A Wise Old Bird

 

P6070941Quietly I watch, I never say a word, for I cannot talk; but I take it all in. The comings and goings and all the changes – I’ve seen them all. For I’m Chuckles, and incredibly I’m the longest-standing two-legged member of the family here, and although I cannot talk, I can tell you a great many stories. I can type though, of course – you may have noticed that!

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Here’s a quick run-down of my story; three years ago I was one of the original four who began the family’s quest to keep hens, and we were four ginger girls, so popular that within a month another two girls and a boy were added to our numbers and, well, the rest is history.

Sadly, my three ginger friends have all now departed this world, but I’m a tough old bird;

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I simply nod my head sagely and keep on going, even if I nearly joined them last year. All last summer I had a cough, and I after losing a few feathers on my chest, for no apparent reason, I looked a frightful mess. I could never get back to rights, no matter what horrid stuff the human creatures put down my throat and I even heard the odd discussion about putting me out of my misery – I can guess what that means. I’ve seen the big person who wears the hat go for a long walk with one of us who was injured before, and guess what, she never came back!  Anyway, whenever I heard mutterings like that I’d stand up tall and do my best to smile and pretend everything was just dandy.

It didn’t help that the muttering continued for weeks but in the end everyone seemed to think I was happy and truly I was; I was just feeling a little off-colour. Eventually I took matters into my own hands and stopped laying eggs and concentrated on getting fully fit again. I spent all winter taking it easy, gaining strength and growing back all of my feathers and now with the warm spring weather I can honestly say I am back in tip top form. My health is restored, my feathers look perfect, my comb is bright red and stands proud, and I am back to laying my big pale brown double-yolk eggs three or four times a week. To be honest, I’ve lost a bunch of weight too and feel as if I could run from here to Rochefort, and back.

In the three years I’ve been here I’ve seen several new arrivals in the coop, and sadly a few departures too. Rosie is my oldest friend, she’s been here nearly as long as I have, and although she’s small and dark brown, I’ve noticed recently she’s started to grow a few grey feathers, a gentle dusting of age all over her body and especially around her face. I’m sure that under her plumage the wrinkles are starting to show, too, she’s definitely showing her age a little.

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Of course I pride myself on my perfect colouring and complexion and think I’m looking much better. I’ve kept my vibrant ginger tones, and I’m meticulous about my beauty routine. I take my dust bath regularly and most seriously, I’m constantly preening and, even if I say so myself, I look good.

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The household is a mix of big girls and small bantams, and although we have our ups and downs, in general we all rub along just fine. To name just a few, there’s Eglantine (she’s from Sussex, apparently – wherever that is. It might be north of La Rochelle, I think, my geography isn’t up to much!) and then there’s a very aristocratic grey hen called Ava, who keeps to herself much of the time.

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Galaxy and Nebula are Marans and lay very dark brown eggs, it irks me a little that just because of the colour of the shell these eggs get as much attention and praise as mine. Really? think about it, I give them two for one, double yolks all the time and they smile and are happy. These two lay very dark eggs with shells like polished conkers and they have everyone making those ridiculous appreciative noises, never mind that the contents are just one single yolk the same as all the others!

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The little women include a dowdy sandy coloured girl called Katya who’s currently ensconced on a hatch of eggs, Amy with an exceptionally flouncy white derrière,

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Hermione who is just a year old and into dancing and screaming, and our little man Sirius. He’s such a bossy boots and tries the most awful tricks. I fear I have to teach him who’s really the boss now and again when he comes round with his little stepladder and tries taking me for a ride. Honestly, silly little man.

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The exception to our good behaviour is when we get treats like apple cores and broccoli stems along the fence line, when our rules on civility may get confused and I often win out by being a heavy-weight. It’s not my fault, I can’t help it if I’m a big girl and the little ones get trampled underfoot. Most of the time I’m just trying to get out the way, honestly!

We’ve moved home since I first arrived. Our first house was quite small and cosy, just perfect for four, but as our numbers grew so it became rather crowded and we moved into much larger new premises built for us by none other than the man with the hat. The small house is now the maternity home, and it’s actually where Katya is right now, on her little clutch of eggs. It also does double duty as the quarantine pen when new arrivals come, and it has been used as a nursing home and hospice too.

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Anyway, now spring is here most of the girls do nothing but talk about babies; quite frankly they’re obsessed, and spend days and weeks just sitting in a comfy spot, making a terrible noise if anyone comes close and hoping upon hope that they will have some chicks to cluck over. This even happens when they have no eggs under them – quite bizarre behaviour. I tried it once, to see what all the fuss was about, but after a couple of weeks, I got rather bored and decided it wasn’t the life for me. I do like watching the little ones though; every year we’ve had several hatched and after a few weeks in the nursery they’re normally big enough to join us. There are some rules and restrictions about entry sizes (something to do with the cats, I think), but the chicks are still small enough when they arrive that I can boss them about for a while. All in all, I’m quite happy for someone else to do all the nannying and feeding and teaching, I don’t think I’m cut out for that life.

There’s been a few other changes since I first came here. For example, in the beginning we used to roam around the entire garden, and one of my favourite spots was right up by the front of the house in the sunshine. I could smell the wisteria in the spring and we would all sit under the first roses of the year, happily posing for photos.

Life was good, but that all changed when the humans’ roly-poly dog got a new friend. The chubby fellow was fine with us, and we were quite polite to each other, but the girl dog was a totally different kettle of fish (I think I’m getting my metaphors mixed up here, sorry) and things began to change rather rapidly. They called her Evie, and she was an annoying little puppy who decided that all of the chickens were fair game for a great deal of chasing. I escaped the worst of it, but she did rather terrorise us, and eventually the game became rather too serious. There was a LOT of noise from the humans after this, and within a week a fence was put in place and our original acre and a half of grounds in which we used to roam was reduced quite extensively. However, to be fair, we still have a vast amount of ground to strut about in and we’re safe as houses since the little white bundle of trouble is kept on the far side from us.

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That’s the only thing I miss, I catch a glimpse of the house and those purple flowers through the trees, and it does make me a touch nostalgic and then I’ll spot the small bundle of white trouble that caused the changes, she’ll be bounding around the garden after some ball or other and I’ll give her the evil eye!

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As far as chicken homes go it’s a vast estate we can call our own, really. We have beautiful stone-work on two sides of us,

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we can study the ancient walls should we decide to be academic

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and the family even moved our favourite stone bird-bath down into our new realm.

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We have shade from some magnificent trees, plenty of places for our all important dust baths, little clearings of sunshine, a huge compost heap to root around in, a long hedgerow stuffed full of goodies to peck at, and a enormous old hollow lime tree for roosting and laying when we feel like a change. In fact we have everything we could ever need, even a swing – though to be fair, only Hermione has been brave enough to use it. Youngsters – no fear, eh?  After my initial reservations it’s actually perfect and I can highly recommend it if you fancy a weekend with us.

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We’re also in prime position to sit and watch, and to be frank that’s what I like to do – which is good, as there is a lot of time for sitting and watching. In the winter things tend to be fairly quiet, even wet, and doors remain closed; normally we don’t see anyone that often, to be frank. This winter however, everyone took on the major job of cutting back the hazel and cob hedge on our northern boundary and so we did have far more human company than normal. I wasn’t sure quite what they were doing to start with and we all stayed well clear, but when we realised they were exposing virgin ground for pecking and scratching we might have ended up getting in the way a little.  Of course, now it’s spring, everyone is very happy; the hedge is sprouting new growth and everyone talks about the enormous amount of light that now streams through to the border on the far side.

At this time of year the small humans are always coming and going too; there are giggles and squeals of laughter, and often someone will come and perch on our single swing under our lime tree – it’s all very social.  The doors to the house are open once again and it’s ‘clicky’ season one more. This when the humans, especially the two biggest ones, have these black things they point everywhere that go ‘click’ all the time. The man human does a lot of his ‘clicky’ stuff in strange places like the compost bin, under the leaf litter, round the big lime tree where the bark is huge and all those yummy spiders live, in our shed (where the yummy spiders live too, high up), and so on. The female human likes to ‘clicky’ more at the flowers and us. Especially when it’s sunny. The small humans also have a ‘clicky’ season, though they seem more content to ‘clicky’ each other and giggle a lot and they always tap on screens after they’ve clicked, I simply add all of this to the long list of bizarre human behaviour.

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The trees are in full leaf, oh they look fantastic once more. The horse chestnut is in it’s prime, I could stare at those flowers for hours and the grass is so green, in the summer it turns quite brown from lack of water but at the moment, it’s lush and soft underfoot. And so many insects. Mmmm, but all so high up. I wish I could fly. If only I had real wings, like a stork.

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The bluebells line the wall.

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The wild ginger provides incredible ground cover, with lots of yummy things crawling around underneath

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and the cow parsley is multiplying in this natural garden.

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There are worms and bugs and insects to munch on. No one uses any pesticides around here so we know we can chomp away healthily without any fear. We have a motto, us girls, “if it moves, it’s edible!” and it seems to work so far, though there are some things we’ve learnt are not so nice, like the red spotted bugs under the lime trees.

There also appears to be plenty of things going on in the vegetable garden. It’s been a hive of activity this past week with some heavy construction work and a lot of swearing – I must admit I have spent plenty of time scratching in the leaves nearby, quietly watching through the fence, wondering just what they are doing. At first I thought maybe they were building another house or barn or even extending our housing once more, but then I overheard a conversation about tomatoes and cucumbers and natural borders. Obviously it is still to be the potager (oh, how we used to love pecking around in it….mmmm, can you say aphids?) but I gather each bed is to be edged by a low stone wall. I am still watching and I’ll reserve judgement until it is finished, but so far it’s looking pretty good and I think I might be quite excited at the new view. There’s been plenty of clicking with the black things as they progress, so no doubt the female human will tell you all about it when it’s finished! In the meantime I think I’ve done enough story telling for a while, it’s been good to chat and hopefully I’ll be back with more at some stage.

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158 thoughts on “A Wise Old Bird

    • We always name them, choosing said names is a serious business that involves many debates around the supper or lunch table! Love the idea of Flower Possum! Hope you are happily moving into autumn xx

  • Such a wise old bird indeed, beautifully written too, she’s obviously a smart one! I so enjoyed this story, you had me laughing out loud, thank you

    • Thanks so much Varsha, I am beginning to think she is a wise old bird, we truly thought her days were numbered last summer, but she’s back healthier and happier than ever! xx

  • Lovely. What a perfect ‘endroit’ for chicks. We are enjoying seeing our (UK) chickens out and about again in the last week. They now have a huge area to play in, and are very happy

  • Oh my she even looks French…I would love to be a chicken and forage in that garden. Oh so many delights await them. how I miss my chooks ….we had 7….Bella, Daniele (she was the snarky one) ..margarette, Francis, Suzette, Lily, Marigold….often would be called here chooky…..

    • Fantastic names, some of ours are named after the children’s school friends, it’s a very serious business naming chickens! But they are a happy bunch and we are all amazed at how relaxing it is simply to watch them as they go about their daily business, I would hate to be within them now. xx

    • I can imagine, we grew up with chickens on the farm but I never really took any notice of them, they were just there and a part of farm life. It is only now that we have our own and of course our own children that I appreciate owning chickens, they are such a delight and I find them so relaxing just to watch and observe them! Plus the eggs are fantastic! xx

  • What a fantastic post! Let’s have more of these soon! We two have lots of chickens, although they can’t go free range for fearing of being eaten or getting into the ostrich pen! Chuckles, you do seem incredibly wise (although I’m wondering about the story behind your name!). Let us know what happens with Katya and her eggs, how many is she sitting on and what chicks do you hope to hatch? Xxx

    • Fortunately we don’t have too many predators here, our biggest one would be a fox, but fingers crossed, we have never had one in the garden, we are surrounded by high walls so quite difficult to get in, and I am sure there are much easier places for them to hunt. Having said that we are always careful and shut them in at night. I can’t even remember who named Chuckles, one of the children! Katya is sitting on 7 eggs, due the first week of May, so I will certainly keep you posted! I am however intrigued that you keep ostrich, I have heard of people keeping them as pets, but never actually met or spoken to someone who does, how many do you have? xx

    • Where are you that you keep Ostrich? I know of a farm in Devon that has a vast number, so I am wondering if you keep these for pleasure or if you farm them commercially? Do you/can you eat the eggs?

  • You have a very talented way with words Susan, I have read every one of your animal stories over the years and love them all so much. I can just picture the chicken watching all and taking in all the comings and goings. Excellently done.

    • Thanks so much Francesca, I love thinking about how the animals, the dogs and cats and the chickens must see life, I wonder just how much they really do take in, one thing is for sure I think they probably think we are barking mad half the time! xx

    • Thanks so much Ann-Maree, the chicken garden would make a fabulous holiday spot, but I would definitely add a tent rather than bunking down in the chicken coop, too many spiders in there for my liking!!! xx

  • I only found your blog this week and I have really enjoyed going back through your posts. This story was such a treat this morning and so unexpected, I am so glad I found you, keep up the good work!

    • Thanks so much Amelia and I am so happy you found the blog also. I like to try and mix things up a little, a bit of this and a bit of that, in fact everything we see in our everyday life here! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, always much appreciated. xx

  • Such a fun story & so well written. Lovely photos as ever. Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine, after a very mild winter here in Edinburgh we’re getting windy & colder sadly. x

    • Thanks so much Janet. If it makes you feel any better, after the most fantastic start to spring, we too have cold North easterly winds this week. We have dropped from the mid 20’s to 15C, gorgeous in the sun if one can find a sheltered spot, but the wind really is quite cold. Oh well, it is only April and we have been spoilt! Hopefully it will be warm up for the weekend for you, I know it is meant to be back around 20C here. xx

  • “If only I had real wings, like a stork.”

    I may have stopped reading for a while and giggled into my coffee at this remark, Susan. It sums up Chuckle’s mindset in just a few words, and explains her succinct understanding of the human ego. Or rather, bizarre behaviour, as she so aptly summarises.

    • I think you are so right Phil, I am sure Chuckles thanks we are all quite barking mad and our behaviour quite bizarre! They are such characters though and I don’t think I had ever realised what fun they would be and how they would each be so different. Would be lost without our chickens now! xx

  • Absolutely charming! What a delightful way to start my day! Photo #3 made me gasp with pleasure as I have never had close contact with chickens (it amazes me to see how many of your readers raise chickens since it is not allowed where we live and no one I know would have any idea how to do it successfully if we were). I love the portal you provide to another kind of life so much closer to the land. Your photos and text were both superb. Thank you!!

    • Thanks Anne, when I was growing up on our farm we had chickens, but they were just there, a part of farm life, I never took any notice of them or gave them a second thought. Now years later we have our own and I had no idea how much pleasure they would provide. It never occurred to me that they would each have their own unique character and that it would be so relaxing just to watch them go about their day’s work. The eggs are an added bonus of course! I have to admit, I just love sharing this French country life, it’s not glamorous but it is a great way to live! xx

    • Very timely indeed! What breed have you got arriving? We are searching for some Lavender Aracaunas, as we would love to have some blue eggs, but so far they are proving very hard to find in France, at least in this area, my only choice to date would be to drive 10 hours to collect 2 hens!!! Our chickens never get to the table. We keep them purely for the eggs. I don’t think I would be any good at raising chickens for food. I leave that to our French neighbours who are much better at this sort of thing than I am! xx

      • Sorry for the very late reply. Have been away and out of touch. I have no idea what the hens will be. They’re coming off a local farm and look a bit like the Light Sussex (white and black) that I had in the UK. Like you I think it’ll be eggs only!

        • Well at least it will be a lovely surprise! If they are farm hens they will probably be good layers. Our bigger ones are excellent, the problem with our little bantams at this time of year is they all go broody! Right now we have four broody bantams which only leaves five laying hens!! Xx

  • A different peak into life on your French ‘estate’ 🙂

    I’m curious about the eggs though. This might sound like a really stupid city-girl question, but how do you (or the chickens) know the difference between a fertilized egg to be a chick and an unfertilized egg for eating? … or are they all the same? It sounds like the hens become very territorial around their nesting area when they’re incubating their eggs, so obviously they seem to know the difference.

    • Ha ha, that makes it sound far far grander than it is!!! It’s just a village house with a wonderful large garden, that requires far too much upkeep! I love your question about the eggs, because I am a farmer’s daughter, I grew up on a farm and we had chickens, I never gave them a second thought, they were just always there and I had no idea about fertilised and unfertilised eggs either until we got our own chickens a few years ago! Basically if you have a rooster and if the rooster is doing his job then all eggs are fertilised, there is no problem in eating them. However the chick only starts forming once they are kept at a certain temperature, between 99F and 102F plus the correct humidity, hence either in an incubator on when a hen is sitting on them. When a hen goes broody, she sits on her eggs, her hormones will make her sit even if she has no eggs to sit on! it’s actually quite fascinating. I have learnt so much! xx

      • Oh – that’s so interesting. I can see how it would be fascinating to watch a hen ‘going broody’. I didn’t realize they would go so far as to sit on an empty nest.

        • Don’t worry, I didn’t know any of this either. Usually they will sit on an egg or two laid by the others, but when we take them away, they happily carry on sitting, for weeks on end. Breaking them of their bloodiness when they are not actually going to hatch any eggs is always quite a trial. We have to be meticulous and keep lifting the hen outside, she’ll run back to her next (eggs or no eggs) after a few minutes, and an hour later we lift her out again, it takes days, but eventually the hormones level lowers and they return to normal!

  • Great fun, thank you. But I always find myself thinking ‘goodness, surely it’s not Thursday already’! Don’t know where I’d be without you. Xx

    • Hi Diana, thanks so so much, what a lovely comment! I know, where does the time go, I am amazed at how quickly the weeks seem to speed by. This is why I sometimes post on a Sunday and sometimes I don’t. It really just depends on if I have enough time! Hope you have a wonderful end to the week xx

    • Thanks so much, I love looking at things from the animals, or chickens perspective, I wonder how they actually see things, I am quite sure they think we, us humans, are quite mad!! xx

  • What a fabulous chicken tale, certainly one of my favourite posts. Loved the photos too., what a charmed life your chickens lead, lucky them!

    • Thanks so much Trish, I think, for chickens, they really do have a great life, I would not mind being a chicken in their garden, it’s so natural and pretty I love spending time in there! xx

    • Thanks so much, I cannot tell you how much we have enjoyed keeping chickens. I never realised how much pleasure they would bring or how relaxing it is just to stand and watch them going about their daily business. When they see one of us coming to the fence they all come running, they are hoping we might have scraps from the kitchen and they are so tame. xx

  • Lovely post as always, Susan! Took me a second to realize what the clicky things are, but then really laughed. Great imagery!

    • Thanks so much, my camera always goes click click click and I seem to spend far too much time wandering around with it hanging around my neck, either that or the phone which is a quick way to take photos! hope you have a wonderful end of the week xx

  • Susan, I’m not showing this post to Mr. FrenchGardenHouse! He really wants chickens, but as our chickens would have a tiny spot in the garden, not the vast green estate yours do (despite the miss of being able to smell the wisteria) I have put my foot down. Your chickens have a lovely life!

    • Probably best not to Lidy! I do actually know plenty of people who keep just two or three in a tiny area, but perhaps best not to show him this comment either!!! I love watching them roam free with so much space, I think I would happily be a chicken here! xx

  • I just loved this story from the “henhouse”. It is wonderful to see life from a hen’s perspective.
    On another note, we just returned from a visit to Paris & a river cruise to Normandy. The weather was perfect & the French people were charming. Seeing the beautiful American Cemetary & Omaha Beach was quite moving. One of the highlights of our trip was visiting Monet’s Garden. It is one of the most beautiful gardens that I have ever seen.
    I even visited a brocante; I only knew what it was b/c of reading your blog. The small villages that we visited along the way we’re some of my favorite parts of the trip. Thank you Susan for sharing your slice of paradise!

    • I thought it was rather fun to imagine how she might see life, of course this is a very far fetched version!! It sounds as if you had the most wonderful trip and the weather has been fantastic. Monet’s Garden at Giverny is, I agree, one of the most gorgeous gardens I have ever seen as well, although it is years since I have been there. So happy you got to visit a brocante and I can imagine the villages were fabulous, Normandy is absolutely beautiful. I really hope you come back to France again, there are so many places to see and the people really are lovely and I have always found them so welcoming. xx

  • I loved this take on your home and your life in France. One thing though. Do those chickens of yours speak French or English? Or do some speak one and some ze ozzer? Perhaps you don’t know ……..

    • Good question! I am thinking they are probably bilingual! They were all born in France, they are all French, but they must have picked up some English, you know how they all say ‘full immersion’ is the only way to learn a new language and we only ever speak to them in English! I will put this question to the Roddy and the children tomorrow and let you know their thoughts!! xx

      • They speak ‘food’ definitely. I can go out the kitchen door and yell “Cold pasta!!” and from 400 yards away they’ll come running to the fenceline like a pack of Usain Bolts on steroids. It’s quite a frightening sight to behold and if I was small and inside the fence I’d be climbing a tree as fast as I could.

        Of course, the really interesting thing is we have all learnt to speak “chicken” a little. From quite some distance away we can all tell the difference between “How the heck did I do that? Oh Lordy, look at what I laid! Hey, everyone, look at what I laid. Hey, everyone, look at what I laid. Hey, everyone, look at what I laid.” etc etc, and then there’s Sirius’ incessant demands that the hens stop what they are doing and prepare themselves for some gymnastics of some sort of another. Actually. Sirius is a good fella. If we bring down some scraps, he’ll run around telling all his girls that there is food to be had, “C’mon, you, c’mon, head up, get up, food on the fenceline, move move move you skinny thing, get up there, skoot!” and he’ll bustle along rounding them up, chirping and clucking. He certainly does look after them.

        As for English or French, I have no idea. I do know that they rarely look at you in the face, they watch the hands. Whether it’s for food or some dreaded implement of torture I have no idea. But they watch my hands like hawks. Possibly because I steal all their eggs, of course.

    • Thanks so much Paulita, chickens often live for 10 years or maybe even more if they are kept in a good environment and well cared for. But they do stop laying once they get older! xx

  • Thank you Susan for such a humorous story . So lovely to see your gardening in Spring, wish we could have seen that huge Horse-Chestnut in bloom. Everywhere looks so lush already. Enjoy the wonderful weather you are having & the continual supply of daily fresh eggs.

    • Barbara you wouldn’t recognise the garden, it literally changed in the space of a couple of weeks, the weather has been so incredible and everything has come alive. The horse chestnut always looks beautiful every year, it is such a great specimen. We’ve had a cold north easterly wind this week. Fabulous if one can find a sheltered spot, the courtyard garden would be heaven! We are completely over run with eggs! Hopefully we will see you next month xx

  • Ok, so others have said it but you really do need to compile a. Ok of animal stories. Or better still an Our French Oasis book, many other bloggers do this with great success, I don’t want to interfere or be pushy but I really think you should do the same, just an idea but I know you would have a great response.

    • Thanks so much Shari, I would never think you are being pushy. It is always really helpful and interesting to hear everyone’s ideas. Ours is a fairly simple life, it is not glamorous but it is a very good lifestyle and I do enjoy sharing the daily things that make it special! xx

  • What handsome/beautiful chickens and at least one can type. Quite an achievement! 🙂 A chicken’s-eye view is something we don’t get every day and I see that every one else enjoyed it as much as I did. Quite a glorious area for the chickens to live. I’d love to see the varied-colored eggs. My grandparents had bantams and I remember (this was when I was quite little) how warm those brown little eggs seemed.

    janet

    • I know, she is such a clever one! I often wonder what the chickens actually think and Chuckles really is such a character! Our eggs range from tiny white ones to large pale brown and very dark brown, we literally have all shapes and sizes and colours, but the one thing we are missing are blue eggs, that is our next dream to find somewhere in France that sells the breed of hens that lay blue eggs. That would be really special, but so far the only ones I have found are about a ten hour drive away. Not sure, even I, would drive ten hours for 2 hens!!! xx

  • How clever you are, Chuckles, and your writing style is very good. Best not to let the humans know that you’ve figured out the opposable thumb part, though, or they might get very nervous.
    Chickens rule!

    • I try not to let the humans know too much. They think I just sit and stare, little do they know I am taking it all in, not a lot gets past me! Chickens certainly rule here!! xx

    • Hi Ali, I thought about them too, in fact I dreamt this whole thing up whilst driving up and down the motorway far far too much this week! I am sure Bentley and Evie will have something to say before too long!!! Hope your weather has warmed up. We’ve had a really chilly north easterly wind here which has sadly lowered our temperatures here, the sun is gorgeous, but that wind is bitter! xxx

  • I really fancy having a few chickens to keep down the snails and slugs, to provide some eggs ,to cluck around the garden. then I remember my dog Katie. A terrier. Alas it is not to be. Great little tale.

    • I know exactly the situation you are in. As I said in my story, our first Jack Russell couldn’t care less about the chickens, he is so laid back, but the new addition who is now nearly 2 is another story altogether, she is the reason we had to fence the chickens in, she is now much better, but I still wouldn’t trust her if she were alone with them and we weren’t around, better to be safe than sorry! But if Katie is anything like Evie, than we wouldn’t be without our dogs either, Evie comes everywhere with us and is the best companion anyone could ever wish for. Xx

  • A great story, thanks Chuckles.

    Life as viewed from the perspective of a ‘chook’ was a wonderful way to approach all the lovely things in your garden Susan, as well as meeting the other chooks themselves, including that little grey Frizzle bantam. Overcompensating? Lucky chooks to have such a great run, as well as an antique water bath..
    I often fin my self lost and away with the fairies when I’m in the chook yard. I love them and their funny antics.

    • I’m glad I am not the only one who loves being with the chickens! I agree, when I am in the garden with them, it is like being in another world, they go about their daily business so happily. I love it when the rooster, will find a worm or something tasty and call out to all the others to come, he feeds his girls first. Or when he fancies one of them and does his special dance in front of them! They are such amusing things to watch and I never realised it! Xx

  • Susan,your post today was absolutely charming!
    Once again your words have painted lovely descriptions and just capture our imaginations!
    And such beautiful pictures!
    Thank you!
    We so enjoy sharing in your lives; what a pleasure to feel like we are participants with your lovely family in an area filled with tranquility.It also reminds us again to appreciate our own and give thanks for how blessed we all are!
    We had chickens when we were growing up as well.It is hard to forget their funny personalities,or how they managed to all exist together,even if sometimes the feathers were flying!But I definitely think a very good influence on us,both to appreciate their given gifts of eggs and also their ability to accept whatever life throws their way,very much like our beloved dogs do.(Always makes me remember that DOG is GOD spelled backwards).What a wonderful example!

    • So true Natalia, our dogs accept so much and yet they are so forgiving and the chickens are much the same too. They happily lay their eggs and go about their business without a care in the world. Our’s is not a glamorous life, far from it, it’s fairly simple, but it is these simple things that I just love sharing, because it makes it a life rich in experiences and pleasure and lots of smiles and laughter, which let’s face it, we all need in today’s world. Have a great weekend xx

    • Thanks so much! Naming pets is such fun and a very serious business! It takes us ages and always involves long discussions around the kitchen table with suggestions going back and forth! Xx

  • Oh Chuckles, what a wonderful story you have written to be read and reread during the weekend: you have put the biggest smile on my face describing your home and all who live in it. And thanks to those two-leggeds ‘clicking’ we can see it all ourselves wherever we live around the globe [it’s huge and round, with many, many two-leggeds, Chuckles!] I would like to meet the haughty Ava and have a quiet talk about making friends and feel kind’a sorry for little Sirius who must be quite frustrated meeting a buxom girl like you! But ‘pesticides’ – hmm, you picked that word up well from those tall ones: that seems strange in your story-telling 🙂 !!!!

    • I rather enjoyed telling my story! Honestly, Ava is fine, she just thinks she’s better than the rest of us, something to do with her long fine neck, high cheekbones and long legs so she says, I just ignore her, big is beautiful is my motto! Sirius tries it on all the time, silly boy, I put up with it because he makes me laugh, with us big girls, he’s frequently the wrong way round and he doesn’t even realise it, we just let home get on with it whilst all the time we have the largest grin on our faces thinking what an idiot he must look, but I would never tell him, I would hate to damage his ego, men can be so touchy about things like that!! Pesticides is a word I hear a lot, so I checked in the hen dictionary, I didn’t understand everything but I gleaned enough to realise that they are bad and that our garden wouldn’t be nearly as varied and bountiful if the family used them, I’m learning all the time!!

      • Thank you for typing all this out Chuckles . . . you are probably faster pecking than I am using my silly fingers. Now Ava: way back when your great-great-great-great-great-grandmother was enjoying an aphid lunch, there was a famous ‘movie star’ [they used a big ‘click’ thingamajig to get big moving pictures] called Ava Gardner and your Ava sounds just like her . . . Oh and I am glad you have a hen dictionary: I talk to a gentleman called Mr Google and he allows me a peek at something called ‘Wikipedia’ – aren’t we lucky! Thank you so much again for your story and your reply: I sent these along to a number of my friends. I hope they come visit you . . .

        • Thank you so much for telling people about my story, I feel rather flattered that people would be so interested in what I have to stay. I have to admit I had to give myself a stern talking to today, I was strutting around the garden in a rather big headed way and I reminded myself that I would indeed become like Ava if I continued in this vain! I am going to have a chat with her tomorrow and tell her she is named after a famous movie star, I might regret it mind you, she will probably become completely insufferable, but I feel she ought to know! The family are excited because it is the weekend, really it makes no difference to me, one day is much like the next, but hey ho, humans like weekends, so bonne weekend! xx

  • I get just the same delight as you from our chickens. We keep around 15, they keep us in eggs all year and in the winter we let them scrub around in the vegetable garden, they scratch around and do no end of good.

    • We are kindred spirits! I have often thought that in the winter we should put up a temporary fence so that we can open the gate and let the chickens into the vegetable garden. You have made me think of this again and I think I shall definitely do it this winter, thanks for reminding me! Xx

  • Chuckles is absolutely wonderful. What a Wise Old Bird she is. Truly a legend in her own right…I would like to ask her how she handles her beauty regiment…I am not that much in to it but I mean if I could keep a lovely glow like Chuckles; well it would make me happy. Lol I mean who wouldn’t want to be a Ginger Girl…?
    Susan, how utterly Adorable…! This is what makes you stand amongst a few other “cherished” bloggers…You share so wonderfully so many different aspects of your life…that makes me want to pack up house and home and buy something in France! Next life for sure…
    My ❤️ Loved Loved Loved reading this wonderful adventure…Thank you!
    Have a wonderful weekend. Tell Chuckles she had a huge fan in Minnie! 🙂 ❤️🤗💐

    • Thanks so much Stephanie, I will pass all your comments on to her! Now as to her beauty regime, I truly don’t know, she never struck me as the least bit vain, the other girls yes, but Chuckles, never; guess I got that one wrong!! As you probably have gathered I adore the chickens, they are so great to watch as they go about their daily business, they are very much a part of our life here in their own way, we always dreamt of keeping chickens and it is here that it has become a reality! Weather spectacular here today, have a lovely weekend yourself xx

  • Just loved this story told from a chickens perspective. Adorable. You have such a gift and I found myself chuckling a few times.

    • I am so happy you enjoyed it Debbie, I love thinking about how the chickens may view their lives, I am sure they don’t even think about it, but I do know they probably think us humans are quite mad! xx

  • Only reading this now on Monday…. LOVE it! If ever I should be reborn as a chick, can I join your girls? And since I have a special antenna with 4-leggers like Evie, I probably cd even create more peace amongst the different creatures …
    Love from another paradise, sadly lacking dogs, chickens, and – among other things – a swing!
    A brand new hammock can’t get fixed due to a lack of ´second’ tree but maybe we can hang it to our black wrought iron patio SOMEHOW….. or maybe you could lend me the Man with the hat?! 🙂

    • I think I would happily come back as a chicken in our garden, it’s a good life, and they always look so happy! I’ll happily lend you the man with the hat, he will always make you laugh and is actually fabulous at making things out of nothing, he would come up with an idea for sure! Our hammock lies under the fig tree, perfect at this time of year, nature at it’s best as the sun gets stronger so the leaves get bigger and the more shade they provide, by the time we get to summer and one needs complete shade so the leaves provide a complete canopy! xx

  • This is PERFECT…. yeah, bring him – and them – on!!!!! I’m a good cook and I love English humour; in fact I think I should have been born English….. 🙂

    Look what I’ve just found:
    (Urban Dictionary) : chicken sleeping
    When you fall asleep in an upright position with your head dangling, most commonly in a car or airplane. The motion makes your head bob up and down like a chicken pecking. In rare cases, you could be fighting falling asleep in class and a moving vehicle is not necessary. Chances of chicken sleeping are increased by 70% after a wake and bake session or accounting class.
    I was sitting behind her in class and thought she was paying attention. But then I walked by and saw that she was just chicken sleeping.

    Much love – I know we would get along like a Château en feu… 🙂

    • OMG this is too funny, I can happily send him along, he’s actually a dab hand in the kitchen too, can knock up a superb meal out of what seems to be nothing, I always think that’s a real challenge, he can open the fridge, think for a minute and then come up with something utterly delicious and his humour will have you in stitches, he is one of the funniest people I know! But and there has to be a but, he is very good at chicken sleeping! You wait until I read this to him and he hears there is a name for his nodding off in a chair with his head lolling – I just love this! xx

      • I know…. 🙂 I think actually that we were joined at the hips at one time – we think the same way, love the same stuff, except that you have about 100x more energy (but you’re also much younger!!!!) 🙂

      • Well now, we are at a dead end, as I don’t know if I could ‘share’ my very sharp kitchen knives with your precious Roddy. I am even getting my knickers in a twist sometimes when – after heaving eaten a very good meal – only half an hour later or so, I hear the fridge door open, a long pause….. and I KNOW that HH is looking for an ‘encore’…. No wonder we’re too fat and can’t loose weight! LOL – Roddy, you can do your chicken sleep any time you want, for me it’s the warmth of the veranda (now, in the ‘entre-deux’ seasons) which makes my head nearly hit the (luckily wooden…) table over a complicated sudoku or book – maybe we could channel those times 🙂 Oh the fun we all would have!!!!
        I love my husband very much but sadly he has not much of a sense of humour – which is a very bad thing not to have – and I hasten to add he had so many other qualities (amongst which his tremendous courage to saddle himself with me!!!) that at the time I was d’accord to marry him nontheless – and now it’s kitchen time for good!!!!

        • Kiki, you’re a woman after my own heart then – chicken sleeping AND sharp knives. It’s a pet peeve of mine, blunt knifes, so much so that I am known to travel with my favourite kitchen knife when staying elsewhere. It’s a bad habit, but when a man has to slice he needs a sharp knife.

          • 😉 IF we ever visit you Roddy, I shall bring you a modest but sharp Victorinox Swiss made knife. They are so evil that I slice quite regularly not only the veggie at hand, but often a bit of a fingertip too (and I blame this not to inattention; I mean how difficult can it be to read and slice a tomato at the same time? but rather to bad eye-sight…..)
            bon appetit!

          • Oh how funny, I reply to the comments in order otherwise I get quite lost. I wrote about Roddy and his obsession with sharp knives and then I read he had written the same, guess I known im very well, and then you write about slicing off bits of fingertip, oh this makes me laugh so much, you too will get on like a house on fire!! Xx

        • Ha ha, but you have t he most brilliant sense of humour and enough for two of you I am quite sure! Roddy is quite fanatical about knives, he HATES kitchen knives which are not sharp enough. When we go away on holiday in the car, rather than flying, if we are renting a cottage or gite he will always take one of our kitchen knives with him as he always says those found in rental kitchens are always useless! He’s also a dab hand at cutting himself with the same said sharp knives!!! Say no more!! Xx

    • And those little serrated Victorinox knives are wonderful, Kiki. We normally have lots, but we’re down to two right now since they seem to disappear with regularity on adventures in the garden with small people. They’re good for whittling, making bows and arrows, erecting log cabins and skinning sabretooth lions. So I am led to understand.

  • Oh dear, I’m ashamed to say I am so jealous!! How I would love to have a chicken area like yours! No wonder Chuckles is in chicken heaven and decided not to depart to a different heaven!! I fear our Buff Orpington, Buffy, needs this sort of space but we don’t have it. I wonder how much it would cost to send her on a sabatical to La Charente Maritime?? I wonder what Chuckles would think?! Buffy is rather huge, thought mostly feathers and a bit of a wimp at heart!! She’d probably need a very large box, full of grapes and corn and would cost a fortune to post!! Well, it was good to hear chuckles’ news and we look forward to the photos of the new babies and the new potager! Back to dreaming……

    • I am sure there is some supremely wealthy billionaire somewhere who takes their chickens on holidays with them! I would imagine Chuckles would bully her a bit to start with and then just when it was time for her to go home again everyone would decide they get along just fine and she could stay!!! Buffy sounds adorable and I am sure she is terribly happy where she is, lots of love and attention and good food, really she couldn’t ask for much more. Xx

  • Love reading your story and the pictures were great! You are a talented and perceptive writer. Always look forward to all your posts:)

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