As temperature drops, people are coming up with creative ways to keep their chickens warm and chic at the same time. It turns out that chicken clothes are becoming a thing this season. In fact, they’re all over Etsy! These chicken couture designers are transforming backyard birds into fashionable fowls with their hand-knitted sweaters, crocheted jumpers, colorful saddles, and cute bonnets. And, honestly, we’re in love!
However, chicken owners have varying views regarding this new trend. You see, chickens, as with other birds, are homeotherms. This means that they are able to regulate their body temperature at a constant level through engaging in metabolic activities. So, as the weather gets colder, chickens keep themselves warm by speeding up their metabolism. As such, some keepers don’t see the need for their flocks to sport some clothes. In an article by Daphne Cybele, a chicken owner, she mentioned that,
“One way that chickens regulate their body temperature is by fluffing their feathers. They trap pockets of air in the downy layers of their under-feathers, which insulates them quite well.”
Hence, with sweaters on, a chicken may find it hard to fluff its feathers. Worse, it might end up feeling colder than without a sweater on.
Meanwhile, another owner shared her dissenting opinion on the matter. According to Maureen Schmidt, birds can get quite cold as they lose their feathers. This is particularly true in their area in Kelowna, British Columbia, where winters can get extremely freezing.
“Without adequate feathering, they can get quite cold, especially if they drop their old feathers all at once.”
Schmidt also shared how her mother knits garments for her fowls. She mentioned that the sweaters her mother designed have holes that fit the birds’ wings and heads comfortably. These sweaters also come with buttons to fit the chickens’ bodies securely. As such, she did not find these pullovers restricting to her chickens’ movements at all. Furthermore, Schmidt claimed that her chickens were able to adjust quickly to these garments.
Several rescue organizations also provide chicken clothes for their battery hens. Battery hens generally live in small cages, which cause them to lose a lot of their feathers. According to Miranda McPherson, who knits sweaters for England’s Little Hen Rescue,
“They will soon fatten up and regain their feathers with the right care, but while they are waiting for their feathers to grow back, they can benefit from our knitted jumpers.”
Sure, dressing up chickens is cute and fun. However, for Erin Langston, owner of online shop WhimsyofWillows, it’s also important for owners to choose clothes that are easy to put on and to remove. This can lessen the chance of getting their chickens injured. Likewise, she advises owners to keep an eye on their flocks should they be wearing any type of garment.
Here are more photos of our feathery friends flaunting their fancy chicken clothes.
Take a look at them all here or from the individual shops: Animal Fun And Fashion / Bags And More By Pam / Whimsy Of Willows / Keepn Busy Charlotte / Creative Crochet By BAS / Heather Ann Crochet / Fancy Mother Cluckers / The Sparkly Head / Here Chook Chook / Chick N Cheep