There were once around 300 hatcheries in the country. Today, there are around 10. And Cameron has been home to the biggest and the best for more than six decades.
Ideal Poultry is the largest supplier of backyard poultry in the country.
And the family that runs the business says Cameron is an ideal place to be.
"To sell four million chicks in commercial business, to hatch four million chicks is piddily dat," said Monroe Fuchs. "It's nothing. But to hatch four million in this business is quite an accomplishment."
Back in 1973, Fuchs took over the family business, which has been based in Cameron since 1942. Some 50,000 breeder birds -- chickens, ducks, geese -- produce 30,000-40,000 eggs a day. Those eggs come to Cameron, where they're born, and shipped out. Ideal sells four million chicks a year, mostly to small feed stores, 4-H, FFA, and the simple rural couples that want a few fresh eggs in the morning.
"Commercial people don't have time and it's just in their way," Fuchs said. "Just to say it in a crude way, we've kind of picked up the scraps of what commercial people don't want to do and made a good business out of it."
"We used to be in the commercial business and the world changed," said Monroe's son, Gary. We changed with it."
Gary, along with his two sisters, now run the Ideal show. From Cameron, they're able to ship their feathered yoke-grown yield to all the big Texas cities, then across the country.
"Through all the different kinds of products that we've had over the last 70 years, everything we've produced has been quality," Gary said.
"Our name is Fuchs," added Monroe, "and in the Bible, Jesus speaking, it says, 'Even the foxes have holes.' And I'd say we found a hole."
And in addition to his continued help at Ideal, Monroe Fuchs works on creating new varieties of birds, is a spiritual guide for prison inmates, and provides scholarships for his alma mater, Texas A&M.
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