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Mum to wild chicken chicks

The Seven Valleys area in northern France is a little corner of Paradise. It’s not very well known to tourists though it deserves to be because the countryside is lush and beautiful and there are picturesque, historic towns and some wonderful restaurants. It’s unspoiled, authentic rural France at its best.

It’s a region that’s peppered with tiny villages like mine where people grow veg and keep chickens and ducks as a daily way of life. Sometime the chickens escape. They live wild in the fields and in abandoned barns and somehow manage to thrive.

This week, out walking the dogs, my other half came across two tiny just hatched chickens cheeping frantically next to their mum who had been run over. Close by, the shells they’d vacated were still sticky. He bought them home in his pocket, cheeping all the way (the birds not him).

We put them in a little bird cage in the house, fed them and dashed to the local store for some chick food. Within hours they’d figured out how to eat, drink and climb the cage. I’ve clearly now become their mum and they know my voice well. When I go into the room they’ll make a racket and race around the cage, then when I feed and water them they go quiet and just stare at me. They even seem to like it when I pick them up (yes that’s me with my newbies in the picture!).

I don’t often have baby chickens around on account of the fact that my own chickens are far too lazy to sit on an egg, and far too greedy to not get off and search for food constantly.

I do though have several ducks nesting, not something I wanted since I already have loads of ducks. I can’t possibly eat all the eggs and I give them away to anyone who wants them. I’ve tried to stop the ducks sitting on their eggs but their urge is strong and they outwit me by hiding and by the time I find them, it’s too late, the eggs are warm and clearly on the way so I have to just let them be.

I also have all four of my geese nesting. This has never happened before. Both girls are sitting together on a pile of eggs. Both boys are also sitting together on another pile of eggs in a different location. I wonder if they’re having a contest. The other half is horrified, between them there are more than 50 eggs – what if they all hatch? Eek!

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