You know the expression, "up when the rooster crows"?
When you've got as many roosters as Charlie Smith has, you better be up.
"I get up at five, and I'm out here by 5:15 every morning," Smith said. "I think right now there's probably about five hundred birds on the place."
They're not all roosters. He's got chickens, and pheasants, and quail. Not to mention turkeys, peacocks, and even a couple of parrots.
Charlie raises all of them, and he says they're all different, from their looks, to their moods.
"A lot of people say, why are the females so ugly, well usually, they're the ones sitting on the nest watching for predators, so they don't want to attract attention," Smith said.
"Different birds have different personalities."
And when we say he raises all of them, that means he's involved, starting with the moment he finds every new egg on the property.
"We leave none with the mom," Smith said. "We pull all the eggs. We'll pull those eggs, and put them in the incubator."
The incubators are in the brooder building. Think of it almost like the nursery at the hospital.
When Charlie finds an egg, it gets labeled by breed, and the date it was found. Eventually, it goes into the incubator, and finally, into the hatchery. And new birds are born every day.
Believe it or not, Charlie says his neighbors actually compliment him on his birds. One of them likes to listen to the peacock calls, one wants advice on getting his own hens so he can have fresh eggs. Others are just curious.
"We had a neighbor that came down the road, and he stopped, and he said, 'Charlie, I just got to see what y'all are doing down here.'"
And yes, there are some folks that want the birds to visit them for dinner.
"You know I have never eaten any, but we do sell a lot to be eaten."
Charlie takes all the requests with a smile. He's only been raising birds for about six months, and he says there is a stopping point somewhere, maybe five years or so down the road.
Until then, even if it's listening to gobbling and crowing before dawn, this is where Charlie's most at peace.
"It's a nice hobby, and you know a lot of people have different things that help them to cope with life I guess," Smith said. "And this is very relaxing to me to come out and be involved in raising these chickens and stuff."
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