Diary of a Mother Hen: Now that she has grown

Harumi laid her first egg today. When Rosemary called to tell me the news, I felt the same kind of jolt to the heart and sting to the eyes that I felt when my son’s voice cracked for the first time.

The passage of time takes our babies away, and I think it is a rare parent who is completely ready.

This isn’t merely a case of baby grows up though. I looked at her egg and held it in my hand, and knew that to so many it would not be good enough. A first laying marks the beginning of a hen’s profitability to those who would gain from what is not theirs, and they would find our beautiful Harumi’s egg inadequate. A person clamoring for a breakfast of sunny side up or scrambled would scoff at just how poorly this egg would feed their appetite.

They wouldn’t see Harumi. They wouldn’t see the little chick who had grown into her yellow-green feet. They wouldn’t wonder how Harumi experienced the laying of her first egg. They wouldn’t cradle her egg in their hands as I did while feeling it to be a precious part of someone I love.

They would likely dash it to the ground in disgust.


I dashed it to the ground myself, but my intent was so very different. I gave her back her egg so she could eat it as chickens like to do. We don’t need her to be “economically viable.” We don’t need her to produce anything for us. We only want a life of health and comfort for her.

We will not take. We will only give. You’re safe with us, Harumi.

– Linda Nelson


Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 19

This is the last full day that Harumi and Kotori will be sheltered under our roof, and I’m feeling more than a bit weepy. It is always a huge adjustment when one’s babies fly away from home.

I’ve so enjoyed the day to day rhythm of caring for them, and now that it is nearly over, I know I’ll miss it. I’ll even miss cleaning up after two teenage chickens!

They won’t be far away as they have a permanent home at TCA’s micro sanctuary. I keep telling myself I will see them often, and I will, but the hardest part of motherhood is letting go.

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen Day 18

Where are you going, my little ones, little ones?

As Kotori and Harumi grow, they are turning towards each other and out to the world more and more.

They still allow me to stroke their little heads to sleep, and they still run towards my voice when I walk in the room, but they have grown in confidence, and they know so much better than I what it is to be a chicken.

This is all for the good, but I will miss my little peeps … though I am proud of the beautiful birds they are becoming.

Being a mom is bittersweet.

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 17

I had blotted from memory the frenzied scene from childhood of my five brothers devouring watermelon on a summer day out in the backyard. Watching them was not for the faint of heart as juice flowed down their shirtfronts and seeds flew everywhere like so many ricocheting bullets.

I don’t like watermelon.

I revisited those long gone days of summer when I purchased watermelon for the first time in my adult life in order to offer it to Harumi and Kotori.

They do like watermelon. In fact, they love it, and they ate the slice I had given them in time worthy of the record books.

They were none too dainty about it either, and bonds of sisterhood flew right out the window as they pulled, tugged, yanked, and squawked for more. I thought they might get hurt!

I was tempted to repeat my mother’s mantra heard constantly when she was busy raising eight kids: “You ought to be ashamed of yourselves!”

– Linda Nelson

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 15

We’re still unsure whether Harumi is male or female. We believe she is an Easter Egger, and it is difficult to determine for awhile.

We won’t be disappointed if she turns out to be a he. We won’t withdraw the sanctuary this little bird has been provided because we can’t get what we want. We won’t place her in a macerating machine or dump her at a shelter.

What we want is very simple. We seek long, happy, protected lives for every one of Triangle Chance for All’s rescues, and female or male, it makes no difference.

Harumi is free to be who she or he is. We won’t harm a feather on our sweet friend’s head. We will protect her from the big, harsh world with unconditional love.

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 14

I will always remember the moment I saw my son for the first time. I was flooded with love for him as I acknowledged my responsibility.

I changed radically with Ian’s birth. I wanted to be worthy of being his mother so I left my shy self behind. This wasn’t easy for me, but it was necessary if I was going to be the best advocate for Ian as he grew. I wanted a better world for him to live in so I knew I had better go about changing it, and, first, I had to change myself.

Love is a call to action!

I felt a similar flood of feeling when Rosemary and I picked Harumi and Kotori up from the shelter. I wanted to be worthy of taking the place of their missing mothers. I want a better world for them, too.

Now I can hear the voices of many saying, “but, Linda, they’re chickens! How can you compare your love of your son with what you feel for them?”

Isn’t this a mere deflection from the matter at hand? Doesn’t calling my love for my son into question draw attention away from their lack of concern for sentient and suffering animals?

Harumi and Kotori need loving care and concern especially since someone has eaten their mothers!

My work to promote veganism and to save the lives of animals has changed me as profoundly as my son’s birth. In fact, they are part of the same whole, and they can’t be separated.

Love is a call to action!

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 12










As any new parent will tell you, there is a steep learning curve when new family members enter the house. This is certainly as true for Alan and me now that we’re caring for young chickens as it was when we brought our baby boy or our rescued kittens home.

We’re still learning, but there are some things that are pretty clear.

Harumi and Kotori love each other beyond all else. They are fond of me because I bring food and because I know just where to scratch their heads.

Both girls enjoy being up high (hey, one thing we’re not sure about is that Harumi is a girl!), and Harumi is better at hopping, flapping, and otherwise getting up than Kotori.

Kotori moves like a ballerina!

Kotori is wonderfully systematic and neat when she eats. She will eat a row of millet with such precision that I imagine the ding of an old fashioned typewriter at the end (I hope someone over the age of 50 is reading this!).

Harumi is a messy eater!

They both enjoy pooping in their water dispenser immediately after I clean it. I clean it about six times a day.

They both enjoy pooping in their food dishes immediately after I clean them. I just picked up more dishes at the thrift store so I can offer a clean dish right away.

They love chickweed, kale, millet, sesame seeds, and oats. They really don’t like bananas or red lentil mash.

I’ll figure out more as we continue to care for them, but I know for certain that caring for them has been one of the greatest honors and pleasures of my life. They are just that perfect!