Chickens: An Antidote to Life’s Blistering Pace with Tedra Hamel

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Keeping chickens in an urban setting has become increasingly popular in recent years. They not only produce eggs, they give us the delightful pleasure of their company. When feeling stressed and anxious just take a moment or two to pull up a chair outside a chicken coop and let these feathered friends entertain you, erase your anxiety, and connect you to nature. Chickens are full of surprises in their intelligence, emotional capacity, their gorgeous feathers and variety of colors, and their inquisitiveness. Chickens even dream, dance, and meet in circles. Flocks of chickens are even being used for emotional support in care facilities. They help us feel less lonely as we delight in observing their highly social behavior. Here we explore the therapeutic benefits of chickens to promote emotional comfort, connect us to nature, and add fresh eggs to our diet. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Tedra Hamel (known as Teddi) is a critical care nurse in Washington state and a backyard chicken enthusiast. Through the inspiration of her feathered friends she has become an artist, and her hens have established some fame on Instagram.

She’s the author and artist illustrator of Therapy Chickens: Let the Wisdom of the Flock Bring You Joy (Quarto Publishing Group 2024)

To learn more about her flock of hens and her art go to:
Instagram @therapy_chickens Or

Topics explored in this dialogue include: 

  • What is the story of how chickens became a part of Hamel’s life
  • How chickens can supply emotional support
  • Chickens are a walking garden of color and different breeds have different personalities
  • The need for checking with local ordinances before investing in a chicken coop
  • How Hamel’s hens inspired her to become an artist
  • Why the term “birdbrain” is a misnomer. Birds are actually very smart
  • How chickens have a huge vocabulary and what it takes to understand what their mannerisms mean
  • Chickens will grieve over the passing of one of their flock mates
  • What is needed to start your own chicken coop flock
  • Hens perform an egg song in celebration of laying an egg
  • What are some of the activities that Hamel does with her hens such as bike riding, paddle-boarding, watching TV
  • How chicken poop is a highly valuable fertilizer
  • What is Hen Power used in assisted living homes
  • How to add chicken coops to community garden projects

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 3/20/2024   Program Number: 3812

Music Playlist

From Album: Disfarmer
Artist: Bill Frisell

Opening Essay: backyard chickens (from You Tube)
Music Break 1: Track 08: Little Girl
Music Break 2: Baby chicks (from You Tube)
Music Break 3: Track 10: No One Gets In