Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Using Chickens For Therapy

You've all heard of the healing powers of petting animals, and you would normally associate this activity with rabbits, dogs, acts and all the other obvious furry critters, but how about a chicken?

Well, that's exactly what Jana Clairmont and her friend are using when they visit people recovering from health disorders or facing other hurdles in their lives. A white leghorn rooster called Alex and a Cornish game hen named Carlita.

Janan said the chickens are so good with people, why should she be the only one that benefits from their soothing nature.

This week, she visited residents at Polson Health and Rehabilitation Center and Alex quickly bonded with resident Chuck Gilham, and didn't seem interested in spending much time with anyone else.

As Chuck fussed over Alex (see picture above), he showed his trust in his new friend by laying his head on his arm and falling asleep.Chuck had grown up on a farm near Cut Bank and had a pet chicken as a child, and brought back many happy memories for him.

"If they are handled enough, chickens can be very affectionate", said Jana.

She calls her service 'Fowl Play', and wants to take Alex and Carlita into classrooms when school resumes in the fall. She doesn't charge a fee, but simply asks for fuel costs if she leaves the Polson area.

Sounds 'cheep' to me ;-)