Michigan's "Chick Center"
Zeeland's origin as a major center for the poultry industry dates from 1906, when farmer Douwe Wyngarden purchased two mail order incubators and started the area's first commercial chicken hatchery. Thirty years later, with Zeeland hatcheries leading the way, the Zeeland-Holland area produced millions of chicks. In 1947 the Michigan Tradesman hailed Zeeland as the chick capital of the state and reported that 10 million chicks were shipped annually from forty area hatcheries. The magazine stated that the area was "nationally recognized as the quality chick center of the United States." The industry's importance was reflected in many aspects of Zeeland's civic life. The high schools sports teams were named the "Chicks" (later, "Chix"), and an annual pageant crowned a "Zeeland Chick Queen."