|These are three of the group of eight guinea fowl.|
Life on a farm can be challenging sometimes, if just because it places us up against some stark realities. For example, I work hard to make sure that all the animals here are protected and are either safely caged or indoors in an outbuilding before dark. This alone can be very challenging sometimes, and in all weathers.
We have enjoyed our cadre of eight guinea fowl that I have raised from guinea keets. We have been lucky that these eight have had the opportunity to grow up and gain some skills before being challenged by snakes and some small animals. The guineas keep the tick population down, and will take on copperhead snakes, in a dance, quite frankly, too horrible to watch (for the snake, that is.)
At the end of each day, all eight of the guineas, the white and the pearly ones, return to their enclosure which has a tarpaulin top. They stay on the perch until daylight, and appear to sleep. Once in awhile, one of the female birds decides to sit on some eggs somewhere, and then we have only seven of them on the perch. This of course is worrisome, and I will try to find them and return them to their enclosure before dark. Sometimes, where they are nesting is not found. Last evening, this was the case.
This morning, there are piles of white feathers about every four feet from a fenced enclosure where we keep alpacas, where my errant white guinea was apparently nesting on quite the pile of eggs. I followed it, from the nest, into the woods, and then had my husband meet me there with a machete. Although there were plenty of white feathers, there was never any blood. Could she have been grabbed by a younger less experienced fox and have ultimately flown away and escaped ? I continued to search thinking that if I found her blood and the den of the fox, I could shoot multiple times into the den and save the rest of my guineas from being a repeated dinner for these animals.
I looked because if she had escaped she might need veterinary care, perhaps even gatorade, but she has been nowhere to be found. No particular evidence exists that a particular den of foxes has done this, although I know from the sounds, that parents have been training a new group of cubs to hunt.
I know that foxes need to eat too, but I expect them to find small animals and leave the animals I have nurtured on this farm alone. I know in winter, this gets much harder.