Visitors will invariably be greeted by a large, multi-species welcoming committee at Hilltop Manor Farm on North Whidbey, but one rooster stands out in the pecking order.
Beatbox, a one-and-a-half-year-old Silkie chicken, has gained a reputation for being an eggs-traordinarily friendly rooster.
“He wants to be held — he’s just really social with humans,” owner Charlie Kimmel said.
His wife, Joanna Kimmel, said she first noticed Beatbox’s sunny disposition about six months ago, but he’s begun to shine in the last month.
“Beatbox is kind of our mascot,” she said.
The friendly little bird likes to go on car rides and visit with people. He even has his own dance.
Joanna said Beatbox will sit on a towel on the dashboard of the car and look out the windshield when he goes with them on errands or to drop off Kimmel’s son at school. They blast the defroster so he can feel like he’s flying.
Like a typical rooster, Beatbox is proud and struts his stuff around the yard despite being only 8 inches tall. Coming in at about 2 pounds, he’s not the biggest bird of the flock but his reputation is larger than life.
“He’s extremely confident, but he’s not arrogant,” Joanna Kimmel said.
Beatbox’s name comes from his unique call. The Kimmels said it’s not really a crow, but sounded close to beatboxing and became his namesake.
Joanna Kimmel said that a lot of people are somewhat wary of roosters, which confuses Beatbox.
“He doesn’t understand why people don’t love him,” she said.
They are often surprised when the fluffy gray-and-black rooster comes up to meet them at their cars, she added.
Although he’s very friendly with humans, Beatbox is also popular with his feathered friends. He and his buddy Beatboy, another Silkie rooster, like to hang out with the ladies. The posse clucks around with the rest of the Kimmel’s egg-clectic flock.
The Kimmels have close to 100 birds at their farm, including Sebastopol geese, Polish chickens and crested ducks. Charlie Kimmel said the turkeys are also pretty social.
“A lot of our birds are snuggle bugs,” he laughed.
They also have a few goats, two horses and just got two young rabbits.
The couple welcomes the public to meet Beatbox and the other animals. They said the experience can be particularly helpful for children with autism or social anxiety. Anyone interested in a visit can contact Hilltop Manor Farm on Facebook to schedule a meet-and- greet. Admission is free and visitors can buy a bag of feed to give to the animals.
Visitors can also learn how to collect a dozen eggs for $6 or pre-order a dozen eggs for $4.
Charlie Kimmel said watching kids who may be shy or have trouble learning at school gain confidence by interacting with the animals makes him want to share the experience with others. He recalled a little girl who was timid around the animals at first grow more confident after she met Sir Lancelot the goat.
“Eventually they learn that not everything is scary,” he said.
Joanna Kimmel agreed, adding that the animals know how to gauge a person’s comfort level.