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This tale begins on a sunny Sunday afternoon back in August 2013. The lovely weather was being enjoyed by all the birds, many of whom were prostrate in various positions about the garden. Looking around I noticed something in the distance that I couldn’t immediately recognise. Walking up the hill on the gravel path by the Maran’s coop was a bird, but what was it? As it got closer it became clear the bird in question was a Guinea Fowl. How on earth did it get here? It was moving around as if it knew this was home.
That was our first contact with Bob, or to give him his full name, 21 Bob. He decided early on that he would spend his first night ( and all the subsequent nights) in the Maran coop. His companions were a little puzzled and not a little nervous of his presence. As the days came and went he cemented his presence and soon became a familiar member of the flock. He knew of course he had landed on his feet, in chicken heaven, and he intended to stay.
He struck up a friendship with Bruno the Maran boss of the flock. He and Bruno would often be seen exploring together. I’m not sure Bruno fully approved of the relationship, but mates they certainly looked.
As time went by Bob soon discovered the delights of the garage door, outside of which treats were often served. Bob really looked forward to the feeder of wild seeds left outside the door and slowly he struck up friendships with some of the Maran and Black Rock females. His tendency to suddenly charge in all directions though took some getting used to.
He used gates, fence posts and even coop roofs to make his raucous calls from. It soon become clear Bob was calling for a mate. The chances of us finding a female guinea was remote. So for the time being Bob’s calls remained unanswered. That was until I saw an ad over a year later on Skye Classifieds. Donald the Hen in Struan was advertising for sale some Guinea Fowl. I couldn’t believe our luck. I contacted Donald and he kindly sorted out a female for us. I picked her up a few days later. I was a bit taken aback by her size, she was tiny by comparison to Bob, but then she was a youngster. The first thing we did was to clip her wings. We couldn’t bear the prospect of her flying off before she and Bob were even introduced.
Having made sure she couldn’t escape in a hurry, we installed her in Bob’s coop that night and wished them luck. Morning came and Bob seemed a bit indifferent to her presence. Later that day we were relieved to see Bob and her together, albeit briefly. Later that week they seemed to have formed a relationship of sorts, he would often charge at her from time to time, probably mistaking her for a competitor. Slowly they became ‘joined at the hip’ and now are always together. It’s a nice feeling to have played a part in their successful union.
There remained one thing outstanding, what to call Bob’s girlfriend. As their relationship was more of a fusion, she acquired the name of Bobette. Nowadays Bob’s calls have stopped almost completely. Bobette on the other hand calls the familiar buckwheat, buckwheat, of a female guinea when she looses sight of Bob. It took a little time, but they now perch side by side at night as well. A success story I’d say!
During the autumn of 2018 we lost Bobette. It was very tragic, overnight she drownd in the goose pond. At the time she was looking to lay some eggs and wanted to stay outside. Come morning I found her floating on the surface. The goose pond had a slow leak, which entailed it being topped up each morning. The sides of the pond were very slippy, so we guessed that she made many attempts to get out of the water but failed. Poor Bob, he searched high and low for her for several days. The good news is that he seems now to have found another suitable female from the youngsters he and Bobette raised a couple of years back. Will report progress shortly in a separate post.