Bonafide Farm

Life goes on

April 10th, 2011 § 0

Thank you all for your comments and e-mails in response to my last post. It certainly helped to know you all are out there.

Since all of my recent posts have been about death, let’s liven things up with today’s discovery:


I opened the bluebird box and it appears that Mr. and Mrs. have decided to stay. The obnoxious starlings seem to have lost that battle, and I’m seeing the bluebird pair all about the property as they get ready for their family. And the deceased guineas’ feathers are padding the nest. I couldn’t think of a better use for them. It’s a small consolation that means a lot right now.

You left me standing in the doorway,

April 8th, 2011 § 5

Cryin’. Sunday was a bad night to be a guinea at Bonafide Farm. I lost seven of my remaining thirteen birds to the foxes.IMG_2720AWeb

It all started a few weeks back when the entire flock was panicked while re-entering their coop for the night. Since then I’d had them out once, the night I lost two birds who wouldn’t go back in the coop at dark. I thought maybe they’d gotten over their fear, and let them out Sunday to enjoy the warming weather and booming tick population.

Come nightfall, the entire flock refused to go in the coop. As it grew dark they huddled in the weak pool created by the coop light, all thirteen birds in a tight knot. I kept going out throughout the evening, trying to round them in. They’d all get to right under the door of the coop and scatter without entering.

Near midnight I tried an emergency rescue. I shut off all lights on the farm so the birds couldn’t see, which made them freeze in place, and I entered the field with a flashlight hoping to physically grab each bird and return it to the coop. I managed to snag four. I had my hands on many others, and one of the sickest sensations I’ve experienced is desperately hanging onto the wing of a large, terrified bird, feeling its joints pop open under my fingers as it fought me but knowing that if I let go it would surely be killed. As whole handfuls of feathers tore away in my hands the birds chose their fates.

I closed up the coop on the rescued four and went to bed. I dreamed of dog attacks in the woods, and calling to my brother for a shotgun he never delivered.

In the morning a small group of birds were screaming near my back porch. Another was 50 feet high in my neighbor’s oak tree, so small I could barely make her out in the dawn light. I stepped outside and at the woodline saw a fox scramble back into the forest.

I had eight birds remaining. By lunch there were four. I walked the fields counting piles of feathers. Some had bloody flesh hanging on them, still moist. I found one pile—the only slate blue bird I’d had left—right up against my house near the fireplace. By nightfall two birds had emerged from hiding.

The flock of six entered the coop that night, and I shut the door behind them. That night there was a huge windy thunderstorm, and most of the feathers blew away.

Where am I?

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