Bonafide Farm


August 22nd, 2010 § 0

I opened the coop door this morning around nine and set the chicken walk in place. I went about my weekend chores, checking back every now and then to see if any guineas had ventured forth to freedom. After several hours and no takers, I fired up the weed whacker and went to work around the property. I’d totally forgotten the coop was open when I went to noisily trim around the garage. The next thing I knew I looked up and a great flurry of grey feathers exploded out of the chicken door and into the field. Whoops. So much for a gentle introduction into free ranging!


When the flurry landed I realized it wasn’t a whole flock, but just one bird. Which walked a bit this way and that before heading into the shade of the cedar tree and grapevine. I watched her for a while and then went back to weed whacking.

The next I saw the guinea she had flown deep in the brush at the wood’s edge. Dumb guinea! A wood full of foxes, and you choose to fly right into their territory. Oh well. I can’t control these birds because they are basically wild, so I just went back to weed whacking the ditch near the road.

When I looked up again, the guinea was near the front of the property under the big silver maple. I took a water break and watched her from the front porch. It was pretty cool to see her strut about the yard, and to poke her head under the cherry and stick her head amongst the azaleas in front of the garage. It gave the farm an air of an exotic wildlife preserve.


The guinea made her way around the edge of the garage and finally realized she was in the vicinity of her tribe. I had thought she would have been drawn back to the coop by the sounds of her flockmates much earlier than she was—it was almost as though she couldn’t find it based on sound alone and needed to actually see the other birds to know where they were.

IMG_9215WebShe spent the next couple of hours making fast circles around the coop while her flock mates anxiously peered down from their balcony seats. Not one made the move to join Magellan as she churned a path through the straw around the chicken walk without figuring out that she need only walk up it to rejoin her family. At one point she burst a few feet into the air in a desperate attempt to hit the chicken door, but upon failing she didn’t attempt that approach again.


I let her go for a few hours figuring she’d eventually get it together. But around five o’clock I had company coming and dinner to cook and wanted the birds to bed for the night. And the guinea had been out in the hot sun for the first time in her life, and I figured she’d had enough excitement for the day. So I stood in the storage area of the coop and opened both the interior and exterior doors that I use to access the coop. In a few minutes Magellan jumped up into the vestibule and greeted her flock. A few minutes more and she jumped back into the coop proper and was home sweet home.

Silly bird—maybe she thinks she’s a person!

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