Three French Hens

Although we haven’t had any guests for a while, due to the COVID lockdown, our roadside stall selling Eggs and Cut Flowers has been a real success!

A couple of weeks ago one of our older hens sadly died so we decided to expand the flock by adding a further three young chickens. Gillian has always longed for some ‘Light Sussex’ so we set about locating a local supplier. Initially it looked as if we could obtain them from a breeder from whom we’ve had chickens in the past but, the day before we were due to go over to pick them up, we received a phone call telling us that the Fox had got in during the previous night and they now had none to sell.

We rang around some other breeders and had the same reply from each: there is a great shortage, Europe-wide, caused by people wishing during the lockdown for a bit of the ‘Good Life’ by keeping their own chickens. Each had a Waiting List but were expecting some fresh hens in at the start of the Month. It transpires that they are shipped over from France to a sort of Poultry Wholesaler from whom the breeders can then buy them for selling on to the likes of us.

Yesterday we drove over to Norfolk & Suffolk Hens https://suffolkandnorfolkchickens.co.uk/ to collect 2 x Light Sussex and a Copper Maran that had been reserved for us as they were selling so fast. We temporarily housed them in a small run within the larger run so that the new & old chickens could familiarise themselves with each other, but we have introduced them to each other this morning. There will follow, as always, a short period of ‘sorting out the new pecking order’ and everyone will then know where they stand.

Yvette (in the foreground), Michelle (at the back) and Madame Edith

As they are of French extraction, we have decided to call the Copper Maran ‘Madame Edith’ while the two Light Sussex’s are ‘Yvette’ and ‘Michelle’.

Getting to know you, over a bite to eat
Madame Edith’s iridescent feathers shine in the the dappled sunlight
Exploring the Paddock

My mind was taken back to a conversation I had with some French guests a couple of years ago. I mentioned “Oeufs de nos poulets” when serving their Breakfast – it was the first time they had experienced a Full English Breakfast, so their eyes were out on stalks, anyway! They corrected my Schoolboy French, though, as I didn’t realise that “Poulet” is their word for chicken as a food, while the actual bird is “une Poule”. Every day is a School day, full of cultural enrichment, at Inglewood House B&B! 

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