>> Sunday, January 6, 2013
It's only appropriate that this first post of the new year would be late in coming as what I've written below has been in my drafts folder for over a year...
As I mentioned last year, January 1st for me not only marks a new year... But it's also my vegan-versary. And a year ago it was also the day that Peggy's chicks were hatched:
I've put off writing about Peggy because of the possibility of criticism... But I've mulled over worst-case-scenarios enough to stick my neck out, and hope that the hatchet doesn't fall without at least telling our story first...
Here's what I wrote almost a year ago:
Peggy has been the most brooding hen I've ever known. She would sit on her nest with her one egg for endless days. Many times not leaving to eat or even to roost with the rest of the flock... When I did remove her into the grass and sunshine - She'd scream and squawk in desperation - not wanting to leave her egg. Her precious egg that never had the benefit of a rooster's charms. This went on for many months - She'd always fret. I'd always feel badly for her frustrated mothering desires.
The next day Ralph gave me 15 assorted eggs - probably all fertilized. I placed them in a nest box - and Peggy laid claim to them immediately. For 3 weeks straight she only left those eggs for water and food... Not all the play, digging, or sun bathing by her friends could get her to abandon her mission. Peggy was in her element! She dutifully rotated those eggs, keeping each at just the right temperature - Cooing a mantra in her task of motherhood.
Then on New Year's eve nature's alarm clock struck... Her first chick hatched at about 8 pm - During the night 4 more peeps were under her warm feathers... Throughout the next day about every 3 hours another little being reached the official welcome-mat of life. I tried to imagine what each new sibling thought of the next:
Hey - I'm me! peep-peep Who are you? cheep-cheep Where'd you come from? peep Are there more of us? cheep Isn't Mommy the best place to be? peep - peep... cheep - cheep.Peg left several unhatched eggs - Apparently birds know when they aren't viable because there is no conversation taking place. The shells that were vacated though were stacked one into the next --- Accordian style - Like a collapsed tower... This was her way of "counting" and making room for the other lives yet to come. Quite a bit of a perfect "miracle". Yeah - I cried...
After about 24 hours Peggy left the nest with her little babies following her. She didn't go far... Maybe 2 feet. But the chicks ventured further. Then she'd fluff all her feathers to make herself huge. She'd flap her wings and let out a deafening screech. Each of chicks made a rapid retreat back under her. These were their first lessons to return to safety at her urging.
For the first month they all slept in Mother's down - Tucked in every space available.
From the beginning I also had my own "maternal" goals in mind... There is my beautiful Cleo
The chicks have climbed on her... Cooed and gently accepted her as a surrogate mom... At first Peggy wasn't so generous to "share" her chicks - But as they've gotten older I think she's grateful for the break away from her duties.
And as you can see in this video - There was a particular bond with one chick named Miss. Miss for "misfit" as Peggy totally rejected her. Ran her away from the rest of the brood with a vengeance. Why? I have no idea but she and Cleo were inseparable.
So much for ringing in the new year with old news... But it was something that's been tugging at me to tell as a course of learned lessons and owning up to a lapse in judgment. I was never perfect as an omnivore - And certainly still am not perfect as a vegan. Maybe the next five years of more carefully thought out decisions will get me closer though. (?) ~Happy New Year