Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Good Parents, Hungry Fox, Crazed Woman, and the Sierra Club

In a previous post I wondered, "Why aren't Guineas extinct?" The past few weeks have taught me a lot about how Guineas raise their young, and I have to say I'm very impressed. The biggest problem the Guineas have to overcome is that they don't build a nest in the trees so they end up having to raise their young on the ground in the wet, cold, and dangerous forest.

Pictured above is daddy Guinea, I have never seen a more devoted father (for an animal of course). Every morning he leaves the coop and immediately flies over to where mama Guinea spends her nights. He calls to her and paces if she doesn't drag the keets from the woods immediately.

All day long mama and daddy Guinea shepherd their younglings around the yard, catching and sharing bugs and choice bits of grass with the keets. The keets stick close to them, and one of the parents will immediately confront anything considered a danger.

I supplement their diet with noodles, mama brings the keets running towards me at lunch time.

The teen Guineas are still housed in the gazebo, I toss them long grass and weeds to let them get their fill of greens. They haven't been moved to the coop yet because they need to get a bit larger to fend off the other Guineas that rejected them last time.

This morning I looked out the back window and saw that this little Guinea had punched a hole in the gazebo screen and was loose, that meant I had to go outside and round it up. After several minutes of chasing the mini-Guinea in circles I went back inside and grabbed a lacrosse stick that happened to be by the front door. (I have no idea why a lacrosse stick would be there as I have not ever seen anyone playing lacrosse in the yard since we moved here.) The stick had a web netting so it should help gather the mini-Guinea up safely.

After a few moments of chasing the mini-Guinea around with the stick mama and daddy Guinea began screaming and creating a racket like all heck had broken loose. I looked over to where the family had been foraging and I saw a fox chasing after the baby keets!

As I raced over to help I witnessed mama and daddy Guinea take turns swooping down to claw and body slam themselves into the hungry fox in desperate attempts to save their babies. Note the claws (talons?) momma Guinea is sporting in the picture above, she was going after the fox with gusto!

When I got to the scene of the crime I was able to give the confused fox at least two good whacks with the lacrosse stick while it rooted around trying to snatch up a keet or two, simultaneously trying to defend itself from now three angry parents (I include myself). At some point during the beatdown the fox gave up and began a retreat down the driveway with me in hot pursuit, swinging the stick all the way. As we emerged from the trees at the drives end the fox and I crossed the path of three power walkers who looked to initially be in shock at the spectacle. When the fox bolted into the woods on the other side of the road I gave up the chase and started to head for home.

It was at this point that the possible Sierra Club members decided to give me a piece of their mind. "Don't you know fox are an endangered and protected species around here?" Flabbergasted, I replied; "That fox was trying to eat my keets!" Somehow I noticed that the power walkers had nicely manicured nails, an odd observation for someone who was on the verge of losing their cool. I calmly explained to them that; "Mr. Fox WILL be endangered if he ever tries to eat any of my Guineas or Chickens again."

The enviro crazies didn't seem to understand my point and wanted to argue some more; "Nature has its own circle of life and you shouldn't interfere." At this point I wondered if they could possibly be crazy? Don't they know wolves prowl this area? I wanted to ask them that if a wolf grabbed one of them while they were out for a stroll would the other two not interfere with 'the circle of life', but I instead walked away. They really would have been shocked it this had happened yesterday because I would have been dressed in my pajamas instead of sweats.

As I walked back up my drive I heard one of them say; "She must be one of those Tea Party people." This made me chuckle so I smugly turned as stated; "I'm a coffee person thank you." They couldn't have possibly been from around here, I mean going a single day without hearing multiple rifle shots would be a miracle. This area is about 70% woodland and 30% farms, who were these people?

When I got back to the yard I was so relieved to see that the keets had all survived and mama and daddy Guinea were only missing a few feathers.

Everyone got a big helping of noodles at lunch, those Guineas aren't such bad parents after all!


  1. Love the coffee retort! Well done, on saving the guineas and scaring off the manicured know-it-alls.

  2. First - thank you very much for this informative post. I love guineas and was hoping they would be able to raise some keets on their own. I pity then (chicken)hen who would have to keep up a guinea baby she was forced to hatch. I am shocked by those people who thought what you were doing was any of their business. Also, I think i would freak out if I was close enough to a fox to actually hit it.

  3. Holy crap. I'm amazed you could keep your cool with those people! I wouldn't have been able to restrain myself. :) I also really like the coffee comment. Lol.

  4. UGH! Those kind of people drive me NUTS! Do they understand that regardless of whether mr. fox is endangered or not, YOU have a right to defend your livestock...the livestock YOU have invested your time and money into...and of life and all that....but its a little different when they're coming into your yard and snatching chicks/keets than if they were in the woods snatching rabbit kits or baby squirrels. I think you were rather nice just chasing mr. fox with a lacrosse net...rather than a 12 gauge. I live in one of the most liberal states there is...and most people that live here understand that ad won't say much...good for you not giving the a piece of your mind...and LOL about the coffee comment :P I hope the rest of your week is fox/idiot free :)

  5. Amazing! I'm so glad everyone (including the fox that probably learned its lesson) was fine. That still sounds a lot like the geese~they both rear their babies and will attack far larger animals to defend them.

  6. Let me apologize in advance for laughing my way through this post, even though I know EXACTLY how stressful this event was for you. Your description of the situation made me giggle and chortle (a lacrosse stick? really?) and the fact that you were actually able to whallop that naughty fox a couple of times with it had me cheering!
    Those enviro-women don't have a clue! Jeez. Your retorts to them were absolutely PERFECT - look at you, complete grace under pressure. It makes me love you even more. ♥

  7. Omg!!! How crazy! I'm glad you were there to help out! Yeah for the guinea parents, too!!! I just saw a fox about a mile from my house, dead on the road. Hit by a car. One less for us to have to deal with! Good luck with your fox issues!!! Stay safe, keets! Ps, did you round up the teenage keet?

  8. WOW!!! baby!! thats AWESOME!! i imagine them folks wouldnt have said anything if you went runnin' at that vexing vixen with an axe...heh heh heh.... i'll lend ya mine. and yeah... in another life we might have been "those people" but now we are in The Know. and uh... as far as i can see folks like you and me are at the top of the food chain in their circle of life. them eco-nuts wont last long when times get hard, aint that right?

    GREAT work.

  9. ADoC - Isn't it amazing what you notice about folks?

    Michaele - The guineas have proven to be better parents then I would ever would have imagined. I don't think they could handle any more than 4 or 5 so I'm happy I gave the rest to the chicken.

    Rae - I was so shocked that they had a problem with MY actions that I was initially dumbfounded. What does a persons Politics have to do with saving their animals from being eaten?

    Stace - I wonder if these folks have any idea where their food comes from? I guess the comparable would be if someone ran into their office and took a hammer to their PC or iPads.

    Teresa - I am really beginning to appreciate these African birds, I guess if they are lucky enough to be born they die hard.

    Danni - The fox was so flustered by the birds that it had to be as shocked as me that I was able to hit it. To think that those women are allowed to vote.

    Lynn - I got the teens afterward. Fox are not endangered, in fact they are too plentiful around here. Mr Fox was lucky the Commander wasn't home or else the shotguns would have come out.

    OFG - All I could think of was you throwing the hatchet, LOL! You are right about me wolking in those womens shoes at one time, but I like to think I would have held my tongue.

  10. Well.... next time if you run in into the Sierra people you have my blessing to give them some piece of your mind!

    And yes i would have whacked that fox too!


  11. First off, I LOVE that picture of Daddy - great shot. Secondly, whoa, what a time! I can just picture you taking off after that fox ready to give him what he deserves. As for the power walkers - we have cottage people around here, they come for a couple months of the summer and try to cause all kinds of havoic with their nonsense. Yes there is a cycle, everyone needs to eat, but the predators do not need to eat your keets! Just like I wouldn't let a coyote eat my goats just cause it's normal he needs to eat - go eat something else! People sometimes are just plain stupid, and they always seem to show up at the craziest times! The tea party comment is just stupid. I'd have lost it. Good for you fellow member of the coffee party! ;)

    We have cottagers that walk their small dogs off leash around here... I see bears all the time, coyotes in broad daylight. They have no idea the risks because they just don't get it. Being in nature is wonderful, I love it, and I understand why they do, but a lot of them (not all) also forget that nature is not like a cartoon where everyone gets along and loves each other and bears are not cuddly.

    Hopefully the fox stays away from your babies from now on and tells his friends too!

  12. Leontien - I think I will lead a happier life if I never cross pathes with them again.

    Donna - I agree with you about those women having no idea how non-city dwellers live. The circle of life isn't pretty and sadly I lost the keets last night. I will miss them, but probably not as much as the guinea parents.