The Old “Switcheroo”

Everyday this week has been so humid and hot that it’s impossible to keep the sweat out of my eyes, making me so miserable that I’m never sure whether I’m crying or not.

Being miserable is certainly something folks cry over every day, but it’s hard to stay focused on my own misery when there are  horses to take care of,  and loud-mouthed goats waiting to be fed and milked.

My own misery pales in comparison to loud-mouthed goats and my focus turns on quieting them as quickly as possible to relieve THAT misery.  They’ve been working hard at getting me trained and I think I’m almost there.  It’s what they call “natural goatmanship” and the girls are writing a book about it.

It’ll be a best-seller.

But in the quiet moments when they are not harassing me, I remember a few other things that need to get done, one of the more important being fixing the guinea problem we’ve been having.

Now, this is a problem I’ve actually welcomed because it has brought such peace and quiet to the farm…..if you factor out the loud-mouthed goats…it’s been very quiet around here for the last couple months.

Our pearl guinea, which I think I’ll name “Pearl” and from here on out refer to her by that name, our “Pearl,” a couple months ago, laid quite a nice clutch of eggs.  Twenty four to be exact.

Problem with that is, well, there are two problems really, the first being that we DO NOT want TWENTY FOUR more guineas running around here screaming at us.  We’d have to move or have them for dinner.  No way, no way, could we live with that noise.

But, the prospect of having 24 more guineas is really moot, because in order to have 24 more guineas, the eggs that Pearl is setting on would have to be fertile, which would have required at least one more guinea, the opposite sex of Pearl, and since we only have one guinea, I realized at some point that those eggs must not be fertilized and would never hatch.

But, try as I might, I could not convince Pearl of the fruitlessness of sitting on those eggs day after day.

Every day or so I’d see her streaking across the yard as fast as she could go, grabbing bugs as she was running past them, and then heading back to her nest under my son’s truck canopy that sits on the ground.

I didn’t have the heart to take her 24 eggs away, and was actually very happy she wasn’t roosting in the trees screaming at us every night while we fed the horses and milked the goats.

But, the truck canopy is not too far from the house, and with the temperatures we’ve been having, if one of those eggs happened to get broke, the smell would be unbearable.  If you want to know, without having to open an egg, whether it is rotten or not, see if they feel like glass or porcelain when touched lightly together.  If they clink like a fork on a wine glass, they are rotten beyond reason and if you have a dog like mine that loves opening rotten eggs… might need to get in your car and leave your property for a few hours.  It is THAT bad!

Pearls eggs vibrated together at a very high-pitched “ping” meaning, I’m assuming, that they were of the most rotten of the rottenest and something really needed to be done about them before the shells gave way.  I don’t know that even poor Pearl could survive that!

I had collected 12 chicken eggs and put them in a bowl on the counter.  They were fresh, fertilized eggs.  When Pearl left her nest this morning, quick as I could I switched out her “glass” eggs for the fresh chicken eggs.

I watched her go back in.

She sat on them!

She did look at them a little funny, but she’s back at work, setting on eggs, and hopefully they’ll hatch and we’ll have some more baby chicks!  I’m very curious what chickens raised by guineas will act like.  Will they scream and holler like a guinea?  Will the roosters crow?

Tune in next month when we’ll see if Pearl accepted her “switcheroo” and becomes a good chicken mama.

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