[I hug Autumn chicken]

In the spring of 1993, when I was eleven years old, and my brother Michael was eight, we stopped off at the local feedstore, probably to pick up some bird food. In a cardboard box sitting on the counter were many tiny balls of yellow fluff, peeping and blinking tiny little eyes. These flubsy creatures, day-old baby chickens, were for sale at a dollar a piece, and like any children, Michael and I knew right away that we simply had to have some. Clearly these tiny creatures needed us.

Michael proposed as much to our parents, and to our vast surprise, they said that certainly we could have some, so long as we realized that they would grow up into big chickens, and we would be responsible for them and whatever happened to them. We breathlessly agreed and piled into the car.

So the journey began. An epic tale of life and death, love and illness, and the thrills of an ever changing dominance hierarchy.

Of course, mom and dad did in fact do a great deal to help us take care of our chickens. Dad provided countless hours of time and experience, plus money, to build places for them to live. Mom found and acquired a collection of books about the care and raising of chickens. Both of them supported us through the sicknesses and deaths and subsequent tears; both of them were occasionally called upon to close up the hut at night or check in on baby chicks when we weren't at home.

When I left Missouri to go to college in 1999, I left my chickens behind me in my brother's capable hands. In the intervening years, the last girls that I really knew grew old and died. While I am acquainted with the current flock, I don't really know them very well. Although the chickens are no longer a part of my every day life, this section reflects an important part of my youth, and a tribute to the individual chickens that taught me so much.

Our chickens are pets, and each has a name. We know them as individuals and adore the lot of them.

More detailed information will be available once I scan in the many print photographs of our early flocks. This should happen in late March 2003, when I go home for spring break.

[Chickens] [Michael & Dandy]

A door leads back back.