A care home near Swansea is finding its new hen-keeping initiative is bringing cracking benefits to the mental well-being of its residents.
The hens at Cwrt Enfys, SilverCrest Group, which were specially bred for their suitability for care home environments, were hatched as Easter chicks at the home in Ystradgynlais.
Named ‘Feathers,’ ‘Dottie,’ ‘Fluffy’ and ‘Chick’ by the residents themselves, the hens were introduced as part of a pet therapy scheme. It is claimed that the presence of hens reduces depression and helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate of residents. It is also believed to be particularly beneficial for people with dementia. The studies were carried out by the University of Northumbria
Claire England, activities coordinator at Cwrt Enfys said: “Hen therapy for the elderly is therapeutic as it helps the residents to relax and raise their spirits.
We found it helps our dementia residents especially as many of them grew up on small holdings, so the hens help foster memories of their younger days. They are certainly a talking point for residents and it is wonderful to hear them share their stories with each other.”
Resident Betty Jones, aged 90 said: “We are all so excited to have the hens here. We love feeding and caring for them, it makes us all smile when they are around. The other day Feathers was playing around a plastic storage box and it tipped on him so I came to his rescue.
Everyone at the home loves them and they will be able to produce eggs soon, we are looking forward to using their eggs to bake our cakes.”
Currently housed inside, the team at Cwrt Enfys is now building an outdoor chicken coop out of recycled materials which they to have ready for June. The aim is to give residents the opportunity to interact with the hens in their natural habitat.