York & North Yorkshire

Rescued battery hens get knitted jumpers

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Media captionKnitters have been recruited to make some winter warmers

A brood of balding ex-battery hens have had pullovers made for them as protection from the elements.

Knitters from Thirsk Yarn Bombers were recruited to fashion the woolly winter warmers for the three rescued birds.

The plucky chickens are not used to the outdoors and their previous living conditions caused them to shed their feathers, staff at Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre said.

It is hoped the hens will re-grow a full plumage in about 10 weeks.

Image copyright Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre
Image caption Ms Badgery said the three ex-battery hens were taken in on Sunday, "very bald and chilly!"

Ms Badgery, who owns the centre, took the hens on as pets from the re-homing charity British Hen Welfare Trust.

She said the woolly jumpers protect the birds from winter weather as well as aggression from other chickens.

"They are used to being in a controlled, warm climate with no natural light - not cold weather," Ms Badgery said.

"When it comes to introducing them to other hens there can be aggression, plucking feathers and damaging them, and I don't want that to happen."

The birds were rescued on Sunday and Ms Badgery made a Twitter appeal for woolly jumpers on Monday.

"The response was fantastic," she said. "I have to thank Thirsk Yarn Bombers for their immediate knitting skills!"

The jumpers will only be worn outside and when the hens are introduced to her other pet chickens.

Yarn bombing, also known as guerrilla knitting, is a type of street art using knitted or crocheted items.

Image caption Agnes is one of three ex-battery farm hens to be given a woolly jumper at Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre

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