Paris (AFP) - A French artist who hatched nine eggs after sitting on them for three weeks has been condemned by an animals rights group for depriving the chicks of a mother.
Abraham Poincheval hardly slept in the 23 days he spent nesting inside a glass vitrine in a Paris art museum which he finally left Thursday after all but two of the eggs hatched.
Last month the man dubbed France's most extreme artist made headlines worldwide after spending a week entombed inside an egg-shaped rock at the Palais de Tokyo.
But animal rights group PETA said they took a dim view of the birth of the chicks, the first of which emerged on Tuesday.
"There is nothing to celebrate in the birth of this chick born alone in a museum," the organisation said in an open letter to the artist.
"Considered merely as a part of an 'artistic' performance, it will never meet its mother.
"Animals have no place in art," it added.
But a spokeswoman for the museum insisted that the chicks, eight of whom are yellow and one brown, "are doing well and they are going to live in the country" with Poincheval's parents.
His father Christian told AFP that he had made them a luxury hen house on his Normandy smallholding where they would live out their natural lives.
- Chicks won't be eaten -
Poincheval senior, an inventor best known for his pills which make farts smell of roses, promised the chicks would never end up in the pot.
"I can assure you that they will never be the centrepiece of a grand feast," he added.
A museum spokesman said that although his son was exhausted after the marathon performance during which he never left the vitrine, he was "very happy. He never hoped that so many of the eggs would hatch."
"It has been really tough for him. He has slept sitting on the eggs. It's been a lot harder than being shut inside the rock," the spokeswoman had earlier told AFP.
As well as having to spend 23-and-a-half hours a day sitting on the eggs, Poincheval had to contend with the heat, having to keep the eggs at a minimum of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
The 44-year-old artist is no stranger to bizarre performances.
He once spent a fortnight inside a stuffed bear eating worms and insects, was buried under a rock for eight days and navigated France's Rhone river inside a giant corked bottle.
His big dream, however, is to walk on the clouds.
"I have been working on it for five years, but it is not quite there yet," he said.