Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Somerset craft club knits jumpers for bald chickens

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Jumpers knitted for bald chickens

Former battery hens which have lost their feathers are being knitted jumpers by a Somerset craft club to keep them warm.

The knitwear will be donated to Little Hen Rescue in Norwich, a not-for-profit organisation which re-homes the hens.

Battery hens, which are not bred for meat, are normally sold for slaughter after one year, when they start producing fewer eggs.

The rescue centre buys them and then offers them as pets as an alternative.

Members of the knit and crochet club, which meets in the craft centre at Monkton Elm Garden & Pet Centre, Taunton, said they liked to help charities and organisations, and thought chicken clothes were a great idea.

There will always be some baldies
Jo Eglen, founder of Little Hen Rescue

Miranda McPherson, from the craft centre, said: "The hens usually come out of farms quite bald and can be underweight.

"They will soon fatten up and regain their feathers with the right care, but while they are waiting for their feathers to grown back they can benefit from our knitted jumpers."

Jo Eglen, who founded Little Hen Rescue last year, said she takes in up to 4,000 birds at a time and around 10% have lost their feathers because of their living conditions.

She said: "There will always be some baldies. There was one that just had eyebrows.

"As soon as they're out it takes up to six weeks, or sometimes just a week, to get their feathers back.

"We are constantly using the jumpers to keep them warm and some of the new owners take a spare with them."



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SEE ALSO
Rescued hens on way to new homes
21 Jun 09 |  Norfolk
New homes sought for battery hens
04 Feb 09 |  England

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