10 Country: Jimmy’s Responsibility Teachers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Jimmy’s Responsibility Teachers

Tripper Reynolds gets his new teacher Tripper Reynolds gets his new teacher
Alex Renfroe strokes his responsibility teacher Alex Renfroe strokes his responsibility teacher
Jimmy Taylor Jimmy Taylor
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September 23, 2003

Tifton-- People often say that kids need more responsibility these days, but how can they get that experience? Of course, parents need to teach them, or they can get a special teacher that naturally does it.

It doesn’t look like the traditional red brick school building where parents take their children, but it serves a special purpose with an unconventional teacher. “Just fed them some feed,” says Jimmy Taylor as he walks in his backyard with his guests.

Alex Renfroe and Tripper Reynolds are the latest students, coming to pick out their new teacher born and raised at Jimmy Taylor’s house.

“OK, Alex, that’s yours right there. Hang on to him now,” instructs Taylor as he hands a black baby chicken that weights only a few ounces, but can quickly get way in untrained hands.

A baby chicken, known as a biddie in chicken grower lingo, gets handed off as homework for Alex. “It’s pretty, different. It’s a different color than all the other ones,” says eight year-old Alex Renfroe as he holds the biddie.

Jimmy Taylor instructs Alex to spread his fingers out to hold the chick more securely. Jimmy Taylor chicks have a different mission in life than other chickens have. “If a child has something— I’ve got to feed this chicken today, water this chicken— It gives them some responsibility,” says Taylor.

Jimmy Taylor started growing chickens 15 years ago and at one time looked after 500 birds when he lived in the country. He moved to Tifton several years ago, but didn’t leave his love for the birds behind. He has about five grown ones in his backyard where he gets up at 5 AM to feed them before going to work.

They get fed again when he gets home where he often sits with them. “I really like to watch them scratch around,” says Taylor as he holds his favorite chicken named Roho. Each baby chick he gives away comes with a trade secret.

“Pet him on top of the head and he’ll like you. See how calm he is,” says Taylor as he gently rubs the head of another biddie. Something you wouldn’t expect from a little chicken three weeks old away from its mother.

“This is Tripper’s chicken right here,” says Taylor as he pulls out a gray bodied chick with a yellow stripe. It took a few seconds for Tripper to like his new teacher, but it happened, as it has so many times in Jimmy Taylor’s backyard.

He has given away so many little chickens that he has lost count. But he hasn’t lost the joy of giving. “I just love to give anything away that will make anybody happy,” says Taylor as two year-old Tripper gently reaches for his new friend.

Tripper was happy with his selection, ready to take his home, but Jimmy had mixed feelings as he always does when one of the little chickens leaves. “Lots of times I want to cry when I give them away because I’m attached to them,” as he walks with Tripper who gently holds the biddie in his hands.

An attachment he hopes Tripper will have as well, learning about responsibility, getting a valuable education for want amounts to the cost of chicken feed. Jimmy Taylor’s special teachers have gotten quite popular. Often, he has a waiting list of parents who want his little chicks.

He doesn’t charge for the chickens, but wants to make sure the chickens go to good homes.

Got a story suggestion for Joe?

posted at 3:50PM by dave.miller@walb.com