Guinea Fowl

Clutch of Guinea Eggs

The guinea
who located this nest
did a good job.
It is in very tall grass and weeds
in a pen in the corral
where no goat or alpaca
can go.
It was hard to find,
though a cat did,
sitting watchfully
once in awhile.
We have not seen a guinea there
but every day
there was one more egg.
We waited
and waited,
hoping a guinea would sit on them,
and when there were 24 eggs,
we gave up hope.
Twenty-two of the eggs
are now in the incubator.
We left two in the nest.
There are lots of things
about this we don’t know.
Is there more than one guinea
laying eggs in the nest?
Will she/they abandon the nest
now that most of the eggs
have been removed?
If so, where will they lay eggs now?
And if there’s only one guinea laying,
is there another nest,
or do we only have one hen?
Will the eggs in the incubator hatch?
(We’ll know in 28 days.)
Most critically,
why isn’t a guinea hen
sitting on these eggs?
We know that with hybridized chicken hens
the brooding nature
has been sacrificed
to produce chickens that behave
better in factory settings,
and produce more meat
or eggs.
But guineas???
Evidently the hen or hens
who live here
aren’t in a “broody” mood.
Maybe they will be
one day
this summer.
In the meantime,
it seems a waste to let the eggs sit there.
Hard to know what to do:
gather them
or let them collect
until the hens are in the mood?
Would the eggs still be brood-able
then?
I think it’s a great thing
that we don’t understand
the mysterious Guinea.
We don’t understand
why they can’t figure out
how to fly back over the fence
they just flew over.
We don’t understand
the heirarchy with which they seem
to have to enter the barn at night.
We don’t understand
what they are saying
with their loud and long,
repetitive and insistent calls.
It’s a good and humble thing
that we humans
have to just observe,
pay attention
and learn;
that we don’t have all the answers.
We do hope
that in 28 days,
there will be more
keets.
For there is one thing we do know:
the more Guineas,
the fewer ticks—
and the more entertainment.
We love watching them
dash about,
in clutches
themselves.