by Angela
(Northern California)

I had never had chickens before but had been around them since my Nana had them on the farm when I grew up. I knew one day I would have chickens of my own.

Enter my four lovely chickens, Eggwina, Doris (after my nana), Henifer Lopez and Carmella. Eggwina was the top of the pecking order, a beautiful speckled black and white chicken with a scarlet comb and wattle. My neighbor remarked that if she ever was reincarnated, she wanted to come back as one of my chickens! She told me they lived in Shangri-La.

Eggwina was the first to always snatch treats out of my hand, running into the corner of the coop to try to get it all to herself. She loved lettuce, fresh corn, apples and melon.

When my son went to check on them yesterday afternoon, at first he thought Eggwina was sunbathing in her dust patch. Then he realized she wasn't moving. She had suddenly died. There were no signs of distress on her plump little body.

He and his friend buried her in the garden and made a little memorial to her with her name on it. I can't believe I am down to only three chickens now since for the last year, four little feathery bodies have come to greet me whenever I pass by their coop. It will make me sad to collect only 3 eggs instead of 4 and I am wondering who will now become the leader of the flock.

I had set up several plastic chairs in their coop and when they were little, we would sit out there for hours watching them play and grow. They would sit on our laps, or in the case of Eggwina, sometimes pretend they were a parrot, perching on your shoulder and occasionally trying to peck perceived bugs off your face! She was a character and my first experience at hen keeping. Hopefully the others will remain well.

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