My mum doesn’t like pigeons. It’s not because they are pigeons, it’s because of the dirt they spread when they make their nests in tiny places in the balconies or windows. They lay eggs, feed their babies and, above all, the foul smell caused by their guano is really unbearable.

A month ago when I woke up in the morning, I saw the shadows of two birds sitting on the other side of the window glass. I stood up and opened the window. I saw a pair of pigeons trying to make a nest in a corner of our window.

It was quite normal. We usually see pigeons finding places for their nests, but this time it was a little different. The place, the pair of pigeons chose for the nest, was so close that anyone could reach out to it from the window.

Suddenly, I had an idea in my mind. And the idea was replacing pigeon’s eggs with chicken eggs. “It’s always fun raising chicks,” was the first thing that came to my mind. But will it be possible? Why do pigeons hatch chicken eggs?

To find answers to these questions, I went to Baba, my father, and asked the same questions. His answer was yes, it was possible because eggs only require heat, which mother pigeons can provide them.

My first challenge was to convince mama. Since eggs don’t cause dirt or foul smell, so she got convinced easily. Within the next two days, the pigeon laid eggs. I saw the eggs and went down to the shop to buy desi chickeneggs to be replaced with pigeon eggs.

I was so excited about this new experiment and told the whole story to the shopkeeper. He listened to me attentively and replied, “It’s not possible with these bakery eggs,” he said. I needed different eggs of chicken since these eggs are not fertile, he explained.

Now what did fertile mean and how could I get them? I asked him. He promised to arrange two for me.

The next morning, I jumped out of the bed and went to his shop early in the morning. He gave me two eggs. He didn’t charge anything against these eggs as he said he brought them from his home.

“Fertile eggs look the same as those we have in our fridge, so why do they call them fertile?” I wondered.

Now, the next important step was to replace the pigeon eggs with these eggs. The mama pigeons usually left her eggs once a day for food. I waited for that moment. As soon as she left the eggs, I quickly replaced two with the chicken eggs. She came back and sat on those chicken eggs, which meant the mission was accomplished.

Now, the countdown began for the big day. According to Google. it takes 21 days for a chick to break out of the egg. I kept waiting for that day. I took extra care of the pigeon during this period – kept an eye on her and gave her food and water on a regular basis.

Perhaps Allah has fixed a calendar in birds. Right after 21 days, the mama pigeon quit sitting on the eggs and left our window. It was heart-breaking seeing her leaving the nest without the chick coming out of the egg, but there was nothing I could do. I waited for her to come back but she didn’t return. Now, I had no option but to pick up the egg and throw it in the dustbin.

As soon as I picked one of the eggs, I heard a sound from inside the egg. There was a chick inside! I didn’t know what to do now that a live chick was inside struggling to come out of the shell. I called everyone to come and help me get the chick out of the egg. Suddenly, the shell started to break and we saw the chick coming out of the egg.

My hard work paid off as now I have a beautiful yellow chick. I kept it under a yellow bulb to give it heat. And you know what, it survived! So this was a wonderful experience and a new twist to breeding birds.

Published in Dawn, Young World, January 8th, 2022

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