Yesterday Neil arrived home after running some errands to find a puff of guinea feathers, a large hole in the wire fence around my garden, and only three guinea birds remaining.
We have no idea what happened to the 4th guinea. It honestly doesn’t make sense to me that it’d be a hungry predator. Wouldn’t a fox with kits to feed want a fat, slow meat bird, not a noisy, fast, little guinea? Also, why the hole in the innocent bystander garden fence? Also, whatever caused the damage broke a 2″ diameter wooden post holding up the fence – that plus ripping the wire takes some real force. Our best guess involves the guinea getting stuck in the fence first, and thus becoming an easy meal for whatever was able to rip it out of the fence… Whatever the answer, and we may never know, it doesn’t bode well for my free ranging poultry.
But in the mean time one of the two outdoor nesting hens returned trailing 6 or 7 babies! Yay and excitement! She took them off to the nest again that night while I wasn’t watching (or I would have scooped them up and put mama and babies in the coop) I didn’t see them this morning, but I leave pretty early. By the time Neil was ready to leave for work he found lonely babies in the driveway and no mama in sight. She wasn’t responding to their peeping noises either, which is when he called me wondering what to do. It’s possible she was dust bathing, or trying to take them into the woods, or even trying to escort one that got left behind out of the woods. It’s also possible she’d gotten distracted by something shiney and wandered off – even good nesters can turn out to be poor mothers. But Neil needed to go to work, and didn’t want to leave them out there to get cold and die.
I suggested he scoop them into a shoe box, and if mama didn’t run back in 5 or 10 minutes (scooping baby chicks into a box makes them peep LOUDLY) he should put them under the mama we have nesting in the coop. At least that way they’d be warm, and not die, and if the mama returns later we’d have to sort out some other solution.
All this to say there’s DRAMA at the poultry farm and I’m not there to help! It makes me antsy. Unknown predators, lost mama chickens, helpless babies, and me sitting in an office, stewing…