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My French life: chicks arrive chez nous!

my French life - Eaglet the confused cockerel
Eaglet the confused cockerel

We’ve been talking about bringing on some chicks for ages now and we hoped that Eaglet the confused cockerel would do his duty and some little chicks would hatch.

Alas, it is not to be, he is as confused as ever. When we first got the chickens, Eaglet would go into the nesting box every day and we thought she was laying an egg – at that point obviously we didn’t know that she was a he! He would even come to the door of the coop and make noises as the chickens do when they lay – I think they’re telling everyone how clever they are. Anyway, as I’ve said before, Eaglet started to look less like a baby eagle as he did when we got him, and more like an Amazonian chicken, we thought we’d done so well to rear such a big chicken from young and then when he started cock-a-doodle-doo-ing it became clear that she was a boy.

My French life - chicks in the shop coops
Chicks in the cages in the garden centre

He has not done his duty and we have no baby chicks or broody chickens so we bought some from the local garden centre. At this time of year you can buy chicks in rural France in lots of outlets for about a Euro a piece. We wanted chickens for eating rather than laying (well, HE did) and bought 10 little baby chickens which we think are a hybrid bird (my French language skills when it comes to explaining the finer points of chicken husbandry are a bit slim).

My French life - chicks
Someone is finding these little chicks irresistible!

We bought them home and they are in the old dog cage which we use as a chicken infirmary if one of the girls gets unwell.

My French life - chicks in cage
Chicks living in an old dog cage

They play, eat, drink and poo pretty much all day and all night and they’re living in the dining room which we only use in the warm weather and they’ll be in the garden by then I hope as they are a bit smelly! We were a bit worried about bringing up chicks, but it seems to be pretty easy – they need heat (we bought a lamp with 150watt red bulb), food, water, clean bedding (we use sawdust but they do seem to eat rather a lot of it!) and that’s pretty much it. We have to be a bit wary as the cats are really keen to get to know them – well ‘Enry Cooper and Loulou are – Winston, the unsociable cat is scared of the red light so won’t go near them.

So far so good with the chicks – I’m even thinking of getting some more!

A bientôt
Janine
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