HW called me to the door with urgency, just while he was doing the coop closing round.
He was holding an exhausted, soaking wet guinea chick!
I´d been worried about that stock tank, sitting practically under the guinea coop, especially when the chicks were first emerging. Then when they were older they managed to start roosting on the coop together without my supervision, or incident, and it´s been weeks since they were hopping up on the coop, using the rim of the stock tank as a jump off point. I figured we were well past the risk of someone falling in.
But no. He´d found this baby swimming, exhausted and nearly dead.
I snatched it up in a towel, wrapping it up with just a beak sticking out, and held it to my belly. It was shivering hard. I rocked with it in the rocking chair for awhile before remembering it´s mammals that rock, not birds, and then I took it upstairs, as we were headed there, to bed.
It took about an hour to stop shivering, and a couple of re-wraps with a dry part of the towel.
After it was out of the woods, then it was all fun. It would poke its head out of the towel and then suck it back in, like a turtle.
It was a dream come true, being able to hold and snuggle a little chick!!
I put the swaddled bird in HW´s lap ´”for a minute” to go out and make a last check that there was no one else in trouble outside. The guineas were really shrieking up a storm. HW: “Where’s Roberta!”
When I got back, he wouldn’t give it back! He called me a chick hog and told me to get my own chick. “Me and Roberta are hanging out.” Whenever he leaned or reached for something suddenly, the chick would protest with a little trill. He kept it in his lap until he needed to get up for something, and I got it back!
Eventually it started to pant, and I loosened the towel, more and more. It was totally unwrapped at the end, but very, very relaxed. It was clearly perfectly happy to be where it was. No designs on escape. It was very tired, dozing off, sticking its neck out, and then, Awwww! resting its head on my arm and going to sleep! Adorable! I pet its bumpy little head and skinny neck, hugged it. It was into it. Looking at us. Making little sounds if someone moved too quick.
HW said “you´ve got a little dinosaur over there” and said it´s not going to want to go outside again, now that it´s experienced the good life. “You´re going to have a little house guinea!”
I was very tired myself, and I fell asleep with my arm around it. HW thought I would roll on it and I should put it in the box, but I didn´t. How often am I going to get to cuddle a little wild chick? I´m going to get every minute I can.
Sometime in the night, it got restless, and woke me by standing up, hopping on my arm. So I put it in the box then and it was silent until morning.
I carried it back out, head whizzing around trying to figure out where it was, then getting excited as we neared the group, and voila – back in the flock!