Last week saw our residents hatch five beautiful little ducklings.
Leigh (Activities Lifestyle Facilitator at Cawood House) discovered an online company called “Incredible Eggs” who provide ethically sourced hatching kits to schools and care homes across the UK. They arrived with all of the equipment needed and spoke to our residents about what they needed to do to make sure that the eggs were carefully looked after.
They answered lots of questions from the residents and set up all of the equipment to incubate and care for the eggs. We all learnt a lot from the “Incredible Eggs” team before they left us with our exciting project. For instance, none of us knew that the hatchings come out of the ‘fat end’ of the egg!
They also answered our concerns about how the ducks would cope without a mother; “A mother hen nurturing her chicks or a mother duck with her ducklings is a very natural and wonderful sight. However, it is a little known fact that many domestic chicken and duck breeds never – or very rarely – ‘go broody’, which is the hormonal state they need to reach in order to sit and incubate their own eggs….. Unlike mammals, the offspring of poultry do not feed from their parents, so their needs can quite easily be met by humans.”
Within two days the ducklings started to crack their way through their shells, monitored closely by our residents who had been keeping a watchful eye over them. The hatchlings were carefully moved to a ‘brooding unit’ where they could be gently handled and observed.
It was really wonderful to see how engaged our residents were with the activity and they were delighted when we eventually had five little ducklings to look after. With some animated discussion, the ducklings were named Wilfred, Donald, Charles, Paddy and Dolly. They had their first swim in a paddling pool and were fed, watered, and lovingly cared for until it was time to let our little friends go to their new home.
The ‘Incredible Eggs’ team make sure that the ducks have a safe environment to live in after the 10 days with our residents, and in this case, one of very own carers adopted Wilfred and his friends. This also meant that we get to hear about the ducklings exploits and adventures all the time.
The residents at Cawood have loved the whole experience from start to finish; providing further opportunities to engage with sensory exploration and memory recall. The nurture and care shown to the ducklings was wonderful to see. For some of our residents, the activity brought back memories of working at farms as part of the Land Army, and many stories were shared during the 10 days that the hatchlings were with us.
This is exactly what our ‘Life in Colour’ approach is designed to do; to promote and stimulate ways in which residents can engage with each other and form valuable relationships based on experience and shared interests. We hope that we can welcome more feathered friends to our home again soon.