Tuesday, December 2, 2008

a notre maison, the chicken came first.

me and Rhoda (she pooped in my pocket during the shot)



well, it's official...we are now proud owners of 3 chickens.  2 hens (Fanny and Rhoda) and 1 cock (Dickie).  I have always wanted chickens, but living in Los Angeles it just wasn't possible.  Well, it's possible, but if your neighbors complain then you have to give them away.  We also didn't have the space with the dogs and all.  I wanted to get chickens when I moved to france, but kept putting it off because I really didn't know where to get them, how to take care of them, what to do, etc...

Last Saturday our dear friends Ben and Anke came over for our version of thanksgiving...a mexican fiesta.  We made homemade guacamole, salsa and chicken/beef fajitas.  We also had nachos.  Alan (another friend) made these amazing peppers stuffed with Cantal cheese.  I'm not sure what it is about the french and dressing up.  Not sure if you read this post, where our friends Jacques and Fabrice came over the day after the election dressed as soldiers, with a bottle of champagne so we could toast an Obama victory,  that was our first taste of french humor.

So, on Saturday we had Indians over for dinner.  Yes, Ben and Anke dressed as Indians so that we could celebrate thanksgiving.  We told them that we normally don't dress up for thanksgiving, but we liked their creativity.  Crazy french.  They came with NO shoes and it's freezing outside.  On their faces, soot from the stove.  

our crazy freinds Ben & Anke

During dinner I told Ben that I really wanted chickens.  Not to eat, but to lay eggs.  He told me he'd bring me some.  "Sure, he's going to bring me chickens", I thought.  Well, on Monday Ben had to come and fix a leak around the shower...he comes in, we have some tea/coffee and we are talking and he says "oh, your chickens are in the car".  What!  Yes, 2 hens that are "almost ready to start laying eggs".  I know there is a technical term for that, so help me out if you know it.    We also have a cock, with a limp.  Yes, our cock has a limp!  great.

So, ben pulls them out of the car - the cock is in the carrier they use for his kids rabbit and the hens are in their "laundry basket".  What a great guy - he uses his laundry basket to bring over our hens.  We have a shed about 30 feet from our house and that will be their new home.  Ben told us to put them in for the day/night with food and water and bedding (straw) and then they'll know it's where they live and roost.  We went up to the farmers house to get some straw for their bedding and he also gave us some more food for them and wished us "bonne chance". Huh?

So, they were in the shed all day on Monday (to get used to their home) and the next morning we went to let them out for the day.  We just opened the door and they came out.  During the day they wandered around the meadow, the woods and just clucked around.  Then came dusk and Ben told us just to shoo them into the shed at night.  Well, how do you do that?  About 1/2 hour before it got dark we went to the shed and they were just hanging out.  I even got Rhoda to eat from my hand, damn her beak is sharp, ouch!  But they wouldn't go into the shed.  We were thinking we'd be outside chasing these chickens around all night.  

So what do you do when you don't know what to do....you google your question.  Damn, I love the internet.  We found out that what we did, putting them in the shed for a day was smart, because it's got them used to where they will roost and that at dusk they will just go into the shed on their own.  So we kept watching out the door and then all of a sudden I saw Dickie jump into the shed and then the hens followed.  Bruce went up to see them and they were all in bed, so cute.  So he shut the door to lock them in so that they don't get eaten by a fox or something.

I'm a farmer, well sort of.  I guess just a chicken owner.  I always read the blog Apiferafarm and so love her life (farm, chickens, goats, donkeys, art, lavender).  I emailed her with tons of questions about chickens and she emailed me back with so much information,  thank you!  Now I'm a bit closer with my chickens, we are friends.  I have held all of them and they are very sweet.  Yesterday I spent about 20 minutes in the coop cleaning it out, putting their nests where they roost up higher and talking to them, clucking around, getting them comfortable.  We can't wait until we go out and see our first eggs. We were told that during the winter they don't lay as many eggs and we are not sure when they will start laying, but we'll keep checking. 

Fresh eggs every morning, how great....how organic, how healthy....love it!


Michelle said...

Oh, I am envious. We had chickens years ago but are not allowed to have them in the suburbs (same deal, we can, but if neighbours complain they have to go).

Le laquet said...

Cute and so much nicer to people than geese.

Betty C. said...

So you got your Mexican food cooked, lol!

Hey, I just read about cooking workshops at the Rodez "GRETA" training center. They're on Saturday mornings. It sounds like you can go to one or more, whatever you want. They're a little pricey though -- 60 euros a session, but you get to take food away with you. Info at 05 65 67 17 92.

franke said...

are you now going to stop eating chicken?
how do you know if the eggs are fertilized?
do you need a rooster for the hens to lay eggs?
are you coming back to the states?


Randal Graves said...

Which came first, the chicken or the blogger?

Let us know how those eggs are!

Our Juicy Life said...

michelle - maybe you can give me some chicken tips....need a "how to raise chickens" book.

Our Juicy Life said...

la laquet - i have heard geese can be very mean. My chickens are so sweet.

Our Juicy Life said...

betty - yes, the mexican feast was huge hit. Ah, cooking class...thanks for the number, will call tomorrow.

Our Juicy Life said...

Hey Franke - to answer your questions...NO we are not going to stop eating chicken, but we buy free-range chicken here. You know an egg is fertilized if you put it up to a light and see, the embryo through the shell. This is called "candling." A hen will sit on a egg, whether or not it is fertilized. Do we need a Rooseter for the hens to lay...no. Are we coming back to the states....yes, in Sept/October, but because of $$ reasons, we'll have to decide if/when we can come back.

Our Juicy Life said...

RG - the blogger of course! But I have always wanted chickens and am so excited to have them. Now just need to get those hens to laying our eggs!

La Belette Rouge said...

I love the concept of chicken owning. It is the cleaning up of the chicken poop that would stop me. Love the picture of you with the bird, you look so happy.

Barbara said...

Wow ! Félicitations !
I have never had hens either,so I don't have any spare advice to give you.
But I think that's really cool. You will be self sufficient for eggs, and I'am more than sure that fresh eggs will change the taste of your recipes !
That was so cute that your friends dressed up as Indians for Thanksgiving ! I got a big kick out of that !!

Have a great Sunday friends.

Our Juicy Life said...

LBR - i don't clean up tons of chicken poop - they are free-range so roam in the wood and poop in the woods..the cleanup isn't a big deal - it's the eggs that will be a big deal, in a good way.

Barbara - i can't wait to taste our own eggs. Just need to get those girls laying them. I am not sure what it is about our friends dressing up - first after the Obama victory and now thanksgiving, i guess it's living in rural france makes you a bit crazy and creative.

La Framéricaine said...

Just wanted to say felicitations on your new omelet providers! They do look very sweet.

It's great that you are settling in at the House of Fear and having lots of fun and wonderful experiences with your friends and neighbors. I am very happy for you both!

Our Juicy Life said...

HEY LF - the clock is tickin for you, yes? Things good? We are settling in and have a blast!

Leesa said...

Hey there!

For some reason, I missed this post, so it was certainly nice to read this a.m. How exciting! You got your chickens and I got my little hedgehog!! It will be soo nice for you to have fresh eggs.. I will of course want to hear how they are!!! Keep us posted when you get some eggies from them!
Hope all is going great... I hope we can make it down to visit you guys when the weather gets warmer... Hubby has a few weeks left of his past summer vacation so we'd love to take a road trip down your way.... take care, Leese

Rowena said...

I so wish that we could have a couple of laying hens ourselves, but that may need some convincing with the husband since he already figures that 2 dogs are enough pets to have on the property.

But dogs so not lay eggs dear!

Looking forward to when you'll be able to gather fresh eggs!

Our Juicy Life said...

Leesa - "and I've got my little headgehog"...how cute that sounds.

Come on down, we'd love to meet you and the Aveyron is amazing and beautiful, have you been to this region before?

Keep us posted

Rowena - ah - back in Italy. The snow oh my!!!! So different from Hawaii. All I can say is we have 2 dogs and our adopted cat and having these chickens isn't any big deal, they are so easy. I wouldn't do a rooster though, but I guess it was a package deal for us...for a couple hens, no need for a rooster. We got our first egg and it was so exciting.

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