Archive for the ‘hens’ Category

Dolly , a very happy Warren henToday whilst aimlessly browsing the internet I came across a snippet of information that shocked me.

Looking up Warren hens initially I inevitably ended up looking up rescue hens and felt guilty that when in France our language skills were not up to acquiring Factory birds.

It’s a lot easier in the market to buy, as they are there to sell, and its obvious you are there to buy, yes; the international language of money.

Now the fact that shocked on this website was a warning not to give a perch to rescue birds as the jump down from a perch of just a foot high can sometimes break legs as one poor owner discovered. Turns out poor diet in these factory farms gives some of the old bird’s osteoporosis.

It makes me so angry, that we allow creatures to be treated that way, but it also made me angry with my self.

You see a few years back some animal activist’s stole a woman’s dead body, there was a great deal made of it in the press, and I thought something at the time that I never said

In a nut shell it was this, cruelty to animals is offensive to me, it sickens me, angers me,

And I put more value in a living animal than a dead human being. I would like to think most people would agree with me.

What these activists attempted however, was to make peoples beliefs clash almost in a display of performance art.

How naive!

They said by this act ‘if you ignore my most profound beliefs, we will ignore yours’

But what a strange set of beliefs people seem to have, these days.

The papers are up in arms if little dead Johnny comes home from hospital with an organ missing, but does society believe we must go to the grave whole to be ready for resurrection.

Some do have this belief I am sure but not the majority, so who is the media being indignant for.

I think the answer lies in the fact that papers are just advertising space for hire at the end of the day, and the company they keep are all about telling you how special you are.

Yes YOU go on treat yourself, after all your special and it doesn’t stop when you’re dead.

So stop sucking up newspapers and remind us what we believe in just once and a while.

Just to be clear, I am quite prepared to put my dead carcase to good use.

I sometimes joke with my wife that a shallow grave will do in the back garden, but leave my bum sticking out the top so visitors have got somewhere to park their bikes.

Perhaps a little plaque that simply states

Arnold the end.


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Well we finally moved the chicken coop today to free up that part of the garden for more planting. Our self sufficiency drive means we need more space, and especially the rich well fertilised patch where the chickens have been. A curious consequence however is that every-time I go to the toilet the chickens can see me at the upstairs window and start calling to me.You expect some kind of recognition as Head chicken but waving at my Dinnerladies whilst peeing is far too French for me. My instinct is put some kind of net curtain up  but I will have to keep an eye out for the chicken predators, which have increased by one. Yes it turns out my wife is quite the carnivore, and has been staring at my Dinnerladies from the comfort of a garden chair. She was commenting on what fine legs they had to me today and being the gullible fool I thought her observations merely aesthetic compliments, till I noticed the drool on her chin. So Head chicken will continue waving to his flock from the privy window for now, and counting chicken legs with one eye, and watching Head gardener with the other; forget the curtains I’d better get a mop instead.

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I’m afraid one of my fellow bloggers has got me all in a lather over Dolly and her Dinnerladies again. My chicken flock is at risk not just from foxes but Buzzards as well. Now even pictures of Mikes gorgeous house in Correzze(see below) can,t calm my nerves.

As head chicken it falls to me to come up with a solution. Looking through my DVD collection the answer struck me:

Kung-Fu lessons for the Dinnerladies.

 Yes I know what your thinking; even a highly skilled Kung-Fu chicken can’t take on a Buzzard. But there is four of them’ there must be some combo of eye gouging from the front and ball pecking from the rear movement. I’m not good with Cantonese I may even have a film actually called that.The fact remains however being as I am head chicken and the only one in the flock who has worn Kung-Fu pajamas I will start their training at once. There will be no fence painting induction as it is pointless whitewashing chicken wire,but splits between raised poles and chicken legs thrust into hot sand will be compulsory. Buzzards and Foxes beware!


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A few set backs on the old self sufficiency front this week. The first and worst was to discover that the cat is not just fat. We thought we had neglected his health and failed to notice his large waist. After noticing him panting and a quick trip to the vets it turns out he has a heart condition and it is fluid rather like when Gran or Grandad get puffy ankles.His front legs are still swollen even though he has a prescription for diuretics.

He seemed to be drinking a lot of water so we looked up the drug he is prescribed on the old tinterweb and we received our second self sufficiency set back this week. It turns out that according to the manufacturer of this drug while the cat is taking the pills we cannot eat him, let me repeat that ‘we cannot eat him. Blast and damnation I’m going to have a word with that vet next week; all my culinary plans for the cat we have been grooming for fourteen years dashed by his clumsy ministrations. So there is only the chickens left and as I have already become rather fond of Dolly and her Dinnerladies I can’t see me cramming them in the pot.

Talking to a friend the day before I am aware of another up and coming problem we will have with this French vet. Thinking ahead I asked what the situation is regarding my hens if they get sick, as in veterinary treatment etc. “O! the vet would just laugh came his reply” you are expected to cure them in the oven basically. That’s the other setback no vets for sick hens. Unless!! a cunning plan comes to mind. Now the wife is a dab hand with the old water colour paints. We could mix a sharp palette of orange, green and red then paint the girls up as parrots.I can do the ” who’s a pretty boy then ” imitations behind my hand whilst my wife keeps the vet talking. Trouble is I know what the vets going to be saying “bloody big feet for a parrot I think Polly is turning into a chicken”

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We laughed out loud at our friends sensibilities when he told us the story of the cruel cocks. He told us how after acquiring some new chickens two of them turned out to be very aggressive cocks who raped his hens day and night in a vicious manner. Pillaging and sacking of nearby chicken coop’s was obviously the next activity on the agenda and he decided to get rid of these cocks. Now I laughed at his sensibilities because he and his wife used the term ‘rape’. Their French friends laughed because of what came next. Did they end up in the oven ‘O’ no he took them in the car to woodland a long long way away.

And drove off no doubt after saying whats that over there. Legend has it these cruel cocks can be heard in the Limousin night, not a usual cock a doodle doo but a deep throated whine finished with a pronounced ‘DOO YOU!!!!. Whenever we see hunters gathering in the country lanes we perhaps drive by a little faster imagining the huntsmen talk of sheep that had died of ‘Pure Terror’ and mutters of ‘it aint natural I tell ye’

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On my previous blogs I have toyed with the idea of using an alternate identity to dispatch my chickens. `This was a work around to deal with the guilt of murdering the animals because I like meat, chicken in particular. Well all I can say now is’ Lord Vader these are not the chickens you are looking for.

I have bought 4 warrens built them a chicken coup and we fenced of a section of the garden and they are adorable creatures. The gang are collectively called the Dinner-Ladies after the sitcom. and one in particular who came and sat on my knee on the first day is called Dolly. After tucking them in for the night in their new accommodation I laid there all night worrying about the Reynard that the next door neighbour warned me about. Now I know  that Reynard is French for fox’ but it gave me an image of a crafty French fox watching me all the while from a clever vantage point in the bushes at the bottom of the garden.. A half smoked galiose hanging from his lips as he snickers “Les Anglais”. And my sleep was disturbed by images of my poor Dinner-Ladies murdered in the night.

 Me Dolly ‘N’ The Dinner-Ladies

It seems we made a good choice of birds anyway and Dolly produced an egg on the very first day. It was very runny with a thin shell but I think we can improve on that with a good diet. I have told the dogs their status has been re-assessed. The hens are cute and produce food and the dogs roll in shit and consume food, hmmm I may swap dog and chicken accommodation round, it would certainly give Reynard a big surprise if he jemmies open the coup.

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