Since launching in 2013, Megan and Dawn Whiteman have raised over £700 for ex-battery hen charities, all by selling their handmade chickens. We caught up with Megan to find out how the venture came about.
So tell us - what inspired the charity?
The British Hen Welfare Trust was founded back in 2005 by Jane Howarth. At the time it was the first officially registered charity for rehoming ex-commercial laying hens and we decided to support them after they helped us to rehome our own gorgeous girls. We can only realistically look after about 15 in our back garden, but that never feels enough! We want to be able to help as many other chickens as we can - not just tens, but hundreds. We hope our donations and the money we raise gives other ex-commercial hens the chance to have the same loving home our girls were given, made possible by other generous supporters’ kind donations.
Megan cosies up to Big Laurel
How did you get involved with Henhugger.co.uk?
Its founder, Jo, is a bit of a celebrity in the hen world, with a column in Your Chickens magazine. We met her back in February 2013 when one of our hens, Bunty, was ill, and we desperately needed some advice. We quickly became very good friends, and to thank her for all of her kind help with little Bunty, we sent her a selection of our Little Knitted Hens as a gift. She loved them so much that when she decided to launch www.henhugger.co.uk, she asked us if we’d supply them to sell in her online shop. All proceeds from the sales of the Little Knitted Hens on the Hen Hugger website go to Fresh Start for Hens, another ex-battery, ex-caged and ex-commercial hen rehoming charity.
The Easter Chicks will be on sale from 18 March for £4.99
They’re endearing, unique, and extremely intelligent to the point of disbelief. They come running to their name like a dog, but weave around your legs like a cat! They have a fascinating pecking order and way of life, from the way they eat to how they interact with each other and the world around them. However much love you give to them, they return tenfold. They also have mountains of courage and huge reserves of strength; they’re one of the most resilient creatures we’ve ever kept. From the day they’re freed they live life to the full and never look back.
Dawn’s favourite hen, Gloria, is four years old and was the first to be immortalized as a Little Knitted Hen.
How long have you kept chickens?
Not long enough - we wish we’d kept chickens forever! But the real answer is September 2011, when we rehomed six girls from the BHWT Allesley collection point. We have two of those hens still with us, Gloria and Aggie (both immortalized as Little Knitted Hens) and they’ll be celebrating their fourth birthday this April!
The Valentine’s Day hens will be available from 1st February for £5.99
Do you have any plans for the range in the future?
We all think it’s very important to develop new lines and ideas, not only to attract new customers but also so our return customers have always got something fresh and exciting to see. We never know when one of our Limited Edition ranges will come along, but we do meticulously plan other releases and tend to focus them around special occasions and seasonal holidays. The difficult job is to always keep one or two months ahead – we will be celebrating Christmas but designing for Valentine’s Day and Easter! We’re very excited for Mother’s Day, we have additional lines in the aromatherapy Little Knitted Hens to pursue, and also have plans for more Little Knitted Hen wedding and hen party favours, which we’re hoping to officially launch later this year.
Visit www.henhugger.co.uk to find out more about keeping chickens, and to see Megan and Dawn’s full range of knitted hens.