Residents at Bolton Clarke’s Moreton Shores residential aged care community at Thornlands are getting clucky about the newest additions to the family.
They have taken chickens Lady Fluffbottom, Chickadee, Henny Penny and Bella under their collective wing. The chickens include silkies and a sultan bantam – all rather interesting looking birds and all very friendly.
Chickens are known to assist with social and creative activities, and the birds allow residents, volunteers and visitors to interact with them when they come to visit. There is evidence chickens can improve well being and feelings of loneliness and reduce incidence of isolation and depression in older people.
Moreton Shores Diversional Therapist Bec McLeod says the silkies, Lady Fluffbottom and Bella, are particularly friendly.
“Now they have settled in to our community, all of the chickens jump on to laps and walkers of the residents, looking for treats,” she says.
“The chickens love pats and cuddles and are assisting as pet therapy, providing residents with increased sensory activity.
“Residents are hand feeding the chickens, who have really taken to our environment. “Many had chickens when they were younger, so having the coop offers a chance for a trip down memory lane and creates some nostalgia for them.”
Redlands Produce Store assisted in the procurement of the chickens and one resident in particular has really warmed to them. Jan’s room overlooks the gardens and paths where the chickens forage each morning, so Jan really is counting her chickens – all four of them – to make sure they have not come to any harm. There have been no issues to date with snakes and foxes, the usual chicken-loving predators.
The names were chosen at a residents meeting and the chooks have proven to be quite a conversation point – with residents asking each other about the chickens.
Bec says this has made a difference in the way some residents are interacting with each other, egging one another on.
The eggs are a little small for any kitchen use, and a brood of four seems to be enough to keep residents, staff and volunteers busy so far.
Moreton Shores is in Thornlands and you can find out more about it here