The farm of our dreams, came complete with 4 dogs that belonged to the elderly next door neighbor. By the time we arrived he was struggling with terminal illness. His dogs were thin and fighting over every scrap of food so, of course, we started feeding them.
One was three month old pup. The mom & other pups had already disappeared to an unknown fate by the time we arrived. She was naked of hair on her body with just a bit on her head, tail and feet. She had a huge worm belly and her head was narrow and stunted looking . Eventually she'd come to be called Little Red Top.
Red Top is really smart and really quick which is how she survived the larger dogs while competing for food. She could dart in and be out before the others could decide to move - most of the time. She had some injuries on her skull to prove the times she failed.
I treated her and slowly her hair and her health started returning. During this time she fell deeply in love with my husband. He never wormed her or gave her shots. He only fed her treats, talked kindly to her and loved her. She bonded to him hard and became his dog heart and soul.
When she was feral, she used to burrow down into the dried leaves with just her head sticking up. The red coat on her head gave her the perfect camouflage.
This year at Christmas one of my friends sent a surprise package. She had cushioned the contents with stuffed dog toys. I tossed one of the toys to Little Red Top. From that moment my star rose in her eyes. Her affection for Dwight is unwavering, however, she did unbend enough to reward me for the gift. Later that night I awoke to find her standing on my hip staring down intently into my face. Kind of the way Snoopy looks when he is pretending to be a vulture. This is a signal that she would accept a little middle of the night petting love as my reward for her toy. I, of course, complied with her wishes. She is, after all, queen most high of the house and mine to command.
The Secret Life of Guineas
I love my little baby paducks. That's what their noise sounds like to me. I can call them "Paduck, Paduck, Puduck" and they'll come running even taking off flying to get to me quicker. I hatched them in an incubator and as I pressed my face to the glass to watch the miracle unfold one of them ran over and looked me straight in the eye when it popped out of its shell. I knew right then we were imprinted on one another.
They all look alike. It is hard to decide who's the guy and who's the hen but subtle differences are unfolding.
I didnt' have a camera on the day one flew up on the roof and began calling in a loud shrill voice that I associate with a male. It is a kind of "rattattattatat" noise. A kind of come here song or perhaps it is a staking of territory.
As he stood on the roof of the house making this strange noise I noticed he stood straight up and made himself elongated. Usually they are wandering around positioned like the one in the window above - bent over like an old person with head conveniently located to find all those ticks I want them to eat. But not today, this fellow was standing straight and tall like a penguin. rattattatttat ringing out in a loud declaration of his superiority. I hear ya man!
I had noticed for some time that the guineas were going into a low area in the pasture behind the little Civil War cemetery. I suspected something was up but I couldn't follow them quickly enough to figure out what they were about until yesterday. Rattattattat rang out from the pasture. I looked over and there was the braggart with two hens. Didn't he usually hang with 3? I walked straight over keeping an eye on the spot till I came to the depression. There hidden in the grass is a hen sitting on a nest with about 30 guinea eggs. I gather all but one and carried them to the house.
I floated them, discarded some and the best ones I added to the incubator already running. In about a week I'll check to see if any are fertile or not.
Their secrets are unfolding.