RARE BREEDS OF POULTRY AND EXOTIC BIRDS
You can see examples of local rare breeds of hens and ducks which freely roam the chateau gardens.
At the time of Louis XIV in the 17th century it was very fashionable to possess a collection of caged exotic birds. The Marquise de Montespan, one of Louis XIV’s mistresses, used to let her birds fly freely around her apartments within the chateau of Versailles.
The exotic birds at the chateau of Mesnil Geoffroy can be found within their own aviaries behind the building which now houses the ticket office, surrounded by flowers, hydrangeas and dwarf maples.
Amongst the birds in the collection are a couple of large parakeets (green/red necked) who whistle to each other. These birds come from Africa and Asia originally. Rather surprisingly you can often see them around Charles de Gaulle airport at Roissy – where they no doubt arrived by aeroplane!
Small parrots with vibrant plumage can be found in one of the other aviaries. They were « discovered » in 1793 and are more commonly known as « love-birds ». They have bred whilst being at the chateau.
In another aviary, framed by white hydrangeas and honeysuckle, are housed a number of doves whose distinctive call echoes around the park, especially in the summer months. These birds originate in India.