My youngest son named our guinea rooster “Contraire.”
The bird has earned it. He came as one of ten guinea chicks, and remained as one of three that escaped a mink. Sickness and a raccoon whittled down the flock until Contraire was the sole survivor.
He keeps meticulous watch over the regular chickens, sounding like a car alarm whenever anything comes near. However, he is also mean to the chickens, so he keeps watch from outside the coop.
He has had to be opposed to everything just to survive. He chases cats, sometimes dogs, and always pigeons. He doesn’t care to share any birdseed with wild birds, and I once saw him devour a mouse- whole.
The dilemma of what to do with Contraire with the onset of winter puzzled us for a few days until we decided to put him in the barn with the cows. Surely they wouldn’t be cowed by his raucous noise and mean looks.
My older son and I tried to catch him a day before our first snowstorm was due. Contraire saw us coming and jumped straight over a fence. We decided to wait another day.
Next day, the wind was howling. We cornered Contraire by the chicken coop. My son held a large fishing net. We sprung! Contraire was netted! I held him down so he wouldn’t injure himself and worked him out of the net so I could carry him to the barn. He pecked my arm, causing me to let go of one of his legs, and the next thing I knew, he scurried under the coop and left me with a handful of feathers. He shot out the other side of the coop and hid in the top of a tree.
That was the last we saw of Contraire that day.
I waded through a foot of snow and some higher drifts to feed the chickens the next day. As I swung the coop door open, I heard the distinctive cluck of the guinea. Sure enough, behind the coop, staring at me through the chain link fence, the pterodactyl-impersonator sat demurely, covered in snow.
I fed the chickens and then walked behind the coop. He didn’t move. It was as if he had decided that I might really be able to help him out of a chilly predicament. I pounced on him. He moved. He squawked. He hollered. He sounded the alarm and danced hornpipes, but as soon as I tucked him under my arm, he went limp and surrendered.
I carried him across the yard to the barn where fresh straw, chicken feed, and water awaited him. The cows weren’t too sure about him, but as soon as I set Contraire in the straw, he was sure he was where he wanted to be.
He simply needed to be still and know that I would do what was best for him.