25-year-old Nicola Congdon has been working on an unusual winter project for a great reason. Six months ago, the Cornwall-based woman decided to start knitting sweaters to keep her chickens warm amidst the winter season's freezing temperatures. She has about 60 chickens in total and 30 of them are battery hens who were once crammed in cages to maximize their egg-laying capabilities. (That's why they're called battery hens–since their enclosures are lined up in rows that mimic the cells in a battery.) What most people don't know is that these feathered creatures have trouble acclimating to normal weather conditions when they're released from their cages.
“It's important to make people aware of the poor conditions the hens live in and the fact that they have no feathers when they are retired,” Congdon explained. “The tank tops are also something really different that provide some fun for the chickens. They keep them warm and makes the chickens easy to identify.” Now, the young woman is receiving special requests for hen sweaters. Rather than selling these knitted creations for her own benefit, Congdon has been donating all the proceeds to an AIDS orphanage in South Africa.
All images via SWNS.