Therapy Chickens: Changing the World
Everyone knows that dogs provide therapy to those who are in hospitals, schools, and other care facilities. On occasion cats are used for therapy, companionship, stress relief, and to bring feelings of positivity to people in need. But with the understanding of our relationship with animals, it’s surprising news that chickens are actually incredible therapy animals!
Ione Maria Rojas an amazing animal therapy advocate in the UK began bringing chickens to visit elderly people in London’s nursing homes. As Vegans, we know what a joy chickens are, they are beautiful feathery friends and are so much fun to be around, and with the work that Rojas has been doing it’s no argument that they do not belong on a dinner plate.
Are All Chickens Able to Be Therapy Chickens?
“Pekin bantam chickens are known for being really docile,” says Rojas. “They like to be stroked and enjoy perching on people’s laps, making them the perfect therapy animal. The experience promotes interaction and can make those who are very reserved and withdrawn want to join in and hold a chicken! For some people who kept chickens in their youth, it brings back happy memories.” The elderly that Rojas has visited welcomed these birds with open arms, and the results were outstanding. The people showed relief from anxiety, depression, and were smiling ear to ear with these new animal companions.
“When the animals are very young, volunteers spend a lot of time with them. They get a lot of handling, so they’re used to it,” said Rojas. These hens are brought up receiving love from humans, and time and time again it’s proven that humans and animals form special bonds. The stereotype that chickens are just livestock and will run away and not interact is debunked. The same way a dog will react to a human that shows them love, chickens will react the same. Put an animal in a cage stuffed with 10 other animals, when they are out they will react flighty regardless of species. All chickens have the intelligence and capacity to become therapy animals and change the lives of those around them. With new information and a more open mindset, animals and humans can form relationships that will cause a revolution.
Therapy Chickens Benefiting Human Lives
Life Care Center in Littleton, Massachusetts, is a hugely successful animal therapy program. Therapy chickens were placed in with the the residents with Alzheimer’s and the benefit was outstanding. Just watching the chickens; its reported that the residents experience a calming effect. Feeding the chickens to improves mobility and is a cognitive boost.
In Kansas, a daycare worker taught the children how to care for chickens. Also leaning to build their own coop. Children are so full of love for animals. Just being around these beautiful birds helps them to understand that these chickens aren’t meant to be nuggets, they are our friends.
Paul Checkley from England suffered abuse as a child. As an adult, he couldn’t shake off the feelings of shame and depression, had a full psychotic breakdown, retired from his job on medical grounds, and then a friend suggested he adopt battery hens. “They’ve had a horrible life, just like you.” his friend persisted. Paul adopted four hens; they were featherless and terrified from their ordeal. But as he watched them grow into beautiful, confident chickens. He found it immensely rewarding and the experience gave him the strength to fight his own demons. “The hens accept me. They calm me down and I feel that, through the horrors in both their lives and mine, we connect,” he told The Guardian newspaper.
Today therapy chickens are used around the world to encourage elderly and recovering patients mobility. Residents have the motivation to get outside and interact with animals. Chickens have so much capacity to make people laugh. Letting the people who face huge challenges with mental health and illnesses to enjoy the little things.
Resources to Register a Therapy Chicken in the U.S.
Register My Service Animal, LLC, they will register your chickens as either emotional support animals or therapy animals, although they do not provide training. Emotional Support Animals with The Official ESA Registration Of America accepts chickens, their official statement, “Any animal that provides therapeutic value can be considered an Emotional Support Animal. Chicken owners can also apply to work with an organization called Intermountain Therapy Animals. The chicken and owner will be screened for and if accepted, there is a team training course.
Do you have pet chickens? Share your photos with us on Instagram, or let us know if you will be registering your chicken as a therapy animal in our Facebook Group. For more information on Backyard Chickens check out our board on Pinterest. At Raise Vegan, we always want to learn more about our members and subscribers. This place is all about you!