We have three chickens at Lou Messugo. I’m not sure why I haven’t written about them before as we’ve had them for nearly a year, but I haven’t so here goes. Meet Diana, Pic-Pic and Poppy! (L-R)
Don’t they have pretty tails? Here are their heads, popping over the lavender….
I’ll let you in on a secret; Diana (the white one) is acually Diana-2 as Diana-1 only lasted a week or so. Our neighbour’s dog, excited by the new arrivals, got into the garden and chased the chickens off. After searching for hours we found Pic-Pic and Poppy but there was no sign of Diana. The next morning there was evidence of her demise in the form of feathers. Since then – touch wood – we’ve had no losses, despite seeing Mr Fox regularly, other visits from neighbouring dogs and rampaging wild boar.
This is our first foray into keeping farm animals. We’ve not even had many family pets (nothing larger than a rabbit), so it was quite a new thing for us, but I have to say, they’ve been the easiest creatures to look after. Having said that, they are completely free-range, free to roam the whole 2000 m2 garden, and in doing so have destroyed an enormous amount of plants. And where do you think their favourite place to hang out is? On our terrace, looking in at the living room. And what’s the result of this being their favourite spot? Poo all over the terrace!
Here they are looking bedraggled and miserable, sheltering form the rain (above) and just plain cheeky (below).
Luckily their destructive habits and mucky poos are just about counter-balanced by their amusing characters and egg production. We get 19-20 eggs a week and have yet to have a period with less. We have eaten a great many omelettes this year! And probably made more cakes, quiches and meringues than in our pre-chook days. Guests in the gîte get some eggs in their welcome basket and can buy more if they want. This has been a very popular development.
The most surprising thing we’ve found about keeping hens has been their entertainment value. They are very amusing, often because they are so stupid (just look at the size of their heads, there’s not a lot of room for brain in there is there!) But also because of how they race across the garden to greet us, how they follow JF everywhere, how they stand in the flowerpots, how they jump to catch flies, how they stretch to steal the feed we put out for wild birds….
JF isn’t a big user of social media, but he does have 3 loyal followers!
Pic-Pic and Poppy are friendlier than Diana.
The cheeky chooks sometimes sneak inside the house and we often catch them red-handed eating the flowers.
And just in case you’re wondering, “chook” is Australian for chicken! You knew that though, didn’t you? Do you have hens? Would you like to keep poultry?
UPDATE 2018 We no longer have chooks at Lou Messugo! Owing to the fact that we rent out the whole house every summer it just got too complicated.