Hi Cynthia, and all!
Thank you for starting this thread! The whole concept of therapy chickens is rapidly gaining ground. I've taken birds (Oprah Hen-Free and proteges) to convalescent homes, schools, retirement centers, public hearings, to court as an expert witness that chickens can be pets, Mother Earth Fairs, street fairs and a LOT of other places and they always make an impact.
To promote what you described in your post there is a Therapy Chicken Handlers course. The course description is below and the next one begins June 8, 2016. It is via the internet with 24/7 class replays and has international access. More information is at www.ChickensAndYOU.com. Proceeds go to the GossamerFoundation, a nonprofit dedicated to global sustainability and local foods: we can't have one without the other.
There is a lot more research coming out about the therapeutic benefits of chickens. We have barely scratched the surface.
THERAPY CHICKENS: Training & Coaching of Handlers and Their Birds
Facilitated by Patricia Foreman
This ground-breaking course on therapy chicken visitations teaches you how to safely, sanitarily and expertly take chickens to public events. A therapy chicken handler, and their bird is specially trained to provide visitation, comfort, education and entertainment to people in retirement homes, schools, rehabilitation facilities and other suitable venues. Learn how to work with your birds which are often pets. Graduates awarded a certificate of completion of the Therapy Chicken Handler Course. Prerequisite is successful completion of the Backyard Chicken Keeper Certification course. This prepares therapy chicken handles to provide solid information and answers to questions that will arise during visitations.
• Individual bird selection (not all chickens are suited to be therapy birds)
• Handling & training fundamentals
• Special techniques for working with young children
• Bird and visitation safety and sanitation
• Poultry defenders with the 7 Myths of Urban Chickens
• Transportation of birds
• Three real life visitations with class support & review for lessons learned
As the therapy chicken handler, you should be able to:
• Read your bird’s particular stress signals and body language
• Anticipate your animal’s responses, behavior and positions
• Advocate for the safety and well being of your bird at all times
• Re-direct your bird’s behavior in a positive way,
• Inform folks accurately about chicken keeping and employing
• Answer the 7 myths of urban chickens with appropriate responses.
This is an advanced, experimental course with six intensive classes some 90 minutes. Chickens admitted free. Graduates awarded a certificate for the completion of the Therapy Chicken Handler Course. Class size limited.
Qualified as an advance course for the Master Backyard Chicken Keeper Diploma.
Let's help spread the chicken love!