Shantal brought her love of birds and animals to the Taos area in late 2007. She moved to the Cottonwood Inn with her two long-time companions Eva and Winston.
Both were rescued from a big city dog pound in 2001. The Cottonwood offered more open space than Shantal was used to dealing with so one of her first efforts was to redo both of the existing chicken coops in anticipation of getting some layer chickens. As soon as the snow was gone, the back coop had a new fence and a cleaned and repaired house. The front coop got an extension on the old goat house fence, a thorough cleaning, and all the surroundings that would keep chickens happy. The first batch of 15 chickens arrived from a breeder in April of 2008 and Shantal has not slowed down since. Winston and Eva went through chicken boot camp and learned to love their new housemates. Tragedy struck in June when a neighbor's dog got into the pen and killed several chicks. Shantal persevered by strengthening the coop and fences in order to protect her pets.
The second batch of chicks came from a different breeder in August of the same year.
Shantal's menagerie was beginning to gain the notice of passersby. Early in 2009, Shantal got a call from a woman who was tired of feeding her nine chickens. The first of the rescued chickens arrived at the Cottonwood. These nine were quickly followed by a rescue peacock and peahen with 3 chick mates, then three turkeys, then two ducks and then six geese. Shantal was now known as the goto person for unwanted birds.
Birds were only the beginning. Life at the Cottonwood changed forever with the arrival of two flock protectors in the form of Sparky and Schmoo. These Great Pyrenees mixes were rescued from a peacock farm in Kansas. For those who are unfamiliar with the Great Pyrenees breed, these dogs grow to a fearsome 150 pounds of protective energy. They are very gentle with visitors and farm animals. The chickens love to pick and squawk at the dogs. The guard dogs either take the abuse quietly or else just move to a new spot on the farm.
Rescue took a new direction when local llama trekker, Stuart Wilde, asked us to help him with some of his rescue llama herd. Elvis is the result. He is fairly shy but curious. He will not approach people that are not holding food in their hands but he is never far away when folks are around. Llamas make great protection animals who will chase off coyotes and , we hope, any stray dogs that might try to break into the farm. Elvis is best friends with the two Emus, Thing One and Thing Two (yes, more rescue birds).
The new barn, in addition to having the workshop for the inn, acts as housing for half of the chickens, half of the ducks and one of the geese along with several of the dogs. Shantal has been threatening to get several barn cats from the Stray Hearts animal rescue group in Taos.
Wiccus the flirtatious turkey was the runt of the turkey flock who was picked on by all of the other turkeys when he was rescued by Shantal. He is now one of the most popular animals on the property. Wiccus loves women, spends his day preening for the guests and acts more like a shy dog than a turkey. Two starving turkeys and four ducks that were not wanted after a 4H project fill out the managerie for now.
Close-up of Winston
Eva meets Maude
Guard dog being harassed by the Bwockarooster
Elvis the llama checking out the Emus
Elvis the llama
Winston and Daphne
Shantal gets help feeding the birds
Schmoo and Sparky the filthy mutts
Babette and Mimi at about 3 weeks
How Eva sees the coop
Winston and Mimi
Chicks on arrival August 18, 2008
Eva and Buffy
Daphne up close and personal
Van Duck with his goose friend Brigette
Ducklings heading out for a swim
Bernard the boss
Brigette the Goose raising Dinkie the Duckling
Daphne, Shantal, and Winston
Brantly with a sleeping Daphne
Rescue chickens hanging out with the dogs
Schmoo leading Sparky astray at 10 weeks
Bernice is really Bernard
Shantal and Ms. Squawkers
Winston goes rabbit hunting at the Cottonwood b and b
Brantly points out some important
facts to Babette