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Community | May 8, 2024

Chick Hatching at Trico LivingWell

Welcoming New Life at Trico LivingWell

Starting in late March, the Trico LivingWell team and residents took on a very special role – parents to a group of baby chicks! We decided to take part in the Nanny McCluckins Chick Hatching Experience, where we had the chance to set up an incubator, place eggs, and check on them while each chick grew inside their egg. This process took approximately four weeks. To watch the chicks grow, we used a process called candling that allows you to illuminate the inside of an egg with a light source.

The Hatching Process: From Eggs to Chicks

On April 6 at 10 am, our first little chick burst into the world with exuberance! After chicks hatch, they stay in the incubator for 24 hours. Our first little chick, who we named Molly, was a bundle of energy and spent this time running around pushing her siblings in their shells! Following Molly, we watched as 5 other chicks pecked their way out of their eggs and started their lives. We made sure to document the order each of our new hatchlings emerged into the world and gave them some awesome names to take with them on their journey through life. Each of them had unique personalities that we took into consideration as we named them.

Post Hatch: Personalities Emerge

One of the best parts of this experience for us was getting to watch our five chicks’ personalities grow as they explored their new world. Here are some notable moments we shared with each chick:

• Molly, our first chick, was quite the dancer. We would put her on the table to run around and instead she would just stretch out her little feet like a ballerina, and then want to be held in someone’s hand because of the warmth. She also kept getting stuck on the wrong side of her play pen and then just stare and chirp at our Receptionist, Elma, to help her back over to the heater in the incubator.
• Miles was our track star. We would put him on the floor or table, and he would just run like crazy. He must have been using up a lot of energy, because he would use his size to push the others around just to eat.
• Fred Savage had the most unique markings, with black feathers and a little yellow belly and bum. He was a ladies man!
• Henny was so tiny, and her yellow and black feathers were so interspersed with one another she almost looked green. She loved to snuggle up by the heater.
• Buster was our last born and smallest chick. He must have felt like he was late to the party, because he came busting out of his shell so fast we decided the name Buster would suit him best. Buster received a ton of snuggles.

Reflections: The Therapeutic Benefits of Chick Hatching for Seniors

Interacting With Our Chicks Had Mental Health Benefits

According to CHD Living, interacting with animals can reduce feelings of loneliness, stress, and anxiety while promoting motor skills and social interaction as those involved work together toward a common goal. This gave our community something to be excited about collectively as we watched the chicks progress and gave them love. Some of our residents even made food for the chicks!

Interacting With Our Chicks Brought Back Memories

One of the sweetest parts of this experience was getting to listen to our residents share stories that came to mind as we cared for the chicks. We have many residents who grew up raising chickens on farms and it was so interesting to hear what they had to say and their expertise from these times.

Interacting With Our Chicks Taught Us Problem Solving & New Skills

One of our chicks gave us a bit of a scare because they had not hatched and were a few days past their due date. We learned how to do a “float test” to see if this chick still potential had to hatch – right when we did so, we heard chirping! With this timing and the chick having been exposed out of the incubator, we had to help get them unstuck from their shell. We managed to do this successfully and Fred Savage was born! This experience taught us some new skills and problem solving to make sure Fred Savage had a safe birth.

The Chick Hatching Experience Was an Amazing Bridge Across Generations

During the birth of our second chick, Miles, one of our resident’s grandson was present. His mind was blown by the experience, and he became obsessed with the chick! This was such a cool memory for our resident and their grandson to share together, and we decided to name the chick after their grandson in tribute to the special moment.