Giant elephants wearing colorful knit sweaters was a delightful surprise as was the featherless lovebird Rhea's plentiful knitted sweater collection. And while any animal in a handmade knit is simply too adorable to ignore, our latest feel-good knitting-for-a-cause story involves these chickens.
Fuller Village, a retirement home located in Milton, MA, has partnered up with a local non-profit center to assist the chickens of New England. And if you believed that these sweaters were simply a silly fashion statement, consider this: chickens get chilly especially with the fierce New England winters, and this can have an impact on their health and egg-laying. This is where the sweaters come into play. Various chicken breeds are known for shedding their feathers and growing in new ones during the course of the winter. Until their new feather plumes grow, a knitted sweater helps to keep the cold out and the warmth in. One knitter at the retirement home named, Libby Kaplan, told ABC 13 News, "When they said they were gonna make these sweaters for the chickens, I thought it was the most foolish thing I had ever heard in my life and everybody that I told laughed at me. They couldn't believe it, but we made the sweaters for the chickens and I'm glad that we did." She also went on to say that by knitting the chicken sweaters it helped her overcome her long fear of birds.
"I don't think in my wildest dreams I ever thought anybody made sweaters for chickens," said Barbara Widmayer, 76, and a 15-year knitting pro. "It was actually very calming to me to work on this." The sweater knitting project was orchestrated by Nancy Kearns as it benefits a neighboring estate where the chickens call home called Mary M.B. Wakefield Charitable Trust.
Kearns who was inspired by the knitting efforts in Northern India for cold elephants spoke about the project's efforts, "One person I heard say there were more important things to do in this world. 'Make things for people that need it.' I think animals need to be warm, too, and I'm so glad we did it." In fact, local farmers are reporting an uptick in eggs produced by the chickens wearing their new sweaters. (So naturally, we assume that the chickens are pretty glad these do-good-knitters decide to pick up their knitting needles too.)
Curious to learn more? Watch a news segment on these chickens in their new knit sweaters: