Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chicken Sweater Adventure

Big Red in a Chicken Sweater
Big Red rocks out in pink
True story: I put a sweater on a chicken today.


Chickens like warm weather. They descend from wild jungle fowl who, you know, got their name because they lived in jungles. Florida is probably more their style than the Sierra Foothills. Right now, it's 50 F and the chickens would very much like it to be 70 F.

Also, many of the chickens at the sanctuary are from egg farms. Chickens used in the egg-laying industry are bred to kill themselves through egg-laying. I'm so serious, it's sad. They are small, fragile creatures. All of their energy is going into laying an egg nearly every day. They produce 280-300 eggs a year. A normal chicken produces 20-60.

If your body is so focused on egg production, it is not focused on other important biological matters, like laying down fat and muscle for the winter.

A few months ago, a woman emailed me asking if her New Mexico knitting club could make sweaters for the hens. I did not say as such, but in my head I was all HELLZ YEAH. Instead, I said yes please! But no animal fiber, because our hens don't wants to be wearing the hair of another animal. That's just how they roll (actually they don't care, but we humans do).

Sharktooth Thinks Sweaters Are STupid
Sharktooth hates her sweater
Two days ago, the sweaters arrived.

Now I've seen photos of felt sweaters used to keep recently liberated battery cage hens warm in New Zealand and the UK. They are super bland and simple. Like one color, no design, just your basic getup. These sweaters came in ten different colors, with ten different styles. These are fashion chicken sweaters.

There are pros and cons to fashion sweaters.

* They look awesome
* They bring out your eyes
* Each one is unique, just like the rescued bird herself (or himself)

* Chickens get entangled in them

Unfortunately the con outweighs the pros and so only one hen is now getting to wear her sweater longer than the photo shoot lasted. This is because she thinks sweaters are awesome and proceeded to strut and eat and drink and be merry with it on. Her name is Sunny. She has one leg and a stump for the other due to an embedded leg band put on her at an egg farm.

Sunny Likes Her Sweater
Sunnny gets fitted, she is happy
Killer Sweater
12-yr-old roo Killer considers this chicken torture

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