I remember the moment my mother brought home our first chick, Victoria, better than I remember most of my birthdays. It was a warm, spring afternoon, and we came home from school to find my mother had finally started the flock she'd been wanting for so long. Looking at the downy fluff of Victoria's body and her scrawny, dinosaur legs, it occurred to me then, as an eight-year-old, that I'd never really observed a bird up close before. Birds were probably my least favourite creatures, what with their beady eyes and sharp beaks, but Victoria was something else. She chirped in her sleep and made a mess of her water bowl and responded to treats just like all the puppies I'd loved before her.