Wake Forest 27587 Magazine

Spring 2019

The quarterly 27587 MAGAZINE is a must-read, in-you-hands publication that strives to give a deeper identity to rapidly growing Wake Forest, N.C. It highlights in-depth stories, targeting higher-income households.

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Wake Forest 27587 Magazine | Spring 2019 17 T hey have many lineages, coming from breeds with such names as Ameraucana, Barred (or Plymouth) Rock, Black Australorp, and Welsummer. But these chicks — like their counterparts in the animal kingdom — once grown, anyway, have their own personalities. "They do. It's funny," said Ann Clem, who runs Little Birdie Hatchery in Wake Forest. "It's almost like a soap opera. The dynamics. Some are laid back. Some are bossy. It's amazing. … They get their awkward stage, their 'teenage years.' Then they get big and beautiful." And Clem knows something about chickens, having grown up with them in her native Denmark. "They really are great pets. They don't require more than a dog or cat," she said of their care, "and they give you breakfast, which is even better." That's what people are looking for when they come to the hatchery, chicks that when mature ("They do grow super-fast.") can produce upwards of 250 to 280 eggs a year, she said. In time, her customers develop some expertise and inquire about the colors of the eggs themselves, with different breeds producing Easter egg colors, but without the dyes. "There's the regular white, the dark brown. They're blue, olive, and green," she said. But it's just for show. "They all taste the same. It's just the shell." There is an exception here, however. "I can taste the difference between store bought and a fresh egg." Ann Clem arrived in America as an au pair and met her husband, Dan, in 1996, she said. They have three children, Emily, 14; Joseph, 17; and Joshua, 11." "My daughter got us into chickens when she was 6," she said of the motivation of them eventually acquiring the hatchery business from a father-and-son team in the same neighborhood. Like any mother, she makes sure her brood of little chicks are all vaccinated and personally has all the necessary state licenses, also selling everything a new human "parent" would need: locally sourced feed, vitamin supplements, and even probiotics. "I want them to be as healthy as possible," she said. "We do take it seriously." That includes roosters, who when sold by the hatchery, come with a pledge to re-home any that come back. The hatchery is but one of many in this region, a network that includes, for example, Irene's Happy Hens in Youngsville, and some 834 members of a Facebook group called simply "Wake Forest Chickens." Of course, Clem has her own collection of hens, some 20 in all, she said, not the least of which is "Spec." "She's super sweet," she said while holding her in her lap one morning. They have their own two-story storybook cabin, with a porch swing, a "POST" box, and homey "LAKE VIEW" sign. "They have their own down comforter, so they sit together," she said of keeping them warm on cold days. "They get frozen treats in the summer to keep them cool." Coming out of their shells One of Ann Clem's own, "Spec" the hen, named after its markings. "She's super sweet," Clem said. On the opposite page, Clem and "Spec" on the porch swing of her chicken house at the hatchery. The supplies to care for chickens include vitamins, probiotics, and locally sourced feed. PHOTOGRAPHS BY PHILIP M. READ A closeup of some of the newborns at Little Birdie Hatchery in Wake Forest, destined to provide fresh eggs to families in the region.

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