Following our visit to the wolves on Saturday and a quick pit stop at McDo’s for caffeine and burgers, we headed up to the Hall d’agriculture in Guéret for the chicken festival i.e. the Exposition nationale d’aviculture which was going on. (An aviculteur is a poultry farmer.) And in reality it was more like a pigeon festival since these were by far the most common type of bird on display. There were some furry animals there too.

Not a chicken! A black and tan rabbit like my brother used to breed

Anyway, we strolled up to the hall and were slightly put off by the €3 per person admission fee, to the extent that Chris decided to go for a walk instead and Benj opted for a nap in the car, leaving just me and Rors to witness the spectacle. As it turned out they let Rors in for free which was kind. And it was brilliant.I wished I’d dragged the others in too.

One HUGE chicken

There must have been over a thousand creatures there. On the right hand side were the pigeons and doves while the left hand side was full of chickens, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and guinea pigs, which we’ll give their official term of cavies to, to make them sound posher! But not just ordinary specimens – there were some truly humungous and very fine-looking critters there.

Colossal Rouen duck

Rors and I loved it. We could have stayed all day looking at them all but we made do with a swiftish walk round, taking photos and making lots of amazed noises.

A pretty dove

There were some weird and wonderful bird there. These two were strange-looking we thought.

This stringy guy is an English fighting cock

This very upright duck might have been a runner duck

I used to show cavies with my dad way back when as proud member of the Ipswich Fur and Feather club, and I felt the urge to get involved again over here. We were very successful, ending up with plenty of champions who had to win their breed class with a minimum number of entries at seven different shows and judged by an official judge. It’s serious stuff I’ll have you know! We bred self blacks (self means a one-colour animal, and non-self if it had more than one colours in its markings) and golden agoutis, and I’d like to add turkeys to cavies too this time round as I’m very taken by these Rouges des Ardennes. I’ll get organised in the spring. It’s not the time to buy in livestock when a cold Creuse winter looms.

A golden agouti. Show animals have ear tags.

So we had a great animal-themed morning out on Saturday and it may have sparked off a new hobby.

This is the type of turkey I'd like to breed