19 November 2014

HenPower helping the elderly - a heartwarming story

HenPower is an amazing project in the UK. The  project helps the elderly combat loneliness via keeping chickens in their rest homes or pensioner villages. 

HenPower project
A photo from the Telegraph article on HenPower.
There's an article about it here, with quotes like "‘My life has been a lot fuller since we’ve had these hens,’ he says. ‘I think I’d be lost without them.’ The chicken-keeping tasks lead to social interactions, a point of interest, and a sense of purpose and fulfilment. In turn, there are reduced amounts of antipsychotic drugs in rest homes and all sorts of other good outcomes.

It's getting quite big, too - last year they were awarded £164,000 of lottery money to extend the project. Go Hens!

There's also a lovely seven minute video on the project called Hen Men here. In it, one man hasn't seen his family since 1980 and didn't talk to his neighbours until the project began. Now the local chaps get together over their chooks. (If only I could interpret the other 70% of what the men say - the accents are strong! Which is quite fun in itself - my son was gobsmacked.)

It would be fantastic if something like this could get going in New Zealand. Wouldn't it be a lovely thing for the old people to show visiting grandchildren? I can even imagine local kindergartens going on field trips to see the chickens and collect the morning's eggs, and the residents being delighted by seeing the children. Some of the children would probably start wanting their own hens at home...  what a wonderful ripple effect it could have. HenPower indeed.


  1. Loved, loved, loved this article. Just brought such a smile to my face, watching the people's faces as they watched the chicks hatch.