Bonafide Farm

First casualty

October 19th, 2010 § 0


You knew it was coming. I knew it was coming.

Friday evening I came home from work and went to feed the guineas. The wind was blowing like crazy, it was spitting rain and cold, and I was barely walking from the second round of a virus that had me down for the past two weeks.

As I filled the guinea water, the door to their house blew open and two birds jumped out, a pearl and a lavender, no doubt freaked by the gale gusting around them. I spent most of the evening chasing them through the fields, trying to get them back home. I tracked them with a flashlight through the tall, uncut pastures as they hunkered down in the grass. At one point I was close enough to grab one, but she erupted under my fingers in a whirl of muscle and beating wings, leaving me in a swirl of feathers.

I gave up, went inside, and posted the 14 remaining birds on CraigsList.

At 10:30 that night I was reading in bed and I heard the cries right under my bedroom window. A few shouts and then quiet. I went to sleep.

Around daybreak I was awoken by more guinea cries. There goes the second one, I thought, and when a quick trip outside to investigate turned up no body, I returned to bed.

When I finally got up for good, I found the front yard littered with pearl guinea feathers. In several distinct patches, which must have been where each attack took place before the bird was finally caught. There was no trace of the lavender’s remains. There was also no trace of my CraigsList post, which appeared to have been ghosted and never showed up. Perhaps it was because I offered the birds for “farm or table?”

I went about my day, out for errands, and when I returned in the afternoon what should I see but the lavender hen walking right outside the guinea coop. She was unscathed, and jumped right in when I opened the door. What a story she had to tell, of her night outside while her mate was murdered! I was amazed that she was alive.

Things improved on Sunday, when the 15 remaining birds spent more than nine hours outside, wallowing in dust holes, sticking close to the house and generally appearing to enjoy themselves. Around dusk I guided them back to their coop and all jumped right in but for one, who spent ten minutes frantically circling the coop before figuring his way in. I shut the door, and bid them all sweet dreams.

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