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If you ever wanted to rescue a battery hen NOW IS THE TIME - or make them a jumper!

A Baldy Ex-Battery Hen... *brrrr*
In the run up to the new battery hen 'enriched' cages being introduced January 2012, there is a mass cull of an unimaginable number of battery hens, in response to this there is a MASS RESCUE of battery hens all over the UK.

The more hens rescued by the likes of you and me the more will be given a taste of the beauty of life, with grass under claw and wind in their combs!

**UPDATE** The BHWT's rescue dates in DEVON (7th and 17th Dec) have all been fully booked! This is an incredible response and means that the BHWT in DEVON have had to put on a new rescue day, Thursday 29th Dec! Thank you to them and thank you to the farmer for opening up the farm again for rescue. Now... lets rescue some more hens! :-D
Leo and I have booked to collect 50 battery hens on the 29th December 2011 from the BHWT in Devon. We're going to wait and see if all the hens get booked up again, if there are any hens left to be rescued on that date we'll see how many more hens we can add to our gang.  *EXCITED!*

I wrote a blog the other day that gives more details about the UK wide rescue and letting you all know that I plan to rescue 50 or 60 battery hens on the 17th December. Click here to get the low down: **Alert** Christmas cheer for battery hens?

Here's a list of just some of the rescue charities:
Battery Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT)
Little Hens Rescue
Lucky Hens Rescue Wigan

It's a good idea to ask the BHWT if there is a local charity to you.

Jo Barlow keeps a wonderful blog about her life with ex-battery hens. She is a rescuer, which means she is on of the heroines that goes to the battery farm and takes a number of hens from their cages and transports them back to the distribution farm, where you or me goes and collects our hens.

Worry not if you can't rescue any hens yourself... there's so much you can do! 

Here's another list...

1) Spread the word about this UK WIDE MASS BATTERY HEN RESCUE! Tell everyone, tell your dentist, your mum, your Twitter and Facebook friends, copy this post into your blog or write your own! There's no time to lose, tell them now! Spam if you have to!

2) Sponsor a hen! Yes, have a look at the charities listed above and you'll see you can sponsor a hen!

3) Make a jumper! These mass rescues are happening at the beginning of winter and it's going to be a cold one, there are going to be plenty of cold, baldy hens.
Work it baby, yeh!
You can follow the patterns below to make some jumpers. If you can knit scroll down and you'll see a couple of different patterns. If you can't knit or don't have much time, give the Easy Peasy Fleecy Jumpers a go!

You can either donate your jumpers to one of the charities above or make them for a friend who is rescuing some hens! ... hint hint... ;)

Another baldy Ex-Battery Hen
*brrr* Lets get a jumper on her!
Jumper Pattern's 

Easy Peasy Fleecy Jumpers Pattern:
From Little Hens Rescue

Easy Peasy Fleecy Jumper on a Baldy Hen

Dig out that old fleece jumper from the back of your cupboard or go to the charity shop & buy a couple of fleecy jumpers for a few quid.

Then follow the pattern below to make the Easy Peasy Fleecy Jumper for a Baldy Hen...

Illustration from

Knitting Patterns: 

Nanny Norths Version - has an easier neck section
Taken from:

Some of Nanny Norths Ex-Battery hen jumpers!

Double knitting yarn (100g makes approximately 3 jumpers). 2 buttons each jumper

1 pair No 8 (4mm) knitting needles 4mm crochet hook

Jumper knitted in stocking stitch with garter stitch borders

Cast on 41 sts.

Knit 4 rows straight.

Tabs and button holes.

1/ cast on 10sts @ beginning of row. K14. P to last 4 sts. K4.
2/ cast on 10sts @ beginning of row. K to end
3/ (K2. yf. K2tog) 3 times. K2. P33. K14.
4/ (K2, yf. K2tog) 3 times. K to end.
5/ Cast off 10sts. K3. P33. K14.
6/ Cast off 10sts.K3. K2tog. K to last 6 sts K2tog. K4.

Dec. 1 st at each end on every following 6th row until 25 sts remain, keeping edges in garter stitch.

Divide for neck.

Work 11 sts. cast off 3 sts work to end and complete this half first.
1/ K to end
2/ P1. P2tog twice P2. K4.
3/ K to end
4/ P1. P2tog. P2. K4.
5/ K4. K2tog. K2.
Work next 4 rows straight.
10/ P2. Inc in next st. K4.
11/ K6. Inc in next st. K1.
12/ P1. Inc in next 2sts P2. K4.
13/ K to end.
14/ p7. K4.
Put these 11 sts onto holding pin.
Break yarn and rejoin to other side of neck.
Work to match, reversing shapings and ending at wing hole edge. Thats row 13.
Next row K4. P7. Cast on 3sts then from the sts on holding pin P7.K4.
Now K4. Inc into next st. K to last 5sts. Inc in next st. K4

Inc 1 st at each end of following 6th row until there are 41sts on needle.
Work 6 rows keeping to pattern
Knit 4 rows.
Cast off.
Sew on buttons. Work 1 row double crochet round neck edge if desired.

Other Version 
(can be found on Lucky Hens Rescue Wigan & Little Hens Rescue sites):

Pattern for Knitted Jumpers/Jackets.

Double knitting yarn (100g makes approximately 3 jumpers)

2 buttons or 10cm Velcro

1 pair of number 8 (4mm) knitting needles

4mm crochet hook

Knitted in stocking stitch with garter stitch borders

Cast on 41 sts,
Work 4 rows K
Increase for tabs;
Cast on 10 sts at beginning of next row, k14, p to last 4 sts, k4.
Cast on 10 sts at beginning of next row, k14, p to last 14sts, k14.
Work buttonholes; (work these 2 rows straight if using Velcro).

(K2, yf k2tog) 3 times, work to end keeping edges in garter st.
Repeat this row for buttonholes on the other tab.
Cast off 10 sts at beginning of next row.
Next row – cast off 10 sts, k4, p2 tog, p to last 6 sts, p2tog, k4.
Dec 1 st at each end on every fol 6th row until 25 sts remain.

Divide for neck;
Work 11 sts, cast off 3, work to end – complete this half first.
1)     k4, p to end
2)     cast off 2, k to end
3)     k4, p to end
4)     k2tog, k to end
5)     k4, p2tog, p to end
Work 4 rows straight
  10) K to last 5 sts, inc in next st, k4.
  11) K4, p to last st, inc in next st.
  12) Cast on 2 sts, k to end, (11sts)
  13) K4, p to end
  14) K

Break yarn and rejoin to the other side of neck.
Work to match, reversing shaping’s and ending at winghole edge.
Next row – k, cast on 3, k across sts from other side of neck.
Next row , k4 inc in next st, p to last 5 sts, inc in next st, k4.
Inc 1 st at each end of every fol 6th row until there are 41 sts on the needle.
Work 6 rows straight.
Change to gst and knit 4 rows.
Cast off.

Sew on buttons or Velcro as desired.
Work double crochet around neck.

PHOTOGRAPHS in this blog:
Photo's have been taken from Google images. Here is a list of the sites I got them from:


hen xx


  1. Bless you. What an excellent resource.

  2. I'm so glad you think so! I hope that if I've missed anything off people will let me know so I can update :)


  3. thx UK for ending this. Thanks rescue team kudos for your help in rehoming the chicks. Me a free range Wisconsin chicken farmer in US wish I could help take some. I know we have our own problems just dont show me pictures. I have alpacas you should get the UK fiber people to donate yarn for their jumpers. Thanks for your Public outreach
    goose_poop_farm on twitter

  4. Aw .. bless them each and every one. And bless you for helping these poor wretched, mistreated creatures!

    I am allergic to hen's feathers, so definitely won't be adopting one (I wheeze for days when they clean out the disgusting battery unit at the bottom of our village), but I'll try to find time to make a jumper or two - and I'll blog it onwards.

  5. Dear Anonymous, What a lovely idea for getting the fibre people involved! Will spread the word :)


  6. Dear Jay,
    There are so soso many people helping these hens. It restores my faith in humanity if I'm honest. The idea that these volunteers will GO INTO A BATTERY FARM (!) and remove hens from cages & bring them back for the likes of me to bring home and care for blows my mind.

    Thank you so much for blogging on and knitting a few jumpers! That's amazing! Let me know so I can tweet your blog!


  7. Hi Hen! I saw your post on Twitter a few weeks ago. We had planned to get ex-batts in the Spring but that was before I knew about the poor chickens needing homes this month. We've bought our plans forward and I'm currently about to start making a walk-in run, just waiting for the builders merchants to deliver. I've reserved 8 girls from BHWT but I may up it to 12 as we will have room. They will be coming on the 28th Dec which we have dubbed 'Chickmas' So excited! So pleased to read you will be able to take on so many.

    Claire (@HappyElastic on Twitter)

  8. Hallo Ms C :)

    That's fantastic news! LOVE 'Chickmas', haha! We can exchange pick up stories over the New Year then. Are you excited? I'm bursting (can't you tell>?!) but also a bit apprehensive, i do tend to get a bit emotional over the old battery hens I do...


  9. Hi Hen

    Yes, I'm very very nervous but excited too (or 'chicxited -hahaha! I'll stop soon I promise) I'm new to the whole hen keeping thing but I've signed up to an ex-batt forum who have helped me a lot so far. I have a shopping list and I'm making notes and taking it one day at a time. To be honest I'm terrified of them dying as I have never lost a pet yet (excluding childhood hamsters) and my eldest cat is 13 and I'm worried that I'll be a mess when they do go as you just don't know what has happened to the poor things before :-(

    I'm going to blog my progress, just taken some garden pics while I've got the light.

    Claire xx

  10. Thank you so much fro writing this blog - I've never thought of having any chickens before but after hearing about this I've looked into it and reserved 4 from BHWT. I can't wait for Chickmas either! Ms C - thanks for the tip about the ex-batt forum I've been so excited I can't sleep! Can't wait to give these girls some love and special attention.

  11. Jumpers for chickens - love it! If we did not travel around so much I would love to rescue a few battery chickens.

    If you would be interested in exchanging blog links please let me know. My blog is Gofarmer Blog

  12. Hen, what a wonderful thing to be able to live and do as you do...I'm envious! I'm 57 and a bit of a wreck and mad a mess of my life really.
    I would love to keep hens but, we are not allowed to keep them on this estate where I live. Have wondered though if they could live indoors and go out supervised in a run during the day? We do have foxes around though,so it would have to be a very secure run!
    I admit to sobbing me socks off when I read about the Batt hens.... I do support the BHWT.
    And I buy local, free range eggs from various people in the villages around me in Leicestershire.
    Keep up the good work!
    Love your basketry by the way, I'm a 'basket case', I can't stop collecting them, use them for storage on top of the cupboards in the kitchen, for sewing projects, even shopping and collecting foraged food!


    Sandie xx


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