Chesapeake mom uses chickens as therapy for Autistic children

Posted at 11:36 PM, Jan 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-14 23:36:16-05

Honey, Chickipoo, and Chick-Fil-A, all names of therapy chickens Chesapeake mom Anna Ogle says help her two Autistic children.

The birds, she says, have a calming effect.

Right now, 10-year-old CJ, diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and his 9-year-old sister Cheyann, diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, can only see their feathered friends from a computer screen.

Last year, Ogle bought the chickens, so they could be family pets. Little did she know, how therapeutic they would be.

"Once I’d seen the effect they had on my son and daughter and the way their attitudes had changed a lot , yes, we said yes to them,” Ogle says.

After a couple of months with the chickens, Ogle moved them to her brother's in North Carolina because at the time, chickens weren't allowed in Chesapeake neighborhoods.

But in November, Chesapeake City Council members changed their minds.

"My daughter went with me to the meeting that they had the last meeting with city council and they approved it and she just hollered,'wahoo, we got 'em,’ Ogle says. “She came home, told her brother and her brother did a happy dance, yelling 'yay, we can bring Chick-Fil-A home!”

Now the family is building a coop in the backyard, preparing to get Honey, Chickipoo, and Chick-Fil-A back.

When asked about the chickens coming home, both Cheyann and CJ lit up.

"I’m just glad she's coming here," CJ says.

"First I’m going to hold them and play with them,” Cheyann says.

The Ogle's hope to be finished building their coop by next week and have all their chickens back home in a few weeks.

Now that Chesapeake has given the green light to neighborhood chickens, groups in Norfolk and Virginia Beach are also pushing their city councils to do the same.