The Intelligence and Motherly Love of Animals
By a fellow initiate in Shanxi, China (Originally in Chinese)
A Loving Mother Hen
When I was small, my family lived close to a rural area and followed the life style and daily routine of the nearby farmers. Almost every household in the neighborhood raised chickens which ran free in the yards during the day. At feeding time or rest time I would call loudly to our chickens. Although human voices are similar, the chickens always recognized their master’s voice and rushed home from all directions.
One of our neighbors had an old hen that laid eggs constantly. Each time after she laid eggs, she would cluck a while. Then, for a period of time, she did not seem to lay any eggs. The grass nest prepared for her stayed empty and our neighbor did not notice anything special.
After several days, our neighbor saw the hen leading a brood of chicks lined up neatly in a row. The chicks were truly lovely! Many people came to see them and discuss what had happened. They believed that the hen was so anxious to become a mother that she hid and incubated her eggs! It was said that a mother hen could not leave her nest during incubation, and it took about twenty-one days for the eggs to hatch. Only after the incubation period could the hen move off the nest. However, this mother hen managed to have a normal life while finding time to secretly sit on her eggs. Everyone wondered how she found a place to hide more than a dozen eggs. She changed her habit of clucking and concealed her eggs until the eggs were hatched. The whole process escaped everyone’s attention. Her intelligence and patience was indeed remarkable!
The Unconditional Love of a Pigeon
One day, my elder brother brought home a pair of pigeons. Dad built a nest for them beneath the eaves of our house. Soon they started to reproduce. When the young birds grew bigger, their parents kicked them out of the nest so they would live independently. Our pigeon population grew and grew, until the eaves of our house had no more room to accommodate them. Even if we just hammered a nail into the wall, the pigeons happily built a nest there! “This is not the way,” my mom said. “We ought to find a solution.”
One day when my mom saw that the pigeons had laid eggs again, an idea came to her mind. She substituted two fresh chicken eggs for the pigeon eggs, wondering if they would hatch. Strangely, the pigeons did not reject the chicken eggs and continued sitting on them. Later one day, when we looked upward, we unexpectedly saw a freshly hatched chick walking about in the nest. The chicken eggs had hatched! My mom quickly took the chicks down.
The chicken eggs were considerably larger than the pigeon eggs, yet the mother pigeon had continued to sit on them as usual. What’s more, she did not hurt the chicks when she found that they were not her children. The loving nature of pigeons is obvious!
When the two pigeon-hatched-chicks grew up, they could fly higher than other chickens. They probably “inherited” some of their foster mother’s DNA!