Skip to content

You are using an outdated browser

Internet Explorer is not supported by this site and Microsfot has stopped releasing updates, therefore you may encounter issues whilst visiting this site and we strongly recommend that you upgrade your browser for modern web functionality, a better user experience and improved security.

Upgrade my browser

How hen-keeping is catching on as the coolest new therapy for the elderly

3 min read

Better Society
How hen-keeping is catching on as the coolest new therapy for the elderly
Source: Facebook/HenPowerProject

HenPower is an award winning project that creatively ‘hengages’ older people in arts activities and hen-keeping to promote health, wellbeing and reduce loneliness.

Bringing together older people and hen-keeping to combat loneliness and boost overall health

Today in more than 60 care homes across the UK, HenPower is creatively hengaging older people in arts activities and hen-keeping to promote health and wellbeing and reduce loneliness. HenPower is cultivating creativity in care settings at a time in life when most people are slowing down, and not stepping into their wellies or creating masterpieces.

How chickens are helping senior citizens fight loneliness in a major way With loneliness said to be as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad 2010) HenPower helps vulnerable older people gain a sense of purpose and being part of something worthwhile. Source: Facebook/ATTN

How HenPower is helping

Working with dementia care settings, care home providers are seeing the benefits with staff reporting reduced agitation in residents and reduced use of anti-psychotic medication.

HenPower aims to: 

  • Empower older people to build positive relationships through hen-keeping with improved wellbeing, reduced loneliness and reduced depression
  • Help care settings offer relationship centred care meeting older people’s needs and embrace ‘living with care’ as opposed to ‘caring for’
  • Create lasting change by supporting older people in care settings to get involved with schools, festivals and community events
  • Support Resident and Relative Committees within care settings to be aspirational and provide meaningful activities which embrace creative ageing
  • Provide social care staff with excellent skill transfer and professional development opportunities.

How HenPower Helps

A 12-month study of the project by Northumbria University used differing recognised health scales. Published in 2014 the evaluation found HenPower is:

  • Improving the health and wellbeing of older people
  • Reducing depression and loneliness in older people

With support from volunteers, the care sector and schools, HenPower is making a real difference to people’s lives. Read the stories of just a handful of those who’ve been HenPowered.


Source: EqualArts

Linking care homes with classrooms through the Hen Roadshows “I love going into schools to meet the bairns. I’ve made friends with people aged four to 94 through doing the hen road shows. I’ve learnt so much myself about keeping hens, stuff that I didn’t have a clue about before and now we can go back into schools and homes to share our experiences and to encourage others. To be honest, you’re never too old to learn.” — Alan Richards Source: Facebook/HenPowerProject

So far 60 HenPower projects in UK, 20 in Australia, 1 in Taiwan and 3 in The Netherlands…

In a comment to the above video posted on Facebook by ATTN, HenPower responded:

‘Thanks for all the positive comments and feedback. Our Henpower project was initiated in the UK by our creative ageing charity Equal Arts. You can follow us on social media to hear how the project impacts, hengaging older people in creativity with the hens as the catalyst. 

HenPower started several years ago whilst we working with an older man in a dementia care setting. He kept repeating women’s names and making a run for the door at certain times of the day. We realised that the names were those of the hens he’d kept at home when he was younger, and he was wanting to go out and feed them, or collect the eggs. We bought Billy 6 hens and brought them indoors for other residents to see and handle. We painted them, we wrote about them, we composed songs about them and then we henbarked on HenPowering the rest of the UK! 

Herergising older people’s lives through creativity, making bonds with older peers, connecting them with cultural venues and schools and now, we deliver in 60 care settings across the UK, and henternatioanlly to care settings around the globe – 20 in Australia, 1 in Taiwan and three in Holland…we are always looking to spread our wings further afield, so if you’d like to see Henpower in your care setting or school, drop us a line and get in touch.’

Source: Facebook/ATTN

Make an Impact

Equal Arts — Improving older people's lives with creativity

If you would like more information, to get involved, to get in touch, or to donate.