Therapy Chickens Are Helping People Across the Country

From stressed-out tech executives to seniors with dementia, more people are finding chickens make life better

Posted in , Oct 17, 2018

Louise the rooster loves people.

HenPower, an unconventional animal-care project in the U.K. has been helping seniors with dementia and loneliness. This particular program may not be in North America yet, but here are some chickens that are helping people of all ages.

British Columbia, Canada

Remember Louise, the rooster in a wheelchair from the July/Aug 2017 issue of All Creatures? Louise’s disability helps at-risk kids learn empathy and resilience at Semiahmoo Animal League.

Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Gwenne Baile created Camden County Chickens after a five-year effort to change local laws about owning hens. Her therapy chickens, Rosebud and Blossom, visit people in nursing homes, libraries and schools.

DeBary, Florida

The three chickens Ashleigh and Joe Hart bought their autistic son J.J. helped him with communication and socialization. When a city ordinance threatened the hens’ expulsion, worldwide appeals got a local judge to agree they could stay. 

Littleton, Massachusetts

Patients with dementia at the Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley enjoy caring for hens. “We have an all-female unit, and their maternal instinct is still very strong, so they can satisfy that by caring for the chickens,” says program director Lauren Gaffney.  

Chicago, Illinois

Parents at Oscar Mayer Magnet Schoolwanted to teach their kids where food comes from. A coop, six hens and a school-wide naming contest later, families are still volunteering to clean up chicken poop (it’s compostable)! 

Silicon Valley, California 

Chickens are now a trendy pet for the tech elite, who destress from their data-centric day jobs by taking care of their feathered friends.

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