By JOHN MALONEY, Associated PressThe Associated Press – AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) It’s a family farm in rural Maine.
A family of chickens and ducks.
A group of kids who love it.
A farm where they raise more than 400 chickens a year.
A community where people flock to catch the chickens for breakfast.
A place where the chickens have names, some with more meaning than others.
It’s a name that is still synonymous with Maine.
“Poultry is the state’s food,” said Lisa K. Smith, executive director of the Maine Farm Bureau.
“It is the staple food of the state.”
A decade ago, a group of farmers began raising and selling a small flock of poultry called the Horseshoe Farm.
It was a niche market.
The price tag on a flock of 20 chickens or ducks was just $50 to $60 a pound.
The prices were so low, many farmers didn’t even want to buy them.
They’d take them from a store and sell them to consumers who wanted to eat them.
A year later, Maine became the first state to allow the production and sale of eggs and poultry in the state, and by 2011 the industry was booming.
Now the Houseshoe Family Farms is on its seventh season and the birds have come home from the slaughterhouse for a third.
They have names like Baby Shoe, Baby Gator and Baby Mitten.
They are a source of joy for the residents of Houseshoe.
They are a part of their daily lives.
People come to the farm for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
They sit on the grass for hours and take pictures with their favorite birds.
The farm is home to more than 3,000 chickens and ducklings.
Smith said the chickens’ name has stuck with the farm.
She said that as they age, the name becomes part of the DNA.
That’s why they call them Horsethoes.
“I think they have a sense of identity and a pride in their identity, and they’re very much part of Maine,” Smith said.
“You can see them coming down the driveway and they’ll always be coming up the hill and the kids will always be around and they have an attitude,” said the mother of one of the Houlihoes.
Horseshoes are a hybrid of American and British breeds.
Smith said they are a blend of American eggs and British chicks.
The birds come from a breeding program that began in the 1960s and was discontinued last year.
The Houliks raised chickens for the first time in the United States in 2003.
“We had a lot of interest from people in the Midwest and the Northeast,” Smith explained.
“They saw that we were getting an egg supply that was growing rapidly.”
It’s also a source for a healthy income for the farm and the Houlshes.
The chickens, called Gretschs, are part of a growing trend in the poultry industry.
Smith has noticed a shift in the market and the industry.
“People are buying Gretsches and they want to go back to egg production,” she said.
The farm sells the chickens to restaurants and other food processors, as well as retailers such as Walmart.
The market is expected to grow in the coming years as more companies start making chickens available for human consumption.
The Houliges are part the story of the poultry trade.
The first farm in the country to produce chickens in the U.S. was in the mid-1800s.
By 1910, more than 20,000 farmers in the area produced chickens for domestic use.
But by the 1940s, there was a huge decline in demand for birds, and the U-boat attacks of Pearl Harbor had a major impact.
In 1941, the U S. Navy took over the Hulshes and began the operation of the Ugly Ducklings.
In the late 1960s, the chicken industry was also affected by the Vietnam War, and farmers faced the loss of millions of dollars of income.
That led to an explosion in the number of poultry processors, including Houlis.
The number of farms increased dramatically, and poultry prices started to fall.
In 1995, the market was so competitive that Houlings became the top-selling brand in the US.
The poultry industry was now so dependent on the chickens that the Hoyshoe Family Farms had to find ways to protect it.
“It’s been really hard to keep a chicken farm alive because it’s just a commodity, and it’s so competitive,” Smith told the Associated Press.
“There are so many variables that have to play into the market.
It’s very challenging.”
The Houlshees are also a part the tale of the American poultry industry and the country’s poultry supply chain.
Smith’s organization is involved in many of the supply chains.
It works with poultry processors to develop the poultry feed, packaging and labels.
She also helps the industry protect the health of its poultry by working with food manufacturers to