We have done some thinking about our poor yard birds. With Bonnie’s unexpected death, I am beginning to think that we need to contain our birds completely.
As it is now, I jump up at any guinea squawk, dog at my side, weapon in hand, to rush forth and defend the Chicken Homeland. If you know anything about guineas, they put Chicken Little to shame as far as their anxiety level. They are alarmists in the extreme. That said, when they do get to hollering, there usually is a cause. The dog who killed Bonnie has come back at least twice so we are right to worry.
For a household of three egg eaters, three to four chickens is more than enough to keep us happily in eggs all year. Chickens are highly social animals who psychologically need at least one but preferably two feathered friends living with them. Three chickens, also, won’t completely trash a garden. Three then would be our magic number for contained, non free-range hens. We have six chickens, and four guineas. I won’t be thinning out the chicken ranks, as these girls are our pets. The guineas, though, are not pets, and, if I will be locking the chickens up, the reason for having them (i.e., free-ranging chicken watchdogs) is gone. Sigh. Poor guineas. They’ve just begun to lay again their odd pointy thick-shelled eggs.
I am really sad to have to lock our girls up permanently. Poor chookies. (I keep thinking about prison jokes and parole humor here: dang, I’m sorry: I am always whistling past the graveyard. You should see me at a funeral.) The chickens will get let out often enough, I suppose, when I am outside, but…there really are too many threats out there.
In the immortal words of H.I. McDunnough, “Sometimes it’s a hard world for small things.”