Sweet Water Farm

Peacocks and pheasants and fainting goats, oh my! These are just a few of the incredible creatures to be enjoyed at Sweet Water Farm, just on the outskirts of Kernersville. Two hundred and fifty birds, assorted rabbits and various other feathered, furry and four legged wonders thrive on the property. This place also has unique hosts. One such host goes by the name Kynsley, who is a whopping 6 years old. Her sidekick, aka, the other host, is an incredibly large and proud Blue Slate Turkey, who goes by the moniker of “Billy Bob.” (Information has it that the children of the owners of this bit of paradise on Earth name all the creatures that live there).
The proud owners of the farm are Kris and Kayla Atkins. They have three children. You already know about Miss Kynsley, but her older sister is Cali, and her younger brother is Kash. Cali is 11 and has a vast array of knowledge about the creatures and helps quite a bit with the feeding and watering of all of them. She acquiesces to Kynsley in several areas but make no mistake, this young lady is something akin to Dr. Doolittle. The animals take to her gentle spirit. She just seems to recognize what each may want. Kynsley is more of an orator and handler of the menagerie. Little brother Kash is inquisitive and learning how to help and interact with all the vast array of species. He loves to rove from pen to pen in the aviaries and wrangle eggs from the various layers. All three of the children are fearless where the birds and animals are concerned. Kash has a tiny bit of fear over the turkeys since he had a nasty encounter with a particular ornery one some time back. No animals with a bad temperament can be found at Sweet Water Farm. The ornery turkey in question was rehomed someplace where he could continue to be himself without retribution. Nothing but kindness and consideration is given to the farm creatures. Each species is cared for equally. (It is hard not to fall in love with Billy Bob, who will follow you around and “strut” his stuff for you.)
The Baby Doll Sheep are hard to resist as well. These little lambs are black in color with the roundest faces and sweetest little cries out for a bottle. It wouldn’t matter if they had just finished one. Just like human children, most of the creatures wouldn’t hesitate to have a snack when offered. Many of the animals and birds found on this farm, such as the Baby Doll Sheep, were donated to the family. How does something like this operation start, you ask?
Wonder no more! Back in 2002, Kris said he had goats and chickens. By 2012, he had gotten away from animal care as he went through a trying time with his health and needed to care for himself. Kris has kidney issues; they are failing him. Once he got back in a better place health wise, he started receiving animals again and in 2015, to quote Kris, he was, “back in heavy.” He needed something to do. He wanted to feel productive even though his health stood in the way of secular employment. Animals seem to have a healing and soothing quality. Kris is being soothed quite a bit these days.
While Kris has taken on this rather extensive hobby, his wife, Kayla, plays an integral part in the day-to-day operations. She is employed off the farm and then returns home to care for her own brood as well as offering support care to the farm brood. She also offers particular care to Kris as she has learned to administer his kidney dialysis to him in the comfort of their home on the farm. Busy lady! She goes through her day with the grace of a queen and is loved by her family and the farm animals as well.
The two older children, Cali and Kynsley, have “show” chickens called Mottled Bantam Cochins and Large Standard Cochins. They show their feisty and quite lovely fowl at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds. The Forsyth Fowl Fanciers is a group dedicated to poultry shows, amongst other things. The family has ties to this group. Both girls have won ribbons and trophies for their prize poultry.
Goats your thing? Fainting goats on the farm are simply adorable, as well as the Boar goats named Winnie and Waffles and, of course, their newborn, yet to be named. Fainting goats originated as bait goats many years ago. While this sounds cold to our ears, times past were more difficult and controlling predators was a real problem. Since the goat got its name of the “fainting” variety due to the self-defense mechanism of falling down or freezing in place upon being frightened, the predator would naturally grab the downed goat and thereby sparing the more prized animals. In modern days, these creatures just give us a show and then spring right back up. The Boar goat is known as a meat goat to be consumed. Don’t you fret! That would never happen here at the Sweet Water Farm where this goat family is literally family.
What types of protection and from what would the farm creatures need protecting? The Atkins have had issues mostly with foxes and racoons. Rarely anymore since “Rhett” the Great Pyrenees and his two young ones, Bailey and Salem, have begun roaming the property. The Great Pyrenean Mountain dog was bred for just such an operation. Watch out predators, you are being stalked in return.
How can the public help an operation like Sweet Water Farm? Since this is a non-public, for hobby and therapy farm mainly for Kris, some opportunities do exist. You can call them at 336-816-2555 and ask what can be done to aid. Your discarded Christmas tree is one way to help. The birds on the farm use these trees for shelter and shade. Some animals nest in the trees and others, such as the goats, eat the trees. Such a simple gesture can go a long way. Call for other suggestions from the proprietors of the farm.
The question was begged to be asked of Kris if it be made public how to help him with his kidney failure. Kayla was quick to respond as Kris was a bit reticent about this type of query. She has kidney donor packets with information on how to go about helping. If you call, or email Kris_atkins@aol.com, she will be more than happy to get a packet out to you. Kris made it clear that this was voluntary with no sort of pressure at all. He is humble and has a gentle spirit and the question had to be asked. So, it was.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the upcoming modeling “gig” the farm’s India Blue peacock has. The La-Z-Boy company wants this fabulous specimen to simply sit on one of its couches and pose. Were we all so lucky. So off to Charlotte, NC for fame and fortune goes this proud and elusive creature. Hopefully, Mr. Peacock behaves himself on the nice furniture if you get the drift!

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