When we incubate chickens or guineas,
or buy babes at the farm store,
they are first housed in an indoor pen
at the Pond House.

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Ann keeps them fed, watered, dry, warm
until they’re old enough to graduate
to an outdoor pen.
There is quite a flock of chickens now
in the indoor pen;
and a group of teenaged-keets
have graduated to a pen in the barn
at the Farm House.

20130427_083902Teen-aged Guineas

There are mature chickens
free-ranging at the Pond House
and another batch of mature chickens
free-ranging at the Farm House.
Our oldest domestic birds
are six Guinea fowl, who
have been free-ranging
a couple of years.
(Everyone comes home into the barn
or pens at night.)

The rooster and three hens
that have free range at the Farm House
were first housed with some Guinea keets,
but only one keet survived.
And now, instead of joining the flock
of its own kind—
the other six Guineas—
this lone Guinea stays with its original family,
the rooster and three hens.
All day they wander the farm together,
Rooster steadfastly keeping an eye
on the hens;
Guinea tagging along.
They are the family.
Sometimes Guinea even joins them
in their in-the-barn-coop
for the night.

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And then
there’s the cat who runs with the chickens.
The gray, white and peach-colored cat
isn’t always with the fowl family,
but spends part of his day with them.

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Recently, I watched Rooster and two hens
waddle off toward the compost pile,
while a third hen,
busy scratching in the grass,
stayed behind.
Cat seemed to notice this
and stopped, watching the hen
until Rooster noticed she was missing
and hurried back after her.
Chickens, guinea and cat
then continued on their rounds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHens, Rooster, Guinea
and Cat Who Runs With Chickens