The hens are perching in the pine tree- hilARious! They’re so implacable and smug up there. Yep, we’re totally real birds.
The former Oreos are officially massive. They’ve turned out to be much if not mostly Copper Maran. Both very handsome. This will will my new big boss rooster. Provided he can figure out how to mate the ladies. He’s been having some issues.
Here’s guinea mama, and her chicks peeking out from behind her tail. They’re hard for me to see, every day – their natural protective camouflage while they are small.They she goes, erupting like the Hulk (only very, very quickly). Think you’re going to look at my chicks?!
Paranoid about the tragic loss of Blondie mom, I got downright defeatist over the disappearance in the morning of a guinea cock. What the? A guinea cock? It must be a raptor, snatched him off the coop. What am I going to do, sit out there all day with a rifle? Predator problems, just as the guineas are hatching!?
Inside the sky coop, there are chicks. I can’t tell how many! Five?
Psycho cobra mom hurls herself at the screen, and the little chicks who sometimes peek out the screen door scurry to the back of the coop, so I don’t know how many there are.
I’ve been nudging bowls of food and water inside the door, and mom doesn’t care why I’m reaching in, she means to take my arm off for it. Beak to arm: whackwhackwhackwhackwhackwhack!
Three times a day, so no one gets dehydrated. When they’re empty, I hear her pecking and clanking the dishes together in there. Sounds like a busy diner.
I quickly learned to tie a string onto the bowls so I can pull them back out instead of reaching in for them.
She’s got no problem eating the food, once I back off, but cut me a break for the delivery? No way!
The guinea cocks gave away the hatching. When we first saw the telltale eggshell, we both said “I knew something was up!” For the previous two days, the three guinea cocks were extra attached to the coop. Sitting on the roof, looking in, even in the middle of the day. I think they were excited. They haven’t stopped, they are animated and keeping close to the new mom.
What’s this? The guineas were hollering, as they do, and it was sustained, long enough for me to check on them, and I go and Oh! There he is, coming out of the woods. I count, yep, three… wait… I count again. Four. I check that the screen door isn’t breached. Four!
No way! The hen that disappeared two months ago is marching out of the woods, just like I hoped! With her proud and loud escort, klaxoning the whole way. He was missing half the day because he went to walk her home, and the others stayed with coop mom! I’m sure that the cocks have always known where she set, and have been regularly visiting her her whole term.
But does she have chicks?
There she is, very furtive, and yes, there are chicks! At least two!
She spent all that time, all those rainstorms, no shelter. No snack boxes. She’s not even acting ravenous.
A triumphant homecoming for the Lady of the Woods. She came right back to the old digs, hanging around under the sky coop. The guineas are very familial. The cocks are very much part of the parenting team.
The chicks are so tiny it’s hard to believe they’re making woods treks already. They tumble out of the grass and then toddle back in, and don’t stay right with mom. They’re comfortable getting a ways away.. They are very quiet peepers, unlike a chicken chick that will get piercing (they make up for that later in life).
Also, the attack mom is even more terrifying when she’s not in a box. She charges like a bull, with no fear. The wings go up in this flat fronted wall of feathers, and then the red mouth open, and worst, the crazy look in her eye, coming at you!
I dared to walk within 8 feet of her brood and got run at.
Tomorrow, I will open the door to the sky coop, and let them all out into the world.
Phew! 11pm, I heard the sudden scream of a bird being killed. My heart detonating in one beat from serene to explosive, I leapt up, yelling instantly at the top of my lungs. The sound escalated and I burst out of the camper, running for my chickens, and pulled up short realizing the sound was coming from the opposite direction, the woods. There was snarling and screaming. I yelled a bit more. I wasn’t sure it was a bird anymore, but it was the chilling sound of mortal struggle. Very close. I grabbed a shovel and started banging it on the ground. The apparent perpetrator moved towards me, fast, rustling, and I heard it pass our path, still snarling. I dashed back into the camper to snatch up a headlamp and went out again with the shovel, grabbing a big steel bowl. I made a lap around my chickens (sound asleep), banging the bowl on trees as I went along the path. Terrifying! I have no idea what the parties are.
Mystery thickens. 10 minutes later, noise resumes, even closer. I go back out without yelling and ruckus seems to be taking place at altitude, in a tree. Noise stops. My headlight beam finds two yellow eyes a couple inches apart, 30’ up in a tree. WTF? I would have sworn it was moving on the ground before. Rules out a coyote. No idea what these thing(s) are, and I really wish H.W. were here. Is the bird the attacker? The growler the victim? Owl and squirrel? Rabbit? That darn tabby cat? We haven’t seen it in weeks. Possum. Deranged porcupine. Rare Nova Scotian monkey?
Listened from the camper and heard telltale sounds of descent and dismount from the tree. My senses and memory (and stable heartbeat) returned: most likely it’s the beautiful and formidable marten/fisher. It all fits. Victim unknown. Thankfully my coops will withstand his ilk. Then a coyote started up yelping nearby. Apparently I’m not meant to get any sleep while H.W.’s away. We need a dog, yesterday.