Fowl Rescue

July 3, 2008

Why is that things seem to go wrong the most when you’re short on time? I’ve got more company than I expected coming this weekend, the house is a wreck, and I needed to get some groceries. But I haven’t been sleeping well, so after the guys went off to work this morning, I laid down for a quick nap figuring I’d be more energetic after a little rest.

I was dreaming about catching chicks, and that there were all kinds all over the house. Little did I realize when I woke up almost two hours later that was a prophetic dream. Two hours! Oh man! I didn’t have that kind of time to waste today! But okay, I feel better, so time to get moving, and fast.

My one little injured chick was peeping. I figured she was lonely. I kept wishing for something else to hatch out soon so she’d have a buddy. I held her a while and talked to her, then zipped outside to do the morning chores.

The wound is healing, even though it still looks pretty yuck.

The animals were all giving me the hairy eyeball, like, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?” I was mobbed by chickens and guineas looking for some scratch grain, peafowl screeching for their morning chow, and indignant goats butting my legs because they hadn’t got their morning treat of animal crackers yet. Okay, okay! I’m moving as fast as I can.

Then I heard it.

If you’ve ever had guineas with keets, you know this sound. It’s that high-pitched locater cheep that means, “Help me, I’m lost!” One little keet was running around in the back yard screaming at the top of its little lungs. At first I figured it got separated from the group we saw last night, and when the guineas all came in for food, it’d find its mama. No such luck.

Instead, the older guineas were pecking at it, so I figured I’d better go to the rescue. I got out my trusty net, waded through the other critters, and went after it.

Now if you’ve ever chased a guinea keet you’re probably already laughing, because you know those short little legs move like they’re jet-propelled. It’s really too bad no one had a camera, cause I’m sure this would have qualified for a winner on “Funniest Home Videos.”

After much running around in the 90 degree heat, I finally captured the little twerp, took it inside, and put it in the brooder box with the injured chick. Finally! Now back out to finish my chores.

I wasn’t out there for very long until I heard that sound again. Uh-oh, there’s another keet somewhere! I grabbed my trusty net again, and went off to hunt it down. This one was in the weeds along the driveway. Those weeds include poison ivy.

We went around in circles, I slipped on some rocks and skinned my leg up a little, and about that time I was thinking, “I sure hope you appreciate me saving your life little keet, cause if I get poison ivy for the first time in MY life, I ain’t gonna be happy.” After a whole lot of tries, I finally netted the little speedball, put it in a bucket in the feed room and figured I’d finish my chores, then take it inside.

Only once it shut-up, I heard that sound again. HOW MANY OF THESE KEETS ARE RUNNING LOOSE!?! I’m sure about that time I heard God laughing and saying, “You’d think by now you’d be careful what you wish for! Now you’ve got some little cheeps to keep your lonesome chick company.”

The trouble is, this one was down in the bottom pasture. Now keets are nigh impossible to see in grass, let alone tall weeds like’s in that pasture. The only way you can find one is to home in on the cheeps, and then you still have to extremely lucky to locate it.

I went to look at a known nest site there, and discovered a mass of adult guinea feathers. Hmmmm, so that’s probably why these are running loose on their own – someone had mama for a midnight snack. But where is this little cheeper?

Feathers to the left, two nests of eggs to the right.I waded through a whole lot of weeds, and probably still wouldn’t have found it except for one thing. This one doesn’t blend in. It’s a light gray. I’ve never seen a keet this color. We had some white guineas way back when we first got some, but I don’t remember them hatching out any gray keets. What I do remember is white guineas are the first to go when the predators come looking for food. They stand out, unlike the regular colored ones, so get picked off quickly.

At any rate, I captured that chick, and thankfully didn’t hear any more cheeps, so took them inside. Unfortunately, I just thought I was done chasing keets, cause when I got in the house I heard the sound again, and it wasn’t coming from the brooder box.

Oh no! The first little cheep had jumped out of the box and was running around all over the house. I headed towards the sound and stepped in something squishy. “Oh crap!” Yep, that’s what it was alright. Guess the little fink’s digestive system is working fine.

It ran in the office, where there are far too many places for it to hide. I crawled around on my hands and knees trying to find it. It ran out of there and into another room and under the bed.

Hiding out among some stuff on a shelf in the office.By this time my legs were really itching and I knew I couldn’t reach the keet, so I figured I’d take a shower and get ready to go to the grocery store and maybe by then it would be out again. About the time I started to step in the shower, I heard cheeping in the hallway.

I headed after the little cheep, and it zipped towards the living room. I was praying, “Please Lord, I don’t care if you laugh, but don’t let anyone come to the door and see me running around the house with no clothes on, trying to catch this little beast. I haven’t got time to explain it the psychiatrist after they take me away in the straight-jacket!”

Lucky for me, when those little keet feet hit the linoleum in front of the door, the keet went sliding and I grabbed it.

That’s the little gray one hopping out of the water dish.

Once I got it back in the brooder box, I threw a towel over the box and went looking for a screen to put over it so there’d be no more jailbreaks. I now have 1 chick and 3 keets cheeping away in a hopefully escape proof box.

And I’m NOT going back outside for fear I might hear more cheeps!

Play this movie, and you’ll hear a lot of those locator cheeps!

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