Diary of a Mother Hen – Extra Entry

I was telling my mother about Harumi and Kotori’s separation last night when she said, “You talk as though they have the same feelings as people.” “They do, Mom, they do!” I replied.

I talked about how it is easier for people to kill farmed animals if we pretend that they don’t have the same emotions as our human family members or dogs and cats. It is easier to deny their feelings than own up to the tragedy of killing and using sentient beings.

“And, when they are part of a big flock, you can’t know each one,” my mom added. She went on to tell me about the 25 chicks she had ordered when she was a 10-year-old farm girl. She let me know that they had all seemed the same except a very special rooster who became her pet.

I asked if she had been miserable when my grandpa killed this rooster. “He never did; I wouldn’t let him. He was just like my dog,” was her response.

And so Kotori and Harumi help to shed light where there was not enough.

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 10

I went in for my final check of the girls last night to find Kotori quite upset. She was peeping shrilly and urgently, and as I followed her gaze, I saw Harumi on the highest level of our cats’ tower. Clearly her flying skills are improving!

Harumi was less disturbed than Kotori, but she didn’t protest when I picked her up gently and placed her on the floor next to Kotori. She brought to mind the kitten in my son Ian’s favorite book from toddlerhood whose mother had to constantly remind “don’t go up, if you can’t get down!”

Both girls were clearly relieved to be together again. They spent the next twenty minutes before day turned to night trying to shimmy under each other’s wings. I left them sleeping nestled closely together feeling so glad they have each other.

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 9

Most people will never see chickens as anything more than the severed body parts they prefer to eat and the eggs they claim as their own. They can’t know these tiny descendants of dinosaurs as anything more than what they can take from them. I pity their blindness.

Kotori and Harumi have established a comfortable rhythm with us. With their physical needs all carefully attended to, they have the chance to be individuals. This is a chance their sisters, mothers and brothers caught up in the hell of animal agriculture will always be denied.

Kotori is a careful eater. She meticulously and forcefully addresses each morsel of food so there is no waste. Harumi
sweeps in, and food flies!

Kotori doesn’t get distracted by much. If she is eating, she eats; if she is drinking, she drinks, and so on. Harumi flits from eating to snuggling back to eating with a drink thrown in.

Kotori loves to snuggle on my lap though she doesn’t seem to crave it as Harumi does. She is satisfied with a pet to the head in passing while Harumi will interrupt what she is doing to seek my lap and my touch. Kotori has a quiet confidence while Harumi is much quicker to startle.

They are so much more than their body parts. They are so much more than the eggs they will produce. They are so much more than the cost of their care or my limited ability to fathom just who they are.

My mother said to me the other day, “I never thought I’d have a daughter who loves chickens!” and though this was meant to be slightly mocking, it struck me as a very beautiful thing.

Yes, I do love chickens, and I always will.

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 8

I love this photo of Kotori and Harumi looking out at the wide world together, and I assume it represents what their lives will be from now on.

They will be able to feel the breeze on a spring day while hunting in the grass for good things to eat. They will be able to join a flock and take a dust bath before dashing to the next thing that catches their fancy, and each will have her sister by her side.

Kotori and Harumi will be able to stretch their wings as they explore greater horizons. The window is open to a very good life!

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 7

I woke last night at about 2am startled and concerned. I feared that I had failed to close all of the windows in Kotori and Harumi’s sunroom and that the overnight temperatures would hurt them.

I had no choice but to get up and check on the situation just as I had when our son was small or when we had a new kitty at home. The young are so vulnerable.

I turned on a light in the next room before entering the room where I hoped the chickies were sleeping soundly. They were nestled together in one of their boxes, but they began peeping softly and sweetly as I came closer.

All of the windows were closed and all was well, so I stroked their little heads and wished them a goodnight.

I had no thought of assuring a return on my investment when I left my cozy bed. I’m not safeguarding their health because I’m counting on eating their eggs one day. I’m not looking forward to disease free meat once they are bigger and plumper. I will never take anything from them.

I got out of bed because I love them, and I want to assure I do right by them as any mother should.

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 6

Linda, get a grip on yourself! You’re becoming an insufferable bore.

The woman at the checkout at Weaver Street doesn’t want to hear about Harumi and Kotori’s love of chickweed. She is not much interested in imagining just how soft Kotori’s feathers are or in listening to you gush about the cute way Harumi gears up before flapping to your shoulder.

On second thought, what is the matter with this person? She must have a heart of stone.

Everyone wants to hear about these sweet, precious, little birds. Right?! So show the twenty three photos you’ve taken in the last 15 minutes, and keep crowing about these tiny hens. The world is listening!

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 5


I was up before the sun as usual, and as I drank my tea and ate my oatmeal, I pondered what the day would bring. I know it will bring heartache along with the satisfaction of being sure that my vegan approach to everything is the right way.

There is a clamoring in my head over the plight of animals which has become as familiar to me as my own hands. I recounted the conversation with a good friend who is miserable over the negligent behavior of neighbors with their backyard hens, and I read the plea from a rooster rescuer as I opened my computer.

I am fortunate to know so many good, hardworking people who are trying to make a difference for individual animals and for the billions caught in systems of exploitation, but I know so many others who are content or indifferent enough to live with and support the cruelty around us.

What would it take to live as so many in my midst live? This is no academic question as we are living with two young chickens in our sunroom.

What would it have taken to lift Kotori up with a firm grip to bring her sensitive, flawless beak up to a hot cutting blade?

What would it have taken to grasp this lovely, little dancer to shove her in a cage with others so that she could never unfold her wings again?

What would it have taken to see to it that Harumi and Kotori never preened again or rushed within their ample space to see me?

What would it take to allow my own selfish desires to take precedence over their need for fresh food, clean water, and a clean and comfortable space?

What would it take to turn a deaf ear to their frantic vocalizing as they endured the “standard practices” of an industry that celebrates and gains from their lifeless bodies hanging upside down?

Whatever it would take, I don’t have it, and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful.

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 4

Kotori (top) and Harumi (bottom).

I am like any other new parent in thinking that Harumi and Kotori are the most beautiful beings in the world! I wonder just how many photos I can post before people grow tired and turn away because, unlike the photos I took of our human son and our family of cats, there is more at stake than a mother’s pride as I snap away on my camera.

I have a window of opportunity with these enchanting little birds that wasn’t needed with my son or our cats. People don’t eat human little boys, and many agree that cats should be part of the family.

This is not the case with chickens.

I want to convey to people just how interesting and unique Kotori and Harumi are and how very worthy they are of being alive and well. I want to convince people that they are not and should never be egg producers or Sunday dinner, nor should any of their species.

I want everyone to know that they both start to peep madly when I walk in the room. Everyone should know that their flying skills have improved so much in a day that they are resting on my shoulders instead of my lap now. I want them to melt as I do when Harumi tilts her little head and trills to my trill. I want people to take in the gentle way Kotori pushes her head into my hand before she falls asleep.

I’m not in a race to spare Harumi and Kotori’s lives. They have sanctuary with Triangle Chance for All for the rest of their lives, but I want others to think of these sweet young hens before they place the body of another in a frying pan or steal another’s eggs.

The lives of Harumi and Kotori matter so much to me, and by extension, so do the lives of every other chicken and all other animals. Their lives belong to them, their lives matter, and their suffering and deaths are always a tragedy.

And, now I have young ones to hold.

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 3

There are few things more rewarding to me than gaining the trust of a non-human in my care. I’ve learned through long experience that what is needed is patience and a genuine desire to see others content and at peace.

Kotori and Harumi are so comfortable with my presence now, and they both climb on my lap and settle down for long preening or napping sessions when I come in their room. It is just so enchanting to me as the preening slows, the feathers fluff, and their little eyes begin to close.

Each girl likes different things. Kotori enjoys being picked up and placed on my lap and once there, she wants long, full-body strokes. Harumi would much rather get where she is going by herself, and I respect this. She will stand by my side, pull herself to her full height, and leap up to land on my lap with peeps and fluffs which never fail to wake her companion. She enjoys having her neck and the very top of her head stroked until she, too, falls asleep.

I’m so glad to be providing Harumi and Kotori with what they need, but providing them with what they want is a better feeling still. I’m so honored to be able to create peace in their world. I just wish I could do the same for all of their brothers and sisters.

– Linda Nelson

Diary of a Mother Hen – Day 2


Sunday, April 20th

I woke up in the middle of the night worried that it might be too cold in the house for Harumi and Kotori. Though I had made a nest of soft blankets for them, I still felt concerned enough to get up to turn up the heat.

When I got back to bed, I experienced what I call “brain spin” as my mind raced from thought to thought.

I thought about how very sad it is that there are so many farmed animals without mothers, and though I am doing my best, I am a poor excuse for a mother hen. Harumi and Kotori are doing just fine, but arriving in a cardboard box to someone’s door is no way to start a life.

It is hard to even imagine the life their mothers have been forced to lead all for the hubris of humans.

I started my yogic breathing to slow my mind down, and drifted off to sleep again. I know full well that I will wake another night with horrid thoughts of what so many do to other beings they consider lesser than themselves.

– Linda Nelson