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Lightning. Sad news for the Farming Friends & Cottage Smallholder Interblog Guinea Fowl Breeding Event

white feather on forget-me-notsI went down to the chicken run this morning to check on the gang and give them their morning corn. There appeared to be a rumpled white paper bag inside the run. Then I saw the orange legs. Lightning was dead.

The grief was overwhelming. This small white bird had truly got under my skin. He (we never discovered whether it was a male or female guinea fowl) was so brave and adventurous and naughty. And being all-white, he was special. I love white birds. They remind me of angels.

I loved watching him grow up and discover his world. He was the first keet to fly, to taste lettuce, to disobey Mrs Boss. The other keets followed his lead. Somehow he had come to symbolise hope.

I stood by the pond and sobbed. The Min Pins, realising something was wrong, stood silently by.

After work this evening, we examined his small body. He had a broken neck and torn broken wing. We pieced together what probably happened and suspect that he got caught up in the briar rose that grows at the back of the run. In former days the run used to be a rose border. Gradually, over the years, the roses have died back but I left them in the pen as the hens love eating rose petals. We didn’t realise that the branches could be a danger to an inexperienced and curious keet, testing his flying prowess.

As dusk fell I found my lopping shears and chopped the roses to the ground. Every single one.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Thanks for dropping by, KJ. We are still very sad about Lightning.

  2. Fiona, I’m so sorry to hear about Lightening. It’s so sad. His/her life was too short, but it was full of love and care thanks to you and Mrs Boss.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Celia, there were tears when I wrote the post and tears each time someone made a comment. I loved that nine week old dot. The keets are sticking fast to Mrs Boss. Last night they were pressed up against her on the perch. Thanks for dropping by.

    Ohhh Joanna, so sad that a fox wrecked your flock. You must have built a relationship with every single one. How terrible to discover the devastation. My heart goes out to you.

    We have the space to burn the rose roots in the run. Thanks for the tip.

    Hi Sara, I am so sad but the poem that you found made everything seem better. Lightning was special but all your keets are the same. Full of life and hope.

    Hi Pat, Thanks for the hug. That little bird got under my skin, big time.

    Oh Michele, thanks for your comment. I cried as I wrote the post.

    Hi Toffeeapple, Thanks for the hug, much appreciated. The remaining keets are so quiet now. Just following Mrs Boss.

    Hi Amanda, It seems crazy. Grieving over a dead guinea fowl.

    Every living thing is so special.

  4. Fiona, I’m so sorry! Lightning was indeed special. The poem from Sara (farmingfriends) says it all. Take care, Amanda x

  5. Toffeeapple

    I am so sad for you. It’s awful when something so sweet is hurt. Big hug from

  6. Oh no! Your post brought tears to my eyes. I’m so sorry and am thinking of you today. 🙁 It is a beautifully written tribute to your small friend.

  7. Ooooooohhhhhhhh Fiona!!!! I am soooo sorry hun!!! I know how quickly they can get into your heart and how it hurts to loose one so young. Big hugs to you my friend. I really am sorry.

  8. farmingfriends

    I am truely saddened and sorry for the loss of Lightning. He was the first white keet farmingfriends had ever known come from the eggs so he was special to us too.
    Here is a poem I have found by Isla Paschal Richardson that may help.
    Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me, as if I were beside you….I loved you so, twas Heaven here with you.
    Thinking of you all.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  9. So sad … we lost most of our flock of hens to a fox earlier in the summer – so upsetting that I couldn’t blog it. Just to warn you – cutting those roses down will make them come back even more strongly next year. I don’t know if it will work, because where they are sounds a little crowded, but my husband gets rid of unwanted roots and stumps very successfully by burning them – you set a little fire over the stump until it catches fire and slowly burns the root out. It’s a slow process, involving a lot of going back with matches, because the rootstock is obviously green, so it doesn’t burn bright, it smoulders. Worth a try if there’s space …


  10. Oh Fiona, I’m so, so sorry. I’m crying too as I read this. I can imagine the shock when you found him – poor Lightning. How are the other keets reacting to not having him around?

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