‘Happy hens’ chicken therapy visits Hayling Island care home

RESIDENTS at a Hayling Island care home have been brought out of their shell – thanks to two special chickens.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 2:33 pm
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 2:38 pm
Smokey, left, and Gill on a chair Picture: Habibur Rahman

The Gorseway Nursing Home enjoyed a visit from Jill and Smokey as part of Hampshire Happy Hens unique therapy sessions. 

The business takes up to four hens at a time to offices, schools, and care homes as a form of relaxation therapy.

Clive Joel, the son of resident Molly, said it had been a ‘very special’ day – as his mother had had spent more than a decade campaigning to end battery farming of chickens. 

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Smokey, left, and Gill on a chair Picture: Habibur Rahman

He said: ‘Mum had been part of Compassion in World Farming’s End the Cage Age campaign, trying to make the lives of animals better. 

‘So today has been lovely.’ 

The session included the opportunity for residents to hold and feed the chickens, with the birds being taken to visit bedbound residents. 

The activities co-ordinator for the care home, Angie Dench, said they would ‘definitely’ have the hens back. 

Lisa Shearman feeding Gill the hen Picture: Habibur Rahman

She said: ‘We’ve never had chickens before – it’s been amazing. 

‘We are having someone bring in reptiles soon – including snakes. 

‘So we will want to make sure the chickens are booked again on a different day.’ 

Lisa Sherman, 47, started Hampshire Happy Hens from her home in Waterlooville three months ago after ‘so many people’ wanted to pet and stroke her family’s pet chickens.

96-year-old Patricia with Smokey the hen Picture: Habibur Rahman

She said: ‘When I told my partner, she wondered if anyone would be interested.

‘But we’ve been inundated. 

‘People have cats and dogs at home – these are not the average pet you’d have in your garden.’

Lisa and her family live with 17 hens and three cockerels, with more than 20 chicks forming the next generation of feathered therapy. 

She said: ‘We started by going into schools, showing the children how the eggs are incubated.

‘They see when the chicks are born and how they are looked after. 

‘We can then take them in before they become a small farm at a school.’

Lisa, a teacher at a special needs school, and her partner, Nina, an ambulance driver, currently fit one therapy session a week around their jobs, but they aim to turn the business into a full-time role. 

She said: ‘It feels good to make so many people smile.’