Friday, May 22, 2015

Phi Alpha Cluck


  As I have mentioned before, this year has been smooth sailing as far as our chickens accepting the fact that we have gotten new chicks. In years past, there were either threats of egg laying strikes, or the strikes actually happened. This has to be the first year in Shawhan farm recorded history that the presence of a new flock is not affecting the old one!

  I was really beginning to wonder what got into the chickens when one day I spotted a delinquent hen out of the coop and who was out mingling with several newbies, who had somehow escaped their own confinement. Thankfully I was able to stop myself before the urge to run up to the older hen and scold her for showing the young ones bad habits, because I was able to overhear what she was telling them.

  Yes, she was explaining how a chicken can escape the many fences and gates that cage her in and where the best egg hiding places around the barn can be found. But she was also explaining to them rules of some kind.

 Rules? I asked myself. I was slightly confused because most of what I overheard was how to break the rules.

  As it turned out, these "rules" involved organized activity...thankfully not the gang/mob kind...but more like the rules a woman would follow in a society of women. Or in our case, hens. Yes, people, a sorority exists on our farm! After a lot of spying and peeping through the barn cracks and sneaking out late at night, I discovered the sorority is called Phi Alpha Cluck, and that the Shawhan farm chapter is one of twenty in the surrounding Highland County area.
  So we have a designated "house hen" who takes it upon herself to escape Cooptown everyday and prep the rushes who will be accepted into the order of laying hens next month when we intergrade the new chickens into the existing flock. 

  I'm tempted to speed up the process because the rush weeks have been pure H.E. Double Hockey Stick around here, especially at night. In my opinion, the severity of the hazing with Phi Alpha Cluck is a bit too dangerous, as it includes the rushes being out exposed at nighttime. The rushes have been forced to run multiple times across the road, eat potato peelings despite the numerous health risks, and the chanting is enough to drive a person nuts! I have lost hours upon hours of sleep (Dan and Carl have never seemed to notice, but I'm a light sleeper). Even the Amish down the road have been complaining.
  I'm not sure how much more of this I can take!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

'Mother of The Year Award' Goes To...


To all of the wonderful mothers out there (human, chicken, dog, cat, etc. etc.etc....)
From all of us here on the Shawhan Farm!
  My amazing chickens informed me the other day that they have developed a new award. It's the 'Mother of the Year Award' and my heart broke when they presented me with the poop covered envelope stuffed with feathers saying that I was this year's recipient of this prestigious honor.
 In the beginning was I very humbled, but then it dawned on me that it was a joke. The girls were getting back at me in a sarcastic way. I believe I know why...
  A few weeks ago Carl and I were visiting the chicks in their temporary set-up. I wasn't 100% sure how he was going to interact with the young birds, but he quickly quelled my curiosity by running around the pen, chasing the little birds until they were dizzy and nearly catching a few.
 I'm happy to know my child has no fear of our chickens, both young and old, and so I settled back in the corner of the make-shift pen and proceeded to crack up laughing while snapping pictures of my son tormenting the chicks. For a solid 15 to 20 minutes, Carl chased the young flock around and around the brooder. His excited squeals were mixed with the frightened squawks of the birds, and then I would laugh even harder. He stopped only to see if my phone camera was turned around to the selfie mode so he could see his own face on the screen.
  Several thoughts entered my mind during this time: 1.) These little birds would remember this and refuse to lay us any eggs in the future (one Mother of the Year nomination nod). 2.)  My kid is playing in basically a chicken coop and it can't be the most sanitary environment for his little developing body (another nomination nod.) and 3.) I wonder if I could use this tactic as a babysitting opportunity (the last nomination nod).
 When I realized the passive aggressive nature of this "award" I threw the soiled envelope away and decided not to even acknowledge it with the flock. We have exchanged very few words ever since, but I'm still getting a decent amount of eggs every day, so I'm letting the whole incident slide. On a plus note, it seems like this flock of newbies is being accepted much more easily than those of the past.
 I took a lot of pictures that day, but sadly they still came out fuzzy.