Chicken Eggs

“In the estate, there were already indigenous chickens – Black, Yellow, White and Pedrez - between 100 to 120. Today I have 463. I want to preserve the four indigenous breeds (…) I also have 800 laying hens, but from another breed, White Leghorn, and each lay approximately 240 eggs a year!” Tozé Francês' words express joy when he talks about his chickens that stay outdoors daily in this “sanctuary of pure, healthy and happy animals”. 

Herdade Serra dos Mendes
Aldeia do Barrancão, 7580-701 Santa Susana, Alcácer do Sal
How to get there
+351 968 610 688


Introduced by
Leopoldo Calhau, Taberna do Calhau

Texto de Patrícia Serrado

We are in Herdade de Serra dos Mendes, in Aldeia do Barracão, parish of Santa Susana, in the municipality of Alcácer do Sal. The 110-hectare property was acquired two decades ago, by Catarina Francês’ father, when he implemented the production project in organic mode. 

In 2017, the couple Tozé and Catarina Francês decided to change their life, and moved to the estate, to rehabilitate the ruined buildings, keeping the original design of Alentejo houses and converting them into accommodation for Rural Tourism. Cucumbi is the name. It opened its doors in 2019 and refers to the childhood of Tozé Francês, born in Cacolo, Angola, where the river is called Cucumbi. “It is the river where I played when I was a child”, hence the homage to this watercourse in Aldeia do Barracão, where chickens and sheep are also the centres of everyone's attention. There are 463 chickens alone. All of them are indigenous breeds - Black, Yellow, White and Pedrez. Tozé wants to preserve the four races and “reach 600, 150 of each breed”, he adds. “I also have 800 laying hens, but from another breed, the White Leghorn, and each one lay approximately 240 eggs a year! We have a veterinarian who accompanies our animals and who finds this number of eggs impressive!” They are hens that remain for the most part, in a park with an area of ​​one hectare and a half, consisting of six “divisions”, in the open air. "The parks are sown with grains, I mix cereals... this is all sown by us," he says. “We have biological feeds, in addition to the remains of our gardens” and “the chickens leave the hen house at seven in the morning and collect at night, but we keep the doors open. They are free!” Also, they “listen to classical music inside and outside the chicken coop” whose roof is composed of four isolations, “so that the temperature is never below 15°C in winter and does not exceed 25°C in summer. They are happy chickens!”.

If we refer to the sheep, Tozé Francês speaks with the same smile on his face. He kept the 100 that already existed at Herdade Serra dos Mendes and already has sheep of the Merino breed - “approximately 150 black and approximately 200 white”, he assures - associating, for this purpose, with the National Breeders Association of Breed Sheep Churra Mirandesa (ANCORM). In addition to the preservation of this breed, the owner of Cucumbi wants to sell the animals to breeders and not for slaughter. “Cucumbi is a sanctuary for pure, healthy and happy animals, and this is our joy that we want to share with people!”.

Therefore, we can say that it will be worth visiting, getting to know and staying at Cucumbi - Turismo Rural, as there is much to say about this project by Catarina and Tozé Francês.