It’s been an eggs-citing April (Easter pun not intended!) at Cedar Grange Care Centre, where residents and staff started the week fawning over our very own duckling hatching kit! Provided by Incredible Eggs, the kit came with five duck eggs –partly incubated.
For several days we observed them, nestled in their cosy incubator, wondering when they’d be ready to come out. We noticed small cracks appearing on the eggs, from one day to the next, but nothing more. Just when we’d gotten used to them as a permanent fixture of the day room, residents and staff noticed that one of the eggs had began to hatch!
Hearts were melting all around as we watched the first yellow duckling break out of its egg. He was followed by a second yellow duckling, stretching and blinking in the afternoon sunlight. To everyone’s surprise, the third egg to hatch was a black duckling, which we all fell in love with straight away! By the following day all the eggs had hatched and we promptly transferred them to their brooding hutch.
“What an incredible moment our residents and the children from the local day nursery witnessed in our home, when the ducklings hatched!” said Liz, our Activities Manager at Cedar Grange, Woodlands Manor and Ash Croft House. “Our residents suffer from dementia and/or alzheimer’s. This has been the best experience they could have had.”
We also have duck therapy days now where they can see and hold them when feeling low. This has lifted the spirits of not only the residents but the staff and families too. I can’t believe how much positivity and happiness this has brought into residents lives.”
Growing up very quickly now, the ducklings have been a source of joy and excitement in our home. Residents and staff alike look forward to seeing the ducklings every day. We can’t get enough of watching them go from tentatively exploring to confidently waddling about their new environment. Just yesterday, we witnessed their very first swim, as residents and staff introduced the ducklings to their water tray.
The positive impact this experience has had on the morale of our residents, staff and even resident families, has been phenomenal. We now have duck therapy days where residents can see and hold them when feeling low. Children from the local nursey visit Cedar Grange daily to tend to the ducklings, and will be very much involved in the up-bringing.
There are no shortage of research articles that highlight the benefits of animal assisted therapy for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown a marked decrease in feelings of sadness and anxiety, when elderly people in care took part in activities involving pets. We’ve seen the effects firsthand, with some of our most unresponsive revealing their nurturing side, and taking such great pleasure from handling the ducklings with the utmost gentleness.
Residents and staff at Cedar Grange had the choice of returning the ducklings back to incredible eggs after one week. We’ve opted to keep them and have even adopted two more ducklings who took to their brothers and sisters immediately. We will continue to hand rear our them until they are old enough (at 7-weeks) to be re-housed in a pen we’re having built in our rear garden. Cedar Grange is also be having a new pool built for the ducklings, and will be holding a duck naming competition in the days to come. Follow us on Facebook to find out how you can take part, and for further updates.
At Cedars Care Group, we welcome every opportunity to bring animals into our homes. We find that they are a source of great comfort for our residents who love to pet and interact with them. Meaningful activities are a fundamental part of day-to-day life at Cedars Care Group homes. They are vital for the wellbeing of seniors, and those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Pet Therapy comes pretty high up on our list of spiritual and therapeutic activities with great benefits to residents. You can find out more about our Activities Here.
For our ducklings, we’d like to thank Incredible Eggs –the ethical chick & duckling hatching kit provider; as well as Mount Bank Farm, which is where our ducklings came from.