Author Archives: Tim

One-Eyed Jack

I’d like to introduce you to a little friend of mine named Jack.

One day in the middle of October, as I was doing my regular checking of the birds in the incubator, a certain odd little bird caught my eye. This chick with a brown head and a black body stared back at me with his right eye. His left eye, at first, seemed not to exist. I set him aside so he could be brought up properly. I wanted to call him Popeye, to which my sister rolled her eyes before she came up with the idea of naming him Jack, after Captain Jack Sparrow.

Two months have passed and I already know he’s going to be something wonderful. Aside from the fact that his left eye is about half the size of his right, he acts like a normal two month old chick would do. He’s got a private little setup, for him and eight more of his little buddies, so that they can enjoy the good life.

He’s going to grow up to be a great rooster, I know it.

The First Day

This bird is quite the talker.

I plucked this newly hatched chick out of my incubator today, and take pictures of the talkative bird. It’s a rooster, noted by his head parting to reveal where his crown will grow. His feathers haven’t fully dried out from his hatching, and he’s pointedly making it clear he is stressed out of his wits. His legs weren’t under him yet, but after I spent an hour paying attention to him, he was starting to keep his head elevated off the ground. His egg tooth almost looked like a cap at the end of his beak, a sort of clear-looking white on his dark beak.

I took pictures of this hardy new addition to the flock.

The first day of a chick is never easy, even for those who didn’t have issues hatching. The future of the organic flock starts in this incubator, and it’s my responsibility to ensure the chicks I send over to the farm are the strongest they can be. It’s important to shoot for the future, an aspired end goal to what the farm will have. In a matter of a few years, every single one of the birds at the farm will have grown up never tasting anything non-organic.

After I send the little one back into the incubator, I plop down on the bed and go through the pictures and video on my camera. Beauty, one of the cats that lives at the apartment, starts approaching me and stands on my chest while I watch a video of a chick I took pictures of. She is easily fooled into thinking that the camera houses some sort of chick inside, and while she sniffs the camera, her bony little paws start to leave an impression on my chest. After the video stops on my camera, she immediately slips off to another part of the house.

As Bobby would say, “Just another day in paradise”.






The Organic Chick Photo Gallery!

Take a gander at these little chicks. These are some of the additions that were sent to the farm earlier this year, and have grown to fantastic specimens (some show worthy). These are but a few of the birds that represent the future of our farm – eventually the plan is to convert the whole flock to organically fed. Take a look at these wonderful pictures and let us know what you think!

 

Say It Loud, Say It PROUD!

 

The little black chick in this video was raised by Tim, and awaits his next stop in his adventure. This organically fed chick represents the future of this farm, and the future of the AFOA. This proud little chick is announcing his presence in the world, and from how he doesn’t stop chirping, it seems like he’s got something to prove!

The Potential of Greatness

Hello, this is Tim from Autistic Farms of America
Every time that I go outside to check up on the chicks, I always need to check to see if there is something out of the ordinary waiting to greet me.
I have gotten used to the usual patterns. Brown gunieas, black chicks, yellow chicks, yellow chicks with brown stripes… but I always wish I’d find something special, something that makes the whole process more interesting. What I’m talking about is having one of those special hatches that brings out the wow factor, makes it all special, makes the day feel a lot better.
So many special birds have hatched throughout this year. Both White and Silver Guinea Fowl have hatched inside the incubator, though not to the extent of their Lavender counterparts. There have been yellow chicks with brown heads, black and yellow chicks – you name it, we have had it. One particular, unique bird graced us with it’s presence earlier this evening, with a the look of a future showbird all over it.
From the head to the tail, he was a solid light grey. He was a rooster, a feature made prominent with his pronounced crown on his head. Even though he hadn’t put his legs under himself, he had all the pride, all the majesty, all the presence of a proud rooster, a rooster who would bring strong genes into the organic pen, a rooster who could win Best in Show in fairs without even having to try. Even with how small he was, I could sense the pride that would one day make him a dominant rooster.
A farm succeeds or fails due to the strength of a bird’s genes, a lesson i have learned under the study of Bobby. I could sense a bit of me inside that chick as well. Part of it came from the fact that I had helped it grow into a proud chick, and part of it knowing that his strength and determination was the same as what I need to show in order to grow and learn at the farm. As I put him back for the night, I knew he had a long way to go, but at the same time I knew that he has the potential to become something great.
So until next time, this is Tim from Autistic Farmers of America.

What Makes It All Worthwhile

The apartment complex that I live at allows us to have an incubator on the back porch. Inside this incubator are doezens of eggs, each housing a chick, in various stages of development, waiting to hatch and be sent to the farm. Bobby, the man who runs the farm, stresses the importance of these little ones having a diet that is purely organic and free of soy.
One of the cats that lives with us is marble colored, and she bolts over to the patio door every time I go outside to check on the chicks. She views this incubator as a sort of fridge, hungrily monitoring my work with eyes like an owl, hoping that I give her something to sink her teeth into. Ever the hopeful opportunist, she is.
I see the point of it all when I open the incubator door to check on the eggs, checking to see how many have hatched. I see an egg that catches my eye, and not in a good way – the membrane of the egg has started to tighten up against the chick inside. Naturally, it’s an egg of a guinea fowl – for some odd reason, only guinea fowl are affected by this issue when Bobby and I have been monitoring them. This wasn’t the first time that this had happened, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
As carefully as I possibly could,like I’d done dozens of times beforehand, I started breaking the egg apart piece by piece, careful not to disturb the membrane, careful to keep the precious cargo inside safe. Once I removed the outer shell, I begin peeling the membrane away from it. The membrane was dry and skintight against the chick, and as I took it off bit by bit, it felt more like paper than anything else.
Finally, after a few painstaking minutes of delicate work, my objective lies in the palm of my hand, understandably stressed but otherwise unharmed. With every breath, the tiny guinea emits a squeaky chirp. It will take at least a day or so for this little one to get the legs under it and learn how to walk. It will take the bird at least three days to start eating and drinking by itself.
As I place the little guinea onto a lower shelf, I take a look at the bottom of the incubator. Here, an open half-box spanning the entire bottom of the incubator and six inches tall contain at least two dozen chicks to be sent over to the farm the next day.These have their legs under them, and have been eating and drinking for a few days. Some are impatient – these impatient ones, the oldest ones, perch on the top of the box when it’s open, not caring about the outside world, so long as they’re not inside the incubator.
It’s there that I realize what makes it all worthwhile – each of these birds represent my ability to care for them, to nurture them, to make sure they can safely get back to the barn to build the new organic flock that will represent the future of the farm. As I make sure that none of the birds slipped out as a I close the incubator, I find myself thankful for being given a direction to see what I can truly accomplish.

So until next time, this is Tim from Autistic Farmers of America.

Hello Autistic Farmers Of America

Welcome…

Thumbs Up

 

When I first started on the farm, I must admit that my life had no direction, no sense of purpose, no direction. Now, after four years on the farm, I can confidently state that I know the direction that I want to take my life.
Hello, this is Tim, reporting for Autistic Farms of America. When I first started on this adventure, I wouldn’t even have dreamed of touching a chicken. Now, after four years of hard work, I not only handle chickens, but look forward to it every day. And it is my hope that there are more people like me that get this opportunity.
Let it be known that autism is not easy to live with. Rather, it is a huge pain in the ass to deal with day in and day out. However, the correct outlet can result in a whole world of possibilities, so long as you don’t hesitate to seek them out.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t be afraid of being outside of your comfort zone. Most importantly, don’t be afraid.
So until next time, this is Tim from Autistic Farmers of America.