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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chickens Wearing Sweaters

My Sister in Law Tasha posted about a chicken rescue group on her Facebook page. They are named Little Hen Rescue and according to their website, they run a not-for-profit organization that rescues battery, barn, free range hens and sometimes other poultry. It sounds like most of the chickens are rescued from farmers after they have lost there use. 

The coolest part of the website is a section that teaches you how to knit sweaters for these poor chickens. the pictures are awesome and now I want my chickens to start wearing clothes. Check out some of the pictures.

All dressed up and nowhere to go.

"Does this dress cover my legs enough? I want to show them, but not all of them."

You can donate to this organization, or make sweaters for them. To find out how to help, click here.

These sweaters got me wondering about dressing up my chickens. I would like to dress one up as Sherlock Holmes, but only if I can teach her to hold a pipe. I know, it's pretty geeky to think about, but admit it, it is entertaining. What other good chicken costumes/outfits can you think of?

16 comments:

The Wonderful World of Wampler said...

Those sweaters are so CUTE!!!! and what a great cause. :)

GirlRural.com said...

Okay, I'm determined to re-learn knitting. My girls need sweaters for these darn cold winters. If I were to dress my chicken up I'd probably make one a drumstick and another a KFC bucket with her head poking out the top.

daisy said...

Oh no! It's bad enough folks dress up their dogs, now this?!
;0)

Dale Johnson said...

The sweaters are cute for pictures but I am worried about people who might actually leave them on the chickens for a length of time. The chaffing would inhibit regrowth of feathers. They would allow tics, mites, and insects to accumulate that the chickens can't get off with dust baths. Chickens self regulate their temperatures with the position of their feathers so the sweaters would cause overheating in warm weather and would mat the feathers in the winter to make the chickens actually colder. Fashion shows are great but please don't leave sweaters on the chickens.

I also have a fundamentally different viewpoint about stewardship of animals than Little Hen Rescue. I take good care of my chickens and educating others to take good care of their chickens is important. But I feel that trying to treat or rehabilitate an injured chicken back to health or maintaining it beyond its healthy life can actually be cruel.

We recently had the vet put down our 30 year old Hackney Pony, Peaches. It was a very sad day but Peaches had no teeth left despite bringing in the horse dentist over the years. We could not keep flesh on her despite feeding her special senior horse feed. It would have been cruel to keep her through one more winter. Watching the vet inject her was tough. She gave a jump and then she went down almost instantly. We all cried for some time but it was necessary. We buried her under a new sycamore tree we planted over our pet cemetery.

I had the vet put Peaches down because I was unsure about my ability to do it both emotionally and humanely. A couple of years ago the vet put down our dog, Cinder, who had cancer because I couldn't bring myself emotionally to do it. I have put down friends' dogs who were suffering excessively because I can do it humanely.

As for chickens, I have a different philosophy. I enjoy my chickens and I take good care of them. But when they are injured or have served their useful life, then they serve in death which I humanely execute.

Madeline said...

I tend to agree with Dale. However, my mom has made saddles for a few of her hens to give their backs a break from the clawing of the flock's two roosters. It's a good trick to know if your ladies are getting savaged in the day-to-day of chicken life.

Dale Johnson said...

Madeline,

The saddles make sense to protect them from the roosters. However, I don't think roosters make sense at all. They are loud, aggressive, and I would never want a person I give eggs to, let alone myself crack open an overlooked egg that has a four day or older embryo in it. If you have rooster to produce chicks, then I can understand that. People with city or suburban chickens should never have roosters because of the noise problem offending neighbors.

Kim and Victoria said...

This is hilarious! I have of course, heard of rescuing chickens, which is a great idea, but my knitting group loves hearing my chicken stories and are always kidding me about knitting them some chicken clothes. Now I can tell them it's not fiction. thanks.

Nev said...

I think this wasn't done for fashion purposes but maybe because they have lost their feathers as often happens to battery hens although the chickens in these photos don't look naked..hmmm..

Nev

Dale Johnson said...

The sweaters would chaff and inhibit feather regrowth.

Kim said...

I think you should dress them up in chicken costumes. Or maybe duck costumes!

doglady said...

IMHO, sweaters on a chicken is ridiculous. If they are battery hens, they will grow feathers. The idea of "rescuing" from a free range environment is ludicrous.
Come on people get a grip.

Rick said...

I have to agree with Dale, it seems any type of clothing for animals would just be an annoyance to them. My chickens do just fine a’ natural!!

Anonymous said...

Lack of what to do, for sure! Go knit sweaters for cold children, or older poor people. Nature has it's own way to care for it's critters. Why do people think chickens have feathers, for goodness'sake?

Dina said...

Well Anonymous it's called compassion...and sometimes chickens don't have all the feathers they should have....
Take a look at this link. This recently aired on CTV news in Kitchener Ontario Canada...thought you'd like to see these chicken sweaters.

http://swo.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20111230/chicken-winter-sweaters-guelph-111230/20111230/?hub=SWOHome#

Summer said...

I wouldn't call knitting a sweater for a chicken compassion exactly... It reminds me of the scary lady at the beginning of the History of Chickens movie. "Chickens aren't meant to be on farms. They have a purpose." As if feeding millions of people isn't purposeful, but swimming in your pool is.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with Dale other than be careful how long you put these things on the chickens. Two of my chickens have been sick in the past and have recovered and are happily free ranging on my property. When my chickens no longer lay they wont be put down as past their use by date/useful life they will continue to live out their lives safely on my land. We take an animal and as long as its happy and not in pain it shall be looked after. I don't see animals as having a "useful" life span, they have a right to life out their life the same as us.