DSCN0182

The baby keets
that toddled along after Mom and Dad Guinea
are all gone.
One morning,
one had disappeared.
Later in the day,
another.
Two days later,
no little keets in the barn.
We suspect a barn cat.
We only have four cats at the barn now—
coyotes, we think,
got the other ten or so
during the winter.
It was a dry winter.

There is no way we can secure the barn
from cats.
Pappa Guinea
was aggressive with anyone who came near the keets,
but after a couple of weeks,
he began to spend some time
outside the barn
feasting on grasshoppers.
We have been told
repeatedly
that it is very challenging
for guinea parents to raise a flock.
That’s why Ann robbed their nest
and took most of the eggs
to the incubator.
We had hoped the five little ones
would survive
and were sad when they disappeared.

One of the five,
who had damaged its wing
in a wire fence,
survived
because we took it to live
in the indoor coop
with its incubated nest mates.
Last weekend,
the nights warmed up enough
that we could move the incubated keets—
which grew faster than the little ones in the barn,
because they weren’t constantly chasing after
Mom and Dad.
We took four
to the outdoor pen next to the high tunnel,
and six to the outdoor pen at the barn.

DSCN0332
Keets’ New Home in Outdoor Pen at Barn

We don’t think Mom and Dad,
who don’t have access to that pen,
but who can see them,
recognize their nestlings.
Maybe they haven’t noticed them yet;
at least they’re not hanging around
the pen crying for them.

We continue to hatch guinea eggs
to try to control
what is becoming an epic community
of grasshoppers.
Adult guineas,
and the flock of chickens,
are out and about,
patrolling the grounds,
hunting
and feasting
on the voracious insects,
now devouring
this summer’s lush
green.

DSCN0334Guineas and Chickens in Grasshopper Land