobcat visiting her Washington farm for several years. In the past he’s made off with members of her egg-laying chicken flock or a domestic duck. But Sunday evening he was out of luck when he tangled with some of Dean’s guinea hens.

There are 70 chickens, three geese and 17 guinea hens in Dean’s flock, so she’s accustomed to constant clucking, squawking and carrying on. But something sounded different this time, she said.

“I heard the geese making a lot of noise and the guinea hens were hollering,” she said. “I looked out the side door and there is a bobcat.”

This bobcat got a surprise when he tried to sneak a meal from a flock of chickens. He was driven off by several guinea hens. Credit: Courtesy of Deb Dean

As she watched, Dean said the guinea hens formed up, charged and chased the predator for about 100 yards away from the other birds.

Guinea hens are known more for their screaming calls and habit of perching high overhead than any guarding tendencies. They are not considered aggressive unless they have babies or come in contact with a rival flock of guinea hens.

Dean said she keeps her guineas around largely for pest control — they are known for being voracious eaters of ticks. She also enjoys watching them as they wander around the farm.

Still, she was not completely surprised by their pushing off the bobcat.

“I have seen them circle coyotes out in the field,” she said. “I don’t think they are very smart or brave — I think they are just being noisy guinea hens.”

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Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.