In pursuit of ever more sources of sunshine on our little farm, we have added four perfectly delightful silkie chicks. Just last Wednesday, they were the product of a farm field trip in which all of our full time staff adventured to our local tractor supply. Here, Josie, tractor supply’s resident bird expert, escorted us into the ’employees only’ back room. In this area, the newly arrived little chicks adjusted to life outside the mail truck for a strict three hours before being able to be adopted and brought home. We waited patiently for our time, and then picked out four of the little darlings to take home with us.
One might have guessed more chickens had been in our futures for quite some time now. Indeed, ever since the arrival of our first batch of chickens in March 2018, we’ve been oh-so in love with our birds. If you’ve been to the farm lately, you know how much we love our ‘ladies.’ As lovely and sweet (and silly and smart and curious and darling) as our current batch of chickens are, they do not meet all the requirements of our latest project: therapy chickens! Namely, they are not car trained, nor leash trained, nor are they overjoyed by the prospect of sitting in laps for long stretches of time. Understanding this, we decided to raise a new little clutch of chicks to be the perfect therapy chickens!
So with the idea germinating a few months ago, our last few months have been filled with fantasy and research. The fantasy: to travel about Frederick County, bringing our loving, docile chickens to local nursing homes and of course, to our head start classrooms. The research was a bit more complicated as we set about identifying the practicality of the idea, the perfect breed to select, the benefits of engaging in this endeavor, among many other considerations. Ultimately, we discovered that therapy chickens are indeed a real thing, and can even be recognized as service animals. In terms of breed, silkie chickens are widely acknowledged to be among the very best pet chickens, who simply love human contact and cuddles. And in terms of benefits, chickens are credited with a great many benefits for isolated seniors, prisoners in the process of rehabilitation (check out a fantastic read from here), those experiencing depression and anxiety, and just the ordinary you’s and me’s of the world!
With a great deal of excitement, we are now in the process of peopling our little silkie chicks (tentatively named Paco, Dizzy, Taffy and Daisy – though names may change as we find out who will crow and who will lay eggs!) They are still a bit young for taking away from their heat lamp to be in the car or to go out visiting…But that day is fast approaching!
To read whole bunches more about therapy chickens and their wonders, visit https://countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/therapy-chickens-at-work/