Saturday, September 29, 2012

Guineas....Are.....Amazing.

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Guinea Hens, but something amazing happened to day that I just had the urge to write about. For those of you who don't know much about this amazing creature, here's a couple facts: Guineas are a lot like turkeys; sort of in between 'domestic' and 'wild'. They hate being cooped up, and basically take care of themselves. Most people keep them around for bug control, or to just watch. They make the most amazing sounds....like they're yelling 'Joe Clark' over and over again. 

This summer, our pair of guinea's tried over and over again to hatch out a clutch of eggs. But, nature took it's course and several clutches of eggs were destroyed by wild animals. Finally, though, Bambi (the daddy) and his mate successfully hatched out their babies! 

Although hard to get a good count, we figured there were about 13-14 babies. We had originally planned to take the babies away as soon as they hatched, since guineas are well known for not being the most attentive parents. Usually the momma will just run through the wet grass, letting her babies follow her, which usually gets them wet and chilled. It's nature's rule of 'survival of the fittest'-still sad, but it's how it goes. 

However, both Bambi and Momma did a great job taking care of them; warming them with their body heat in between runs through the grass. So, we let them do whatever they pleased.

Several days ago, Mum and I were out in the horse paddock. Hearing commotion, we looked up towards the apple trees and saw a hawk flying away, with both Bambi and Momma trying to fly after it. They were making an awful racket, but through their noise we could hear the sounds of one of the babies being carried off by the hawk.

Needless to say, Mum and I were very sad about it. Yes, it's nature...yes, that sort of thing happens...yes, I should be used to it, living on a farm, but....well, it's still sad.

Over the next couple days we started trying to get the remaining guinea family to spend more time in the safety of the barn....we did this mainly by feeding them there. We knew that the hawk figured out there were fairly easy meals to be had around here, he would be back. 

Today, as I was sitting in the living room working on stuff, I saw a violent fluttering of wings and heard lots of squaking coming from the back porch. I looked out the window, and saw a bird (don't know what kind....I thought it was to small to be a hawk, bot I may be wrong) flying away. The guinea parents were in the yard, and the babies were nowhere to be seen.

One thing was weird, though. Bambi stood right in the middle of the yard, 'Joe Clarking', but Momma was off at the edge, near the bushes. Everything (except the guinea parents) was very quiet. I figured the babies must be hiding in the bushes. 

After several minutes passed, the parents quieted down, and Momma walked....very quickly....to our back porch. As I listened, I could hear the peeping of the baby guineas. Momma dissappeared under the porch for a minute, then quickly came back out, and although quiet, she still looked around with watchful eyes. Soon, Bambi came over and joined her.

These little events really amazed be today. Momma knew to not go near her babies when the hawk was around, because that would lead him to them. The babies knew to be extremely quiet. Bambi stood guard right in the middle. 

Having animals means some days you're greeted with situations that are sad, or even sometimes gruesome. But I believe there are many more times when something times when their little ways just make you smile. 

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