The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

THE TALE OF THE ELUSIVE GUINEA HEN

 

September 2, 2020

I have never had a Guinea., never particularly aspired to have a Guinea, but a Guinea I have. Enter Henrietta into our lives! She has said her name is Henrietta, but since learning how flighty she is, I doubt we can trust her word. However, we will give her the benefit of the doubt. While feeding the horses one morning, we spotted Guinea strolling around with the horses, pecking up bits of feed. Where did she come from? We felt sure she'd skedaddle back to where she came, but this did not happen. This is when I put out an all points on Facebook and discovered Jamie Moak had been missing the hen for a week and a half. Jamie couldn't catch her, and as she wouldn't let us within ten feet, we were sure we couldn't either. So, it was decided she resides with us till she no longer wished to do so.

We entered our honeymoon stage with Henrietta. She charmed us with her intricately colored feathers. We laughed at her attachment to the horses. She eats with them twice a day. She darts between hooves and sometimes camps out in the hay they are chomping on. Six in all, the horses go about their business, seemingly unperturbed with her pecking and scuttling. When we let the horses out into the pasture, Henrietta tears after them, giving her distinctive Guinea cry. It's as if she's saying, slow down, and I only have two much smaller legs. When we bring the horses in, incomes Henrietta, ready for her feed too. If the horses go into their shelters, in goes Henrietta. And so, the days go on, and we enjoy her antics.

A day ago, we went into the barn for the night feed and immediately noticed Henrietta had a different gait. She would almost trip as she scuttled. We got as close to her as possible, which is closer than we could initially, and to our dismay saw she had somehow got her legs, both of them, tangled in some twine. What now? We were concerned it might cut off her circulation, and at the very least, she was hampered in her movements. I remembered Paul O'Gorman mentioning on Facebook he had a large fishnet worthy of Guinea catching. Well, it was worth a try! Paul was very cooperative, and we picked up the humungous fishing net. Back to the corrals. Still no supper for us.

What followed was a total fiasco. We have three corrals and a round pen, and so our little lady can skitter from one to the other quite quickly, which we cannot. We hatched a plan. Ken would stay in the one corral with the humungous net, and I would chase Henrietta over to him by way of flapping a sheet. If any of you have horses, you will know they do not cotton to sheet flapping or net lunging. However, we were desperate. So, Ken's running with the net as if he was in a solitary game of Lacrosse. I am flapping the sheet as if trying to fasten it to a loose clothesline. Horses ran wildly, and so did Henrietta. I could barely spot her through the dust. We paused from time to time in our exertions and then gamely flapped and lunged on. Finally, it was decided maybe coming back later she would've slowed down. We would wait till our chickens had roosted, and that might be a good indicator that the damsel in distress would be laid out--as it were. Back home for supper. It was a quiet meal. I have no idea what Ken was thinking of, but I was plotting, you might say hatching a scheme. We waited till I had tucked our five biddable biddies into their coop and off to the corrals we went.

Well, Henrietta was there but ran to the corrals' perimeter as soon as she saw us. She had not mellowed out, quite the opposite. She was on high alert and was very vocal about what predators we were. We stood for a while. Neither wanting to admit defeat, but now we worried that she might head out into the pastures alone and be prey to real predators what with her twined up legs. Better leave her alone, we decided. If only we had another person or two, maybe we could turn the tables. Ken texted his grandson Jordan, but Jordan was still at work. It was with the net held low, and the sheet wrapped up that we retreated. When Ken broached what might happen to her in the night, I answered rather sharply that I didn't care. Damn that low flying, corral skipping, under horse hiding, Henrietta. The honeymoon was over! We briefly contemplated sneaking up when she was roosting at night. However, neither of us was eager to climb a tree in the dark and snip her tethers.

About midnight, Ken got a text from Jordan. It said--" done." Ken called in the morning to find out what " done" meant. Apparently, around ten at night, Jordan had seen the text about the predicament we had found ourselves. He headed over to the corrals, and what should meet his eyes? Henrietta asleep under Ken's horse, Blaze! I hasten to add, Blaze was standing and sleeping, Henrietta was curled up under her, fast asleep! Jordan quickly threw his sweatshirt over her and got the twine cut! Our side won, even if we had to bring in reinforcements.

And so, the tale of the elusive Guinea ends. However, after researching them, I discovered they have a propensity to get into scrapes they can't get out of alone. They are also considered stupid. We are now left with two sad thoughts. This episode of chaos may not be the last, and secondly, how stupid are we if Henrietta, the so-called stupid bird, outsmarted us? Sobering thoughts, my friends! Goodbye until the SQUARE BALE FALLS again!

 
 

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