Chickens as Companions

“Today is a good day for being with a companion.”

chicken

Chickens rule the coop nursing home. In England, they’re implementing a poultry program to help seniors stave off loneliness. (I talked about this a little in my recent newsletter. If you missed out, you can go to the right-hand side of my home page to sign up for it!) There’s an arts group named HenPower that is turning pensioners into “hensioners.” Animal therapy has always proven to be helpful in the elderly population, and now it seems that chickens can also be desirable companions.

In fact, I grew up with chickens. Our family bought three little chicks from a nearby farm and raised them as our own. I remember chasing my poultry pets around the backyard, squealing with glee. Whenever one got injured (sometimes the chicken wire at the bottom of the cage was quite sharp), I would monitor their wounds and put little Band-Aids on them. I even sang them to sleep in my arms.

Later on, though, the chicks grew up. I still loved them, but unfortunately, our rooster started crowing–at the moon. In the middle of the night, you could hear him serenading that great white sphere. Not too long after that, I found a notice on the door. It turns out that although we lived near the county area where livestock could be kept, we were actually residing within city boundaries. The chickens had to go, and I wept that day.

How could we give my precious pets away? Where would they go? One day, they disappeared. My parents had decided to take action. They had taken my chickens to my grandfather who owned a grocery store (and meat market).

“You did what?” I asked. “You sold them?”
“No, we ate them,” they said. “Too skinny,” they added. “Not enough meat on their bones.”

So very sad. But now I feel redeemed. Chickens are great pets, companions…and therapy, it seems.

Any pet stories out there?

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Comments

  1. I’m familiar with animal therapy–they often bring dogs around to visit the children at our children’s hospital–but I’ve never heard of using chickens before! How interesting. But sorry about your own chickens. All that and they weren’t even satiating. :/

    • Jennifer J. Chow says:

      I’ve seen my share of cats and dogs in senior homes as well. Maybe a chicken can be the new “man’s best friend.” (Thanks for the condolences about my own chickens.)

  2. Veronica Roth says:

    I’m not surprised! I still don’t have the urban chickens I want…maybe this spring…but next to us at West Cottage, a few people have them, and, apart form one attack rooster, they are the gentlest little creatures and they make the most satisfying questioning noises. I feed them dandelion leaves, apples and plums all summer. :D

    • Jennifer J. Chow says:

      That sounds so sweet about feeding them. I did hand-feed my chickens at times, and they were pretty gentle with their pecking.

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