I could fill pages with stories about my lovable chickens.

They’re all now know me as their dad, or possibly mom, but in any case, anytime I come around, they’ll crowd around waiting for me to feed them, and if I don’t, they’ll wonder off, but come back every few minutes to see if I’ve changed my mind. Most of them have green eyes, which for some reason I found surprising. I don’t know what color eyes I was expecting, but they’re actually pretty and have some life to them. I love it when they look at me when I’m standing up. I guess they can’t turn their pupils up so they’ll turn their necks upwards and to the right, and look at me from one eye.

Each one has their little story, like me chasing the rooster around for 45 minutes and now he is scared of me, although he knows I have the goods, so he can’t just give me the cold shoulder. The two brown and white ones have now grown apart and they are more easily recognizable. One seems to be growing thru her awkward stage where her neck feathers are thinning out and you can see down to her skin. She really needs to do something about those pores.

The brown one which I named Axel after a hamster I had back in New Jersey that was really mean to the other hamster who’s name I forgot, is no longer as brave. Funny how I remember the mean ones name and not the nice one. Axel is, more than any other chicken, the butt of the roosters pecks. I tell her it’s because he likes her the best, but it still really bothers Axel. I expect a few eggs at the corral in a few months.

Spot has grown seemingly faster than the others, although she’s still not the biggest chicken. She is now the bravest of them all and seems to like me the most. She was the first chicken to actually jump on me while sitting with them. That has to count for something, even if she was just searching for food.

Sleepy provided me with the biggest ‘aww’ moment. She is the cutest because she is the smallest and seems so calm. Whenever I feed them, the others will devour the food, while sleepy while peck at it for a while, walk around, come back and peck some more, then after a few minutes of pecking, fall asleep right where she is. Once I fed them, while I was sitting near-by and after a few minutes of eating, sleepy came over next to me, closed her eyes and took a nap. I would have stayed there for hours if she would not have waken up.

Unfortunately, what seemed as cute and endearing caused me to overlook sleepy’s illness. I thought she was just a calm, laid-back chick, but she was actually sick. I started paying her special attention when feeding and would take her aside to make sure the others weren’t muscling her out of the feast. But after a few days of diminishing appetite and energy, she died.

I came to feed the chickens in the morning and counted that only 5 of them had come out, so I went to their corral and saw sleepy, on his feet with his eyes closed. I gave her a few pokes but he refused to move. Finally, I came with some food and put it right in front of her but she wouldn’t open her eyes, wouldn’t peck at the food. I then went and got all the chickens and brought the food inside the corral, in front of sleepy. The chickens started eating, and then one of them saw the food I had put in front of sleepy and dashed for it (you can serve a heaping pile of food in front of chickens, but if afterwards, you throw one more piece somewhere away from the pile, they will all go after the prodigal feed.) The chickens shoved sleepy out of the way and pecked at her food. Sleepy cried but even then with eyes still closed and not enough energy for more than a few kicks and wing waves. After they finished her food, the coup went back to continue eating, but midway, the rooster stopped and looked back at sleepy; on the ground, her 4 tiny fingers out grasping at air. Rooster went back and pecked at her four, five, six times willing her to get up, but even the pecks of the biggest rooster in the coup could not raise sleepy from her final rest.

Her funeral as a simple one. I lifted her up and lanced her across the wall; her one and only flight, on her way to chicken heaven.