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Monday, 29 December 2014

December 28 - 3rd Day of Christmas - Which French Hens?

Kawartha Lakes Mums Did you Know this About French Hens?

There are several theories about the three French hens in the Christmas Carol - The Twelve Days of Christmas. This post has a bit of trivia we discovered about those three French Hens, as well as some craft ideas.
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12 Days of Christmas 3 French Hens
What did we discover about the 3 French Hens?
Glad you asked!

12 Days of Christmas -Three French Hens 

According to wikipedia,  the 3 French Hens in the 12 Days of Christmas were 3 Foreign Hens in the  original French poem. While some sources conjecture the 12 Days of Christmas was a covert method of teaching children about the birth of Christ and not birds at all. Still other sources on the Backyard Chickens Forum conjecture the 3 French Hens may be one of these chickens: Marans, La Flèche or Crèvecoeur.  A bit of a math puzzle for you - How many French hens would the true love have gifted by the end of the 12 Days of Christmas, and how much space would you need to keep them in your backyard?

Marans - Chocolate Egg Laying French Chicken

Marans were bred in the search  for large extra-brown eggs. Their beautiful eggs range in colour from extra red, dark mahogany or chocolate and are a satin gloss. The shells can be either plain, have pointillism, or even darker blotches. Very dark coloured shells may show even show purplish hues. This would definitely be a lovely gift to receive, but one thing stands in the way of their being the breed mentioned in the 12 Days of Christmas - the age of the breed.
French Hen - Marans
However, Marans couldn't be the chicken referred to in the 12 Days of Christmas, since Marans appeared in the early twentieth century, and the 12 Days of Christmas dates back to the 1700's. 

La Flèche -15th Century French Chicken

The La Flèche, French: Poule de La Flèche, is a rare French breed of dual-purpose domestic chicken. It originates from the Sarthe département, in the Pays de la Loire region, and is named for the town and commune of La Flèche in that area, not far from the capital of the Sarthe, Le Mans.

La Flèche French Rooster With V Shaped Comb
La Flèche, once famous for the fine quality of its meat; has decreased drastically in number since the Second World War. In the 1960s and 1970s it even came close to disappearing.
Many authors date the origins of the La Flèche breed to the fifteenth century. In 2011 a rescue project was launched by the Conservatoire des races animales en Pays de la Loire, the regional animal breed conservation body of the Pays de la Loire region.
Their main distinguishing feature is their unusual V-shaped comb. These chickens are medium size, with males usually weighing between 3.5–4 kg and females weighing between 3–3.5 kg. and lay white eggs. La Flèche are usually bred as ornamental birds, but still are appreciated in high-level restaurants in France for their fine meat. While the cleft comb and age of the breed could make it a candidate for the Three french hens,  to me the ancestor of this chicken is a still more likely the breed gifted as the Three French Hens - the Crèvecœur.

 Crèvecœur- Ancient French Chicken 

Translated, Crèvecœur means heartbreak. What more suitable French Hen could there be for a true love to give?
Ancient French Chicken - Crèvecœur
The Crèvecœur, a rare breed of chicken originating in France, is named after the town of Crèvecœur in Normandy, and one of the oldest French chicken breeds. To me the age of the breed and its name makes it the most likely candidate as a gift from a true love. What do you think? They believe the  Crèvecœur may be the ancestor of the La Flèche, Houdan, and Faverolles. They have uniformly black plumage, a V-shaped comb and large crests. Their legs are a dark blue–grey, and were first kept in France as dual–purpose chickens - valued for both their white eggs and meat. In North America and the U.K., where consumers prefer table birds with light-coloured legs, Crèvecœurs are primarily bred for poultry exhibition.

Chicken Crafts and Gift Ideas

Keeping chickens? This Hen saddle pattern was designed to keep chickens from pecking at the base of the tail. Stitch up a slew to protect your bevvy of beauties.
Chicken Saddle Apron Pattern- Craftsy
While more communities are opening opportunities to keep Backyard chickens, not all chicken lovers can do so. You might like to indulge your true love with one of these gifts.
Sew these felt hens in your choice of colours for next year's Christmas tree, or create a mobile, or paperweights.
Free Pattern-3 French Hens - Craftsy
Keep your tea warm with a knit chicken tea cozy. This fluffy yarn really makes it look feathery.
Chicken Tea Cozy Pattern - Craftsy
A trio of these crocheted chicken pot holders would be quick to whip up with this Craftsy pattern.
Make Three French hens as Crocheted potholders with this Craftsy Pattern
Many a busy mum will identify with this chicken Cross stitch prayer - "Lord Give me the patience to endure my blessings!"
Chicken Cross stitch Mum's prayer
Which French Hen do you think is meant by the 3 French Hens?
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