The true plot twist of the story is: how did the feather duster get warm?
Patches is a newborn chick who did not meet his mom. Instead, he was born in the Oregon Zoo and born and was at risk of being killed or eaten by adult Inca tern birds. His incubator box kept him safe from the adults.
He did not have any skin-to-skin contact, common medical practice for newborns including human babies, which explains his confusion over this feather duster.
He snuggles up to the feather duster and somehow, he gains a semblance of who his mom was.