I just got out of the hospital after a serious injury and had a spinal fusion that was high enough in my cervical area of my spine to be a quadriplegic if anything went wrong or issues surfaced. I have been in fear for some time and finally went forward with my surgery bc of all the horrible issues that were happening and after it was done went to rehab 9 weeks of intense therapy had to learned to walk once again. It was scary!!! I came home and the Girls are so beautiful and huge. Much larger the little girls I left knowing. They were 14 weeks when I left and are 23+ weeks old and are just incredible. My family has been caring for them and with me away they have been working, cleaning, watering and doing all the required care I had been doing all along but not as nicely. There are no complaints to the care or anything but I went out this morning dumped all the sleeper materials and put new bedding assuming they will be some eggs if laying. I scrubbed the food feeder, cleaned out all the water dishes and filled them with new vitamin drops and put fresh ACV, raked out all the sand boxes with leaves 3 thick in them and put fresh DE and stirred it up, went into the coop and emptied that bucket spread out the old sand replaced it with fresh mixed ash and DE and sand together ½ + ½ mix for winter mites and lice looking for a nice warm body to hang onto for the cold winter. Then stirred up my deep litter method wood chips and added 2 more inches of compressed chips with a ton more of DE to get the odor gone. I opened up the sleeper put DE and ash mix in the nesting boxes to remove the ammonia smell that built up over the 9 weeks gone. Anything else I forgot. Please mention it and ideas I looked around for eggs, nests and any sign that they had any eggs out there or nests. NADA, NONE and NO WAY!! Whats with that? Might be the -22 weather we have had here lately or the last 4 weeks, Yeah Think? I observed them most of my waking time today bc I have windows all along the house on the side the run is on and just sat and drank coffee with interest just to observe their behavior, seeing if there has been any change in the pecking order, how they are getting along and all the fun stuff including chicken football which I love by throwing 1 thin piece of String Cheese and watching the 5 stooges running around after the leader who has the piece while everyone else is chasing her for it. Extremely funny, enjoyable and was delighted to know they still enjoy a good old game of keep-away even in 20* degree weather. My EE, Ana is prettier than I could have imagined with her ear muffs and beard. She is so sleek and the most beautiful. Then there is Lacy my Silver Laced Wyandotte whos just gotten pretty and very inquisitive. She wanted to be close to me but with it being close to 20* degrees this am at 8:00. Then there is my Black Sex Link, Streak who is mostly black with a red chest and all her black feathers have a florescent blue trim and the very edge and it makes her look like she had been air brushed. I also have a PR and Rockie is so beautiful large filled out and you see how sweet she is and still come to me with some soft words and took a few pieces of egg from my hand. Last and final girl is Blondie. She survived a raccoon attack that killed 8 siblings when we first got started with this flock and my oldest bird being 28 weeks and was very frightened by the attack and lived in my lap and shoulders from that time until I left for surgery. Then walking through the gate and they were all thinking it was my wife bringing treats and a warm breakfast treating them to start the day and saw me she screamed and alarmed the entire neighborhood that a MONSTER just came in the run and everyone hide and screamed at me while she was ducking and telling all the other girls I do not know what it is but RUN .. I was dressed heavy for the cold with full beanie that had the flaps down over the ears with the pony tail trim over my ears a monster down jacket looking like the Michelin Guy. No wonder they were a bit stand off a bit. After this huge write-up I do not know what any of you would think of my version of War and Piece in a thread. LOL but needed to express some of the stuff filled up in my head and wanted to share the experience of being away and coming back over half of the girls entire life and seeing what they thought of the old me but THEY DID NOT RECOGNIZE ME AT ALL. I was a bit saddened by that but what do you expect. Anyone have a similar experience being gone? How did you view what happened? Did you expect them to remember you and they did or not? Any other comments about your MIA from the kids thats happened to you or a family member?