New Birds at Eco-Gites of Lenault and the Great Turkey Escape
At long last I have finally got round to buying some new chicks. We have 2 types of chickens on our Normandy smallholding, layers to give us our lovely eggs and table birds destined for roast dinners etc. Each spring I buy in new table birds but this year, having taken extra trips to the UK, I have been late doing this .... but a trip to market on Thursday soon rectified that. Mind you, even at only 5 weeks old they are already big.
Oh and I also bought 4 turkeys, much to the surprise of my friend as she thought I was giving turkeys a rest this year. In fairness that was the plan as over the last couple of years we have had a hard time with them, losing up to half the birds to a disease called blackhead. Generally though it has been the white turkeys who have succumbed more than their slightly smaller grey cousins, so this year I have just bought greys in the hope their higher resistance will see them through the year. As these are generally smaller than the white ones I have bought them as early as possible to give as long a growing season as possible. So if everyone could please keep their fingers crossed we may manage to eat turkey at Christmas.
That said, I almost lost all of them less than a few hours after buying them ... I put them in their pen but because they are that bit smaller they were able to get through the fencing. I arrived later to find 2 just outside with the other 2 nowhere to be seen. I put the 2 in the turkey-proof pig pen and set off in search of the other 2. In June? With the grass knee high and the hedges in full leaf? Hmmmm - they were nowhere to be seen. However, I am pleased to say that when Simon and I went looking again, a few hours later, we found them nearby, albeit VERY well camouflaged. So now the piglets sleep overnight in the turkey pen and the turkeys are on the piglet pen until the latter grow too much to get through the fence. The piglets are NOT impressed.
Oh and the reason I ended up buying turkeys was because this year we have no ducklings. We have 3 female ducks but 2 are hopeless mothers so we just keep them for the eggs they lay where-as the third is a great mother. However this year she simply laid no eggs. She is getting on so she may well be too old now. With no ducklings I decided I would have to have some turkeys in their place! I miss ducklings as they really are so cute - these were some from last year.
In other news I bought 2 proper feeding trays for the chickens as my current layers think there is nothing better to do than get in the feed bowl and scatter the wheat all over the place. I was wasting so much so these new feeders have put an end to that!
Do you keep any poultry? I'd love to hear any stories you have about them.