I give you... The Nolan Sisters

This year, we have 6 hens.

Last year, our 4 lovely hens were stolen maybe by a 4 legged fox but we’re told probably by a 2 legged one. We loved them very much: Isabelle, Audrey, Juliette and Blanche, shared our first summer at the house and they were special. They deserve much more space than I can give them here. RIP.

But this year, we have 6 new hens. The first two: Marion (Cottillard) and Edith (Piaf) were bought a week earlier than the others. The expectation was that the beefy, poultry woman at Villaines would have hens of a different colour the following week. She didn’t. So that’s how we ended up with The Nolan Sisters. Their collective name as they all look alike.

This lot are named, once again, after French actresses. As well as the two above, we have Brigitte (Bardot) and Simone (Signoret). Then there are the twins. I gave up trying to name them as they look exactly alike. They are referred to individually as “one of the twins” or collectively as “the twins”.

After a rocky start for Simone, ‘one of the twins’ and Edith who all went down with some illness – yes, some sort of bird flu, they are all now thriving. At least four of them are producing eggs.

Mostly, these eggs are laid in the coop. But when coop space becomes cramped – there have been squabbles for nesting rights –  ‘one of the twins’ lost out, and took herself off to a nice quiet spot. 

She found this little hideyhole under the oak tree and it took me seven days to find it!

Previously, we trained our hens to come to the call of ‘chuck chucks’, but that sounds too Aussie for me, so this year I’ve gone for the call sign of ‘girls, girls, girls’.

This must be yelled politely a la Margaret Rutherford, as though gathering together the unruly inmates of St. Trinians. Really, you almost shout 'garls, garls, garls'. I'm assuming no French two-legged fox will manage to imitate me when trying to round them up. 

And this is what six daft hens look like trying to shelter under a rose bush during a torrential downpour.