The idea for Hen therapy at Quenby was from existing chicken owner and Deputy Manager, Peter Ronan.
Peter says ‘Chickens have a naturally calming presence, which is ideal for our residents, which help to ease any feelings of isolation and for people with dementia, chickens are highly stimulating and brings residents together regardless of their abilities. We found that when residents were either given the chickens to hold, or if one of the hens walked in through the patio doors and jump up on their laps, greatly reduced depression or anxieties and generally improved their well-being’.
Bed or housebound residents enjoy being a part of the project by watching the chickens from the large patio doors and windows into the garden. Residents enjoy colouring, painting and decorating their own eggs. Socially engage and bond by talking to other residents about the hens, naming them and letting the hens sit in their laps. Peter say’s ‘The results are astounding. “Chickens are innately engaging,” Other activities include passing around feathers and eggs. For some residents, it’s been years since they’ve touched a hen. For those who used to keep chickens during the war, having a chicken in their lap can be very evocative. The 15 resident bantam chickens, include 3 males. All living in luxurious accommodation aptly named Cluckingham Palace. The chickens can free range in the extensive grounds of the home, knowing where to find treats, and can often be found sitting on laps of those residents bed bound getting cuddles, when the bedroom door to the gardens are open.
Quenby is a specialist residential home for 26 people with dementia which offers a safe, happy and stimulating environment for people over 65 in Thorrington, near the popular seaside town of Brightlingsea, Essex.