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Monday, August 20, 2012

Feeding green caterpillars to the hens

We've had experience of hens before. When Max's parents lived in Rumaucourt they had a few in a  poulailler towards the rear of the garden during the more clement months and during the winter in a converted stall nearer the house. They were a scruffy looking lot though they did lay quite well much of the time.

A couple of months ago our new next door neighbours, Sylvain and Gaëlle, acquired two handsome looking feathered friends and installed them at the end of their capacious garden. Apparently they too are good layers with one or two every day albeit on the small side. However not since we've been feeding them during our neighbours' three week vacation somewhere in the deepest mid south of France. Nary un oeuf . We've been feeding them regularly with the mixed grain as requested plus

lettuce leaves and other quality kitchen detritus. I've even been picking the caterpillars off my sprouting broccoli and practically hand feeding the things to them: to no avail.

Max's mother is a bit of an expert and thinks that they are bored and so wont be big on the egg production front. Apparently it can be too hot for them too. And too cold. Perhaps the caterpillars are the wrong colour, size etc?

I suppose she could be right given that the two small daughters who regale in the space and wilderness that is next door's garden and play joyfully in it most days. The entertainment is rewarded by regular eggs. We are expecting the door bell to go any time now as the next people in this relay come for the keys. I cannot help but feel as if we have failed somehow. I bet they get an egg and it will be down to those tasty green caterpillars which I shall continue to poke through the fence.

21 August 10am
Nobody turned up so far to take the keys so once again I made my way with leaves, grain and broom to bat away the spider webs and...

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