Residents at Cabrini House, Diagrama’s home for adults with learning disabilities have been honing their animal husbandry skills with the arrival of several new visitors.
Earlier this summer the home took a special delivery of eggs – which were placed in a special incubator in a cage. The following morning the first chick hatched, watched by some of the residents.
Residential manager Michelle Dyne said: “Residents were excited and enthralled at watching the new life emerge. They were asking lots of questions about the eggs and hatching.
“After a few hours the chick, which they had named Amy, was removed from the incubator and allowed to wander around the cage. She immediately went to the brooding plate and stayed there for a few hours before venturing out for some food and water. The residents were encouraged to listen very carefully to the other eggs and could hear the chicks cheeping inside. Over the next few days more chicks hatched and each one was given a name. The residents were able to hold the chicks and watch them grow.
Michelle added: “We learnt that the chicks have to peck hundreds of times to get out of the egg, and they have an “egg tooth” to help them do this – it is a sharp point at the end of their beaks, which falls off quickly after hatching. Sadly one egg failed to hatch, however we managed to hatch 7 chicks who all remained healthy and were returned back to the farm after 10 days where they will continue to grow.”
In July Cabrini House again received some surprise guests, this time from two pet hedgehogs. Residents have been entrusted with their care over the summer and if well received they could remain there permanently.
Involvement with the care of animals can have a therapeutic benefit for the residents, challenging them with a new responsibility and educating them in careful handling. Residents enjoy motivational benefits and the emotional connection with the animals themselves.