RESIDENTS of Orchid Care home have welcomed seven little chicks for Easter.

The care home on Guernsey Lane first noticed the signs of one of the eggs hatching on the 10th April.

“The chicks are a lovely Easter Surprise,” said Kathleen Chalk, who currently lives at Orchid Care home.

In total eight eggs had been delivered to the home, with three eggs guaranteed to hatch from the clutch.

Nicola Stone, Manager of Orchid Care Home, said: “Unfortunately one didn’t hatch but with only three guaranteed, we think we have done amazingly well.”

Donna Bartholomew, the Care Manager at the home, said: “We were really happy when seven chicks hatched.”

She added that the residents all appear to be much happier now in general, than before the chicks’ arrival.

“It has brought out quite a few emotions in the residents,” Mrs Bartholomew said.

Joyce Reed, who also lives in the home, said: “The chicks remind me of Spring and new life. They are soft and appealing. Everyone is happy they are here.”

The hatchlings will be kept warm for the next few weeks by ‘Robo Hen’ until they are old enough to keep themselves warm. This is a four-legged warming machine that simulates the mother hen sitting on the chickens, and can be moved upwards as the chick grow.

Following the donation of a chicken coop and run from a local resident, all seven chicks will remain at the care home. Once they reach between six and eight weeks old, the chicks will be moved to the garden to be looked after by the residents who will collect the eggs for breakfast, and help staff clean out the coop.

The idea to acquire the baby birds came from the care home’s Activities Team, who provide the daily activities for those who live in the care home, to ensure the residents are all properly stimulated.

Orchid Care Home has a specialist dementia care unit, and many of those living there used to work on farms or have looked after livestock of their own before coming to the home.

The aim of the project is to promote meaningful activity for the residents through spending time with things which are familiar.

The Activities Team raised the money to buy the chicks and the equipment needed to look after them.

The hatchlings are part of a wider activity program, which incorporates other pets already living in the home. These include several fish tanks and a resident budgie, who has taken on the role of surrogate mother to the hatchlings.

“They sing to each other. It’s very sweet,” said Mrs Bartholomew.

The chicks will all receive names in the next few days, to be chosen by the residents, and already the stripy chick is proving to be a favourite in the clutch. The ginger chick is also a hit, being one of the more friendly baby birds.