Battery hens are birds that are kept in tiny cages and are raised only to be slaughered for food. The conditions are horrendous...but sometimes, these birds are rescued. Nicola Congdon and her mother, Ann, have been rescuing and re-homing battery chickens for some years. Recently, Nicola discover that the over-stressed birds would be too cold outside beacuse of their lack of proper feathers. She decided to do something about it -- and make them their own wooly winter sweaters to keep them warm.
Abused birds will often over-preen themselves and pull out most of the feathers. This is an action caused by stress...and these comfy sweaters are what birds need to stay warm!
Instead of charging for the mini-sweaters she makes, Nicola will be accepting donations for an aids orphanage in South Africa, where the money goes straight to the orphans.
It's truly wonderful what Nicola and Ann are doing for the poor birds that are abused on farms. If you haven't thought about what it's like to be a battery hen, you need to read this:
"I am battery hen. I live in a cage so small I cannot stretch my wings. I am forced to stand night and day on a sloping wire mesh floor that painfully cuts into my feet. The cage walls tear my feathers, forming blood blisters that never heal. The air is so full of ammonia that my lungs hurt and my eyes burn and I think I am going blind. As soon as I was born, a man grabbed me and sheared off part of my beak with a hot iron, and my little brothers were thrown into trash bags as useless alive.
My mind is alert and my body is sensitive and I should have been richly feathered. In nature or even a farmyard I would have had sociable, cleansing dust baths with my flock mates, a need so strong that I perform 'vacuum' dust bathing on the wire floor of my cage. Free, I would have ranged my ancestral jungles and fields with my mates, devouring plants, earthworms, and insects from sunrise to dusk. I would have exercised my body and expressed my nature, and I would have given, and received, pleasure as a whole being. I am only a year old, but I am already a 'spent hen.'
Humans, I wish I were dead, and soon I will be dead. Look for pieces of my wounded flesh wherever chicken pies and soups are sold."
Chickens are living creatures. Their lives are precious, too.