High commerce in the countryside…

5 cockerels sold this morning – vivant pour manger …plus 3 offers from folk to come and kill them for me – any time!

one of my Cockerels

I’ve GOT to harden up and stop being so silly if I want to do this rural life and stop it hemorrhaging money. I keep giving them all little personalities, but I mustn’t because I then  find it very difficult to kill them… the result,  I’m overrun – the cost of feeding  so many fighting cockerels, not to mention the noise, is ridiculous now! Perhaps that’s the reason I’m getting so many offers to do the deed – to quieten down the neighbourhood!!

I knew on Saturday that I really was going to have to deal with my problem – not only had I got 5 dozen freshly laid eggs I had approximately 35 cockerels as well… all it is doing is costing over 100€ a month feeding them all and smashing eggs we can’t eat quick enough! So I took myself for a walk round the village with a basket of eggs – met 2 old ladies in their 80’s and asked if they would like any eggs – gave them 6 gratuit and just casually asked

Volulez vous une coq pour manger –

as quick as a flash… combien ?

off the top of my head I said cinq Euros

OUI  was the snapped answer … with a muttered moins cher

Oh tres petite I say – c’est le babette

Ahhh, mange bien

do you want them dead or alive? I timidly asked

comme vous voulez

vivant c’est bon?


Then the killer question WHEN…. feeling brave I suggested tomorrow morning… NO it is Sunday was the response… tap dancing shoes on, I suggest Monday…and so it was arranged.

2 down 33 to go… no sooner had I got home flushed with my success the phone rings.. an order for 4 coq’s vivant. 5 minutes later the door bell rings – 2 ladies want to buy 2 dozen eggs.

The die was cast… We sneaked up Sunday night to the hen house when everybody was asleep and lifted 5  coq’s, put them in a cage in the garage overnight, this morning the folk duly arrived to pick them up and to deal with the killing. Everyone was very pleased with the size of the birds … they are not after all babettes… I could command more money per bird. Free range birds go for as much as 30€ but, they are a lot bigger than mine… maybe I could get 8€ per bird.

The folk that bought them all early 80’s, no nonsense country folk, one old duck picked hers up and thrust it head down into her shopping basket without blinking a eyelash, as if it was the most normal thing in the world to be walking round with a live cockerel in a shopping bag over your arm! Another old lady bought some eggs as well. Then they duly took a walk up to inspect the rest of the flock, I suspect to work out how many more dinners were there, admire the Llamas and laugh at the pet pigs… off they went… with mixed emotions I counted out my 31 € into my chicken pot.

Went up to feed everybody, check the water and see to all the animals, when in comes Raymond (our next door neighbour & Mayor of the village) and his side kick Michel, the under Mayor… they’d come to collect his Ram who had burst through the fence on Friday to get to Clarie who unbeknown to us had come into season. It had been agreed to let the Ram stay with her for the weekend to see what happens.

Well, the Ram was very reluctant to let his lady love go, bit hard on St Valentines day, but nevertheless the star struck lovers were to be separated. Eventually he was man handled out the field but plainly obvious he wasn’t going to walk round back home through the village, so Mike got the Land Rover… no no no were the cries from the Frenchmen, but Mike said no and insisted the Ram would go in the back with a little man handling… sure enough as easy as anything he was in, (and I guess he liked it the way he was looking out the window!), Raymond got in with Mike and the Ram and drove the home, Michel stood thoughtfully looking at all the coq’s and said I will come and kill for you… I knew he meant it, I was seeing it all through French locals eyes… nutty Englishwoman!

1 hour later Mike gets back – bear in mind he drove less than 100 meters – coerced into appero, Pastis or Whisky – the structure of my ‘little’ farm has moved into a new dynamic era I am informed. The cockerels will be dispatched by Michel whenever I need him and when Clarie has her lambs I am not to name them, Michel & Raymond will come when the time is right to dispatch them and we are to buy a new freezer… this will happen every year… we are to be self sufficient… I may even grow some spuds and really go for it!


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3 responses to “High commerce in the countryside…

  1. Ellen Bandsma

    Loved this story! I have a yen to raise a few chickens for eggs but am daunted by the task of what to do when they must be dispatched. You seem to have solved that problem! Delightful reading. Thanks.

  2. A great read, Tansy, bringing home the reality of farm life. I know you thrive in the challenge of hard work and labor over the issue of too many chickens in the hen house, as described in this delightful post. But though I (an obligatory carnivore like my cats)eat chicken, I also find them quite lovely and a source of great entertainment. I don’t think I could raise them and then have to, necessarily, put them down. You tell the tale with great understanding.

  3. Dish up big big portions, then you will at least not need to buy a freezer every year.


    John G

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