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Oldest Rooster

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Chicks and a Keet Hatched in Incubator This Week

Fowl tally:
17 hens
4 roosters
12 mature guineas
9 adolescent guineas
9 chicks and 1 keet, born this week
30 guinea eggs in a nest

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The youngest of the hens
are now laying eggs.
Theirs are darker brown
and, yesterday,
one blue-specked brown egg!

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A guinea hen
is sitting on a nest
with 30 eggs in it.
It’s in the barn,
so hatchlings will not
have to negotiate tall grass.
But they may encounter snakes
and cats.
We will keep an eye on them
when they hatch in a month or so,
and if they start to disappear
we will move them out of the barn.
With chickens and guineas,
always,
there are situations
that need to be addressed.
Most of the summer,
herding the six youngest adult guineas
back into the barn at night
has been challenging—
hilarious,
absurd,
say our guests.
They seem to be getting the hang of it
finally.
Ann brought a fireplace screen out
to put next to the door they enter
and that has helped tremendously.
Guineas aren’t the only ones
slow to adjust.

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Kitten and Chickens

Now,
the situation needing attention
is that the hens have discovered
the cats’ food.
We usually feed the cats first,
on a shelf
too high for dogs to get the food.
But the shelf is next to the chickens’
door to the barn
and when we open the door,
the chickens scramble to the bowls of cat food.
And eat it all
right then.
Cats would leave some
to snack on throughout the day.
So we’ve had to make changes,
though the cats don’t seem to mind
being close to the birds;
Mamma Cat rubs up against
one of the roosters.
Instead of opening the door for the chickens
and then feeding the cats,
I have been feeding the cats first,
putting up with the roosters’ ruckus
until the cats have had a head-start.
In the evening,
after the hens go into the barn for the night,
I sneak the cats some more food.
But I know the cats prefer to nibble,
so I’ve been thinking of another place
to feed them.
It can’t be where the dogs
or goats
can reach the food.
It can’t be near where
the wild birds eat.
Today,
I put a bowl of cat food
atop the rain barrel
near the back porch.
Community,
community,
community.
Transition,
transition,
transition.