Written by E, age 13:
People always say ‘do your research first’ well now I know why.
One fine spring morning my parents left the house to purchase a rooster. A simple task, or so it would seem.
I was left the pleasure of staying home to do chores. They shouldn’t be long I tell myself, all we need is a rooster and they might surprise us with a few more hens. I try to convince this to myself as I set of to do my work. But I know my parents too well, they will not just get a rooster like they plan too. I wouldn’t be surprised if the forgot the rooster all together and purchased another cow instead.
Well they were gone for quite a while. Five hours to be exact. I am curious what they have as I see the familiar red truck pull into the driveway. My Mom comes in and instructs us to wait in the house until my dad gets off the phone so that he can surprise us with whatever is in the back of the pickup.
“What did you buy?” I ask her even though I already know she won’t tell me.
“Just be patient, then you can go see what we bought,” she tells me.
I’m not at all surprised by her answer but I had hoped she would tell me, or grant me permission to go and see. After a while of pestering her trying to get an answer, she informs me that they did remember to get a rooster. This is a huge relief because if they had forgot to get a rooster they would have to go back again and then who knows what would happen.
An hour later I am so tired of waiting that that she allows me to go up to the barn to see what they bought, even though my dad is still on the phone. I slip my shoes on and run there. When I get there from the bed of the truck are four of the ugliest birds I have ever seen. They have vulture like heads that are white, blood red waddles, and a brownish red bump right on the top of their heads. Their silky feathers don’t complement their heads. haven’t got a clue what they are, but I know that I don’t like them.
In the truck are two more cages, the first with the rooster. It’s a relief to know that he wasn’t made up. And in the last cage are two cute chickens one hen and a rooster. These two have silky feathers and feathered feet. To my satisfaction, they did not buy any mammals. But I still have to figure out what these ugly birds are, and why we have them?
When my mom makes it up to the barn she tells me the ugly birds are guinea fowl and that they will eat ticks, mites, mice and other small pests. This is good news, I feel like I can like them a little better now. She also tells me that there are two breading pairs and we will incubate and eggs they lay. Which to my displeasure means there will be more of these ugly birds running around our property. Even if I like them better than when I first saw them I still don’t like them.
Finally, my dad gets off the phone and we move the rooster in with the hens. The little chickens move in with our rabbits which live in cages in a horse stall. And last (and in my mind definitely least) the ugly guinea fowl get a horse stall of their own as a temporary home. When all the animals seem happy we go inside and finish our day out without another thought.
The next morning when I get to the barn there is a guinea fowl on the rafters and two on the ground terrorizing the barn cat. Well, now there is a problem, I have three lose birds in our barn. And my parents– who did no research– didn’t know that they would fly away at the first opportunity. I chase them for a little bit trying to get them to fly back into their stall. No such luck. If I can’t use force to get them back in I will try to trick them. I open the stall door which leads to a little pen outside. The walls of the pen are high and the birds should not be able to fly out.
As soon as the birds see the light the go running for the door. And for a short moment I am allowed the pleasure to think that my trap actually worked. Until two of the three guinea fowl prove me wrong about the pen and fly over the fence wall and into the open. Luckily, I am able to chase the third one back into the stall where it belongs. But the other two are still lose, and there are no barn walls to keep them contained.
I go ask my mom for help and she said she would be up there soon. I, who knows nothing about these silly birds, go to get a fishing net to try to catch them. As you can probably guess this didn’t work. It made things worse, one of the birds flew onto the roof and the other ran out of sight. I know I looked very foolish walking around the fields with a fishing net looking for a bird but I did it anyways.
After a few hours, I gave up. If my parents had only researched first they would have known these could fly. But no, what would be the fun in knowing what kind of a mess we were getting into? In my mind, I stamped the two ugly birds lost and went on with my day.
At about 1:00 I set a trap for them. By some miracle, I was able to catch two and all three of us were in one piece. I threw chicken scratch all around the door and waited for the other two to come back.
By the end of the day I had caught all the birds and decided the could have free reign of a closed up barn because I didn’t want to do all of this again.
The next day I bring my dogs with me to the barn to feed all the animals, and because nothing can go well the dogs spooked the guinea fowl and two of them bang open a door and are free. I wonder if I will even have another day in my life where I am not trying to catch these ugly birds.