Yesterday, in the cool early morning, a visitor arrived at the farm. She had been here before and we greeted each other with a smile and a handshake. Joni's a scientist studying turkey vultures and how they find their quarry. She'd come to collect olfactory tissue samples from the chickens after we had processed them. She explained that the tissue samples needed to be fresh in order to do her experiments, so she came prepared with sterile containers and ice packs. As she got set up, and I finished making the rounds with feed, it occurred to me how many ways our little farm has touched others in our community and beyond.
The week before last we had another visitor. This time it was someone who wanted to buy turkey breast to make into a line of dog treats. We chatted about starting up a new business and she mentioned her connection with a big cat rescue. Later that afternoon I called her up to see if she wanted to take some turkey carcasses to the tigers.
We're almost at the five year mark for our farm and it tickles me to think back on how many different people have come to see what we're up to. Over that time, we've met scientists, vets, entrepreneurs, grandkids, grandparents, cub scouts, homeschoolers, college kids, and of course other farmers. All of them have been interested in one thing - chickens!
Some very good friends of ours have an orphanage in Haiti. They came to see our farm that very first year and were so excited and full of ideas that they have been growing chicken in Haiti with the kids ever since. There have been at least two other couples who have come out to see how we do our chicken housing and are putting together business models in the islands of the Bahamas and Honduras. Many family flocks in Gainesville have been started on our farm, but one of the most precious is owned by a special needs young lady who is now learning how to care for her new chickens herself.
When we began Laughing Chicken Farm, we had no idea what we were getting into. We thought we'd grow a few animals and sell what we could for some extra income. Wow! God sure has taken us farther than that. When the phone rings I never know what to expect. From requests for semi-trucks full of chicken "paws" to ship to the Orient, to the people in Montana who were having a "Testicle-Festival" and wanted to know if we could ship them turkey testicles.