Thursday, January 5, 2012



Ahhhh it was so good to see the sun shining today at the Shawhan farm! The temperature was a warm mid-40 degrees (I know those of you in Florida think that is cold, but us stuck in Ohio will take it any day!). It's nice to turn off the water heaters for once. All the animals enjoyed the weather today, as was evident with half a dozen chickens flying the coop to scratch around in the yard. I can't blame the ladies for wanting a change of scenery, but it's when they don't come back at night that I worry.

So begins the topic of this post. Once upon a time we had 10 black cluckies we would tuck into the coop every night. Occasionally, a white chicken would rebel and spend the night outside, only to been seen freaking out in the morning by the coop door, wishing her walk of shame would be over. It got to the point that if someone was missing at night we would shrug our shoulders and figure she'd show up in the morning. One night, not so long ago, a black chickie decided to do this. Since the animal chores both morning and night are becoming less exciting and we don't wait to do them together anymore, we sort of lost track who we saw what and when. Right now it is official that we are consistently missing a black hen every night. YES, we DO see black hens in the yard from time to time. YES, sometimes they get let back into the coop. YES, there are some nights we don't see the rouge black hen and she does not get put back into the coop. I really have no way of knowing if this phantom hen (I named her M.I.A. for Missing In Action) is still around or gone and lost forever.

Deep down I feel like she's still clucking somewhere. Case in point. I was in the barn the other day cleaning stalls when out from under the low mow, I see a black hen run out from under a big pile of wood and beams. A good place to hide, I told myself. I also counted 10 black hens today between the yard, coop and steer lot. But we all know my mathematical abilities, so maybe I'm off.  (In a way, it's like Sasquatch sightings!)

Since I don't care to put little foot tags on my girls, I've decided to give M.I.A. until the end of January to come back. I have a feeling if I pronounce her dead she'll show up with some chicks. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she's gone all broody on me and I'll be a grandma. Remember, it takes 21 days, and I know it hasn't been that long.

So February first I may be posting an obituary...but let us hope it's a birth announcement instead.


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