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My French Life: Fowl Play in the chicken pen

I was working away this morning when I was rudely interrupted by the sound of chicken mayhem. There was squawking, screeching and all sorts of noise coming from the bottom of the garden. Normally life in my French village is tranquil and calm but not today.

I wandered off to have a look and it all seemed fine – there was no sign of any fighting or naughtiness. There was though, rather suspiciously – no sign of any ducks or chickens in the enclosure where they live together.  There are three enclosures in total – in one we have the older chickens (eight of them) and three ducks; in another enclosure Fred and Flo the two geese live on their own. We have tried putting them in with the other birds but they are very unfriendly and territorial and the only creature they tolerate is ‘Enry Cooper the cat who seems to be everyone’s favourite. Besides he takes no notice if he’s not wanted and just breaks down resistance with his persistence – kipping in the coops, lying next to the birds in a friendly and non-aggressive manner – eventually they all give in!

The third enclosure is the young chickens. We didn’t intend to have this many birds. The younger chickens were meant for the pot but we got cold feet and chickened out so they are now egg layers and pets.  They are the most affectionate of all the birds – they love to be picked up and stroked and follow me about like little dogs and coo to me when I’m in the pen. The geese were a “gift” from a neighbour – I mentioned I liked geese and he dragged me off to his garden to catch a couple whom we named Fred and Flo and then gave me a price!

The ducks arrived in May – well I say arrived, I mean I bought them. I was shopping in the local garden centre and there were just three little ducklings left in the glass case where they keep them and… irresistible basically (In the photo they are playing in Paper Paris!)

Back to the mayhem this morning.

There was a reason that there was no sign of chickens or ducks. I opened the chicken coop up and they were all crammed in, the chickens were in the nest boxes or at the back of the coop and Dicky, Belle and Rapunzel the ducks had come in behind them and were blocking the entrance – a bird brawl was in progress. Gimpy the brown chicken was making all the racket – she was very put out by this invasion of her privacy as she was trying to get an egg out!

Belle the duck emerges from the chicken coop

No one was willing to budge so Dicky and Rapunzel were lifted out and put in their side of the enclosure where their lovely duck house is! Belle can’t bear to be away from Dicky so she came waddling down the ramp on her own. The enclosure is split into two halves with a gate which is closed temporarily while everyone calms down – I think it’s enough eggcitement for one day!

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