Home to roost
Three new arrivals to the Richmond Road service are encouraging customers into the garden.
Rosemary, Samantha, Sage and Onion took up residence in July and settled into their home egg-tremely quickly. The four chickens are cared for by staff and an enthusiastic group of customers, who are already very attached to the new arrivals.
Service manager Gwyn Wright said: “Chickens have been used in residential settings before with people who have dementia and this has worked very well in improving wellbeing. I thought it would be good to see if the same benefits were present for customers with enduring mental health conditions… and it certainly is. The chickens also give the customers a focus in the garden and they get everyone outside, as the chickens are totally free range.”
Customers and staff take joint responsibility for the chickens and one customer in particular really loves looking after them and maintaining their coop. The chickens have proved to be good layers too laying, on average, four eggs a day in total.
Gwyn Wright added: “The customers have really become involved in looking after the chickens and have engaged very well with them, especially Liz who cannot resist a quick cuddle. The chicken in question is called Rosemary, who is extremely tame and seems to be in tune with Liz, happy to sit in her arms until Liz puts her down.”