French Vocabulary – On the farm Posted by on Aug 18, 2020 in Culture, Vocabulary

Once upon a time you could find many little family farms in towns and villages across many parts of le province. Many of these owned by families who, while not farmers, kept animals.

The  animals, popularly known as les animaux de la basse-cour (the animals of the lower court), provided des œufs, du lait, et même de la viande (eggs, milk, and even meat). And while this type of home farm is far less common today, lessons on les animaux de la basse-cour (and related farming terms) still make up part of the curriculum dans les écoles maternelles across France.

Here’s a little story about a farm I know … use the vocabulary below to see how much you can understand.

Mes amis ont une ferme. Ils ne sont pas fermiers, mais ils ont un cheval, trois vaches, des poules, des canards, et des dindes.

De temps en temps ils nous donnent des œufs; des œufs de poule, mais aussi des œufs de canard qui sont plus grands que les œufs de poule et qui ont le jaune très jaune !

Avant, ils avaient une énorme truie qu’ils appelaient Saucisson (Sausage, en anglais) et un gentil petit bouc, Noël. Maintenant ils ont des lapins.

Vocabulaire de la ferme / Farm vocabulary

Une ferme est, en général, tenue par un fermier ou une fermière (A farm is, generally, run by a farmer (m.) or farmer (f).)

Voici quelques bâtiments de la ferme (here are some of the buildings on the farm):

La grange / the barn

L’écurie1Especially a horse stable., l’étable / the stable

Le poulailler / the chicken coop

Dans la basse-cour on trouve (In the lower yard one finds):

Les poules / chickens

Le coq / the rooster

Des poussins / chicks

L’oie2It was only recently that I learned that the French term for the color yellow-green … which I’d heard but never really thought about … is literally caca d’oie (goose poo)!3Which is nothing when you also learn that there is a caca dauphin (dauphin poo) named for what Marie Antoinette found in her son’s royal couches (diapers) and made all the rage à la cour de Louis XVI! / goose

Le canard4Connaissez-vous la danse des canards?/ duck

Le lapin / rabbit

And while you wouldn’t find many in France, on an American farm you might also find des dindes (turkeys)

D’autres animaux de la ferme sontOther farm animals include:

Le cheval, la jument / the horse, the filly

La vache, le bœuf / the cow, the bull

Le cochon, la truie / the pig, the sow

La chevre, le bouc / the goat (f.), the goat (m.)

Le mouton, la brebis / the sheep, the ewe

L’âne, l’ânness / the donkey (m.), the donkey (f.)

Want to learn more? You can read about other animals names here and about the names for young animals here.  And check out this post to learn about les bruits des animaux en français.

Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris


  1. chams:

    learning french from beginner

    • Tim Hildreth:

      @chams Bienvenue et bonne courage / Welcome and best of luck with your new learning!