How becoming chicken farmers enhances our third-culture parenting goals

IMG_5256A few weeks ago, our Dominican landlord unexpectedly passed away, leaving his responsibilities to his adult children. The sons decided that it was no longer necessary to pay the worker that tended to our large property laden with edible-tropical-vegetation and several dozen free-range chickens. They told us that they would remove the chickens or WE could start taking care of them. I saw the look in Trevor’s eyes and I knew his desire. He had talked about building a chicken coop for years. And so adventure strikes again. We are now the proud owners of 11 hens and 1 spunky rooster.

Here are some reasons why we think becoming chicken farmers fits in with Plank family culture:

1. No leash, litter box, or tank required. It’s not that we are anti-traditional pets, it’s that traditional pets don’t fit our nomadic lifestyle. Between traveling back to the US and exploring God’s beauty of this island, we are a missionary family on-the-go. These guys are cage-free so they are super self-sufficient. Luke 9:58

IMG_00012. Responsibility 101. It has become our 6 year-old’s before-school-task to feed the chickens, and our 5 year-old’s to collect the eggs. They are learning the discipline of early morning work, and the fulfillment that someone is depending on them. Proverbs 31:15

3. Respect your food. There is a moment of pride that comes with cracking an egg that you harvested yourself. Something is lost on those pristine grocery store eggs if they don’t have at least a little goo or a feather or two stuck to the shell. Psalm 128:2

4. Free-range organic eating. Before we a.) lived in a third-world country and b.) lived on a missionary budget, we were a much more health conscious family in the way of whole and natural foods. We had grass-fed beef, organic eggs, milk and yogurt, and were members of an organic vegetable co-op. Though the smaller size of poultry and the leanness to the beef leads me to believe Dominican meat is much closer to the way God made it than average American meat, and fruits and veggies don’t have half the shelf-life of their American counterparts (Re: no steroids, preservatives, GMO’s), there are still many foods that are just not accessible to us. It was a major sacrifice to our family values when when we could no longer provide the same kinds of healthy options. This is a huge way to implement some of those healthier options back into our diet. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

5. Educational. Well, I know I’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned about roosting, nesting, fertilized or un-, coops, coos, and feed. Aldofina next door taught us how to “candle” an egg to check for babies, and soon she’s going to teach us about the circle of life when she shows us how to…gulp…wring the neck of one that’s ready to be eaten. (Her favorite part, she says.) Proverbs 18:15

6. A family affair. There is an equally important job for everyone and we all have a vested interest. When we work together for a common goal, so many life lessons are birthed:

Teamwork.

Responsibility.

Respect.

Stewardship.

Keep learning.

Give thanks. Psalm 133:1

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Our next project is going to be building nesting boxes because the daily Easter egg hunt is getting old. Adventure on, my friends!

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