CHICKEN power is set to transform the lives of lonely Scottish pensioners.
OAPs at risk of social isolation and depression will be given hens to care for under the inspirational charity scheme.
Already a big success south of the border, HenPower is being introduced to Scotland in November.
The £10,000 pilot – paid for by the Big Lottery Fund – will see more than 200 pensioners at six care homes get feathered friends.
In England, the scheme has proved so successful it has resulted in reduced medical prescriptions for OAPs with dementia.
Charity Equal Arts say the birds provide a triple bonus.
“Hensioners” enjoy the company of the chickens, socialise more with each other – and get a steady supply of fresh eggs.
Rosie Harrison, who is leading HenPower Scotland said: ““Hen-keeping is the catalyst to engage people at risk of loneliness and isolation.”
She said they enjoyed “meaningful activities such as arts and crafts, exercise, dance, healthy eating and intergenerational sessions with schools”.
The Hensioners, are responsible for the daily care of the birds, including feeding, cleaning and collecting eggs.
Along with enjoying weekly activities based around the hen keeping, such as creative writing, painting and photography.
Couple John and Jean Dow, from Edinburgh, spent a few hours in the company of hens to see what all the fuss is about.
Mrs Dow, 79, said: “They love cuddles. They are soft to touch and like attention.
“I think it’s a good idea, especially when you’re old, it gives you something to do. I’m not able to get about much so I could just sit in a chair in the garden and watch them all day long.”
Mr Dow, 70, said: “They are curious wee animals and fun to watch. And you will get lots of free eggs.”
The Scottish pilot will take place in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Douglas Hunter, director of Equal Arts said: “We are very happy to be introducing our scheme to Scotland. We hope the Scottish pensioners get as much enjoyment out of the hens as those who have in England.
“The health improvements for older people who care for hens is significant. It improves well being, reduces depression and reduces loneliness.”