Spring-Chicken Fever

 

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Who knew that keeping chickens could take us to so many places?  We’ve driven down roads scarcely fit for a car in search of eggs and covered two départements buying our chickens over the past two years and it’s turned out to be a far more technical business than I realised. Along the way I’ve expanded my French vocabulary as we have dealt with species, sexes, ailments and treatments. All of this for the love of chickens, our own organic free range eggs and the excitement of newly-born chicks.  

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First let me take you back, briefly, to the end of 2014. We had always wanted chickens and this has particularly been a passion of Millie’s, so we promised her when we moved back to France she could have a couple of hens, just two – no more! In the autumn we traipsed off into the countryside after seeing a small advertisement in the paper and came home a little later with FOUR ginger hens (Roddy was bemused by our inability to count properly). A month later, we were already so enthralled that we thought we’d expand our flock; this time we went deep into the neighbouring département of Deux-Sèvres for three more feathered friends; a pair of Pekin bantam hens and a rooster. The rooster, whom we named Fritz, is a Frizzle Pekin bantam which basically means his feathers curl out away from his body making him look extremely scruffy all the time, a real ragamuffin sort of chap.

IMG_8749We’d always dreamed of walking down our garden to collect our eggs, and baking and cooking with them, and it came true.

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And we dreamed of chicks. Last summer, two of the hens went broody (this means they get quite obsessed with having chicks and lie in a nest for days on end, pining for something – anything) and the natural course of events was to let one of them sit on a clutch of eggs we collected from the previous few days. We waited with eager anticipation, counting down the 21 days of term, and when nothing happened  we patiently waited a couple more, just in case; still nothing. With some trepidation we cracked open one of the eggs, but there was no chick of any sort inside. Dismayed, we opened the others and the story was the same; they’d never been fertilised. We knew Fritz was doing his job as we had seen him at it; we all had, several times a day. Even Gigi had gathered what was going on and the excuse of “piggyback rides” tailed off as she worked out the facts of life with Hetty’s input. Admittedly Fritz could get a bit confused with the big hens as several times we saw him facing the wrong way round with his head next to their tail feathers, but with the little bantams he made no mistakes.

In the end though we decided to cheat a little and bought some fertilised eggs, Oeufs fécondés, from a breeder. We popped them under another bantam when it got broody and again waited 21 days. Triumphantly, and on the dot, eggs cracked, squeals of joy rang around the garden under the big plane trees and four little chicks hatched.

Nearly a year has been and gone since then. We have sadly lost a couple of chickens and we have got to know the chicken vet quite well. We’ve also bought a couple more hens; well, quite a few more, in fact, several different breeds now roam round the ‘chicken garden’, as we call it. There are some French Marans, a couple of Sussex and another Pekin bantam.

This year when spring came around Fritz was a year older, and the cries of “Let’s try again!” arose pleadingly from the children. Rosie, one of our original trio of bantams, was the first to go broody as winter slowly faded. We scurried around and put six little bantam eggs under her and moved her to the small coop for some peace and quiet. Yet again we waited 21 days, and yet again nothing happened. We weren’t too disappointed because somehow, deep down, I think we expected this. But we really did want some chicks, and in particular we wanted some new bantams. They seem to be a species that truly love their garden and they reward us with far more eggs than the book tells us they should. By chance our neighbour had recently bought some fertilised eggs and gave us the telephone number of a lady selling them. She was quite close by and one afternoon after school last month the girls and I set off to go and collect them.

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It was only a few kilometres away but once out into the country it’s easy to get lost. I had the address but the GPS didn’t recognise it, so instead we keyed in the village and thought we would find the house once we were there. Big Mistake!

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IMG_6810We took tiny roads and dirt tracks, but in reality we had no idea where we were or where we should have been going.

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IMG_8571The sign said Toutes Directions so we did as it said and turned left.

IMG_6809We stopped and took some lovely photos, and we found places we certainly never knew existed, but it was another 20 minutes before we found our destination. Alas, this is typical when driving in rural France, where in a lot of places even the sat-nav can’t help!

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As we stood in a stranger’s garden, watching her chickens and chatting, I was quietly amazed at the new words and phrases I had learnt in French. I could never have imagined that I would be having a conversation about fertilised eggs, broody hens and sterile roosters. The lady listened and sympathised and then suggested an explanation.

“Some breeders will sterilise their cockerels to preserve their own breeding lines” she said. We gasped at the thought – but it made sense, and she was quite sure this is exactly what had happened. However, while we could understand the process, it did annoy us that Fritz had been sold to us as part of a trio, two hens and one rooster, and we’d expected a rooster who would be able to perform his duties since we had even discussed having chicks with the vendor at the time. When we got home, clutching our four fertilised eggs, I decided to ring the person who had sold us Fritz; unsurprisingly his number no longer works!

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Anyway, we placed the four eggs under Amy, the latest broody bantam, and she too took up residence in the maternity home in the small coop; it was becoming quite a familiar routine. We waited the familiar 21 days. Around day 14 Millie candled the eggs one evening, another thing we have learnt to do; two looked good but two seemed unfortunately empty. This failed to dampen our spirits though and excitement once again built to a crescendo for our impending arrivals. The twenty first day fell on Mother’s Day in France this year, the 29th May, and triumphantly two little chicks hatched to much fanfare. At last we had two more tiny little Pekin bantams.IMG_8702

We have no idea what sex the chicks are yet, as it’s too early to tell. We’re hoping for either one of each, or two females;  what we don’t want are two roosters, so the odds are quite high in our favour but we shall have to wait and see. The lady had several types of bantams and her rooster was also a Frizzle, so this means we have a 50% chance the chicks will be Frizzle bantams, or rather ‘scruffy little beggars’ as Roddy so loves to call them!

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The same day, Roddy and Millie spent the entire afternoon making a new run for them; a moveable one that we placed inside the chicken garden so they can stay in it cat-free until they are big enough to no longer be a temptation. This does not stop Clara and Rory lying on the roof of the pen like leopards in a tree, and nor does it stop the entire flock from crowding around constantly, peering myopically through the mesh at the new arrivals. Several times we’ve quietly sneaked up to find them all asleep on the warm grass about the coop; it’s quite a soulful habit they have.

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The other hens are laying in abundance now that the warmer weather is here, and we are becoming overrun with eggs; on average we are collecting six a day. They come in all shapes and sizes, and in many different colours. Chuckles, one of the original four gingers,  always lays double yolkers. Amy’s bantam counterpart Katya lays tiny rugby-ball shaped white eggs. The two recently arrived Marans lay the really dark brown eggs and we have yet to work out who lays the speckled ones.

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Over time, Rosie and Katya have become more like household pets, and they frequently get brought up to the house. The girls, realising that they are not going to get a goat or a sheep or a pony in the garden, have tea parties with the chickens instead.

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To cap our spring-chicken season off, Fritz now spends much of his time walking around the outside of the new run, proudly ogling the little chicks, no doubt trying to see if they look like him. Little does he know they’re not his at all, but we won’t tell him and we’ll let him carry on having fun; he’s such a character and it would be a shame to spoil his opinion of his manhood!

70 thoughts on “Spring-Chicken Fever

    • Hi Anita, they do make rather good pets, once they are used to being handled they are terribly friendly. I walk down the garden with the entire flock following me, it is so funny and then I feel guilty if I haven’t got anything for them, so of course, I turn back to the house and go and fins some scraps from the fridge! Susan x

  • Oh how my heart loves to hear your stories. It also longs to come to see you and to see that part of France maybe next year.

    • Hi Judy, thank you so much. It would be great to meet you, this is such a lovely part of France and relatively unknown, I am sure you would love it here. Hopefully your plans and dreams will come true. Enjoy the rest of the week. Susan x

    • I love the frizzle feathers too, they fascinate me, as I had never seen them before. He always looks like he’s just walked through a hedgerow backwards! Poppy’s are everywhere here at the moment, we have had an unusually cool May and I think this has suited them and as a result they have lasted much longer rather than wilting in the sun. Susan x

  • Has the bird flu affected you? When we went on the Ferme en Ferme route last month, the chickens and ducks and other fowl were kept in caged yards to prevent them from mingling with wild birds, and there was no sale of any eggs or magret de canard, rillettes or the usual goodies. The bird flu has caused a shortage of confit de canard, and some restaurateurs are substituting imported chicken instead!
    Anyway, your birds are definitely free range 😉

    • Hi, no fortunately it has not affected us at all, nor any farms in this region. Although I did read about the three month ban on the production of foie gras for farms in the affected area, very very sad for those producers, but much further south than here. I remember the foot and mouth outbreaks when I lived in England and as a farmer’s daughter, I know just how terrifying any disease that spreads like this is. It affects everyone. The restrictions on movement, the disinfecting of everything, even car tyres, they were horrible times. Susan x

    • It’s funny how children get naming rights, ours do too! For some reason several are named after Millie’s friends and other from Pokemon characters! I have never seen a fox around here, but locals talk of them so we are always wary, the dreaded Mr Fox! Susan x

  • Oh, they are gorgeous. We are devoted to ours too – a bunch of random styles, but the names of the remaining are Gertie, Flo (a Polish boy), Rachel and Monica, Lola and Rocky (she’s my FAV). They are very more-ish and so much fun. Love the look of your Maran eggs too

    • They are indeed such fun, we love our chickens, I never realised how much there was to learn about keeping chickens! Love your names. Would love a Polish. We were so excited to get the dark brown eggs of the Maran hens, now we really want blue eggs. I never realised I would start to want different coloured eggs, or that the eggs would come in so many sizes! Susan x

  • Love the story of your birds! I want chickens so badly,fo — their characters, their eggs, and their feintes (chicken doo) for the garden. But I wonder who would watch them when we are away, and how we’d keep the foxes out. Also, we have a bird dog (a golden retriever)…so I guess that’s why we don’t have chickens. Lovely to see your and read your delightful story.

    • Hi Kristin, we had chickens on the farm when I was growing up and I took no notice of them! This is the first time I have ever had them in my adult life and now I wonder why we waited so long, they are so much fun, but also so many more things can go wrong than I realised, it’s been a very steep learning curve. We have wonderful neighbour’s, we look after their’s when they go away and vice versa so it works well for us both. As to the dog, well we learnt out lesson there and lost one thanks to one of our Jack Russell’s, so now they have their own space, fenced and secure. It’s huge and more like a paddock, and the dogs are happy and they are happy! It’s never a dull moment with chickens!!! Susan x

    • Hi Penny, if time is on one’s side, it is the very best place to get lost, so long as I have a camera and a full tank of diesel then it’s really rather fun. The worst part is when the car is low on diesel and then there isn’t a garage for miles and miles because we are in the middle of nowhere and the phone signal has also been lost, that’s when I start to panic! And quite often my car is low on diesel because I hate having to fill it up, it’s one of those jobs that I just find really tiresome, it’s a bit of family joke, my car is always running on fumes! Susan x

  • Fritz is gorgeous. I have never seen a rooster quite like him. My neighbours had to put all their chickens down due to the bird flu. They sound very sweet and I would love fresh eggs but having had a few as a child and not having much luck, they all died due to ill health (a lot) or eaten by foxes, I am rather hesitant.

    • Hi Nadia, I hadn’t seen one like him ever before either, in fact I had never heard of a Frizzle, nor had Roddy which is why he calls him such names! But I adore him, even if he is firing blanks! He is such a character. When a new hen arrives, he flirts with them outrageously, doing this funny sort of dance all around them and he’ll protect them from the other hens too. It has certainly been a very steep learning curve, I had no idea there was so much to keeping chickens, but if you think you might like them, do try, we’ve lost some due to illness too, we’ve had quite a few dramas actually, but the eggs are fantastic and they are great fun to watch. The bantams seem to be the toughest and hardiest of them all! Susan x

    • Hi Lily, yes we are! They are complete time wasters, I cannot tell you the amount of time we have spent just standing watching them already. They are so adorable and they grow so quickly. They were running around pecking at food within 24 hours of being born! Susan x

    • Thanks Lisa, they are all such characters and all quite different. I can see why people get so hooked on breeding and raising chickens and the eggs are a huge added bonus! Susan x

      • I have never thought about chickens much before to be honest. But having read this I will have a whole new respect for eggs when I buy them, this was quite an insight, thank you.

      • WE had chickens on the farm when I was growing up, I never took any notice of them, they were just always there, and we always had eggs! Sometimes my Father would complain that the hens weren’t laying much, but that’s as much thought as I ever gave them! It wasn’t until two years ago when we started keeping our own that I learnt so much, and we had to learn quite quickly, we had the help of some wonderful French friends who have taught us quite a lot and to whom we are very grateful! Susan x

  • I had no idea it could be so complicated keeping chickens, but it does sound as if you have had fun and the baby chicks are gorgeous and your photos of the countryside, I could go on! Loved the story, thank you.

    • Hi Jane, thank you so much. We had no idea either, it has been a very steep learning curve over the past couple of years and I am sure we still have a lot to learn, but it is very rewarding and a lot of fun and the eggs are delicious. Susan x

  • A chick for each of your youngest daughters, they look so at home in their hands! Any ideas for names yet? That was always the most entertaining part whenever someone in my family brought how a new pet.

    • Hi Helen, I daren’t let Hetty and Gigi see your comment, they might think they are their chicks and then war would break out amongst the siblings!!! The naming part is so much fun, it always causes much discussion. We haven’t chosen names yet, I think we were waiting to see if they are boys or girls, but I have heard a few ideas from the children, sometimes the names get more and more bizarre! Susan x

      • I can only imagine, we very nearly called a pet snake Radish once, god knows why! I most definitely don’t remember.

        Please keep us all updated with the name results, there is nothing more adorable than a newly named chick!

      • Hi Helen, I think Radish is such a great name, I love it, we might even call one of the chicks this, it has a certain ring to it, I just have to get it past the naming committee aka the children! Not sure I would like a pet snake though, snakes terrify me! Susan x

  • What a wonderful story. And I love your lost-in-the-countryside pictures.
    Your description of Fritz performing his amorous activities had me laughing out loud. Thank you for brightening my day.

    • Hi Emm, thank you. Fritz is hilarious and very protective of his girls, if he finds a worm he will call them and let them have it rather than eat it himself, we have all been amazed at how long we can just stand and watch the antics of chickens! I hope you have continued to have a good day with lots of smiles and laughs. Susan X

    • Hi Kim, I think he’s the cutest too. He is the first I have ever seen like him, he’s adorable which is why he absolutely has to stay, whether he performs properly or not, he’s such a character and he does love his girls! Susan x

    • Hi Toby, we all adore Fritz too, I think he is just gorgeous and so do the hens! I would love a couple more Frizzles, apparently we shall know in about three weeks time! Susan x

  • I’m not sure if they teach maths in France, Susan. I make that 10 chickens you have, not two. 🙂 I am glad you enjoy them. We don’t have chickens but we have friends who do and they are constantly playing games with crafty Mr Fox. I appreciate the odd box of eggs we get from them too, some of them are very hard to break !

    • Hi Phil, Actually we have 11 and two chicks! But you are right, we were meant to have 2, which immediately started as 4 instead and it’s just sort of grown from there, everything one ever reads says this will happen! Mr Fox has stayed well away from here to date, fingers crossed it remains this way, but I know people in the village who have lost hens due to foxes, so we are fairly vigilant. Susan X

  • I can sympathize entirely with your fowl quandary. A long time ago I used to keep fish, and it was extremely difficult to go shopping for filters and plants and not come home with at least one bag of water plus an occupant. A gloriously stylish tank I had with only two species complimenting each other degenerated over time into an Amazonian catchment basin with an eco-system of its own accord, including cleaners such as shrimps and some very expensive snails for keeping the glass clean, and a multicolored throng of fish that sent rainbows dancing across a white wall in the sunlight. In addition I had a holding tank, a quarantine tank and a sick-bay. I had volumes of books on every subject and an array of toys for cleaning, heating, mixing and filtering my small piece of south American rain forest. But I loved it. One day i shall go back and start again.

    Good luck with the chicks!

    • Hi Simon, wow that sounds really impressive and an awful lot of hard work. Roddy kept fish for a long time so I know how involved it can be although I don’t recall a quarantine tank or a sick bay! You should go back to it, quite obviously you loved keeping fish and watching them in an aquarium is so relaxing, I could stare at them for hours; rather like the chicks and chickens, all great time wasters! Susan x

  • First – the chicks are adorable. Fritz is incredible with his curled feathers! And the children, also incredible and adorable, must be SO excited. What a wonderful journey of all things chicken and egg.

    Next – you seem to have been as taken with that black door, stone, and orange flowers as I was. Fantastic. Thank you for all of this Spring excitement and beauty!

    • Thanks, we just drove straight past the barn with the bright orange poppies and I stopped, reversed and jumped out, definitely needed some photos! The poppies are everywhere at the moment, I think they are loving the slightly cool May we have had (we are not)! The chicks are a constant source of entertainment and growing so fast already! Susan x

      • I agree, “a wonderful journey of all things chicken and egg” I had never thought chickens much before, I just bought eggs from the grocery store, but this has really got to me. Who would guess I would be reading about chickens and enjoying it!!!

      • Lisa, I am thrilled you are so enjoying reading about our chickens, I thinks it’s fabulous! They are such an entertaining little flock, especially Fritz!

    • Thank you so much! The chicks are such time wasters, we just love them! And oh have we learnt a lot about chickens! I am a huge fan of your blog too, it always gives me such inspiration around the house and garden. Have a lovely weekend. Susan x

  • It sounds like we all love to read about your chickens (as well as your other animals and your children)! For many years of my childhood, we had a flock of bantams (after starting with three, two hens and a rooster named Napoleon, Josephine and…?) for which my brother and I were responsible. Those chickens gave our whole family so much joy and fun, and they taught my brother and me so many life lessons. They enhanced our family life, as the whole family began gardening together because we all loved to be outside with them. We had to take some rather inventive measures to protect them from local predators, and we too had a steep learning curve as to how to best protect them from the diseases that can afflict chickens. Although our hens laid many eggs and went broody many times, we never had any chicks. Maybe our roosters had been treated like Fritz. Congratulations on working your way around that problem and finding a productive solution; your chicks are beautiful! Have a great weekend, Leslie

    • Hi Leslie, how strange that you should have had the same thing too, I am guessing we will never know for sure. If one of these chicks is a rooster we will keep him and see if we have chicks next year! Love your names! I think any animals are fabulous for children, they teach them responsibility and also they do learn the hard way that life can be very cruel, our chickens give us so much pleasure but there have been many tears too. Hope you have a wonderful peaceful and happy weekend, Susan x

  • Oh what fun! My dad and step-mom raised chickens for many years, and I remember one drive we took with them over to the coast to buy chicks. There is nothing like a farm fresh egg! And the chickens themselves can have such distinct personalities. I love the “scruffy little beggars.”

    • Hi Susan, I quite agree there is nothing like ones own fresh eggs. It’s the first time in my adult life I have ever had chickens, we had them as children but I never took any notice of them, they were just a part of the farm! I had never realised what personalities they would be or what fun they would be, scruffy little beggars and all! Hope you have had a lovely weekend, Susan x

  • What a delightful chicken story. Your kids seem delighted with their pets. When we had a French student staying with us one summer, she begged us to buy brown eggs because the white ones freaked her out. Who knows, maybe we’ll have chickens when we move to France next year.
    Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

  • This is such a lovely post and proof that is is impossible to buy “Just 2 chickens!” Did you also know that if you let a broody sit for a couple of weeks you can then pop day old chicks under her and 90% of the time she accepts all of them? My post for this coming week on #AnimalTales is also poultry related. It must be the tIme of year!

    • Hi Rosie, It is impossible!!! It also proves that all those people who say “you will be hooked, you will double the size of your flock within months” are also quite right! I had heard that you can put day old chicks with a broody hen, funnily enough we were discussing that this evening. Can’t wait to read your post, it’s definitely a chicken time of year, our neighbour has just had 11 chicks hatch! Susan x

  • I’ve never kept chickens, although I do greatly appreciate the eggs we get from friends and neighbours who have them. Vastly superior to the shop-bought variety. Unfortunately, most of a friend’s hens were massacred by a fox recently and she is having to pen the remaining ones in.

    • Oh the dreaded fox. I know people in the village have had problems in the past, we try to be vigilant about shutting them in at dusk, and all we can do is that. As a child I remember a fox taking all of our chickens one night, after that my father kept 6 guinea fowl as well as the chickens, the guinea fowl would roost in the trees at night, the idea being that if a fox came near they would make a huge noise and scare him away, as far as I can remember it worked! Susan x

  • We inherited a chicken coop with our small house, and though I asked, my husband said we would not be opening a farm chez nous. Later on he said a goat might be nice, but it was all rather tongue-in-cheek. We’re too close to Paris to pull any of that off. 🙂

    • Our children want goats too, but they are so destructive that we have said no, they would ruin the garden! Chickens on the other hand are a delight, but far more involved than I realised. I’ve seen chickens in roof top gardens in London, so I am sure you could make use of your little coop! Hope the sun is finally shining with you, Susan x

  • Once again, another great post! I love that what started as “let’s buy just two chickens” has turned into you owning a family of chickens and baby chicks. It must be so fun and rewarding for you and the kids to watch them grow!

    • Thank you so much! I am even quite surprised myself at the way our little flock has grown! But they are so much fun and the chicks are growing so quickly, we currently think they are both Frizzled and that we have one male an one female, but of course it’s way too early to tell, I think it’s most likely wishful thinking!!! Hope you are enjoying this gorgeous weather. Susan x

  • Fritz is hysterical looking, what a cheek that he was sold to you sterile. I’m afraid we buck the trend in chicken owning, we had 3 for a year and loved the eggs but as they were fully free range we didn’t like what they did to the garden in fact they totally destroyed it and their favourite place to poo was under the table on the terrace where we eat! The way our garden is set up with the gite area and pool there really wasn’t a place big enough to pen them in without them being right by the gite which we didn’t think was fair on the guests, so it was fully free range or nothing. Amazingly we never lost any to foxes or disease and did enjoy their quirkiness but when it came to summer and letting out the whole house we decided they had to go…we gave them away to a local farmer. I miss the eggs but not the mess and stink on the terrace nor the ruined plants and mud baths all over the lawn!!! Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance I’m not sure how I missed this originally and it’s only as I’m preparing the next one for Thursday that I noticed I hadn’t read this, sorry!

    • Hi Phoebe, I know only too well about chickens free ranging. Ours did for the first 6 months, then we fenced the pool and terrace so they free ranged everywhere else, got fed up of chicken poo on the terrace! They were gorgeous but yes the plants suffered, even in 1.5 acres of garden, they still managed to trample, dig and make a general mess. Then after the demise of Constance thanks to Evie, we fenced in the chickens, it was the best thing we ever did. They still have plenty of space, in fact half an acre of chicken garden, complete with antique stone bird bath and 5oo year old trees. They are happy, I still mow it, it still looks like a garden. But, and this is the really good part, the fencing around the pool and terrace has gone and the plants are better than ever in the flowerbeds this year, no trampling underfoot from chickens!!! Susan x

  • Chickens are life changers for sure! There’s no such thing as ‘just one’ and our own flock has grown to a happy 65 over the last year and a half. And, of course, more coming! There is no end to the adventure and antics and cuteness they add to your life! Enjoy every moment of it!

    • Oh my goodness, 65! I daren’t show this to the children, they will want more and more! Actually we have just reserved two Lavender Aracauna’s for next spring, I love the idea of blue eggs to go with our collection of browns and white! I absolutely adore our hens. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Susan xx

  • Hi Susan,

    I have just stumbled across your blog, and I have to say it is really beautifully written. I love your stories, and your life! I would like to think I have the same values as you do, which is what makes me enjoy your stories so much! I love this story about the Chickens. I am a Scot who moved to Belgium 4 years ago. I recently married a Belgian and so will be staying! We have bought an old small farm to renovate, with the idea of doing a culinary school, gîte, vegetable patch and chickens!! Its a life change that is taking its time to happen, but will eventually become reality. My French is pretty good, but like everything when learning about new things (even in English) there are new terms I come across all the time. Would you have some top tips / key words to know for when I go to buy my chickens? That would be amazingly useful!

    • Hi Emma, great to hear from you and hope you will continue to follow along. What fun you are going to have with an old farmhouse, and your ideas, culinary school/gite/ vegetables/chickens, it is all so exciting. We have a gite here and I cannot tell you the pleasure I get out of it and meeting new people all the time, I love every second of it. As for chicken buying, I think it is really quite straight forward, we didn’t learn any special words, don’t worry! What breed(s) are you hoping to buy? You need to know how old they are and if they have started laying, but apart from that, not really. I love having chickens, it has been so much fun and also a very steep learning curve. If you have anything that concerns you in particular let me know and I will try and help. You can always email me, my email is on the side of the blog, would be very happy to chat and offer any advice I can with the gite and chickens, but I am far from an expert!!! Congratulations on your recent marriage xx

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