|Guineas are better than any insecticide.|
|Edna sets on eggs under the mulberry tree. Don't mess with her.|
Well, not completely on her own. During the day, Hank, the male guinea didn't get very far away. He would listlessly look for insects and then sit and soberly wait a few feet from the nest. "I guess this waiting for babies thing is hard on the guys, too," I remarked to Mike one day. "Yes, it is," he said, his voice heavy with experience.
|If you look closely, you can see the first hatched keet.|
|A proud mama and her scurrying keets.Baby guineas are called keets.|
All was not well, though. We had been told that guineas are not very good parents. That seems rather harsh, I know, but the truth is that a suburban yard and eleven tiny keets who cannot keep up with their parents wandering is not an ideal combination. Especially if you factor in neighborhood cats. Mike has raised many chicks and several keets in our garage. He knows how to take care of them. We knew they would be safer there. "Let her keep a few," I protested. He left her two. By the end of the day, there was only one.
The next morning we were disappointed to see Hank and Edna out on their morning scavenging without any trailing keet. Then several hours later, I saw them again and this time, the keet was with them. They were near the chicken pen and the tiny keet walked through the fence and tumbled down a few inches into chicken pen. Chickens ignored her and I rescued her, returning her to her parents. When I told Mike, he said, "I think I need to get that keet, too."
"You let that mama keep her baby!," I hollered from the house as Mike walked across the yard. But what he found was the tiny keet sitting by itself in the middle of grass between the chicken pen and the garden. Hank and Edna were nowhere to be found. Even I couldn't argue with him then. That keet joined her siblings in the garage.
|The keets are an interesting genetic combination. The top half have the pearl feathers like their father, but on their breasts, they have white feathers like their mother. The keets have been sold and have a new home.|
|"What shall we do next, Hank?"|
Wednesday morning I was out early, before 7, and there they were, already on the job. After a pass through the garden, they headed towards the front of the house and I headed inside. "Have you seen Hank?," asked Mike, minutes later. "Edna keeps calling for him and he doesn't answer." Yes, she certainly was. Her two syllable screech was repeated over and over. There was no responding one syllable call. Over and over, throughout the day she continued to call. Hank, it seemed, had disappeared. Looking around, we could find no evidence of what might have happened, not even a stray feather.
I'm sure you've guessed that there is no happy ending to this story. It took a few days, but eventually we learned what we already knew. Hank was dead. He had evidently been hit by a car on the road near our house and was thrown under a evergreen tree. I had never seen them on the road before, but I guess it only takes once.
Edna continues her lonely patrol. She still stops once in a while to call, but not so often as before. Oh, look, there's a bug! She scurries after it.
|Hank, our guinea 2010-2012|
More blogs about our guineas:
It's a Bird, It's a Pain
Lonely No Longer