Pupils at Ashford's Towers School knit jumpers for chickens
Chickens wearing jumpers
like those being knitted by Towers School pupils
by Paige Aldridge
Chickens will soon be strutting their stuff and shaking their
tail feathers in a range of colourful handmade jumpers produced
here in Ashford.
The mini jumpers are being knitted by a group of sixth-formers
at the Towers School in Kennington, for ex-battery hens which have
lost their feathers.
Gemma Newington, the teacher of the personal social and health
education class, said: “We were learning about the rights of
animals when we stumbled across a few charities that take in
donated jumpers for chickens.
"We felt so sorry for them and decided to have a go at knitting
a few ourselves.”
Ex-battery hens lose their feathers when they get bored while in
tightly packed cages, as they pluck out each other’s feathers.
Pupils at Ashford's
Towers School knit jumpers for chickens
So knitting woollen outfits has become a popular answer for
chilly, bald chickens.
Lauren Chandler, 16, one of the students who has been knitting
jumpers said: “I am finding it rather difficult to knit a mini
jumper for a chicken but I am trying my best to get it right
because I know it is for a good cause.
"Although, when I tell people I am knitting a jumper for a
chicken they think I am either lying or completely bonkers.”
"when I tell people I am knitting a jumper for a chicken they think I am either lying or completely bonkers" – Lauren Chandler
Battery cages are now
banned under EU law, but hens are still kept for egg-laying in
small cages up until 18 months of age.
After this they produce fewer eggs and so are slaughtered for
use in pet food, or rescued. Charities like the British Hen Welfare
Trust and Fresh Start aim to rehome these ex-battery and commercial
hens as pets to give them a better and longer life.
Julie Smith, who works a hen rescuer and rehomer for Fresh Start
in Kent, keeps 13 ex-commercial hens as pets and encourages more
people to do so.
She said: “The hens are so friendly and it is so therapeutic to
watch them running around. They sit on my lap just like any other
pet. I want them to have the life that they deserve.”
But, some feel that knitted jumpers should only be used in the
most extreme cases of baldness, to provide extra warmth.
Wendy Reynolds, part of the rehoming team at the British Hen
Welfare Trust said: “People must be careful with chickens in
jumpers. If the jumper gets wet in the rain, they can make the
chicken even colder, and the jumpers shouldn’t be used as a long
tern solution as this can hinder feather regrowth.”
For more information, go to http://www.freshstartforhens.co.uk/
- Click here for more Ashford news...
- Click here for more news from across the county...