Chickens rule the roost at nursing home

NHUD11-1778-1''Residents at Hucknall's Hazel Grove Nursing Home have welcomed three new residents this week in the form of a group of hens. 74 year old Ron Innocent is pictured with the hens on Monday.
NHUD11-1778-1''Residents at Hucknall's Hazel Grove Nursing Home have welcomed three new residents this week in the form of a group of hens. 74 year old Ron Innocent is pictured with the hens on Monday.

A NURSING home in Hucknall has paid a visit to the farm to come up with an innovative tool to help its treatment of dementia sufferers — a trio of chickens.

The Hazelgrove home, off Farleys Lane, bought the poultry after research suggested they comforted patients with dementia.

The research said patients who came into contact with animals often experience reduced blood-pressure and anxiety and improved social interaction and sleep patterns.

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) also promotes the use of animals in treatment programmes.

Staff at Hazelgrove decided to give the idea a go on behalf of 18 residents who have dementia.

But the chickens, which were bought from Newark, have proved to be a popular addition among all 32 of the care home’s tenants.

Wayne Pickering, who is an administrator at the nursing home, said: “The residents are loving having the chickens around.

“So far, the response has been excellent. We definitely made the right decision to get the chickens in.

“It might seem a touch unusual to some people but it is working very well so far.”

Residents have been asked to come up with names for the chickens, and the most popular will be chosen in the coming weeks.

The birds are currently housed in coops in the home’s garden. Fences to protect them from foxes — and Hazelgrove’s resident cat, Wembley! — have been put up by the home’s maintenance man, Trevor Hurt.

Residents are involved by feeding the animals and collecting eggs, which will be sold on. Any profits raised will go into a social fund that pays for days out and events. There may even be plans in the future to buy more chickens.

Mr Pickering added: “Chickens are known to be a big stimulation for people with dementia. But everyone at Hazelgrove is delighted they are here.

“Let’s hope the benefits can be felt for a long time to come.”