Montélimar – a town best-known for its nougat – is the latest French commune to offer free hens to residents in a bid to reduce the waste produced by households.
The town in the Drôme (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) has launched an ‘Adopt a hen’ pilot scheme to give two free hens to around 30 homes with large enough gardens to look after them.
It follows similar free or subsidised hen schemes in the last few years in several other French towns including Colmar in Alsace, Châtillon in Hauts-de-Seine and Foulayronnes in Lot-et-Garonne.
Montélimar is also throwing in a free hen house to participants.
It is widely claimed that one hen is able to eat 150kg of organic waste in a year, which Montélimar mayor Franck Reynier estimates may represent a reduction of as much as a third of what a typical household usually throws away. The mairie hopes to see a reduction of nine tonnes of waste dealt with by council waste collectors over the year, based on two hens each for 30 homes.
To be eligible people need 25m2 of enclosed open space and should not already have hens. They should also be willing to note the weight of food waste given to the hens and how many eggs they lay. If successful Mr Reynier says it may be extended to the whole agglomeration, of which he is president, which includes the city and 25 surrounding communes.