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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Pastors in the pastures

On an Indiana family farm, here's the lesson: Pastors and pastures have more in common than similiar names

On a warm day this summer, Indiana pastors worked up a sweat on Jeff Hawkins' family farm. They dragged a bottomless wire cage filled with about 50 chickens over the bumpy terrain of an old hayfield.

Rather than packing a huge number of chickens into a small, enclosed space and feeding them large doses of antibiotics, Hawkins raises his poultry in a natural, healthier setting. They can scratch in the ground and eat seeds and bugs as well as their regular chicken feed.

It takes only a short while for the chickens to clear off much of the vegetation under the cage and leave behind a layer of droppings. Each day when the cage is moved farther down the field, the chickens have a new area to attack. And Hawkins has added another richly fertilized area for future planting.


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