How in the world did I end up with these chickens? I was primarily raised by my Grandma during my younger childhood, and saw my Mom 'once in a while'. As a kid, I was angry with my Mom for giving me to my Grandma, even though I cherished my Granny, I just couldn't understand, thought I was a bad kid, etc. This didn't promote a GREAT relationship with my Mom, and for a few years it was kind of on the rocky side. After becoming an adult and having my first child I felt this NEED to know the specifics surrounding being raised by my Grandma rather than my Mom. I just loved my new little baby boy so much, I could not fathom giving him up, and it made me want to know just what she was thinking at the time. Really, I just wanted to understand why..... After having my second child (my first daughter) I decided to split with my ex-husband, and didn't know where I was going to go. I called my Mom and talked to her about it. She invited me to come to Florida and live with the kids, adding that maybe we could work out our issues, and grow a better relationship. I immediately decided that this sounded like a great idea. When I arrived in Florida, my Mom was raising and breeding small birds for fun and a little extra cash. YUCK- I couldn't stand those birds initially....I hated the way she would let her Conure 'Burt' eat food off her plate at the dinner table, and just held disdain for these foul fowl. On top of that she would often politely remind me that these were my 'inheritance', and I better learn how to handle them now. Thanks for that Mom, I would think. At this time, all I really wanted from Mom was some answers, not BIRDS! Everytime I tried to talk with her about giving me to Grandma, all I got in return was the same old thing, "What do you want from me, I did the best thing I could think of for you, and that was send you to Grandma" Mom tried to get me into the whole 'bird-lover' thing when i saw pics in a bird mag of Plum Headed Parakeets, they were so beautiful! Truth be told, I did think many different birds were beautiful, but didn't want any of my own, at all! Within a week, she had hunted down a breeding pair of Plum heads and proudly announced that she bought them for me. Of course I rolled my eyes and said, "You don't really expect me to take them home, do you?" She replied that no, she knew they would probably live at her house. She had this big outdoor 'aviary' that she had built with 20 or so sections where she kept the different breeds separated. Finches, cockatiels, and parrots, oh my..... Sometimes, Mom would ask me to feed for her, and I could handle that, but i really hated when she would ask me to clean their cages. I did though. Then one day she had a love bird egg hatch, and I fell in like with this little baby. That one, i decided, was good enough to go home. He was not the typical green and peachy colored love bird, but rather purple, blue, and black.I named him Fred, and she gave me a cage and stuff for it. This little love bird did all sorts of kooky acrobat-like stuff, and was very amusing. I sort of started to love him, and the kids adored him like crazy. One day we came home in the evening, and Fred was dead in the bottom of the cage. We were crushed, and I called Mom in tears. She said that he probably was performing one of his acrobat maneuvers and fell and broke his neck. This incident did not help with how I felt in general about the birds. A few years, a new hubby, and 2 more kids later Mom told us she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The first thing that I thought was "Oh No, I'm really going to end up with these things!" I know that sounds bad, but it is the truth. I had long since forgotten that I was looking for certain answers, and that sort of faded away, paving the way for a better relationship with my Mom.....and now I was faced with losing her Mom ended up going through several rounds of chemo and a regimen of radiation which gave her quite a few more years. Her pulmonary doctor had told her to get rid of the birds, and reluctantly she started slowly reducing the population. She still had a few that she just couldn't part with, and after talking with her about my friend who was running a private animal sanctuary, she agreed to allow the 3 or 4 remaining birds to go to live out their lives at Sunny's place. The day we took them was really hard, not just for Mom, whose heart was breaking, but for me as well. It was tough to experience her giving up the things that she loved so dearly, and in that moment, I had my answer. I guess, all along I had thought that she didn't love me, but in this one heart wrenching second, I finally knew that she had given me up because she loved me and wanted the best for me, and felt that she couldn't give it to me. Whatever the reasoning was for her, I now knew in my heart that choosing to give me up was probably the hardest thing my Mom ever had to do, and watching this scene play out, I felt her anguish. On the way home I decided I had to tell Mom what i was feeling, because time was waning. It was hard to tell her, but I explained, once again how I felt, but this time I told her "Thanks for giving me to Grandma, and I'm sorry that I didn't realize before now that it really didn't matter 'why'..... you did the right thing, and I appreciate the fact that i spent that time with Grandma". A very short few months later Mom passed away at my home, and I was at peace knowing that she was not suffering and was in a much better place. I couldn't help but think that maybe that was how she felt when I went to go live with Grandma. A year and a half later my Hubby (Steve) met his fishing buddy, Michael, who is an older guy, and they do all sorts of stuff together. Michael has sort of become our family's elder, and we have learned a ton of stuff from him. He taught us how to catch shrimp and blue crab, and paid Steve good money to build 2 ......chicken coops. I fell in love, yes, LOVE, with one of his new little pullets. I had done a little online research for Michael regarding questions he had about different chicken breeds. One day Michael announced to us that he wanted to go to a local farmers market to try to get more chicks.To my total surprise, I blurted out, "OH, Can I go with you?" Steve shot me a glance that I will not soon forget, then laughed out loud, and it was settled, Michael would be here early Saturday morning to get me. Saturday came, and I was up really early, excited about.....of all things.....BIRDS. That was 6 weeks ago, and that day I bought my first chick. A Silkie. As soon as I paid for that little bird (something I NEVER thought would EVER happen), I could hear Mom's voice in my head saying that little bird wants to be called FRED. So it is today.....Fred is growing like crazy, and at 7 weeks, this little bird has stolen a chunk of my heart. He runs around and does kooky little chicken stuff, and I wouldn't trade him for anything! I am quickly learning lots about chickens, and Michael had graciously told me that I could have 10 of my own in his large coop. He also told me that the feed store in town had chicks--- I wonder what he'll think about 16........"Steve, we need another coop!!!!" Thanks Mom, I know you're in Heaven cracking up!!