Guinea fowl eggs - a ‘must buy’ for any gamekeeper?

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Must buy” is a magic code to jab my finger down on the “buy now” sign on Ebay or have me rushing to fill my shopping basket.

An imperative command. Which is why John has ended up on our fishing holiday, stuffing his bag with an assortment of sparkly, shiny, twirling hooks and lures, all designed to tempt an unwary fish onto his hook.

Or, as is most probable, a gullible fisherman’s wife to buy him some “must have” flies.

“That is a tactic I might use at market,” a friend mused.

“Perhaps I could have a ‘must buy’ logo flashed onto the side of my steers as they go into the auction ring.”

A subliminal message to the buyers. Or more.

Employ one of the street graffiti artists, a sort of low key Banksie, with a can of spray paint.

The art work might end up worth more than the cattle.

Apparently a piece of street art he completed on a wall was dismantled and sold for a fortune.

Cattle could have long lives as mobile pieces of art and then make a useful wall hanging when skinned.

Going away from the farm for even the shortest period of time is fraught with difficulty.

You cannot just lock the door of the farmhouse and walk away. Dogs have to be kennelled, arrangements made for stock to be cared for, arable crops walked regularly.

Fortunately, our house sitters this week are friends, one of whom, Andy, is a gamekeeper and farm manager for a neighbouring estate. Safe hands.

When they visited earlier in the week I explained the vagaries of the egg collecting system and the fact that the guinea fowl are being very coy this year about their egg nesting habits.

We had located one nest, but hardly any eggs were ever laid there. Passing a pile of old corrugated iron roofing sheets, I commented that I had better get round it with the strimmer as nettles were almost obscuring the heap.

Mind you nettles look better than sheeting. To emphasise the point I gave the sheets a swift kick.

And an enraged Guinea fowl flew out of the heap, squawking her indignation.

“What’s she been up to?” Andy asked. A peak in amongst the sheeting revealed exactly what.

A great pile of Guinea fowl eggs. Over seventy eggs in all. The rogues had been throwing us a dummy with the other nest.

So now sixty of the eggs are nestling in an incubator. I do not know the age of the eggs, but those I have broken into for breakfast scramblies, taste delicious.

The nest is going to be undisturbed for the next week to encourage the Guinea fowl to continue laying.

Then Andy is setting up his incubator to hatch, then rear, the guinea fowl chicks, as an early warning system for pheasants.

Or perhaps I could advertise them on Ebay as a “must buy” requirement for gamekeepers. I can’t be the only sucker in the world.

Mrs Downs Diary