Friday 2 June 2017

The Boys are Bereft

Apollo and Belvedere, 2 Guinea Fowl cock-birds suddenly
lacking a focal point in their lives. 
Long term friends of the blog may recall that we first got into Guinea Fowl back on Nov 5th 2013, 3+ years ago. Back then we purchased Henry and Min named after the aul' wans on the Goon Show with dreams of eating their eggs and possibly a few young birds.
( ).
Much later, Henry was killed out on the road while minding Min who was hiding in the hedge opposite laying the next of a clutch of 16 eggs. Min abandoned the eggs when her hubby was lost and we incubated them, hatching 13 youngsters (keets).

If memory serves, we sold some of these to a local lad who wanted to start a 'flock' but then lost the rest to a fox attack. We certainly never ate any - I'd remember. The pining Min then annoyed us for months with her "Buck wheat buck wheat" mate-calling till we blagged a couple of males from our friend Sue. These were Apollo and Belvedere. Min fell in love with Belv' and Apollo had to take a support role, watching in the wings as back-up.

Arum lilies do very well here.
Min (with Belv's help) may have been laying eggs this year but if there was "anything" going on or any eggs being laid then we never saw a sausage. All good so far. However, a week or so back, our Min was suddenly badly injured a across the 'saddle', all the feathers stripped away and a big bright slick of blood on the place, as if she'd been flayed. She was still walking but we really needed to catch her and isolate her, to give her a chance to recover. We had no idea whether the cock bird(s) had suddenly got rough or maybe she'd fallen prey to the chicken-rooster, Gandalf and his spurs. I caught them "just after" the act, I think, with G strutting and crowing and Min flat on the ground in a daze, bleeding.

Well, anyone who has had experience of Guineas will know how hard they are to catch and we never managed it, plus we thought that life in a crate or rabbit-run might be too stressful to actually do her any good. We decided to watch her and, true to form, the next day she seemed very 'repaired', bald but not bleeding. We chugged along for the next week with Min mainly recovering but occasionally getting blooded again.

Buff Orp laying eggs on the diff of K-Dub's
abandoned "Mad Max" trike. We are minding
this beast which has the back end of a Transit
engine, gearbox and final drive and may, in time
get the forks and front wheel of a tractor. 
Then on Weds 31st May night she seemed to go downhill and went 'to bed' OK but roosted down on the floor of the coop (among the ducks) instead of up in the rafters. It wasn't looking good and, indeed, I found her in the morning, as I expected, stiff and cold. We guess she died from her injuries or an infection taken in through that huge wound. Poor thing.

A family favourite blue Geranium, 'Orion'
So now we have two Guinea Fowl cock birds who are bereft. Stripped of their main reason to be, their woman to Marshall and mind, their prize to fight over, their appetite to protect from chickens trying to steal "her" share of the food, they are lost. They are currently hanging with the chickens and not at all sure at bed time whether they should be going to bed without Min.

Peas showing promise in the tunnel.
We are wondering what to do. The boys are real characters despite having brains the size of petit-pois and are excellent Guard-Dogs kicking off a hell of a racket should a fox or intruder come on site. Back when we lost Henry, we bought them because lonely Min was breaking our hearts with her calling. Will we just buy a couple of gals for the boys and carry on? More on this in future posts.

Big boots and tiny plimsolls.
June is with us and the season for Elderflower cordial (and "champagne" if you are of a mind and have the bottles for it). I was out on the front lawn a couple of nights back giving the dogs their off-lead exercise session when I saw my good lady striding out of the woods armed with a bulging carrier bag but walking in a very "clompy" fashion - not her normal gait at all. It took me a while to work out that she'd been out gathering elderflowers and, to protect those calves and knees from the stinging nettles, she'd found that her feet, still in their plimsolls would easily fit in my 'huge' wellies (inches to spare, allegedly).

Elderflower cordial
The elder flower cordial is probably our favourite soft drink. I love it with sparkling water whenever I need to be off the alcohol (zero tolerance driving in this house). It is very popular too with guests and visitors and Liz has taken a bottle of the cordial to work so that colleagues can enjoy it. A real taste of Summer.

Nice bit of resurfacing by the lads from Rosco-Co-Co (the
 County Council) in our lane but the dogs hate every last
sharp stone chip and every little sticky bit of tar from it!
Finally a silly story which made me laugh. I was taking an old boy, friend and neighbour on a run out to a nearby town on an errand. En route we trundled past an anonymous shop - no sign-writing, no logos, no name, no clue telling you what it might be selling. I had barely noticed it but the Old Boy (OB) piped up with "That's really good shop... Sells EVERY thing.... and if he ever doesn't have what you are looking for you only have to ask him and he will get it in for you". "Fine", I said, "but what kind of stuff does he sell?"
OB: "Ahhhh,,,, I wouldn't know that now...." Not a lot you can say to that, really. OB was not volunteering any more information, anyway, so we drove on in silence.

A mystery construction at the local crossroads. More on this
in a future post. 
That's it for this one. I will just leave you, as usual, with a couple more pics. Still no goslings but we do now have a chicken gone broody in an old knackered wicker basket full of hay in the shed. Bye for now.
I am suddenly getting a way higher readership than of yore.
Thank you very much who ever you are. 

1 comment:

Mr Silverwood said...

I'm going to guess they are going to put a big heap of stone chips for repairing the road there, we have a few around every now and then, I think it's easier for the local council to have these dotted around the place to fix pot holes and such than actually having to fill up the backs of trailers and trucks to do it, that's my guess anyway.