A mother’s battle is a lesson for all

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, August 9, 2023

By Harold Brummett
Denmark Star Route

Children and adults alike characterize the chicken as the epitome of cowardice. There is no telling of the fights that have taken place or other acts stupidly performed to prove that someone is not chicken. Labeled a chicken defines timidity.

I know better.

Email newsletter signup

Chickens simply have an overdeveloped sense of self-preservation and practical view of life. Chickens do not have sharp claws, flesh-tearing beaks or a ferocious look about them, and yet….

Coming home late one afternoon Angie and I pulled into our drive just off a country lane and into a life and death struggle. A small bantam hen was going toe to toe, beak to beak with a red-tailed hawk. The hen had sent her chicks scattering for cover as she fought a losing battle with this predator. The mother bantam did not back down, give ground or give up. She did not quit and only relaxed as we stopped the car and ran to her, causing the hawk to take flight.

The bantam was badly injured and as I held her, she called to her babies assuring herself of their safety. The babies came out of hiding chirping to their mom. A cage was quickly prepared with soft hay, water and feed inside. We put the mama in the cage with her babies.

We did all we could for her wounds. The babies gathered around her and under her best they could and this seemed to comfort the dying bantam.

The next morning what I had suspected happened. The mama bantam succumbed to her injuries during the night. The mighty in spirit little mama was laid to rest along the fence line where pets are buried on our farm.

The babies were my responsibility now and I raised them up to become part and parcel of the farm. A human is a poor substitute for the love and bravery their mother displayed.

The moral of this story is that you do not have to be what is expected. I learned that even a chicken would fight when what is at stake is important enough or you care enough. Running away is always an option, but not one that we can afford to take.

By ourselves, we cannot defeat the hawks that want to label, demonize, mischaracterize and downright attack us. Love, determination and a spirit of defiance counts a great deal. A battle is not lost if you protect what is important despite the outcome of the battle – if the chicks are safe.

Sometimes even a chicken will fight.

Write to Harold Brummett at denmarkmississippi@hotmail.com.