We have chickens and house pets. Animals are a lot of freakin work. I have 3 children. Problem solved! Small family farms across America are sharing information, building an online community, and teaching each other how to homestead. One thing I noticed while watching vlogs was how the kids work. In each clip there would be some kid in the background pushing a wheelbarrow, milking a goat, or stacking hay bales. Even little children were doing their part.
It got us to thinking, “if those kids could handle it, so can ours.” Each morning on rotation each of the girls (Romana 6, Anne 4, & Arrietty 3) has a job before breakfast. Two of the girls are on chicken duty together. Romana will carry out a pitcher of fresh water, break the old frozen drinking water for the chickens, give them fresh water, and let them out of the coop. Arrietty accompanies her and carries the food bucket. Being her turn on inside duty, Anne gives Foxie and Fiesta fresh water and food. It works like a well oiled machine.
The rule is simple, if the animals don’t eat, the kids don’t get to eat breakfast. There was only one occasion Arrietty wasn’t compliant. I think she was having a meltdown because she didn’t get to be the one to put the chicken feed in the bucket. Anne had to do double duty that day, and Arrietty sadly missed breakfast. For those of us like myself, who were born and raised in the city, I think it’s habit to underestimate children. Little ones are naturally strong, healthy, and hard workers. It’s when we lower our expectations that children learn to be helpless and unfortunately lose out on the joy of a job well done. These girls aren’t just learning responsibility. Every time their bunny cuddles in their lap or they get to bring in a fresh egg for breakfast, they discover what it means to reap the fruit of their labor.