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Anyone interested in doing therapy visits with your chickens?

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by country, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. country

    country Songster

    Sep 14, 2008
    Lincoln, CA
    This is for Sarah & anyone else who'd enjoy visiting convalescent homes with their chickens.

    Hi Sarah,

    Well, the first thing you need is a chicken diaper - LOL! Seriously, they are very cheap, around $10. You can google chicken diaper but I think it is just www.chickendiaper.com. If you or anyone reading this orders the diapers, please contact me about a better way of using & installing the baggie that is used as a plastic liner. And if any of you sew & want to make your own, I'd be glad to send you a picture of the diaper I ordered for Biggie. It's very simple.

    After that, all you need is a nice friendly chicken that doesn't peck at jewelry or glasses & likes to be petted. You might want to practice at home so you know how your chicken will react to the diaper & being passed around to different people. We socialize ours a LOT by taking them shopping in all kinds of stores, including grocery stores! However, I always ask a manager first. It's really funny if you have a roo & he crows while you are in the store. People will converge on you from all over the store & want to pet & talk about your chicken. A great way to train & socialize your chicken. When you're ready, you can set up some visits at local convalescent homes. Preschools are also a lot of fun & a great chance to educate children about chickens as pets.

    IMHO, Silkies seem to be made for use as therapy chickens, but I think any breed will work, as long as they are calm & well socialized. And they shouldn't flap when you pick them up or put them down because it scares the patients. Also, if you have a breed that is at all broody, then choose a roo as your therapy boy. I have several hens that are wonderful therapy chickens but they always seemed to be broody about the time we were ready to do a visit. Not necessarily a bad thing though, as long as they aren't already on eggs. A broody Silkie will definitely stay nicely wherever you put her!

    One special training no-no...Do not EVER feed your chicken from your hand or they might peck at a patient or child. Always feed them from a special cup, preferably one that has a design of some kind that they can recognize. I learned this one the hard way the first time I gave our young birds meal worms. I stupidly fed them from my hand & now, everytime I go in the pen they are trying to peck at my hands. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to break them of this habit. So, with Biggy gone, we may not be able to do any therapy visits until the next batch of chicks. Just as well I guess, as I don't think my heart will really be in it for awhile.

    There really isn't any time committment - you can go as often or as little as you like. All you need is the time to give your chicken a good bath & blow-dry before the visit. We use Adams flea soap to make sure we are rid of all the bugs. We also clip & file nails so there aren't any sharp edges. I will usually call one of the CH's & ask if it's ok to visit on such & such a day & they're always happy to have us. Sometimes they will have all the ambulatory patients in one room so we will usually take several chickens just to do a "show & tell" & then we go to each patient so they can hold & pet our tame therapy chickens. If time allows, we also visit the rooms of patients confined to their beds.

    If it sounds like a lot of work, it really isn't. And I don't even have the words to describe how gratifying it is to make the visits. The patients are all so eager to pet the chickens & talk about them, & they are all so happy to have someone visit. Plus, it's not like you're sitting there thinking of things to say. With the chickens as a focal point, the conversation just seems to flow & the time passes much too quickly.

    I would urge all of you to think about this & possibly give it a try. And include your children too! Our grandson is 12 & he loves it. I'd like to see 4H, FFA, Girl/Boy Scouts, & other organizations all give credit & special recognition to kids that make therapy visits with animals. And the personal satisfaction you take home from these visits is fantastic. You'll feel a warm glow for days & you'll find that you & your children will have a lot of conversations about the different patients & how they reacted to the chickens.

    1 person likes this.
  2. rebecca10782

    rebecca10782 Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Aww, my mom was going to do that with our rooster but we had to find him a home with our friend because we were snitched on. Sadly, he just died. He was so incredibly sweet. He looked very mean, so we named him Lucifer, he was previously Lucy. My mom takes our dog in to the nursing home every week and always talked about bring in Lucifer because he was so easygoing. That is so funny that you bring yours into the supermarket. I would be on the floor laughing if I saw you walking down the isle with a crowing rooster in your basket! We have a friend who is making a vegan dinner at the church in a couple of weeks and we offered to bring our hen and two month old babies in so people can see how sweet chickens are. We are going to have them at the door, so people can meet them as they come in [​IMG] I went on the website to buy some diapers but it is closed for construction. I cannot find them anywhere else so I am going to have to sew six diapers [​IMG]
  3. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    You may want to change your title to Pet Therapy. When I first read it I thought it was some kind of chicken psychic thing. HAhA
  4. geckomama

    geckomama Songster

    Aug 12, 2008
    NE Oklahoma
    I used to do this with my mini-lops............... [​IMG]
  5. country

    country Songster

    Sep 14, 2008
    Lincoln, CA
    Hi Rebecca,
    Would you like me to send you a picture of the diapers? They really do work great & none of my Silkies have ever objected to wearing them. Also, I found an ad on eggbid for the diapers from back in Sept. The description sounds exactly like the ones I got from chickendiapers.com so I emailed the seller who makes them herself. I need to order a couple more pair so I asked for a picture & any material colors available. If you'd like, I can let you know what I find out. Her minimum opening bid was $5 but no one bid so I'm not sure if that was the reserve or not.
  6. rebecca10782

    rebecca10782 Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Quote:Sure, I will send a picture. Although if I can find any to purchase, I will do that. I will go look on egg bid, if I don't find any, I will have to find a pattern. I did find a video on youtube about how to make them. I will have to watch it.
  7. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I was actually going to join the Delta Society with Slifer.
    Obelisk is just such an addlepated numbskull that she'd lose her head if it wasn't attached.
    Penny, my Silkie/Cochin mix, would've been a perfect chicken ambassador.
  8. Betsy

    Betsy Songster

    Mar 24, 2007
    Northeast Indiana
    Very interesting! I don't think I could do it with my current batch of birds...but I am going to get a new batch in the spring.

    When the current batch was young, I did take some of them to see our neighbor who was in a nursing home. He got me started in geese and was always interested in my poultry. Poor guy got really sick and spent the last nine months of his life in the hospital and a nursing home [​IMG] He hated both. I knew a dose of chicken therapy would brighten his day, so took six of my young ones-a rooster and hen of each breed-to see him in the nursing home. I put them in a carrier with straw in it, which they loved. I didn't have chicken diapers, so spread an old towel over our neighbor's lap and took the chickens out one at a time to show him. He loved it! [​IMG]

    Our neighbor died in September, but I will always cherish the memory of taking chickens to see him in the nursing home....and of hearing chickens contentedly scratching in their carrier while the car they were in was flying at 70mph down an interstate en route to the nursing home:)
  9. 5Gsand3Silkies

    5Gsand3Silkies Hatching

    Jan 11, 2016
    Thank you for your post. My daughter and I have 3 Beautiful Silkies and I started looking into therapy. Could you suggest how to go about contacting locations to share the silkies for therapy. Did you get any formal training or cert, and are you affiliated with any organization?

    Any information to get things going for us would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!
  10. chadmen2013

    chadmen2013 In the Brooder

    Feb 12, 2015
    Very neet idea. I could imagine it could become a big hit at a nursing home or a school. Thanks for sharing.

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