The Day I met Penguin
One rainy day in June 2019, I was taking out the trash when I suddenly felt like I needed to go to the back of my apartment parking lot, where I don’t usually go. It was like something was calling me. I forgot all about the trash and ran to the back of the parking lot. I was slowed to a walk after a bit, and cautiously scanned the ground as if I was looking for something. I had no idea what I was doing, I just felt like someone was telling me to do this. And then I found it. I found what the heck was spiritually making me do this.
It was a baby chick.
Believe it or not, I was called to the spot by a baby chick. It was a tiny chick, completely black, wet and cold from the rain. It was barely chirping, not loud enough for me to hear. The only explanation was that it had somehow called me through telepathy. Strange.
The next second, I had already picked it up and ran home. I was getting a hot water bottle ready before my mom could ask what I was doing. Once I had the hot water bottle ready, and I sat down with the baby chick, feeding it some sugar water. I sat with it for hours, changing the hot water frequently to keep it warm until it started chirping. It needed food. I quickly asked my mom to run to the pet store to get chick feed, and she did.
We tapped the food like a mother hen would to encourage her to eat, but she kept falling backwards onto her butt and couldn’t eat. This is where her name comes from. Penguin. When she sat on her butt and stretched her legs forward, she looked like a penguin, and my parents thought this was funny, so we named her Penguin. Now, as a chicken keeper, I realize that she had neurological problems that were caused by a vitamin deficiency.
Back then, I was a beginner who didn’t know how to raise chicks at all, so I did some research online, and found out that the sock method works for a lot of unbalanced chicks. I didn’t have a sock that was small enough to hold her, since she was so tiny, so I used a handkerchief to hold her in place. After a few hours, she regained her balance and started eating.
She had a very rough start, but I raised her very carefully, keeping her as comfortable as possible, and staying with her 24/7. She grew and grew, making every minute, every second a good time for me. She was my child.
This is a YouTube video made by my mom about Penguin.
The Time was Coming
When she was around a month old, I started feeling that she couldn’t live in a tiny apartment forever. She was at a stage where she was a bit aggressive and made a lot of mess in the house.
I was very sad, and obviously, I didn’t want to have to make the decision to give her away to someone, as I loved her, and I also felt it was irresponsible to just raise a chick and then get rid of it when it was an adult. With a heavy heart, I phoned lots of different places that already had chickens like the Honolulu Zoo and several other farms. Call this lucky or not, but everyone refused to take Penguin. This led to me making the decision to ask the agriculture teacher at my high school if I could keep chickens at school.
I sent a very long email talking about the pros and cons of keeping chickens because I thought I would get a flat out “no” for an answer. I was very surprised when I go a very simple, “Yeah sure let’s try it out” as a response. I was very happy but also a little annoyed that my teacher’s response was so light compared to my essay I had sent him to try to convince him to let me keep chickens on the school farm.
A Bit Off Topic: How I met the Agriculture Teacher
In the later portion of the school year of 2018 – 2019, I had found one of my classmates feeding an injured cattle egret. I was watching what that classmate was doing from a distance. He was feeding it so the egret would come closer, and then he was trying to kick it. I was outraged and immediately punched him and put him in a headlock. Tell me I overreacted, but I don’t regret it. I made him swear that he would not do that again, and I let him go. Meanwhile, the injured egret had gone away. It had an injured wing and can’t have gotten too far, so I promptly skipped my next few classes and walked around for hours, looking for it.
It was lunch time, and a lot of egrets were surrounding the cafeteria looking for bits of dropped food. I also found the injured egret I was looking for, and I was running around trying to catch it. Injured it was, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fast. I must have looked like an idiot running after a bird, but that didn’t matter. This bird could not fly, and that is very dangerous for a bird, which could become food for pretty much anything out there, and plus, a school campus full of dumb high school students is not a safe place either. I knew I had to do something about it.
I was trying to catch it, and a few boys thought it was funny and said they were going to “help.” One of the boys caught it, and said, “Let’s break its neck and see what happens.” I was disgusted. I glared at him until he gave me the bird, and once he did, I kicked him where it hurts the most and ran. Let’s hope he learned a lesson to not tell jokes that aren’t funny.
I put the bird in a cardboard box and took it to the last class of the day, which was math. My math teacher was okay with a lot of things, so I assumed she would let me keep the bird in a box under my chair, but she was deathly afraid of birds, so she told me to take it to the agriculture classroom. I didn’t even know we had an agriculture class in this school.
I took the injured egret to the agriculture class and kept it there until school ended so I could take it to the vet. And that’s how I met my agriculture teacher.
If that injured egret didn’t decide to appear in front of me, and get caught by me, then I would never have known that our school had an agriculture program, and I would have never had the idea to keep Penguin at school, and this whole chicken project would have never happened. It’s a very good example of a butterfly effect.