Aflac and Gertrude
A fanciful conversation concerning newcomers to the barnyard.
Aflac: “Oh, she’s brought some new faces to the yard, let’s go over and see who they are. … Gertrude – COME ON, you’re always dragging up the rear.”
Gertrude: “What do you suppose they are? They don’t look like us. They don’t look like the geese either, or the chickens, and they certainly don’t resemble the turkeys. They’re nowhere near as big as them.”
Some of our 4-week-old French guineas.
Aflac, who is older by a couple of weeks and therefore the leader of this duck pack, did not want to appear backward so he simply ignored the question. Truthfully, he had no idea what these newcomers were. They really weren’t white like he and Gertrude were, they weren’t red like the turkeys, and they had frightfully pretty and intricate patterns in their wings the likes of which he’d never seen before.
Gertrude: “Look how they’re all moving around together at the same time. They’re a gang. Maybe they’re a biker gang.”
Aflac: “No stupid, birds don’t ride motorcycles, and why would they need to? They can fly. Just look at them flying all around inside that pen. All we can do is flap, but they’ve got thrust – just flap and they’re off the ground and zipping all around. Why, I bet they could fly to the tree tops.”
After watching them for a few minutes, Gertrude asked again what Aflac thought about the newcomers. They weren’t very friendly at all, moving off in a panic every time they were asked a question. Maybe they were frightened by that pesky little dog sitting nearby, but no, they didn’t seem to mind moving around to the end of the pen closest to the four-legged beast.
A young Buff Orpington and Ameracauna chickens.
Aflac: “Let’s try again to make friends. Hey you in the pen, what are your names? Where did you come from? We’re ducks, Pekin ducks to be precise. Those big white guys running across the yard and flapping their wings all about are geese. You can fly so you’re not a goose. The big guys in the other pen over there are turkeys – that Tom has two ladies and just between us, that’s about one more than he can handle. The big pen has chickens in it – there’s red ones and spotted ones, they’re OK. We hang out with them sometimes. I don’t think you’re chickens.”
All the while, the Dynamic Duck Duo are waddling around and around the pen trying to get the new kids to stand still and engage in a conversation, but they’re actually pretty antisocial, making no attempt at friendship.
Aflac tries again. “And that other pen, yeah, that one over there – that fluffy one in there is a chicken. The other one is a turkey who thinks he’s a chicken. They’re a little squirrely so we steer clear of them.”
The chicken (Boo Boo) and the turkey that thinks he's a chicken (Big Foot).
Gertrude: “They’re not very nice, they’re still not talking. Maybe they’re crows. Or they could be hawks and when they get big they’ll try to eat us.
Aflac thought that was a silly idea. They weren’t black like crows, and hawks don’t move in one big group like these guys were doing. Perhaps they could ask Tom Turkey if he knows what they are. He’s the biggest of all the birds in the barnyard so he must be the smartest.
The all-wise Tom Turkey.
Indeed, Tom and his ladies had come to the farm from a place that had lots of animals and he was pretty sure these new residents were guineas, but beyond knowing what they were he had no interest in the little folk. He was king of the barnyard and did not have time for such trivial matters. His job was to tend to his ladies and keep them happy. That was it – pure and simple. He didn’t even want to be bothered with his own offspring, which explains why the one turkey thinks he’s a chicken. He hatched with the chicken and grew up with the chicken so, well, he must be a chicken too.
About that time Ma was coming around the corner with supper, and they quickly forgot about the guineas and where they came from and why they were there at the farm. After all, Aflac and Gertrude are ducks and their attention span was about played out so they waddled off to enjoy their evening corn and get ready for bed. As Scarlett said, they’d think about that another day.