Posted by: kathandroger | August 20, 2017

Posh Chicks and the fossil field.

Our flock of chickens had been decimated over the winter, by various deaths, and although Black and Decker, the new chicks, are doing well, we needed some new additions. Poor old Stumpy, the chicken with the malformed foot, who has feathers removed regularly by the wayward puppy, is still laying but well past her sell by date. We like to have different breeds of chick, and were looking at local markets, but when in the local Jardiland garden store in Chatellerault recently we were startled to hear chicken noises from the animal section. Sure enough, poultry seems to have gone up market, and there were lots of pretty birds for sale, albeit at a price we would not normally even consider. Now as it happens, three couples of friends had kindly donated the finances for our new flock as a present for my recent major birthday. Accordingly, Patricia, Phyllis and Sandra (named after the female donors) are now enjoying life as true free rangers in our enclave.IMG_3818We have never had posh chickens like these before. The only problem is that they have been raised indoors and are having difficulty in behaving like normal outdoor birds! Here they are trying to get into the gite to spend time on the sofa. But as a bonus they are very used to humans and do not mind being picked up; in fact they enjoy human company and Sandra, the Light Sussex in the foreground, flew up onto a guests’ lap whilst we were eating outside a few days ago, much to the surprise of both of them! Integrating new chickens into a flock is not easy. The old birds are loath to accept newcomers and will not let them into the hen house, and peck them when they try to enter. The trio have had to be retrieved from their hiding places in the orchard and placed into the house after dark, and eventually they will be accepted and start laying in a few weeks, hopefully in the house! They are a bit Sloan Ranger at present but will accept the country ways of the others in due course.

Since picking up some fossils in our garden, it is difficult to not look at the stones in the fields around us. After plowing and then heavy rain, all the new stones are thrown up to the surface and cleaned. We know that this area was once under the sea, and in the land adjacent to our house, at the periphery of the field where the sunflowers have not flourished, there are fossils literally every step.IMG_3822Many are not in good condition and not worth keeping, but they can be seen as old shells and sea urchins as well as lots of sponges. Even the sunflowers seem to be impressed at looking at the animals that lived here millions of years ago.

The weather took a turn for the worse last week, so it was back into the workshop to play. We have a few old fire extinguishers that have been laying around and are many years out of date. The obvious thing to do with them is make sausage dogs. I was hoping the casing would be steel, and suitable for welding, but it turned out to be alloy and the legs and head had to be pop riveted on. Nevertheless the end result is OK, and the next project is to make a bigger one from another extinguisher.IMG_3821The only problem is that the tube is a metre long and weighs a ton already. We shall have to get a crane in to move it into position!


  1. Love the “porche chooks”… Pauline calls a single Sussex… a Sussik… an old family thing, apparently.
    What are the other two, tho? I have seen them in Jardiland, but have always been terrible with names.
    And, just for you… an Agronne Valley Wildlife blog post has just gorn oop!

    • And, surely, the huge extinguisher tube needs to be a Great Dane or a Greyhound???!

    • Tim, all the French names seem to be different from ours. The speckled hen I would call a Marin, but apparently the French call it a coucou, and the dark posh one a Marin! As long as they start laying some good eggs I don’t care!
      The shape of the fire extinguisher makes the Dachshund the only possibility I feel, but I have a old gas bottle which will make a fine pig!

  2. Thanks for your latest post-superb as usual, but you really must do some more on a regular basis; the photos are wonderful!

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