At the moment, anyway, we're talking about actual weasels. So, I'm getting ready to finally put the guinea pen together- and as I walk out by the windmill- here on the path is- a dead weasel.
My first reaction was- "oh, no; the damn dog has killed a weasel!" - because- in the larger scheme, weasels are our friends on this farm, big time. They eat mice. And more mice. Tons of mice. Mice are huge pests and crop thieves. Big bucks. I love weasels, mostly.
And this one was beautiful- a full grown male Short-Tailed weasel; also known as an Ermine.
Then it dawned on me (not too much later, and before I really started chewing Bruce (the pup) out) - this weasel had been in the perfect place to wipe out our guineas- in one fell swoop. They are known to kill more than they can eat- they're really good killers. And the guineas are all babies- no adults to fight back, at all.
And, though this is a serious predator, one our cat would never think of attacking- it's so slender it might actually be able to just squeeze right through regular chicken wire. No kidding. Which is what I had just been about to install. Did I know that already? Yes, I did. Idiot that I am, I seem to have needed the additional reminder of having a dead weasel in my hand in order for that to truly strike home.
Ah, reality. This weasel was in the wrong place. And Bruce, who is turning out marvelously, with more common sense than most people, had just been doing the job we hired him for- protecting us. There's plenty of room on the farm for weasels still- just not so close to home.
I'd been murmuring "no, no- don't do this, Bruce..." (he understands English perfectly) - but when I realized - he'd probably saved our entire guinea flock; with no instructions needed, that changed to loud "GOOD dog, Bruce; good dog!" He understood.
He hasn't eaten it; though I've seen him eat bunnies. (Sorry). Weasels stink, pretty uniformly, and most likely taste bad to boot- few things eat them. Owls do.
So here I am, inside, not putting up the guinea wire. Because pretty clearly- where there is one weasel, there will be more, and the wire we have is not good enough. Plus, we have yet another species of weasel here- the Least Weasel; which is only about 1/4 the size of an Ermine- but plenty capable of killing chicks, and maybe even adult guineas or chickens.
The darned thing is going to have to be a fortress, Bruce or not. He did a splendid job- but even he has to sleep sometimes. More money; and a trip to town for wire- wire more expensive than chicken wire, for sure. Sigh.
The guineas are an education, of course. For all of us. We started with 33 new keets (chicks). We're down to 28. That is what usually happens- a few of them just won't make it. In our case, I successfully brought all 33 through the first 10 days- but then 5 of them just- failed. Quit growing. Lay down, and died.
Smidgen already knew a little about death, in the abstract- even children's books and movies are full of it. But here was her first real acquaintance with it. Scary, for a parent-
I think it was harder on Spice and I than it was on Smidgen, though. She did cry, just a little. But the reality was right there- death is natural; part of life. The rest of the keets go on.
Off to town; more gas, more money, more time.