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Residents flock to egg-citing arrivals

Written by Margot Taylor
on March 28, 2023

New life has hatched in Raelene Boyle Retirement Village’s care centre.

For the past two weeks residents watched the miracle of life unfold before their eyes as 10 fluffy chicks were born in an incubator in the care centre’s reading room.

Three recently hatched chicks, also accompanied the eggs, which were provided by a hatchery program. 

Raelene Boyle care centre resident Joan Stephens, who grew up on a farm, said the fluffy flock triggered many memories.


“It’s refreshed a lot of memories of my childhood, and for people who haven’t experienced farm life it’s quite fascinating to watch how long it takes the little things to be born and become part of a farmyard, or in this case, a hatchery,” Joan said.

“It’s wonderful reminiscence, it really is.”

Having moved from the farm as a teenager to start work in Melbourne, Joan’s only contact with chickens had been catching a glimpse of broods at the annual Royal Melbourne Show.

The village’s hatchery project enabled Joan and other residents to hold the chicks, something which Raelene Boyle care centre Activities Coordinator Amanda Reitsma said was ‘very therapeutic’.

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Raelene Boyle Retirement Village resident Joan Stephens with 'Stephanie'.


“I’ve been doing a lot of visits with the chicks to rooms so residents can stroke them,” Amanda said.

“It’s been very therapeutic for people who have come in to watch what’s happening in the incubator in a quiet and reflective space.”

The project had generated conversation among residents about chickens, and triggered the age-old debate, what came first, the chicken or the egg.

“It’s really interesting because it’s started these conversations about life that nobody thought they were going to have until they saw the eggs,” she said.

The care centre’s feathered friends also made a strong impression on staff with Clinical Manager Tara Wills bestowing monikers including ‘Glen’, ‘Greg’, ‘Tess’ and ‘Honey’ upon the new arrivals.

The flock’s happy start to life would continue with an established brood on a farmlet owned by village personal care worker Sandra Cox ready to take them under their wings when they flew the village coop.

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