Thursday, February 28, 2013

Preparing For Baby


Life has been busy here on the Shawhan farm...and it's only February! Hopefully with the mink crisis behind us and revenge still sweet in our mouths, we can all relax a little bit and focus on the positive things we've been given, and all the blessings to come. I can't think of a better way than babies!!!

Let's not all jump the gun...there is plenty of excitement for Baby Shawhan, but thankfully I don't have to wait until June to get excited for the pitter patter of little feet running around!

In about a week, Dan and I will be the proud parents, once again, of several baby chicks! I LOVE spring time and "chick days"...absolutely LOVE it! The fluffiness, the chirps, the fact that you can pick them up, that classic yellow little chick that is the face of Easter...

I also love what chicks symbolize. To me they are the face of new beginnings and a resurgence of hope; the reinforcements that will one day fill in the gaps of your battle-weary flock. They mean that winter is on it's way outta here and spring is just around the corner. Today you will bring them home in a box and pretty soon it's tomorrow and you are gathering their eggs.

Like any parent, we have been preparing for their arrival. Last weekend, Dan cleaned out the brooder and made a supply inventory. (All we'll need is some starter feed and a couple of heat lamp bulbs.) I washed all the waterers and chick feeders with hot water and Dawn.

All that's left to do is putting down some newspaper Flock 3! (The fun part!)

This year I feel much more relaxed about our pending babies. After all, we've been through it before. We know the set up and routine. (I just wish I felt this relaxed about Baby Shawhan!) It's a nice feeling to be this year, so far, seems so much easier since we already have everything we need.

Preparations are underway for Baby Shawhan as well! (A look into the work that's been done on the nursery:)

P.S. I will not be posting Sunday or Thursday!

                                                                                                 ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Squirt


A few weeks ago we introduced to you The Whopper. For this post, I have someone else for you, dear readers, to meet.

Not long ago, Dan come in the house after gathering the days' eggs. He was all excited and wanting to show me something in the carton. I got excited too, thinking we had something even bigger than The Whopper!

My jaw hit the floor when he took out the egg pictured above. (You can't really judge the size of this egg too great from the photo.) I started laughing out loud, thinking a bird flew into the coop and laid an egg in the nest box.

"Are you serious!?" I asked. "Is that from a bird!"

Folks, this egg is smaller than a pullet egg! It's not that much bigger than a robin's egg!

I introduce to you, "The Squirt."

This may show a better compariosn. In this next photo, The Squirt is pictured next to The Whopper (yes, we still have The's good for another 5 months):

Here, The Squirt is pictured in the middle of The Whopper (left) and a regular old joe I pulled from a carton (right):

Several questions are still unanswered about the orgins of The Squirt. For example, who laid this thing? A regular bird? A chicken coming out of time off laying? Was the chicken stressed at this point in her life? Had she already laid a normal sized egg and just hadn't "got it all out"...a remenant of whatever was left in her vent cavity? Is someone playing a joke on us?

Wherever it come from, I'm definately keeping it! Just like I've kept The Whopper. I plan to drain both of the eggs one day, but I want to perserve these shells. They amuse me...just like my birds.

                                                                                         ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chicken Murderer Gunned Down at Last!!

Chicken Murderer Caught After Year Long Hunt!
Mink Shot While Trying to Run From Authorities!
Written By Jack Kelly of The Manhattan World
Midday Monday, a year long mink hunt came to an end in a deadly shoot and run. Mr. Mink, who had been charged with over seven chicken murders, is officially dead. According to authorities, Mr. Mink was shot to death as he was fleeing from the crime scene and running from police.
"I had went back outside after eating lunch, and as I approached the steer lot, I saw him slinking around just outside the fence." Explains the heroic Dan Shawhan, who brought so much justice to his chickens and family. "My heart started pounding as I turned and ran back to the house to grab my gun." Shawhan was originally going to go back to his duties of attending to the corn supply in the steer lot. The tractor was parked just outside the fence with the feed grinder. As Shawhan approached, he spotted the criminal.
"With my gun in hand, I snuck up behind him and got close enough to shot. He was heading away from the chicken coop and towards the tree line. I guess he came back around to try and get an easy meal. Once he realized the chickens were pinned in, I guess he gave up and was heading back to wherever he came from. I shot him and he ran...which wasn't very fast, but at one point he stopped and turned to look at me." 
A deadly mistake for Mr. Mink. At this point, Shawhan was able to rip off at least half a dozen shots, felling the murderous villain. Mr. Mink was brought down with a .22.
After giving his wife the thumbs up sign, Shawhan brought the body back to an ecstatic Chicken Lady. Residents on the Shawhan farm were immediately celebrating.
Mr. Mink's body was stored in an old grill until his public post-mortem execution, which took place Wednesday evening in a private ceremony.  Only those affected by his horrendous crimes were invited. This ceremony was held to make an example of what will happen if you come to the Shawhan farm and attack chickens. 
Those witnesses who were interviewed gave their accounts of the ceremony...
The Editor of this paper would not allow such details to be printed. However, one word seemed to be recurring  amongst all the eyewitness accounts: Hamburger.
This tragedy turned victory comes in the midst of a heated gun debate that is roaring across the United States faster than a Christmas tree set on fire. Thanks to Shawhan's Second Amendment right to bear arms, he was able to protect his family...and that includes the feathered members.
It also sparks debate as to allow a chicken the right to carry a concealed weapon. Chicken Hawk Shawhan A.K.A. "Zazu", told this reporter: "I mean, what if Dan hadn't been around? That creep would still be out there running around free. Even worse, if we had been out there and Dan wasn't home, one of us would be dead! I say let Prissy have a weapon so that if Dan isn't here, she can take out the attacker!" Several other members of the flock agreed.
Even though Mr. Mink is dead, members of the Shawhan flock still fear for their safety. They will continue to be allowed access outdoors under strict security restrictions. Authorities have no way of knowing at this time if a mink terrorist cell is in the vicinity of the Shawhan farm or if Mr. Mink worked alone.
In other news, the Highland County Weasel Coalition (HCWC) is seeking out legal help in drawing up a lawsuit against Shawhan and his wife. The HCWC says they were slandered under false evidence and accusations over a 12-month period of time, enticing hate crimes, threats and unable to obtain employment. It is unknown at this time if such a case would go to court or not.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Traumatized Chicken Pleads Case to Concealed Carry Rights

Traumatized Chicken Pleads Case to Concealed Carry Rights
Written By Jack Kelly of the Manhattan World
 Farmer Dan Shawhan and his wife, Rebecca, are no strangers to murder cases on their farm. They were victims several times last winter of felon and convicted murder, Mr. Mink. So far, this winter has not been much different.
"Luckily he hasn't gotten as many chickens this year as last year." Shawhan reports. "We have been able to correctly identify who was coming in and killing our chickens and we have been able to make appropriate adjustments."
One such adjustment Shawhan made was keeping his flock confined to their coop day and night. After several weeks since the last attack and with nicer weather, Shawhan and his wife agreed it might be safe enough to let their chickens outside again. They were right, but not for long.
"On Friday he came back. Unfortunately, he got one of our Golden Comets. The chickens will be locked in again and hopefully we can trap him and kill him this time."
Police report that security measures have been in place in Kennel Bar for several weeks, but after Friday's murder, efforts have been revamped. These include longer hours the trap is open and using the recently deceased as mink bait.
Shawhan reported to authorities this morning that his trap had in fact caught something. Though it was not the intended Mr. Mink, Shawhan made a successful citizen's arrest for Mr. Raccoon Puffball, who had warrants out for his arrest of stealing crops. "We are just glad the trap is working. Now all we need to get the right culprit." Shawhan stated.
Friday evening, Shawhan reported having to rescue one of his birds from the trauma of Mr. Mink's recent attack. Ms. Prissy Cluck Cluck was reported to have been badly shaken from the attack, even though she sustained no injuries. Shawhan had to go out into the steer lot and coax her back inside the safety of the coop.
This morning we were able to speak with Ms. Cluck Cluck.
"I have lived though attack after attack! There's only so much a chicken can take."
Ms. Cluck Cluck asked Shawhan if he would sign her up for the next concealed carry class.
"I don't see why I wouldn't be allowed to get one." Cluck Cluck stated. "It is my an American chicken citizen. I also I want to be able to defend myself. I am tired of feeling like a victim." Cluck Cluck also described all the places she feels a chicken could successfully carry a concealed weapon.
Police are in agreement with Cluck Cluck's request to obtain a CCW permit. It would allow her to possibly take out Mr. Mink in a more accurate way than hoping he walks into a trap.
Shawhan however is skeptical of Cluck Cluck's ability to conceal and carry. He also questions her sanity in possessing a deadly weapon.
"I will take this to the next level if I have to." Cluck Cluck stated. "I will not rest until I feel safe and that I know for certain I am safe. If Dan Shawhan and his wife can't protect me properly, you better believe I will take it into my own hands to ensure my safety."
Cluck Cluck is starting a membership rally for other chickens and fowl who are also interested in obtaining a CCW permit. Her first meeting will be held on Monday, March 4th at 7:00 P.M. on the Shawhan farm.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!


Everyone here on the Shawhan farm would like to wish all a Happy Valentines Day!

This post isn't really about chickens, however, I have to say that The Chicken Lady would not exist without her Chicken Man, Dan. This poultry adventure would only be a glimmer in my eye if it weren't for him. I would never say that I could do this alone.

Dan was just as eager for chickens as I was two years ago, when the craziness began. He is the one who sets up all the brooders for the chicks and adjusts the heat lamps to just the right angle for the multi-colored cotton fluffs we bring home. He is the one who sets up any part of the kennel we need; builds the coop; makes any repairs or building adjustments.  He grinds their feed, adding all right measurements of each ingredient, then hulls the heavy bags home and dumps them in the feeder.

For the past few months, he is the on who cleans the coop; collects the eggs (most nights), makes sure the cluckies are closed in safe for the night and let out happily in the morning; lifts the heavy waterer from the spickett and back into the coop.

Most importantly, he shares with me the excitement of the chickens from buying them to ogling over how may eggs we get a day to their unique shapes and sizes. He is also the shoulder I cry on when they die from minks or speeding cars.

I could not do this without him.

Love you Dan!

                                                                                         ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Chickies Have Been Sprung!


We have some VERY happy chickens here on the Shawhan farm! Yes, you read it right, the chickens have been released from their two month confinement. The flock enjoyed more room to run around on Saturday afternoon since Dan was nearby to scout for any danger.The weather has just been too nice some of the past few days to deny them access to the outdoors.

Dan reported that as soon as he opened the door, a flood of feathers rushed into Kennel Bar. (I remember we kept them cooped up some last winter and they acted like they didn't know what to do once we let them back out...obviously that wasn't the case this time!) We hoped to avoid any causalities from Mr. Mink if Dan could be home and keep an eye on things. Plus we hope that with warmer weather, Mr. Mink has gone back to his swampy home hundreds of feet away from the chickens. (That is our thought and theory anyway since we haven't had attacks during warmer months.)

That isn't to say something still couldn't happen. I was a little nervous leaving the chickens out today since none was I have yet to shot the trusty .22 should something happen on my watch. But today, at least, all cluckies were present and accounted for!

Chicken Hawk was still very depressed, singing the coconut song and answering to nothing except "Zazu". The Golden Comets all cornered me the other day and said they had been studying civil rights and were going to go on hunger strikes if they didn't get let out. Prissy informed me she was officially on strike and was carrying a sign trying to get others to join her picket line...I looked on with horror as several other hens joined her. They told me they would kill any scabs that crossed the line. I think the only happy bird in the whole coop was Cad-Buddy since his ladies were easily accessible. He also said his life's aspirations were to become a rapper. (Lil' Buddy is what he wants his name changed to.)

I think we will keep them cooped up (much to their disliking) when the weather gets cold and let them out on nice days. Still have the trap set. Keeping our fingers crossed. Maybe with letting them back out it will draw Mr. Mink back and in our traps!

                                                                                                        ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Few Chickie Facts


I have been in a huge creative lull this year and I feel really bad about it. Some nights I struggle with what to write about. It has been harder recently since the chickens have been locked up for awhile now and the flock hasn't had the opportunity to get into any trouble.

I did find out this evening that another chicken owner keeps his chickens locked in all the time as well except for when he's at home/outside.

Since I've been struggling creatively, I REALLY grasped at straws for tonight's really went there. I Googled "chickens" and the topic of interesting facts came up. So did PETA's website. I don't think I have to clarify my views on what PETA stands for and "animal rights". If anyone has read this blog for any period of time, then you already know. But I figured reading some of their information and viewpoints would give me ideas on what to write about...LOL.

They had "10 Surprising Facts About Chickens"...but Spoiler Alert! some of the "facts" are not surprising at all.

(Cue my sarcasm here:)

1.) A chicken can distinguish at least 100 different faces of its kind.

2.) Chickens have a "pecking order"...Um, duh, pretty much ANY ANIMAL, even humans, have a pecking order....why PETA thinks this is surprising is beyond me.

3.) Chickens have full color vision.

4.) Chickens like I'm not sure about this one. Chickens like dust baths, but its apparent that PETA hasn't seen chickens on hot days...they stay indoors when it's too hot, and I've never seen one of my birds laying out on a beach towel. I also think it's safe to say that PETA thinks its cruel to keep any animal, I highly doubt it's members are chicken keepers...because PETA doesn't believe that chickens should provide us with eggs.

5.) Chickens must be able to dream (like us) because they experience REM sleep.

6.) Chickens have pain receptors. Yeah...what creature on this planet doesn't? Because I'd like to meet it.

7.) Chickens defend their young....really? Again, what creature doesn't? Besides sharks...

8.) Chickens have more than 30 types of vocalizations.
9.) Supposedly, PETA has discovered that mother hens "talk" to their babies while still in their wombs. I guess they asked a hen this and she told them.

10.) Why this last one made a list titled: "10 Surprising Facts About Chickens" I'll never it is...are you all ready? Chickens are cute.

HAHA! Really?! I can't argue with that, but come on! It's not surprising! Bert and Ernie were cute as little Beefy Boys, but that doesn't stop me from eating one!

Again, I want to clarify, I am totally against animal abuse and cruelty. However, I feel a lot of uneducated people, who have never been on a farm, assume they know everything there is about animals, especially livestock. These people have never taken an animal science class or talked with a professional in the field.

It's very scary to know that a lot of the ag world is controlled by people who live in the city and don't what they are talking about.

So that is my rant. I am thankful for the inspiration to write tonight!

                                                                                           ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

P.S. I just had a thought: Let's pretend that we all stopped eating and caging animals. They are able to roam freely all over the world, breeding on their own, grazing on their own, no fences or anything. How do you suppose we will be able to grow enough food to feed this massive population that isn't allowed to eat meat anymore, or even any animal by-product? Do you think it would work?

10 Surprising Facts About Chickens. 7 Feb. 2013. <htpp://>.

Monday, February 4, 2013

I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts...


I'm really beginning to feel bad for my cluckies. Tonight, as I trudged down to the barn in the newly falling snow, I heard someone singing from inside the barn. It was a male voice, all depressed and forlorn sounding:

"I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts,
There they are standing in a row.
Big ones small ones,
Some as big as your head..."
Upon opening the door and stepping inside, I saw Chicken Hawk slumped against the door of Cooptown, his wing hanging outside the wire doors and keeping time to his song.
"What are doing?" I asked.
Without even looking up at me he sighed and said,"I have a favor to ask you."
"OK..." I replied. "What is it? You know I can't let you out yet, right?"
"Yes, I know," Chicken Hawk said. "Because of that, I would like for you to call me Zazu from now on."
I snickered. What a nerd, I thought. "Why do you want to be called Zazu?" I asked, trying not to laugh and embarrass him.
"Because that is who I feel like right now. You know...I'm all trapped inside this cage for days on end. No freedom anymore. Cad-Buddy doesn't share the ladies. I'm familiar with The Lion King. I saw it recently and I really identified with his character."
"I see...well there really isn't anything we can do right now. It's very dangerous outside the coop."
Chicken Hawk...I mean Zazu...nodded and looked down at the ground.
I started to feel really bad. "I'm sorry..." He didn't respond. I started to debate if I could get an anti-depressant for my bird, then stopped myself and started to walk away. I had stalls to clean.
Suddenly, from behind, I heard a female voice shout: "CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT!?!?!"
Startled out of my wits, I stumbled back and fell into the bale of hay, heart pounding in my chest.
Prissy was puffed out and strutting around the coop. I looked up to see Cad-Buddy perched on top of the roost, all the other hens on the floor bowing down to him calling him the great and powerful Mufasa. Prissy had walked over to the door and was poking Chicken Hawk, A.K.A. Zazu, telling him to call her Princess Nala.
What's going on?! My chickens have officially flown the coop! They are NUTS!
I got up and ran out of the barn into the still falling snow. I turned the corner of barn and saw Jimmy and Charlie out in the pasture, raised on their hind feet, teeth barred against one another, snow swirling around them, their manes whipping around in the wind and snow.
"I want to me Simba!" Charlie was yelling.
"NO, I'M SIMBA! You have to be Scar!" Jimmy was screaming back.
Oh animals have officially lost it! Or maybe I have finally flown the coop and gone cuckoo! I don't know anymore. We need sunshine, we need warmth, we need GRASS! We need a safe environment where our chickens can get outside and not go psycho on us from being trapped inside a cage for days on end.
I finally gave up and went back to the house, my evening chores left undone. Behind me, the depressed and sick mind of a rooster who has hit rock bottom:
"That's what the show man said,
Now that I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts,
Everybody knows they'll make me rich.
There stands me wife,
The idle of me life..."
                                                                                          ...cluck... cluck... cluck...