Battery hens, which have spent most if not all of their lives in cages to maximize laying eggs, have trouble acclimatising to normal outdoor conditions once they are released. (Their name comes from the rows and rows of connected cages that share dividing walls, just like the cells in a battery.) The hens’ lack of feathers might not be a problem during the warmer summer months, but when temperatures begin to plummet, the chill sets in.
Nicola Congdon, a 25-year-old from Falmouth in Cornwall, England, came up with an adorably genius substitute about six months ago: knitting woolly jumpers to help keep her chickens warm this winter. She has about 60 chickens, but 30 of them are former battery hens. (The others are free-range and have been all their lives.)