Tiny came to me in the second batch of chicks. I could tell by about the third day that she wasn't quite right. She fell behind in growth, and by the time the nine little chicks were two weeks old, she was about half the size of the others.
I brought her in the house, but she was very lonesome and was only happy when she was on my lap. I finally took her back to the barn. It was very unusual that the bigger chicks didn't bother her or pick on her. The pecking order is no joke, it is fact. But they were rather careful of her, or as careful as chickens can be.
The little chicks, being three weeks younger than the first batch, were kept in a smaller pen inside the big pen, and Tiny did just fine. One time she got out of the pen, and I found her crouched in a corner, but still okay, none of the bigger birds picking on her. Anyone who has had chickens will tell you that such behavior on the part of the older chicks is just short of miraculous.
A few days ago, she got caught in some netting, and I thought she was a goner. But I picked her up and held her for a few minutes. In no time, she was back on her feet.
And speaking of her feet, her little body, small as it was, seemed to be a bit much for her feet and legs, and she spent most of her time sitting down, sometimes in the food tray. Every now and then her head would jerk around. There were neurological problems. I knew she didn't have long for this world. Every time I went out to feed them, I would be so happy to see her, still going, still picking at her food, still being respected by the other chicks.
This afternoon I found her dead in the middle of the small pen. It was a peaceful death, I think, because there were no marks on her. She wasn't caught up in netting or pushed into a corner. She was still warm when I picked her up.
I do not bury my chickens. They go into the compost heap. It is different with this little chick. Tiny is in her own little grave in the middle of my herb garden, the spot marked by three small rocks.
Tiny, this courageous chick, lived from June 21, 2010 to August 9, 2010. I think it was a good life. May she rest in peace.