Guineas and Rooster in Alpaca Pasture

It was obvious yesterday morning
that it was the day
to let the guinea fowl and chickens
into spring.
All the guineas were perched on the barn rafters
or standing atop the rabbits’ straw bale wall
looking down at rooster,
making a deafening ruckus.
Six of the guineas
don’t even know
what awaits them in the pasture
because we’ve learned
that they have to be kept indoors
until they’re almost a year old.
Otherwise, they fly off
and never return.
They have trouble
finding their way home
until they’re well-grounded in “home.”
It seemed spring fever
and cabin fever
had reached a fevered pitch
so we opened the barn door
through which they can go out
into the alpaca pasture.
All six chickens remembered
where the passageway was
and were outside immediately.
Only two of the guineas
knew the routine,
and soon they were out,
with two others in tow.
That left four guineas in the barn,
standing against the wire walls
looking out
and squawking at their pals.
Herd animals,
guineas are distressed
when separated.
One guinea,
evidently noticing the thick spring grass
on the other side of the alpaca fence,
paced alongside it for an hour or so
before flying over
and pecking at the grass.
It grazed for a long time
before I went down and tried
to herd it back into the pasture.
It ran repeatedly past
the open gate
so I finally gave up.
Later, my fear realized,
Maizey eventually moseyed down that way.
When she caught site of the bird running freely,
she picked up her pace.
The guinea flew over the fence: home!

The chickens spent most of the day
scratching and pecking in a pile of straw
in the goat pen.
One flew over the fence
and we herded her back in.
She probably wouldn’t have been as successful
as the guinea,
escaping Maizey’s jaw.

Finally, mid-afternoon,
all the guineas came out of the barn.
They were a joy to watch,
zipping around
all eight of them together
as if they’d landed in
insect heaven.
(Due to our mild “winter,”
already, we’ve seen a grasshopper!
And we’ve heard that ticks
are thick.)

Glad we let the birds out yesterday.
Today, the spring rains have arrived.
We’re in line for three or four blissfully
rainy days.
This morning,
chickens and guineas are huddled in the barn,
quiet now.