The hens, Polly, Molly and Annie along with cockerel Dickie, hatched at the Kingfield Road home last year. Manager Wendy Dodimead explained: “We wanted a new activity for the home and so we got the residents together for a meeting on what they would like to do. We had lots of suggestions and we put them to the vote and raising chickens was a clear winner.
“Many of our residents remember having kept chickens in the past and they have really taken to having the birds around. They and the staff have become involved in caring for the birds and now we are collecting eggs. We kept the first one and a resident painted it as a keepsake for the home.”
The birds arrived at the home as eggs and were kept in an incubator. Residents waited expectantly and there was great excitement when they hatched. The residents then reared them by hand, making the birds very tame and friendly.
They now have a favourite perch on a seat just outside the home and residents enjoy watching the birds and hearing them cluck away.
Wendy said: “Our 67 residents have dementia and it is very important to keep them active and engaged. Activities, and having fun, help to slow down the affects of dementia and also stop depression developing.
“It would be hard not to smile at our cockerel Dickie strutting around. He is the pride of the home and residents forgive him his early morning crowing because he looks so handsome.