We kept them in a box on the porch for the first few weeks and learned to live with the constant background of high pitched peeping. Finally they were big enough to place in the pen Keith constructed for them, complete with a straw-lined, raised henhouse, nesting boxes, and an old tub full of water. They were not likely to run dry with that thing sitting out there.
At the appropriate time, about four months later, the hens began to lay eggs. Soon we were gathering about a dozen jumbo-plus sized brown eggs a day. Huge bowls of eggs filled my refrigerator. You can only make so many pound cakes, quiches, custards, and deviled eggs before the masses begin to revolt. And only a couple of us really liked eggs for breakfast every day. When the church folks found out we were drowning in eggs, half a dozen families offered to buy a dozen every other week or so. We asked fifty cents a dozen back then, and both sides were thrilled with the deal.
The boys fed the chickens and gathered the eggs every day (and fought off the rooster, but that's another story and another lesson for another day). And we all learned a lot about chickens. For one thing, I never expected to need to wash such filthy eggs. Not all of them, but enough. When Keith saw them he said, "Grandma always said that chickens are the only birds that will foul their own nests."
Even though we were rookies, we had done everything right. The hens all laid their eggs in the nesting boxes, taking turns because there were more hens than boxes, which is normal. But evidently, one of them was lazy, and instead of leaving the nesting box to roost in the evening, it would remain in the nesting box overnight. And let's just say, chickens are not exactly potty-trained. From what I have read, no other bird does such a thing. Between that and the prevalence of salmonella on raw chicken meat, one wonders why chicken is considered such a healthy meat, and how it ever made the "clean" list for the Jews.
Chickens may be the only birds that do such a thing, and since they are domesticated rather than wild, it seems especially surprising. Some Christians do surprising things as well, especially considering their claim to be better than the average sinner.
Why in the world should we have to tell a Christian not to drink? Why should we ever need to suggest to a Christian woman that she needs to cover up a little more of her body? Why is it that my neighbor might say to me, "Since you are a Christian I know you would never watch such and such a movie," while I know that several of my brothers and sisters did watch it and even bragged about it on Facebook? I could go on, but you get the point. Some things should go without saying, yet the shame is that they can't.
And so we foul our own nests (homes and churches) with impurities just as filthy as a chicken's. God wants purity in our lives. That is the only way we will ever be fit to live with a holy God forever.
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1John 3:2-3).