Chicken & Egg Issue 14 - page 36

Chicken & Egg. Welfare and Food Together.
Better than Prozac,
and no nasty side effects!
Lianne Peters is a qualified Occupational
Therapist with a big interest in hens, and
she contacted us last year about her
independent research study into how
ex-commercial birds can enhance
people’s wellbeing.
We promoted Lianne’s pilot study through
our website and social media, which our
kind supporters took up enthusiastically.
Lianne’s study focused on the impact of
hen keeping on people with mental health
issues, something that costs the UK £70
billion each year, and causes 70 million lost
work days.
The project was unique in that it involved
measuring the wellbeing of hen keepers
who were responsible long term for the
A total of 57 participants took part.
Some of the key questions in the survey
• What motivated people to re-home
ex-commercial hens?
• Whether re-homers anticipated any effects
on wellbeing as a result of adopting hens,
and if so, were the expectations met?
• What was the outcome of re-homing
ex-commercial hens on wellbeing and
The results clearly, and unsurprisingly,
showed that compassion was the key
driver to adoption.
A sense of pride in seeing their hens
flourish was reported by 94% as the most
common effect on wellbeing, with 88%
feeling good about being responsible
for saving lives. 74% of participants were
enjoying spending more time outdoors as a
direct result of adopting hens, with greater
mindfulness and connection with nature
being cited. Here is just one respondent’s
“The hens are an endless source of
delight and conversation for the whole
family and act in part as a bonding
activity for us. My son takes responsibility
for shutting them up at night and my
husband accompanies them on forays
out of the garden to find tasty morsels. The
hens have brought an enormous amount of
love and amusement into our family.”
It has long been acknowledged that pet
ownership promotes responsability and self
esteem and Lianne hopes that through her
initial study she can promote the value of
hens as therapy.
All respondents described the positive
benefit of adopting hens. One participant
“When I become depressed and sad, it
helps to focus on the hens and rooster
and know they rely on me to feed and care
for them on a daily basis. In a way they
have replaced the gap left in my life by my
husband’s passing. Doctor has prescribed
anti-depressants, but these girls are
Lianne hopes to be able to continue her
research, and we wholeheartedly
encourage her to do so.
We have always known hen keeping is
good for you and in our view Lianne’s
work is invaluable.
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