…Charlie isn’t winning any popularity contests in the neighborhood.
My neighbors who are planting gardens are beginning to ask pointed questions about “my chicken” that is getting into their yards. It seems she has a talent for going up and down rows in new vegetable gardens, eating all the seeds. I’ve tried to explain that she's a Guinea hen, not a chicken. It is the insects she is after, not the seeds.
She has more than enough food in our yard, but she seems to need the “thrill of the hunt.” The time between first light and human stirrings pretty much belongs to Charlie, but she seems to like to make the rounds all day. She enjoys flying all over the neighborhood.
Also, she is not backing down from cats anymore. There were some pretty ugly scenes, I heard, involving cats and peck marks. Being in a dog pack seems to have made her lose her guinea roots and identity.
And have I mentioned lately that she is really loud? Think “fire truck going through a busy intersection, only higher pitched” loud.
I’ve explored the idea of a trap, but Charlie is mostly a carnivore. She prefers bugs. Why would she walk into a cage to get a house salad, when her world is full of filet mignon?
I’ve tried to explain that Charlie is a free spirit. I can’t pen her up even if we could catch her. I’ve tried to keep her in my yard by keeping food available for her, but she needs to roam. I can understand my neighbors’ frustration. They think she is destroying gardens and terrorizing pet cats. They have the right to control their yards.
It’s a story as old as civilization. When people move to new frontiers, build homes, plant crops, and tame the wilderness, non-domestic animals have no place there. That goes for snow leopards, condors, eagles, tigers, elephants, wolves, deer, raccoons, possums and gophers.
Wild, free spirit animals on whatever continent, in whatever time, seldom win these battles.