I’ve heard a few people over the years say that the mother who adopts can NEVER love her child as much as the one who carries a child. After more than a half-century of observation, I can say in all certainty that statement is a lie. I’ve seen too many doted-on adoptees and too many abused natural children to buy into that crap. Love is love; you either have it or you don’t.
The same can be said for the animal world. I’ve seen cow’s that ignored their own young, and other cows that would let any youngster nurse. The latter can be good or bad, depending on if you are aware of it and how you manage it. We’ve probably all seen pictures of one species of animal adopting a youngster of another—cats adopting baby squirrels—dogs letting pigs or kittens nurse. As humans, we may not understand it, but it happens.
When my dad was a kid, my grandma had an old setting hen they used to raise replacements for the flock. You could have put an eight-ball under that hen and she would have tried to hatch it. A neighbor once gave Grandma a half-dozen duck eggs and she put them under the old hen. Every one of them hatched! The old hen proudly led the ducklings around the barnyard and pasture teaching them how to hunt bugs and such, and they thrived.
With my grandparent’s home being only a hundred yards from Waddington Creek, though, it wasn’t long before floodwater covered the lower pasture for a few hours. Over where the slope started up toward the chicken house, the water was probably only six inches deep, but it was enough for those little ducklings to discover and swim in! They took to it like…….well….like ducks to water. The poor hen, though, was certain her babies would drown. Frantically, she ran back and forth along the “shore,” screeching and calling to them and trying to get them to come back on solid ground where any sensible chicken would remain. Eventually, they tired of their fun, or got hungry, and followed mama back toward the henhouse. Only then did mama calm down.
NO-ONE could have convinced that hen that those weren’t HER babies! And so it goes with people. Love is found where love is found, and where it exists, none is stronger than that of a mother, natural or adoptive. © 2013