And then there were four




Two years ago we raised 10 guinea fowl from the age of 5 days old. Heat lamps, special food etc. We moved them to increasingly larger enclosures until they were large enough to fly high and fend for themselves. The first night we let them out, there was an unexpected storm which blasted through our trees and in the morning all 10 were gone. The following evening 8 reappeared from the bushes and they came back to the place where we originally raised them as chicks. They tried to roost on fences, our gutters etc and hung around the door of our house making terribly loud, seemingly inane calls. But we grew to like them and appreciate what they did for us – providing us with eggs and eating large numbers of crickets and grasshoppers. And they became less noisy.  They also learnt to roost on this tree post that we ‘planted’ for them at the site where they were raised, instead of our gutters, which made us all happy. One weekend, a year ago while we were in Perth, we lost 3 more. So for a year now we have had a stable group of 5.  Two females, three males.  This week however Mr Fox struck. (Why do I always think foxes are male?) First he took out our oldest chook that we have had for 4 years. The matriarch. Lovely girl. We separated her to a locked! enclosure to give her a break from the roosters. He must have thrown the enclosure around to rattle the door open. The handle broke off in the process. And then yesterday, number 5 guinea fowl was taken. Feathers right outside our door entrance. The tree post is high and they are safe when they roost at night. But they wake up at sunrise and we are still in bed. They are vulnerable at this time and obviously the foxes are hungry and very brazen. They would know we have dogs. I am very sad about the guinea fowl. Their background chatter and presence becomes comforting. They follow me around the paddocks some days and when I turn to look at them, they all look the other way, pretending not to be interested. 4 just doesn’t seem enough for a flock of guinea fowl. They kind of look lonely.

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