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How nurturing chickens are helping people combat loneliness and associated mental health problems.

It recently was brought to my attention that people need and want more knowledge about the health benefits of so called "Farm Animals". So i did some digging in the world wide web and spoke to a few of people owning chickens. The input i got i just had to share with you guys, as well as two great videos. I hope you enjoy and leave us some comments below about your feelings of chickens as therapy for anxiety and depression as well as many more...

We usually associate therapy animals with being dogs, but many other animals — horses, cats, rabbits and even chickens — can provide assistance with mental and physical health.

Chickens are becoming more common as therapy animals. Organizations have used chickens to provide companionship to the elderly. Mental health issues such as loneliness and depression are enormous problems amongst the elderly.

There is more and more evidence to show that older people who feel lonely are far more likely to suffer from depression and also from dementia. And with a global population that is ageing rapidly, this is an issue that has the potential to cause a huge burden on societies all over the world.

Jenette states: My grandmother enjoys visiting me but her face lights up when I bring her a hen to pet.

But not only elderly also special needs children can benefit from chicken therapy tremendously as shown in the video below.

Yes, those feathery, foolish birds known best for pecking the ground repeatedly can make a solid and encouraging difference in the health of an autistic child.

Many families will attest to the therapeutic benefits of having chickens for their children on the autism spectrum and how they positively have impacted their children’s communication, social and independent living skills.

Another benefit i personally experienced is they are so calming. I have been close to individuals that experience Past traumatic stress disorder, so I had a personal interest in the information.

Donna states: I have a 9 year old with PTSD and adhd and the chickens have been a god send to her. They are teaching her love, responsibility, family values, and they are her friends. Since chickens, she is doing so much better at school and gets along better with others. I am also a substance abuse counselor and chickens come up a lot in groups and sessions. Personally chickens bring me joy. Can't we all use,a little of that?

Typically PTSD gets associated with veteran's of war or victims of war, but it is also common in those that have experienced any traumatic event, such as an especially traumatic car accident, a fire, a devastating storm, the loss of someone from a traumatic event. These individuals struggle with day to day routines and interaction with others, as well as readjusting to what is deemed a normal life. Due to their kind nature, chickens are perfect for calming someone having an anxiety attack or anger outbursts.

Kirsten states: My psychiatrist called them my therapy chickens. I cuddle them when I'm low (I have major depressive disorder and PTSD) and even sleep with them sometimes. My husband has insomnia, so the chicken cuddles keep me from feeling too lonely. Also, I bring chickens to my classroom, where my students and the special education students like to visit them before school. Their needs are clear, their love unconditional!

While many people view chickens as something to be barbecued, there is evidence that chickens have high intelligence and can easily create personal bonds with humans.

In 2013, a study out of the University of Bristol found that chickens can outperform human toddlers in certain intelligence tests.

Chickens also have their very own means of communication.

Each sound means something different in “chicken language” and researchers have identified up to 30 different types of vocalizations, which include alarm calls if a predator is near, calls for their young and calls for when food is around.

In addition to their communication and problem-solving skills, they are able to recognize up to 100 different individuals, which include humans. They also have their own societal class system.

The intelligence of chickens goes far beyond problem solving. They exhibit emotional intelligence traits that are surprisingly human-like. Chickens enjoy playing and exercising. Mother hens also understand the connection between the fertilized eggs they lay and what’s growing inside them. The mothers will actually “talk” to her chicks when they are inside the egg.

Unfortunately, information about chicken intelligence is not widely known. A popular phrase like “bird brain” has damaged our perception about chickens and their feathered relatives. In reality, chickens are smart, empathetic, emotional creatures that are easy for humans to bond with.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings about the health benefits of chicken keeping or maybe you even have a story to tell how those clever, loving animals helped you or your loved one improved your daily struggles! Please share your experience in the comment section below...

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