One of the most important motivators for us is always trying to make the most out of what we have. Whether that be a giant chateau or a single bed apartment, a Ferrari Enzo or an old Ford Cortina. We have about 5 acres surrounding Perigord Retreats, most of which has an assigned function. There is the “Truffier” of around 25 Green Oaks providing truffles every winter, the beautiful rockeries planted with a wide variety of flora flowering all throughout the year and some nice open grassed area for enjoying the sun. click here to see some pictures of the grounds at Perigord Retreats.
Additionally, we have a field of around 2 acres. When we first moved into what would soon become Perigord Retreats, this field had been neglected for around 5 years. We spent a lot of time adjusting the hedges to something more manageable without compromising the wild song birds and their natural habitat. We constructed a fence high enough to contain chickens and then we were ready.
Gourdon has an excellent marke on a Saturday morning with different items for sale all throughout the year. during the colder months it is always possible to buy some laying hens and so we immediately bought half a dozen hens. Released from their small cages into their new 2 acre home, our hens were immediately content with their new lives. These lovely girls really show their appreciation by laying some of the most delicious eggs every morning in exchange for their life of luxury.
One morning we had a call from a friend who lives locally. She had a chicken in her garden and with no neighbours, she had no idea where it came from. Within the hour we had been over and caught her, later released her into the field and she was was immediately accepted into the group.
We started off with 6 hens and now we have 15, the black hen we found and 8 young hens who are currently being taught the ways of the world by the older girls (before long we are going to have too many eggs).
But we don’t just have chickens, we also have 4 guinea fowl we bred ourselves by incubating some eggs we were given by a friend. they’ve grown up to be an integral member of the group, warning all of the girls whenever a bird of prey flies over or sly Mr Fox decides to have a sniff around the fence line. These eagle-eyed birds do a great job of protecting and even provide us with some delicious eggs during the breeding season – they taste a bit stronger than a chicken egg and are around the same size.
We even have a hen pheasant who has become very tame in recent months, she comes into the field a couple of times a week. I can usually get within 10 yards before she flies off but is always comfortable to let me watch her from a distance
We use the eggs
almost every day – breakfast, lunch or dinner. cakes, omelettes (combined with our garden vegetables) and salads.There is always enough for all of our guests. We haven’t had to buy an egg since we’ve had our hens! The image to your right shows one of our girls heading into her nest box going to lay an egg one afternoon.