She’s on her nest alright, but the mystery of why I hadn’t missed her is solved: she can’t resist dinner.
The other guineas hang out right on top of her most of the day, sunning, and grooming, and chatting. Literally, even. The “chicks”, little butterballs now half the size of full grown birds, hop over and on top of her, hunkered down in her nest. I don’t know what she thinks of this; she always looks angry, flattened out on her eggs, but she is easy to check in on now, with the weeds trampled around her. In fact, I went and clustered some cut weeds around her to help her out.
The whole group of guineas hovers around her like she’s the kitchen stove, generally blowing up her spot.
But when the rest of the flock left to visit the trough, she went running along behind! I’ll eat too! Then I swooped in to make adjustments, but she hawk-eyed my every move from the food dish. She didn’t run me though, just watched, neck long.
I moved the pigs in another direction, after a long and laborious session cutting out alders and buckthorn. Then, of course, a pig slips out, right by the nest! The pig fence is about four feet from where she decided to brood.
I kept the other pig in, but the free pig, not caring about togetherness for the moment, started romping around the field, and ran right over the nest. She came bursting out, attacking the pig, as all the other guineas, even the chicks, join the skirmish. I’m chasing the pig with a stick, the birds are all screaming and flapping, together trying to defend against the pig, but a pig is a pig, oblivious, gleefully prancing around.
I’m horrified; I have to get back to the house for the milk- the only sure pig bait, but the birds don’t stand a chance while I’m gone. This pig is going to stomp in and snarfle up all the eggs in seconds. I run for the milk, hoping only that the pig finds something else to do for the moment.
I get back, the nest is still intact, all the guineas shrieking in phalanx.
I easily catch the pig again with the milk, and I finish moving them, and everything is ok.
The hen’s scowl may have deepened, but she’s back on her eggs, crisis averted. This hen has had to put up with a lot, and she’s barely started.