Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Chickens Don't Think I'm Weird: The Therapeutic Value of Chickens

A Nanci L. Valke story visible online at insidebayarea covers the poignant story of a nine-year old boy in Clayton California who has Tourette's syndrome. His tics are repellent to potential neighborhood playmates, but his five hens, (Chickadee, Peach, Daisy, Brownie and Daphne) are a comfort. "The chickens, they don't think I'm weird." 

He's lucky because the town has allowed the family to keep the chickens, but only because the birds minimize the boy's symptoms. 

This is not an isolated instance. Many chicken owners find spending time with their birds to be calming and it is not uncommon to hear references to "chicken TV". Chickens seem to balance what is attractive about pets (tameness, come when called, eager to see you, antics) with wild behaviors (foraging, dustbathing, asserting dominance) that provide insight into avian behavior. So a late afternoon spent in their company is both entertaining and informative.

It is indeed unfortunate when children with special challenges and attachment to their chickens are denied the therapeutic value of their company. Hats off to Clayton California.

No comments: