The yearning to be a mother kept her sitting on an old egg. The fluffy black bantam was steadfast in resisting the urge to get off the nest. When she did give in and get up, she wasted little time pecking at feed, getting a drink, and settling herself over the tiny brown egg. After a week, I removed the egg for candling. It was plain to see. There would be no hatchling but I gave the egg back to her. I hated to see her disappointed. So, I fixed the situation—at least, I hoped to bring about a happy conclusion.

I headed for a nearby, small town and a feed store I had seen on the main road. When I got there, I was appalled at the condition of the place. The area where they housed the baby chicks, ducks, assorted chickens, and rabbits was deplorable. I did not attempt to find the cage with baby chicks, but beat a hasty retreat from the flies and slimy mess covering the concrete floor under the crowded cages. Throwing caution to the wind, I asked a teenage boy—sporting a wad of tobacco in his cheek—to get me one chick. I was determined I wouldn’t go home empty-handed. My hen had to be rewarded for her diligence.

The teen brought me a box with a reddish brown chick in it. He told it was supposed to be a brown-legged something—I didn’t catch the name.

As soon as I got home, I headed out to the hen’s cage. Ignoring the waves of misgivings crowding my thoughts, I held the chick’s beak shut so it couldn’t chirp, pushed it under the hen’s wing, and slipped out the bad egg.


The hen turned her head, tipped it sideways, and stared at the brown chick poking its head out from under her black plumage. Over a week old, the little chick had the beginnings of wing feathers—she wasn’t a new hatchling, by any means. The chick shut her eyes and her head sank to the pine shavings in the box. She acted exhausted. I feared a sickness would soon present itself and the tiny bird would die. Not sure if the hen would accept it and not sure if I had done a smart thing, I walked away from the cage—not wanting to witness what might immediately happen.

Hours went by and I kept a close check on the biddy and hen. I watched as the hen used her beak to peck at the young chick, making it jerk awake, stagger to its feet, and chirp. I held my breath, trying to judge if the hen was being mean, getting ready to kill the baby, or acting helpful. The hen took her sharp curved beak, which could kill the chick with one jab, and acted like she was cleaning the baby’s fuzzy feathers, and she continued to nudge it when it dozed off.

Many times, I checked and worried needlessly. She never got up off the nest, only ruffled her feathers, and clucked a warning when I came near. The chick clearly understood her new mama and responded by burrowing under the black wing, hiding from view.

Early the next morning I stood beside the cage and watched the hen pecking at food. She scratched and softly clucked to the adopted baby. After running up under the hen’s neck, the brown biddy pecked where the hen persistently tapped with her bill. Lesson number one was in progress—there’s food here, come watch me. Then mama hen spotted me and she sounded a warning cluck. Danger! Mind me, get under my wing. I’ll protect you as one of my own. You’re in my care now. You’ve been adopted and accepted—with no reservations. You’re fluffy and brown, too old to be my hatchling, and my black feathers don’t match yours, but you’re the one I’ll fight for.


I couldn’t help but think how we, as humans, may have our beginnings in mire and nasty surroundings, separated from anyone who would try to love us or rescue us. God plucks us out of places where others fear to even walk and dirty their feet or hands. We aren’t considered worth much—maybe we’re just a brown-legged something—no real title or name.

God cleans us up, not stopping to estimate the danger of the filth covering us. With no reservation, we’re sheltered under his mighty, unmatched wing of grace. We are urged and directed to stand up and overcome our weaknesses. He loves us and wants us come to the realization that we belong to him. We’re one of the adopted but treated as a real son or daughter. If we pay attention, God teaches us with his wisdom and shows us the best way to find spiritual nourishment and living water. But in all things, we must pay attention, accept his gift, and run to do his bidding.

Do you sometimes feel like a brown-legged something?  🙂


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Represented by Linda S. Glaz at