Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The chickens return!

Chickens are back at La Chaise! There are four hens and a cock, two young black hens, a slightly larger cockerel and two red 'granny' hens to keep everyone in order. Also to lay eggs.

I don't know how long it is since we have had hens, perhaps not since the Millenium. The turn of the century threw down many trees making wonderful shelters for foxes. Whilst some eighty per cent of a fox's diet maybe earthworms (officially) no fox will refuse a chicken.

Anyway, let us be optimistic. These chickens have a small run, neatly fenced with tasteful green electric netting linked to a 12 volt battery that delivers one hell of a shock to anything coming in, over, or under.
And that includes (H)Aska who thought these might be new dog toys but was soon, forcefully, dissuaded.

Yes, the cockerel crows in the morning before he is let out and then intermittently for an hour or so. It is a very gentle but classic crow, nothing to disturb a hardened urban dweller. The hens burble to themselves, especially when returning to the roost at night. Such well brought up birds, from my friend Pattie who lives down the road and knows all about hens.

There are a lot of bushes in the hen run and as soon as a human, or (H)aska shows up, the hens disappear. This makes it very difficult to take pictures. The cockerel is certainly not into posing, not even when he crows. His ego is still a little bruised because one wing had to be clipped – as it did for the hens – so that he would not fly out over his tasteful green fencing.

A very fine cockerel indeed.

The entrance into the henhouse – for hens – is a sliding, drop down door which Alexandre has cunningly attached to a long rope and a pulley so that it can be let down without climbing over the fence. As Audrey so presciently pointed out: Doina ne va jamais enjamber cette cloture..' and she is so right.

No way am I going to put a leg over that there fence, even with the battery technically off, even though I am taller than Audrey. I have never become confident of the farmer technique of treading down the fence then putting a leg over. It is the thought of the amperage those 12 volts will produce.....

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