Sunday, March 25, 2012

Missing Guinea Hen

We are missing a guinea hen.  One of the light gray females.  She was a shy bird, she was best friends with the white"slow" female guinea.
White slow guinea female
As background- The "slow" female had a problem at birth, she was slow and didn't act right, started having leg problems, not walking well.  We had a baby guinea like that in our last batch a year before, and it died while still a keet.  After some research we learned it was a vitamin E deficiency!  It was as simple as that!  We fed the white female guinea keet one Vit E capsule a night - cut it open and squirted it into the bird's beak.  She immediately started acting chipper and perky and lived, even though just a few days before we didn't think she would live another day.  However, she didn't gain back her sense that she lost - she still acts slow and not quite there mentally.  None of the other guineas accept her, and she's not mated now that spring is here and all the other guineas have chosen mates.

The missing gray female and the slow white female guinea were inseparable friends, until the gray female chose a mate and the white female didn't choose a mate.  Right now the guineas are all paired up (I call it mated) and first thing every morning the mates go off by themselves in the woods and she lays an egg.  Then  they all meet back up in a group in our front yard and hang as a flock for the rest of the day.  When the female feels there's enough eggs in her nest in the woods, then she'll go sit on them for a month, never leaving, until they hatch.  And it's during that time that life is very dangerous for her.  A fox or raccoon or hawk can easily kill her when she's an easy target, alone, sitting quietly in the woods.  We have never let our guineas raise their own keets, instead we collect their eggs and let a broody chicken hen raise them.  It's dangerous enough for the guineas, I don't want to risk letting a female die like that.

And so this morning I decided to go looking for the missing female guinea hen.  I figured maybe she's alive, sitting, or maybe I'd find a sign that she had been killed, such as a clump of gray feathers or a destroyed nest with broken eggs, or something.  Come along and check out what I saw this morning.
The woods were all wet, it's been a wet couple of days. 

I love this tree - it reminds me of a watercolor painting!  What kind of tree is it?

I continue to look for the guinea, although I notice lots of interesting things to photograph!

This is a field of tiger lilies. They will bloom in the summer.

I did find ONE guinea feather in the woods, but it was from a different colored guinea- one of the darker ones, not the light gray female.  And this was just one feather, not a big deal.

I did not find the missing guinea hen.  The search will have to continue another day...


Dog Trot Farm said...

It is heartbreaking to lose a bird, especially one that has become extra special. I am rooting for "slow guinea" perhaps she flew up on a tree? Please keep us posted. Beautiful photos, enjoy the day, the rain has found us in Maine. Blessings, Julie.

LindaG said...

I hope you find her.
*hugs* ♥

John Gray said...

here's hoping she will turn up in expectantly

JosephAlsarraf said...

Nice pictures! I like the close ups of the flowers. I think that tree is called a charcoal tree. That's sad about your guinea, I hope they didn't get into a fight. Maybe it'll show up later. : )

Kessie said...

Hopefully she's only sitting and will show up again. Those guineas, such a headache! At least they keep the ticks down, though, right?

Chai Chai said...

They are great at hiding as you well know.

I can't believe how much farther along into Spring that you are there compared to here.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Oh I do hope you find "Slow Guinea" soon, poor thing . . . no mate to care for her. Your photos are beautiful. I love the misty shot of the woods as well as the great close-up shots of the flowers!

Robin said...

The tree might be a American Sycamore. They have such neat bark. I remember seeing an Arizona Sycamore at a park once that has bark a lot like that.