Five Reasons to Knit Chicken Sweaters
Keeping Hens Comfortable
I know it sounds bizarre, but, yes, chickens can wear sweaters. Why, you may ask. Little Hen Rescue in the UK rescues hens from commercial farms and puts them out to live their lives as chickens. Often, these hens come back bald, either due to irritation, sickness, or stress, or any number of reasons. Little Hen Rescue takes these hens past their egg laying prime and lets them live their lives as chickens without being sent to the slaughterhouse.
Here I present, in no particular order, five reasons to knit chicken sweaters.
1. It's a Free Pattern
Since this is a charity, Little Hen Rescue has put their pattern and right on their web site, but I have it here directly for you.
Double knitting yarn (100g makes approximately 3 jumpers)
2 buttons or 10cm Velcro
1 pair of number 8 (4mm) knitting needles
4mm crochet hook
Knitted in stocking stitch with garter stitch borders
Cast on 41 sts,
Work 4 rows K
Increase for tabs;
Cast on 10 sts at beginning of next row, k14, p to last 4 sts, k4.
Cast on 10 sts at beginning of next row, k14, p to last 14sts, k14.
Work buttonholes; (work these 2 rows straight if using Velcro).
(K2, yf k2tog) 3 times, work to end keeping edges in garter st.
Repeat this row for buttonholes on the other tab.
Cast off 10 sts at beginning of next row.
Next row - cast off 10 sts, k4, p2 tog, p to last 6 sts, p2tog, k4.
Dec 1 st at each end on every fol 6th row until 25 sts remain.
Divide for neck;
Work 11 sts, cast off 3, work to end - complete this half first.
1) k4, p to end
2) cast off 2, k to end
3) k4, p to end
4) k2tog, k to end
5) k4, p2tog, p to end
Work 4 rows straight
10) K to last 5 sts, inc in next st, k4.
11) K4, p to last st, inc in next st.
12) Cast on 2 sts, k to end, (11sts)
13) K4, p to end
Break yarn and rejoin to the other side of neck.
Work to match, reversing shaping's and ending at winghole edge.
Next row - k, cast on 3, k across sts from other side of neck.
Next row , k4 inc in next st, p to last 5 sts, inc in next st, k4.
Inc 1 st at each end of every fol 6th row until there are 41 sts on the needle.
Work 6 rows straight.
Change to gst and knit 4 rows.
Sew on buttons or Velcro as desired.
Work double crochet around neck.
2. If You Sew, You Can Also Make Chicken Sweaters
Yup, above is the pattern for making a chicken sweater out of fleece. Fleece is soft and warm for hens.
3. Anyone Can Donate
Just because you don't knit or sew, you can also donate money to Little Hen Rescue directly though PayPal and Google Checkout on their web site. Like any animal rescue, funds are always needed to feed and care for the animals. For those not in the UK, the amount donated is in pounds, and conversion rates will apply.
Where to Send Sweaters and Donations
You can send your sweaters and donations to:
Little Hen Rescue
International shipping rates do apply.
4. You Will Be Giving a Hen a Comfortable Retirement
These animals have given their lives to feeding people. Isn't it fitting that we help make their retirement more comfortable? They do not deserve to be killed after their egg laying prime has passed. Chickens deserve to be chickens. No matter how big or small, any animal needs to be treated with kindness, respect, and love.
Besides, aren't they adorable in their sweaters?
5. James Herriot Would Approve
James Herriot was veterinarian who traveled the English countryside treating animals on farms. He is known for writing about his experiences for both adults and children. He loved all animals and treated them with kindness. No matter the size of the animal, James Herriot took them into his care. For that reason, James Herriot would have approved of chicken sweaters and the care these hens receive in their retirement.
If you love animals, this is an excellent read for you.