Rescued battery hens which have gone bald through neglect are keeping warm – thanks to these hand-knitted JUMPERS.
The garments are being made by a craft club in Taunton, Somerset, who have stitched hundreds during their monthly meetings.
They are then donated to the Little Hen Rescue in Norwich, a not-for-profit organisation which re-homes battery hens.
The animals, which are not bred for meat, are normally sold for slaughter after one year when their rate of egg production slows.
But the rescue centre buys them and then offers them as pets as an alternative.
However, they are often bald because of the appalling conditions they are kept in and need the jumpers to keep warm.
Miranda McPherson, who runs the knitting craft club at Monkton Elm Garden and Pet Centre in Taunton, 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 with another volunteer David Doy, said she takes in up to 4,000 birds at a time and around 10 per cent 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.”