Knitters needed to keep rescued chickens warm this winter

One of the rescued featherless chickens wearning knit-wear to keep itself warm. Picture: SWNS
One of the rescued featherless chickens wearning knit-wear to keep itself warm. Picture: SWNS
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A wildlife sanctuary is appealing for knitters to make warm woollies - for their chickens.

Staff at the centre rescued 110 commercial hens last month in order to prevent them from being culled by their egg-producer owners.

Pauline Marley with their rescued featherless chickens which received knit-wear to keep them warm while their feathers grow back. Picture: SWNS

Pauline Marley with their rescued featherless chickens which received knit-wear to keep them warm while their feathers grow back. Picture: SWNS

And now the New Arc sanctuary near Ellon, Aberdeenshire, hopes to pull in jumpers for their feathered friends.

The centre’s owners, Keith and Pauline Marley, are now caring for 60 of the chickens after finding loving homes for the rest.

But due to the condition they were found in, the chickens need to be kept extra warm throughout the colder months.

Keith said: “They were in a real state when they arrived here and are showing signs of improvement.

“Many were completely featherless, so we started looking up knitting patterns for them.”

A special knitted pattern was designed for the birds and willing knitters are being encouraged to follow it and send their jumpers into the sanctuary.

Keith has even noticed that the jumperless chickens appear jealous of their woollen-clad friends.

He added: “The online instructions didn’t work, so one lady designed her own pattern for us.

“I’m not a knitting expert - it’s hard enough catching them to get the jumpers on.

“They are happy enough wearing them, but the ones who don’t have jumpers have been pecking the ones that do. If there is sparkly bling in it, then that seems to make it worse.”

The New Arc sanctuary covers a 10-acre site and can house 350 creatures at any given time.