Ipswich: Newborn chicks are an Easter treat for care home

PUBLISHED: 17:07 12 March 2013 | UPDATED: 17:07 12 March 2013

The newborn chicks at Sidegate Lane Nursing Home.

The newborn chicks at Sidegate Lane Nursing Home.


A CRACKING project has given a group of older people an early Easter treat.

The Living Eggs Experience

The Living Eggs Experience started in Australia in 1995.

The project provides life cycle education programmes for nurseries through to secondary schools.

The care home project is becoming increasingly popular and aims to stimulate memories for older people, particularly those with dementia.

The project provides eggs two or three days from hatching with a special incubator with a viewing window and a brooder box with a heat light, bedding, food and water for the newborn chicks.

Sidegate Lane Nursing Home took delivery of 12 eggs as part of a Living Eggs Experience.

The eggs came to the home a few days from hatching and were kept in an incubator where the residents could watch them hatch and then handle the newborn chicks.

Manager Michala Hartley-Brown said: “The Living Eggs project company sent us a flyer and I thought it would be beneficial for the residents.

“The residents have interacted with them quite a bit. A lot of our residents spent time as farm hands when they were younger and it brought back memories for them.

“Watching them hatch was a big thing for them. They held them and fed them.

“It’s been a really positive stimulus for them.”

All 24 residents at the Sidegate Lane home got involved in the 12-day project.

“We have a lot of residents with dementia,” Mrs Hartley-Brown explained. “And for those that can’t join in the other activities we offer – those that can’t communicate or move – it was something they enjoyed.

“We took them into the bedrooms and had them running on the beds.

“One resident, Kath, spends most of her time in bed and she laughed and smiled at them, it was lovely.

“Our home supports people with a wide range of needs so experiences like this are great because they can be enjoyed by anyone at the home.”

The chicks were due to be returned on Friday, but activities leader and care assistant Leeanna Fountain fell in love with the little birds and decided to adopt them.

“She got her husband to build a chicken run in the garden so she could take them home,” Mrs Hartley-Brown said.

She added: “We’ll definitely be doing something like this again.”

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