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I think it’s okay to celebrate
now, the successful rearing
of one guinea keet by its mama.
Guinea hens have hatched several keets
in the last couple of years,
but the only ones—until now—
that have survived
have been the ones we took from her
and raised in more controlled conditions.
It has taken us awhile to believe
the raising-guineas instructions;
that away from their native African savannah,
it’s a challenge for adults to raise their keets.
Of the latest set of hatchlings,
we left one keet with its mama in the barn
and she has protected it
into older adolescence,
and now, it is on the verge of young adulthood.
We are very proud of her
and this young one,
who has dogged its mama’s every step.
It has been reunited with a keet
that we raised separately.
We are very happy for all!

Hawks are hanging out close
to the barn these days.
One morning this week,
a hawk sat atop a tree
just a few yards south
of the barn. The chickens and guineas
were safely in an outdoor pen attached
to the barn, hanging out in the sunshine.
When they caught sight or sound or smell
of the hawk in the tree,
they raised such a loud ruckus
it brought human conversation to a halt.
Eventually, hawk flew away.
We’re not sure if their call was a warning
(probably)
or they were saying, “you can’t get us now!”

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Also raised in the barn this fall
are chickens that are a little more exotic
than most former residents. In the incubator,
Ann hatched eggs of heirloom chickens
and there are five or six new breeds,
including a large, fluffly, feather-legged gray one
and black one.
They are still a bit shy,
mostly keeping to themselves.
But we hope, with time,
they will enjoy the whole barn community.

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