Caitlin Fitch

Last spring, Crescend Health’s Mountain House — a facility across from Rocky Nook Park in Mission Canyon that cares for people suffering from psychiatric and addictive disorders — launched a surprisingly successful program called Poultry Therapy, in which clients learn how to care for a restored old chicken coop and its hens. The practice provides a strong sense of self-confidence as well as other positive psychological perks. Coop manager Dion Cherot (pictured), who suffers from schizophrenia, finds that caring for the hens calms his anxieties and provides relief from some previously debilitating symptoms. “The chickens are very affectionate, and they sing while I paint outside the coop,” he said. The coop, affectionately called Cluckingham Palace, is visited throughout the day by clients and staff looking for the peaceful atmosphere. Along with all the therapeutic benefits, the chickens provide about five fresh, organic eggs a day, which clients are able to eat during their stay at the center.


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