Pumpjack’s Mathematical Gate (for the Chicken & Duck house)

During the summer, the gate to the chicken and duck enclosure gave up its life and collapsed in a heap of rotted wood and chicken wire.  As part of our roles as Gardiens (Caretakers) we fix things as and when needed. This was a big need and great research, planning and detail went into its replacement. This could be no ordinary gate, not where Pumpjack is concerned. Continue reading

That Sunday feeling – a day in the life of a sunny day with animals

December 21st and the shortest day can’t come quick enough for us, particularly the animals. We normally let them out to roam around dawn, depending on fog. The last few days we have woken up to dense fog. It seems to be settling in like a tired old lady in a comfortable chair, not certain when it wants to bestir itself.  The chickens and rabbits are not happy about it. They don’t like fog. The ducklings are not bothered, but Maggie won’t fly in dense fog, so we have to walk her down to the others, quacking and calling to the others all the way. It’s obviously slower than flying. Continue reading

Chickens in the Vineyard

We have a little vineyard of 90 Chardonnay vines in the midst of our vegetable garden. They are in their second year, which means next year we should get grapes and make some wine. It takes 3 to 5 years for vines to mature enough to be able to start making wine.  In a very productive year you can get up to 2 bottles of wine out of a vine, but generally it’s 1 and a little more.

I was weeding and tucking in the vines the other day and the chickens, along with Maggie Duckling, decided they needed to help me. I can’t say they managed that much weeding, although Maggie ate quite a few of them, but they did enjoy following after me and finding the bugs unveiled as I removed the weeds.


Strange goings on in our animal kingdom

Its been an unusual animal day in our little French world.  This morning, we went to let out the rabbits, chickens and ducks only to be greeted by – silence. Very, very strange and not a wee bit apprehensive. Normally there is lots of quacking, the odd cock-a-doodle doo, and cluck. The rabbits being silent we are used to, the feathered friends – never.  Our first thought was predator and we wondered what we would find, or fearfully who we would find missing. Read on

Making Friends in the Animal World – A Duckling Adventure

This morning I went to let the rabbits out and found a little red squirrel in with them. They seemed rather oblivious to him. He had a bit of a panic as he tried to find the way out, but in the end he managed. It is moments like this, when confronted with the unknown and unanticipated antics of the animal world, that I am reminded not to make assumptions but rather watch, wait and see what happens. Read On

Why do the French make omelettes with only one egg?

We have ducks and chickens, and amongst the chickens 3 types of hens. Consequently, we get 4 different types of eggs. Of course this is dependent on all of them laying. We do have one slacker in the chicken world, who lays only when the weather is sunny and warm. So currently, we have been getting about 3 eggs a day, give or take; a beautiful blue little duck egg, a pale cream small egg, and a large beige egg.

Normally we collect the eggs at the end of the day, when we put the chickens to bed. Yesterday was no different, except… for one of the eggs. Oh my. My, oh my, oh my. Somebody put in a bit of effort.

What we found was one of the beige eggs, but twice its size. I mean a whopper. I mean the size that when you look at it you honestly wonder~ ‘how‘?!?!  And not only was it huge (!), it was heavy, really heavy. A size and weight where in fact you worry about the chicken (though all seemed normal and healthy on checking).

We don’t know enough about eggs, but are sort of assuming that  she may have somehow combined two eggs (as we notice she hadn’t laid an egg the day before) into one egg.

We haven’t cracked open the egg as yet to see, and eat, (currently we are in too much awe) but when we do, as the French joke says “Why do the French make omelettes with only one egg? Because in France one egg is un oeuf*.”

*(in case you don’t get it, ‘un oeuf’ means ‘one egg’ and sounds very like ‘enough’. Get it?)

Do Wee Wild Birds and Chickens Mix?

We’ve made it a habit to top up the duck and chicken feeders in the evening, when our feathered friends are heading home to roost. This way, they have a feed in the evening, before bed, should they wish, and it is there ready for them in the morning whilst they wait patiently (well, maybe not the ducks) for us to come and let them out. Continue reading

A Murder more Fowl?

Addendum to the Addendum: After writing the previous posts about the various eggs being broken into, we had decided to enclose our wayward duck and her nest in a large ‘cage’ that at least would protect her and her eggs from predators, whilst we waited for the weather to get better and determine if we would move her.

The morning found me up early and letting the other animals out, then it was off to our Delilah, only to find her nest with 4 eggs laid bare and no Duck and no covering nesting materials (feathers and leaves). The eggs were cold to the touch, but still, in a bit of a panic, I collected them up and took them to Lucy’s nest (in the duck house), defying her pecking beak and hisses to slot them under her. It’s probable they will not make it, but until we determined where Delilah had gone to, it seemed the best course of action. Continue reading