Kay Richards, whose property has been home for a guinea hen, peeks at the wily bird after she helped capture it Tuesday in her yard. COURTESY MARCUS HOMEYER
guinea Hen

By LINDA MOSS
moss@montclairlocal.news

Henrietta the guinea hen, who flew the coop in September, was finally captured Tuesday in the Montclair neighborhood where she’s been roosting.

Kay Richards managed to shoo the bird into a makeshift trap outside her home on Alexander Avenue, where the bird has made it a habit to sit on the hood of the family car.

“I feel like I’m going to miss her,” Richards said, despite the fact that the bird has scratched up her vehicle.

The guinea hen, who sports spotted plumage and a bald head, is being held at the Montclair Animal Shelter until its owner, resident Holly Hunter, can pick the bird up.

Kay Richards, left, and animal control officer Julie Hamer manage to get the guinea hen into a cage Tuesday morning. COURTESY MARCUS HOLMEYER

“She’ll [Henrietta] be happy, I’ll be happy … my car will be happy,” Richards said.

Henrietta, named by neighborhood children, was one of 17 guinea hens that Hunter temporarily started raising in Montclair this summer. In September Hunter was gathering up the flock to transport it to her farm in Rhode Island when Henrietta escaped.

It was only during the past few weeks that Hunter learned that the errant guinea hen was hanging out in Richards’ neighborhood. When the animal shelter’s initial efforts to catch Henrietta failed, Hunter and the organization set up a nesting area with food in front of Richards’ home, to try to coax the bird into that enclosure.

On Tuesday morning at about 11 a.m. Richards, who was baking a carrot cake for her new business, Homefed, spotted Henrietta on the hood of her car.

“I finally shooed her off with a broom, and then I circled her around the car,” Richards said. “I got her into the pen that animal control and Holly had made and cornered her in there, and then I called animal control. They came and then we were working together to try to get her into the cage, which we finally did.”

Richards said that she is no stranger to domestic fowl, and used to gather eggs from her family’s chickens in her native Jamaica.