10-Year-Old Girl Starts the First Chicken Therapy Program for Asperger's

Posted by Krissy Howard
ABC News

Created by a 10-year-old Australian girl, Chicken to Love uses the power of pet therapy to help people with Asperger's learn to socialize.

While dogs and horses are usually associated with pet therapy, this program uses the healing power of backyard chickens.

10-year-old girl Summer Farrelly, the creator of Chicken to Love out of Australia, came up with the idea after realizing how happy she felt simply watching chickens peck and graze in the chicken coop, according to an ABC News report.

Upon studying the way the free range birds socialize with one another, Summer was able to better understand what socializing with peers in her own age group might be like.

Chicken love helps with mental health

A 10-year-old girl from Bundaberg has created a world first social skills program using chickens.Summer Farrelly lives with an Asperger's syndrome diagnosis and was struggling with emotional issues and social situations. Summer discovered spending time with her feathered friends was a huge help and now wants to share her program Chickens to Love - Therapeutic Chickens to try and assist others. Video by Brad Marsellos

Posted by ABC Wide Bay on Friday, September 22, 2017


Her mother, Cynthia, has noticed that since engaging with the flock of pet chickens her daughter has been able to regulate her emotions in a way she never could before. Summer noticed especially how the mother hens would react to the baby chicks. Cynthia told ABC News:

"She said to me 'Oh, Mum, I can watch these chickens and learn about their body language, the sounds of their chirping, the way they interact with each other.' She said if I pretend that chickens are people then life makes sense to me in the playground."

While Chicken to Love may be the first therapy program of its kind aimed at helping those with Asperger's syndrome or on the autism spectrum, the use of chickens as therapy pets has been done before.

Therapy chickens such as Mr. Joy, featured in the video below, have been known to visit nursing homes residents and help those with Alzheimer's, spending time with elderly patients suffering from memory loss.

To learn more about Chicken to Love, the chicken therapy program, check out the Facebook page by clicking here. Farm animals are often used in therapy animal programs around the country to help with depression or other special needs.

Have you ever worked with a therapy animal? Let us know in the comments section below!

WATCH NOW: Donkeys Make Great Therapy Animals

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10-Year-Old Girl Starts the First Chicken Therapy Program for Asperger's