Butterball Mothers

Mother hens fluff their feathers when they sense danger. They can appear to be twice their normal size. When they fan out their tail feathers, they look like turkeys. This behavior begins before the chicks are hatched. A sure sign a hen is sitting on eggs to hatch, is when she goes around fluffing her feathers.


The whole brood takes a break when mother takes a dust bath. A chick’s day is punctuated with frequent breaks: dust baths with mom, warm naps in her feathers, lazy time in the sun.


On Mother’s Day


This is a tribute to the 99.999999999999% of chicks who don’t have a mother. Who are hatched in mechanical incubators, rushed to broilers and laying barns, and grow up never spending a night snuggled under a mother’s warm feathers.

This is a tribute to the 99.999999999999% of laying hens who never get to hatch a single one of the many hundreds of eggs they lay. Who never get to express their love for little chicks.

A melodramatic, sentimental tribute, and yet, perhaps the fact that we don’t even stop to consider that chicks do need a mother, and think it quaint that there are still places that have mother hens raising chicks, speaks more about what has happened to us humans than anything.


A mother hen teaches the chicks manners. She teaches them to be confident in the presence of other hens, and to mingle with the rest of the flock.


Happy Mother’s Day! The chicks who have mothers sure adore them.
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