On Friday, despite the cold, rainy weather, our last stop was an Amish farm outside Tomah. You might be wondering what in the world does an Amish farm have to do with Hmong culture?
On our spring trip, we visited an Amish farm. Aaron Yoder showed us around it.
We went through a muddy field to a small chicken coop. As we approached it, a smell of millions of feathers flying, and not cleaned up chicken poop.
Our bus lurched to a stop beside an old barn and farmhouse where we met Aaron Yoder, the farmer who lives there. He led us to the chicken coop, where in a tiny room were 600 small black chickens. They were covering every inch of the floor!
Aaron sells all these chickens to Hmong people who want to use them for funerals or other ceremonies. Aaron lets the Hmong butcher the animals right there on the farm. Aaron sells the chickens for only three dollars apiece.
Aaron has a whole little barn room full of chickens. You can see little black chickens laid all over the ground. The Hmong prefer the black chickens. Aaron thinks it is because that is the way they had them in Laos.
The Amish farm we went to was “Horse and Buggy Amish.” They had no lights, no phones, no cars, no air conditioning, no electricity. You might think I’m lying but I’m NOT!
He sells chickens to the Hmong people. He raises a special kind of chicken called special black chickens. His chickens come from Asia.
The reason the Hmong people buy chickens from him is because they are black chickens, the Hmong people like the meat, and they are raised without things like antibiotics and chemicals. Plus, the chickens are only three dollars apiece.
Aaron buys the chickens in town, raises them on his farm, and sells them to Hmong people when they have all grown up. Some of the chickens are butchered by the Hmong; others are raised for eggs and more chickens.
It’s a lot of work to take care of the chickens, especially when they’re young. In cold weather, Aaron has to get up in the middle of the night to put more wood in the wood-burning stove that keeps the chickens warm.
When the chickens are small they take a lot of care. He has to feed the animals, keep them warm, clean the barn, and every few hours he has to go and check on them, even at night.
You have to keep heat for the baby chickens to keep them warm. They need fresh air so they can grow bigger and taste yummy.
The Amish are pretty willing to raise the chickens for the Hmong and sell to them. Other Amish farmers sell hogs and cows and other animals. Aaron isn’t sure whether the Hmong are comfortable with the Amish or not. All he knows is that they will buy from them, and don’t act like they are nervous around him.
Aaron also has three or four brown horses with white strips on their noses, and in the barn there are a whole lot of cows, a small calf, several big calves, bunnies, and a dog!
I think it’s cool that the Hmong can get their chickens from another culture like the Amish.
That’s when we got on the bus BECAUSE IT WAS FREEZING!!!!! Then we headed back to Madison.