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A sad day for chucks.

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Our local gendarmarie arrived at our house yesterday and informed us that all chickens in the vicinity had to be enclosed indoors that very day. If not a fine of 700 euros per chicken could be incurred! We are in the East of France and are on the flight path of many migratory birds. My husband and I then spent the next 3 hours not only chasing our nine confused chucks around our garden but several of our neighbours as well. It's amazing how a threat of  9x 700 euros effects one's mobility!

Needless to say there's always one who refuses to be caught! In the broad light of today we have had to make the decision to cull our two cockerels, one being a pure bred Pekin, the other being his son. Their small henhouse in which they usually only sleep is too small to confine them for several weeks together and we really don't want loads more chicks at this moment. Also, one of our elderly chucks, Chickadee, becomes a bit of a bruiser when she has to share close quarters! She may be the next to go. I'm a coward and hate anything to do with culling so hand them to our neighbour who can't understand why a fully grown women  turns into a blubbering wreck!

We don't know how long we have to keep them confined, the 31st May has been mentioned, but have spent a horrible day cleaning out a not so nice location and have duly transferred reluctant chickens. I want to keep them as a) we have always had free range hens for eggs and b) I am always confident that our eggs are probably safer to eat than most others.Over the next few days I may feel differently depending on how they adapt to captivity.

Having always had healthy chucks, I need a bit of advice about looking after chickens indoors. I have never had to deal with lack of calcium, mites, worms etc.

Also, I'm finding it hard to locate woodchip bales. Local farmers only do the big bales of straw. Can anyone advise?




ps. I'm not really a wimp and am probably a bit of a hypocrit because I do actually eat our chucks if our neighbour kills them...apart from Toffee and Bluey and............

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Hi Catherine, here in North Charente we had to move ours indoors a fortnight ago and they haven't been happy. We had a five page document from the prefectur deliver via the Mairie informing us of the consquences for non compliance and then a form came asking details of our birds which had to be returned to the Maire.

Yesterday afternoon, they escaped as MOH hadn't properly closed the temporary daytime barracade across the barn door after giving them lunch. We didn't notice until I went to shut the barn door for the night and there were no hens in the barn.

They'd headed for home and were sleeping in the little hen house in their old run, so I left them there. Today they have been outside in their little field for the day and tomorrow, I'll shut them back in the barn poor things.

If this carries on for weeks, I'll probably have to ask a neighbour to do the awful deed as I certainly didn't ever want my hens shut indoors. But there's no way I could eat any of them.
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Mine went indoors a couple of weeks ago as well, and I wormed them a couple of days before they went in with some liquid wormer which I got from the vet to put in their water (you have to chuck the eggs for a week or so - see what it says on the bottle). I also give them crushed oyster shell in with their pellets - bought from the local grain merchant, although I did see someone suggesting that you dry out eggshellls in the oven and then crush them and feed them back for calcium. I haven't ever had a mite problem, so can't help you there, I'm afraid. I feed the bulk of their grain in a container so I can lift it away from rats at night, but also chuck a few handfuls on the ground in the morning to let them scratch about. I put straw down on an earth floor, which is quite dry and loose and they are enjoying their dust baths! When I change the straw I put down the slices without shaking them out and they have great fun distributing it over the floor of the barn! If you want to use woodchips, you can buy them at Agrial/Point Verte, and I have a friend who gets them loose for her horses from a local saw-mill.
I am also still feeding them vegetable scraps/left over rice/pasta/porridge etc and handfuls of grass,chickweed etc.
I think mine are quite happy being inside, especially bearing in mind the rain and wind we have had over the last few weeks!





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It is a sad day indeed.  I think the countryside looks very empty without the chickens grubbing round in the orchards, gardens and fields around us.  I was wondering how long they would have to stay inside, thinking that it would be indefinitely but of course, it makes sense to say the end of May, as I suppose that's the period in which the wild birds will be actively migrating.

What still amazes me about any "inconvenient" ruling or law that is discovered by Brits in France is how they interpret it as not applying to them!!  A friend of ours has about half a dozen chickens so I told her about the ruling, that also came into force around here about two weeks ago.  She was grateful for the information and had already put her chickens indoors by the time the Maire came to check up.  She subsequently phoned another local Brit whose reaction was," Oh yes I had heard about that but it only applies to farmers, you don't have to do it if you have less than ten chickens. "  And are you surprised to learn that she has nine??!!  Because of course, as we all know, the migratory birds won't infect small groups of chickens - they only bother with the big farms!!!!!

Why oh why do the arrogant Brits always think they are above the law if the law in question interferes with their lifestyle in some way? [:@]

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Maybe the people in question are more ill-informed than arrogant. They may just be following the advice given on certain other forums for English-speakers in France, where it tells them that the rules apply only to commercial flocks and/or those with ten or more birds, and that if the chickens are free-range it's perfectly OK to still keep them outside. We know differently here of course.

There are plenty of free range chickens still roaming free around our area, all, as far as I know, owned by French, the nationality that probably invented the concept of choosing which laws they observe and which they don't.

Keeping birds in a barn is probably the best solution, but as long as they, and in particular the area where they feed, is covered so that it cannot be contaminated by droppings from other birds, then they should be legal (at least that is the information we have round here, confirmed by the official registration forms our maire brought round a week ago).

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Yes, the form that we got said that the runs had to be covered with tarpaulin or something similar which is resistant to droppings from wild birds. Food/water has to be given inside the chicken house.

However, for us it was easier to house them temporarily in the barn, as their night time henhouse is so small.

We've found that different communes in the same department are enforcing, or not, different rules! Residents of the next commune, which our property borders, have not had any directive from their Maire. All hens and other fowl are happily running loose!

There seems to be confusion and misinterpretation of the rules around here, as well as beligerence on the part of owners (mostly French).

In Britain we may have rebelled, but here, we conform. We don't want a bad name or a fine. This is weird, doesn't sound like me at all!!
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zeb - ours escaped today too as one gate wasn't properly shut. They

were so enjoying themselves scratting that we hadn't the heart to put

them back. Hoping no-one official came by. They start to return for the

night at about 5pm anyway. But our arrangements still aren't up to

standard and they need to be covered more thoroughly. Pat.

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We kept chickens (in the UK) a few years back.  They started out

as free range but in the end we had to keep them in the hen house 24/7,

basically because we lost so many to the local fox population.  As

I recall we supplemented their feed with grit.  You also need to

make sure they always have plenty of clean water if they are used to

having an outside source.  We had covered water containers that

had a circular trough arangement around the base for feeding.

The hen house we had had was quite large.  Half of it was a

conventional hen house, the other was an enclosed area (wooden roof and

mesh sides) but raised on stilts with a mesh 'floor' so that all the

droppings dropped outside.  Because of the style of construction

it meant they could have quite a reasonable sized 'run' - not the same

as being outdoors but better than 'death by fox'. I mention it because

the construction was quite simple and cheap (and probably something you

could do yourself as an add on to an existing hen house) and from what

has been said above seems to comply with the new requirements.

Our cockerel (appropriately named 'Paxo') had already met his end

courtesy of the local fox population - but we would have had to

consider killing him as I don't he would have tolerated a life in the

hen house.  (All those women - would have done nothing for his

blood pressure!)


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We had a notice in the postbox saying that all chickens had to be kept indoors and also that a trip to the vet would be subsidised,up to 45 euros per visit.Another letter came a bit later saying that the authorities had to be notified if one kept any goats or sheep. The neighbouring hamlet had neither of these letters.
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- and for ducks. The first casualties of the system. We have a small

lake at about 200m from the house where live a few semi wild ducks

which we haven't been able to persuade inside . Normally they come up

for a meal of maize in the evenings but for the last week have been

deprived of this. Today we found three of them torn to pieces down by

the lake - seems that in their hungry condition they were unable to

escape the fox. Pat.

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