In the battle between chicken and predator, it’s no surprise that the chicken usually loses. That’s why last summer I decided to add Guinea Hens to my little flock. Not that Guineas can pistol-whip a fox or shoot down red-tailed hawks. Their only virtue is the shrill sound they make when something in the barnyard is “just not right.” That could be a predator, but I’ve found that a rolling tumbleweed, a pop can or even the grass growing can prompt Lola, our Guinea Hen, to send out her high-pitched, ear piercing shrieks.
Lola was the only one of five Guineas to survive past the age of one week. Since she was all alone and lonely, my daughter named her Lola. L-O-L-A Lola.
It didn’t take Lola long to fit right in with the chickens. In fact, when she was knee-high to a pullet she would escape from her solitary confinement to join the other birds in the coop. This always made me worry because she was so small and really should have remained sequestered until she was big enough to fend for herself. Boy was I wrong.
Feisty little Lola quickly rose up the ranks of the flock and now rules the roost — and the rooster! “The Fonz” may outweigh her, but even he stays clear of Lola and heeds her peck and call.
Because of Lola’s watchful eyes and her staunch warnings, I’ve not lost a bird to predators since last year. I’ve therefore referred to her as Lola: Bossy Barnyard PIO. PIO stands for Public Information Officer, and bossy means BOSSY. If she’s not charging at her coopmates sending them fleeing in all directions, Lola’s delivering a swift peck at each one as she walks by.
Sometimes I wonder if the chickens appreciate her — or if they would prefer the occasional predator to the persistent abuse from Lola. I’ve even considered an alternative conclusion to why none of Lola’s litter-mates survived.
If anything, Lola has added to the barnyard entertainment. Big, white and looking like some kind of prehistoric, feathered curmudgeon with a wart on her head — Lola has certainly made a name for herself at Golden Hills Farm. And as long as she does her job as Barnyard PIO, she can stick around.