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Rare chickens strut at UM farm museum

by 5m Editor
29 July 2005, at 12:00am

MAINE - Just across the street from the Maine Center for the Arts, a few doors down from dormitories undergoing summer renovations, and within crowing distance of the University of Maine football field, three rare Chinese chickens are blissfully unaware they are summering on a college campus. Scratching around for earwigs and other insects and fighting over someone&#39;s breakfast toast in a portable coop, the small, ornamental Nankin chickens are part of the summer exhibits at UM&#39;s Page Farm and Home Museum. Once thought extinct, the chickens were raised and lent to the museum by Robert Hawes of Hampden, a UM professor emeritus and authority on backyard poultry raising. Hawes is one of only a handful of U.S. poultry breeders who raise Nankins. At first blush, it may appear that roosters crowing and hens laying eggs may not mesh with the university&#39;s mission. But behind the wooden-slat silo and inside the three-story barn museum, the rich history of Maine&#39;s poultry industry and the school&#39;s part in it are proudly displayed. Maine was once a major force in the egg-laying industry, and the university began researching poultry as the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station in 1880. <i>Source: bangornews</i>

5m Editor