“Is it morning or night? I cannot tell. Please turn off the light so I may sleep,” says Pearl sadly, as she attempts to stand once more. Pearl is only 12 weeks old and already knows the life of a young hen is not one she wants. Pushing her way towards the air holes, she attempts to smell the fresh air. The pushing and shoving in this small space makes it impossible to spread her wings. Oh how she longs to spread her wings. The weight she carries is too much for her small frame, she has trouble moving around. The crowded coop causes many hens to be angry. The pecking goes on day and night. Pearl does not know how much longer she can hold on.
Suddenly there is a loud noise. Big hands begin to come towards her and the other hens. The hens begin to squawk loudly, as there is no gentleness in their touch. Pearl begins to back into the corner in fright, hoping they will not see her. In one moment, Pearl is snatched up, placed in a wooden box with holes, that is put in the back of a truck with many other hens. The truck begins to move and the road is bumpy, causing the hens to crash into one another. It is dark and very hot, she longs for just a drink of water.
The truck hits one big bump causing it to sway back and forth, when suddenly the truck is lying upside down. Pearl can hear angry voices saying to get the chickens before it is too late. She looks around and notices that some of the hens cannot move, the box is open. She pushes herself to stand, walking towards the opening in the broken box. She thinks to herself, she must move fast but her legs are so weak.
“Move Pearl,” she tells herself. Pearl stands and makes her way to the small opening and takes the leap of her life, landing on unfamiliar ground. She has not seen darkness but has heard what it might be like from the older hens. She begins to walk into the woods, away from the truck. She does not look back; she keeps moving, faster…faster…faster.
Pearl realizes she cannot go on much longer. Instinctively, she begins to make a nest, curling up within the soft bedding and sleeps for the very first time. A voice awakens Pearl, but she is too weak to pick up her head.
“Daddy, look it’s a baby chicken!” says Brinley, bending down over Pearl.
Pearl attempting to look up, slowly lays her head back down. All she can think about is sleeping. Gently, Brinley picks Pearl up and holds her close. “Can I keep her daddy, please?” Brinley’s daddy agrees that she can bring Pearl home. For the first time, Pearl feels the warmth of the sun on her feathers, unable to protest, she lies still as Brinley carries her home.
Placing Pearl in a nice warm bed of straw, Daddy pulls Brinley close. “Brinley honey,” says Daddy, “this little one is very sick, I am not sure if she is going to make it.”
Brinley looks lovingly at Pearl, stroking her soft feathers, and whispers, “I am going to call you Pearl, and you are going to be just fine.”
“Daddy,” says Brinley, “Can I sit with Pearl for a while, just to make sure she is going to be okay?”
Daddy agrees, as he knows this little hen needs all the love and care she can get, if she is to have a chance in life. Brinley offers Pearl some water, and Pearl lifts her head, attempting to take in the refreshing liquid. It was not long before Pearl begins to stand, and for the first time, she stretches her wings, and nibbles on the fresh grass that Brinley holds in her tiny hands. Brinley looks thoughtfully at Pearl and whispers once more. “Pearl you are going to be just fine.”
Pearl thinks back to earlier days when her life was hard. Living in an overcrowded, unsanitary coop, and fed unhealthy foods to make her fat, was her only fate. She remembers living in her own feces and having nowhere to run. The days and nights ran together, leaving her tired and stressed. Pearl longed to feel the sun on her feathers, and feel the grass under her feet.
Pearls life is now filled with much joy. She gladly lays her eggs, and looks forward to seeing Brinley greet her in the morning with fresh fruits and vegetables. She slowly makes her way into the nice warm coop, as the sun sets on this tiny farm. Jumping onto the roost, she slowly closes her eyes, and sleeps.