Whittle Hall goes quackers as fluffy ducklings become residents

The recent pitter-patter of tiny fluffy feet in Whittle Hall has sent everyone quackers! 

Residents and staff have fallen in love with the four little ducklings that they hatched as part of – what was originally intended to be – a few days hatching experience.  However, having nurtured their first few days of life, everyone has grown so attached that they can’t bear to see them go! Consequently, they made an impassioned plea to Head Office to keep them and now the little ducklings have been formally adopted with plans to create their own special Duck House, complete with paddling pool.

The duckling hatching experience was facilitated by ‘Incredible Eggs’ – the ethical providers of hatching kits. The Duckling eggs arrived with an incubator and all other necessary equipment on May 10th. The eggs began to hatch on May 12th and were supposed to be leaving on May 20th to be returned to the farm from whence they came. That was until residents and staff had other ideas.

“This has truly been an unforgettable experience,” said Deborah Payne, Home Manager at Whittle Hall. She continued, “I can’t think of anything we’ve ever done that has brought everyone together like this hatching experience. Everyone including staff, residents, Head Office Senior Management Team and those lucky enough to visit, have been overjoyed at seeing these little ducklings. We’ve also been posting daily progress videos on our facebook page and our followers have absolutely loved it.”

Graeme Duncan, L&M Healthcare’s Procurement Director, described the event as “being like an expectant father,” when he had made a timely visit to the home and had witnessed one of the ducklings hatched. He found it a “really emotional experience,” and so staff decided to name one of the ducklings ‘Duncan’ in his honour. ‘It was a wonderful moment,’ continued, Graeme, “After the last 12 months we’ve had, it was marvellous to see new life bring so much joy to our residents and staff. The home has been uplifted and there is a buzz of excitement in the air that is palpable. It’s just amazing what four little balls of fluff can do for people’s spirits.”

The other ducklings have also been given names. The first to hatch was ‘D5’. This was the number written on his egg, and the name ‘D5’ has stuck. Because of his dark brown colour, the name ‘Coco’ was chosen by one of the residents. In addition, ‘Greg’ was named after one of the night nurses who watched him hatch and helps to look after them all.

“The ducklings have brought a lot of happiness, love and smiles to our home at a time it was really needed,” said Sarah Hamilton, Activities Coordinator. Her colleague, Chloe Sturgess also commented, ‘We are overwhelmed with both the reactions of the residents and how amazed they are seeing the ducklings grow every day. Animal therapy is such a lovely activity to do and such a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

The experience has also been enjoyed outside of Whittle Hall with pupils from Chapelford Primary School. This was shared via a live zoom session run by another of Whittle Hall’s Activities Coordinators, Fabienne Delahaye-Dunbar. The home has been sending photos and videos to the school to enable the pupils to chart the progress of the little ducklings. But there is nothing like seeing them live and the children had lots of questions to ask during the zoom session.

Sarah and Chloe came across the hatching experience when researching some new ideas to engage with their residents. They didn’t think it would be initially allowed due to Covid restrictions. However, on further investigation, they found the hatching kits were all sanitised and Covid safe procedure was followed.

After an enormously egg-citing few days, the four little ducklings are now permanent residents at Whittle Hall. This is a fine illustration of how the simple little things in life can mean so much to so many. There’s nothing like the miracle of new life to bring hope and joy to those that surround them; and these little fellows have certainly done their bit to bring more love and light into the lives of everyone at Whittle Hall.

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