Lesson 1337 – Just say “no” to chicken sweaters

chicken sweaters


I’m seeing these “cute” chicken sweaters all over the internet at this time of year, but they cause me some concern. First chickens don’t need sweaters to keep warm. They fluff their feathers up to catch air which their body then warms. A sweater stops that mechanism from happening and could, ironically, in the end keep the chicken from getting warm.

Chickens need to preen. Feathers are constantly growing and need to be groomed for both insects and to distribute oil (there is a gland on a chicken’s bum that secretes oil) again, if a chicken is in a sweater, those activities will not happen.

Also, sweaters are made of yarn, whether synthetic or natural, they absorb water keeping moisture next to the chicken. A wet chicken is a cold chicken.

Finally chickens peck at the color red (or dark pink) some of these sweaters are setting chickens up to be pecked at by their mates.

So while I think that these sweaters are cute for a photo shoot, I would hope that any owner would not keep a chicken in a winter sweater long term.

(sorry to be the party pooper on this one)

After I wrote this post, a reader added that some people use these sweaters as aprons to protect hens’ backs from overly amorous roosters. Please don’t use knit sweaters for this purpose, it would be too easy for a rooster’s toes to get caught in the yarn resulting in possible leg injuries. If you need to use an apron, find a garment that is specifically made for that purpose.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

6 responses to “Lesson 1337 – Just say “no” to chicken sweaters

  1. I think nearly every friend I have on Facebook (who of course doesn’t have chickens) has posted something about chicken sweaters and tagged me in it. Haha, I know they’re trying to be funny (“Are you going to get these for your girls???”), and I’ve been as polite as I can (because I know they mean well and think it’s cute), but dang, do I want to get all snappy and educate them. Your educative post was much nicer than I wanted to be (especially after the fifth or sixth tag on Facebook…). Sigh.

  2. I get tagged for all of these chicken sweater, hat memes as well. They are funny, but what would be even funnier is a video of me trying to put the darn sweaters, hats, etc. on the chickens, and then getting them to all pose for a picture! I can’t even imagine! HA!

  3. Most of these sweaters were made for British battery rescue hens, which basically have extremely few feathers. They do require something to help keep them warm. http://www.themarysue.com/chicken-sweaters/

    • Wendy Thomas

      First of all, all the chickens in this photo (which comes from the original articles about the sweaters) all have more than enough feathers. But even a chicken with limited feather coverage would not benefit from sweaters. It would be far better to keep them in a moderate (not warm) temperature protected from the wind and increase the nutrients in their diet to enhance feather growth. If new feathers are trying to grow in, the sweaters may interrupt that process.

      Look I know they are cute and I know that that woman is trying to be kind. I get it. But in the case of chicken sweaters, they may be doing more harm than good.


      On Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 1:52 AM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:


  4. Sarah

    Way to go, Wendy! I couldn’t agree more. Thanx for stepping out on this one.

  5. Pingback: Lesson 1337 – Just say “no” to chicken sweaters..I agree with Wendy!!! | therealmissrenee2u

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