Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's a scary world sometimes

The only domestic animals we have here on "the farm" (so far) are guineas. When we moved here two years ago, we started with 4 keets (baby guineas) and then quickly added 6 more. We raised them from one day old chicks. They are not indigenous to North America, and they don't do well in the damp, so it's important to keep them dry and warm for the first six weeks if you want a decent survival rate. Last year, we added two more...a gift from our neighbours.

So that brings us to 12 guineas, right? Um, no. Because they are not the brightest things around (but they are smart enough to know that the ground under our bird feeders is a great source of food!). Out of our "original" batch of 12, we are down to 2. Two.

That's 10 guineas lost. One was killed by our dog Mulligan. Two died of natural causes (although I don't know what the natural cause was). Seven were killed by predators. We haven't figured out what kind of predator yet. Sometimes it happens in the day, sometimes at night. I try to get the birds in their coop at night, but it doesn't always work. Sometimes those bird brains can out smart me. Sad, I know.

So we added to our flock earlier this summer with 8 new keets. You may remember my sad story about one dying after 2 days. Another one was snatched from the coop's "porch" (an outdoor run attached to the coop). That gets us down to 6 little guys.

I'm not such a brave momma anymore, since I now know what a cruel world it can be. I have been chicken myself and have kept them in their protected environment for longer than necessary. They are about 10 weeks old now.

But it's time to face the fact that even though it's a scary world sometimes, you just have to have faith. Yesterday was the first day out for my little guineas.Apparently, they were just as nervous as me. They didn't stray far, and stayed close to their coop.And they took a good look at me. I think they were wondering what the heck I was getting them into.
Fifteen minutes was all we could handle yesterday. They jumped back into their coop, and I let them. We were all feeling braver today. Today is a full day out.
Fingers crossed we'll get them all back tonight with no big stories to tell.


Anonymous said...

Good luck little guineas! (and their mama)

TeresaA said...

good luck! I may try chickens myself once we move :)
re: predators- my guess would be foxes or raccoons

Karen said...

Adorable post, I love their faces.. as if they're saying "Huh..really, um.. are you Kidding?".. out..there?...Can we come in now.".

How did it go? Hate to say it but sometimes they don't all come home. :-(