This morning as I was feeding the ewes Cinders came into the shed looking for something and not finding it, went back out and disappeared fast….Of course, silly me, she was simply ready to lay her egg.
Then I heard such a strange noise coming from the coop and opening their coop-door gently so as not to bother them too much, I could see her trying to get in with Nadette in the same nesting box. All I could see was Cinders’ big fluffy arse on top of Nadette’s face! But not being able to get in she was strongly asking Nadette to get out but the little one wasn’t ready and therefore wasn’t willing to comply. I closed the door to let them work it out for themselves.Ten minutes later the two of them were foraging and chatting side by side below and there were two very warm eggs in the nest … awe.
These two have formed a bond and they can be seen together everywhere throughout the day. They have made a dust bath from dried powdered ewes pooh at the foot of two maple trees and use it like a spa. They spend hours in there, and when they vacate it, the other two, Queenie and Alison-Louise get in there….and no social distancing here, lucky them.
After six days of antibiotics and nearly nine weeks of thyme tea, Queenie is finely perky and bright and has lost her worrying wheezing sound, and Alison-Louise isn’t sneezing any more either. What a relief! Queenie spent two days not leaving the roost and not eating and I thought she was a goner. But she made it through and so did Alison-Louise. They have not started laying but I suspect they will soon. Happy days!
Queenie is definitely the one the others look up to and there is always a queue to groom her backside feathers. She is the biggest one of them all and a very gentle one too. When I sit down she comes and sits next to me, demanding nothing. If I lean on the wooden fence by the ewe’s manger, she’ll fly up and sit next to me again. I am getting her friendship. Sweeeeet. She has also offered her friendship to Alison-Louise and I am glad about that. We all need friends, don’t we?
Yesterday, seeing where the poops were located in the coop, there was a question mark over the sleeping arrangements. I had some concerns because Alison-Louise, the little red hen, is being pecked by Cinders whenever they are near each other. Alison-Louise stays well out of Cinders’s way which is easy during the day given the vast grazing area, but at night the space is seriously reduced.
I went to have a look after the sun had gone down and got the answer: Queenie, Nadette and Alison-Louise were roosting real close next to each other on top of the nesting boxes looking very cosy and Cinders was in one of a nesting box below….
As for the Guinea fowl being locked in for the next three weeks, I check on them often. On the second day since their arrival, I got a present! A tiny egg in the middle of their big nest! I read on the net that they are ready to lay at around 12 months old but Christophe yesterday confirmed that they do it much earlier like 5 or 6 months old. And this morning I found one without a hard shell by the door. A second female had made her very first egg too….
At regular intervals during the day we get a taste of their warning calls and they are surprisingly extremely loud! The first time I heard it I nearly jumped out of my skull: I was feeding the ewes and I heard them going into one and honest to God, I thought they were being strangled! I ran up the path as fast as I could but as I got to their door they suddenly stopped and I could not see what the matter was.
I made a point to go and sit with them for 10 minutes every day to get us used to each other. I talk and sing to them, they relax and after a while they get on with their activities without bothering about me too much. That’s great because I really want them to stay around our place when they’ll be completely free, but I have no idea if they will. They are not like chickens. They are very dominant birds and do as they please.
We’ve got it all here: the awe, the drama, the joys, the fears, the laughter and the peace.
And then to crown it all, as the sun was setting tonight, gold poured in through our bedroom window….
How better does it get?