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OAP joy as chickens come home to roost

Abbeyfield resident Joan Bird with Armstrong House assistant Dawn Friar and a chicken with a knitted woollen jackets to keep it warm while their feathers regrow.

Abbeyfield resident Joan Bird with Armstrong House assistant Dawn Friar and a chicken with a knitted woollen jackets to keep it warm while their feathers regrow.

Plucky ex-battery hens are enjoying a new lease of life this Easter, at a sheltered housing complex.

Residents at Abbeyfield’s Armstrong House in Bamburgh are learning to care for the new arrivals, observe their antics and tuck into the freshly-laid eggs.

Keeping a pet is a joy often denied to elderly people when they move into sheltered housing.

But animal companionship can help alleviate loneliness, provide essential interaction and give them a new interest, according to the Abbeyfield Society.

Aptly-named Armstrong House resident Joan Bird said: “We have been so pleased to take them in. They are a real talking point and have already brought us great pleasure.

“One unexpected side effect of their arrival is that we have had to step up our knitting.

“Quite a few of the hens arrived with big bald patches from living in battery conditions. So some of the wonderful volunteers who give their time to Abbeyfield have joined me in knitting jackets to keep the balder chickens warm.

“Their feathers will grow back, but our little jackets will help keep them warm until they do.”

House manager Paula Lingwood said: “The hens certainly have put a spring in the step of our residents, many of whom have fond memories of keeping chickens when they were younger.

“We decided to bring the hens to Armstrong House after hearing how well chickens had been received at other Abbeyfield Houses in the UK.”

 

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