Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am proud as a mother hen.

I proudly announce the birth of a new baby chick. She was born about a week ago, and her wing-feathers are already starting to come in. They look like butterfly wings right now, flat, stiff, and glossy-bright. Over the course of the next few months, more and more of these stiff, bold feathers will peek through in patches, and the fluffy down will disappear. I love watching the new feathers grow. I think that I cannot stand the waiting. I need to see what she will look like.

The baby chick and her mother, Eva. Eva is not her biological mom, but she is the one who sat on the egg so now she has the responsibility for its upbringing.
I am optimistically calling the chick a girl, but there is no way of knowing for sure until I see an egg. Or hear a crow. I have promised her to Michaela when she is old enough to leave her mother, because I have too many chickens, and besides, my flock needs new blood. Many of them are related to each other now.

Peanut Butter Cup, the presumed mother. The baby has feathered feet and five toes like her.
Theodore Roostervelt, the presumed father. He doesn't let any of the other roosters get near the women.
Below is a video so you can get a taste of some of the cuteness. The chick is amazing, but it is the mother, Eva, who I really feel for. She is everything a chicken-mother should be: soft, attentive, single-mindedly devoted. Her life is centered around whether this chick is safe and healthy. I don't know of course, but I feel fairly confident that Eva would give up her life defending this baby. I can hardly even get a picture of the baby because even though Eva trusts me, she doesn't trust my camera sticking in their faces.

In this nearly rain-free winter, the birth of a new chick seems appropriate. So far this year, the idea of winter is just a suggestion, more like a diminished spring. Lilies offer their snow-white blooms, and our first strawberry finally ripened, months after I gave up on the plant. Yes, the garden gently bows, and its colors have dimmed. And I see that the tomato plant is tired, but now and then I still pick a few garishly red plum tomatoes for the chickens. The boundaries between winter and spring have been smudged. In this warmth I can be more productive, but still, my body reads the light and begs for hibernation.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful post, Ashley! I love thinking of you spending all this time with animals. What a rich life. Lots of love to you, and keep writing! Love, Alyssa