Frozen chicken? Not with these handknit sweaters

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JUDY WOODRUFF: With the late winter storm bearing down on Massachusetts, one group of plucky individuals in Milton, Massachusetts, got together to help out their neighbors across the road.

From PBS station WGBH, Cristina Quinn has the story.

CRISTINA QUINN: What happens when the chicken across the road is cold? You ask your neighbors to knit him a sweater, which is exactly what Erica Max, program director of the Wakefield Estate, did, when she noticed that Prince Peep, a Malaysian Serama rooster, started shivering when the temperature dropped.

ERICA MAX, Program Director, Wakefield Estate: I discovered that Serama roosters, you know, normally would live very close to the equator, and they are not well suited to this climate in New England.

CRISTINA QUINN: So Max called up Nancy Kearns, who lives at Fuller Village, a retirement community across the street, and asked her if she and her knitting group could help Prince Peep.

NANCY KEARNS, Friend: I said, let’s give it a try. So I went online. There’s a very wonderful site called Pinterest. And I just typed in the words “chicken sweater,” and I found a pattern from England.

CRISTINA QUINN: These ladies do a lot of knitting for charities like Project Linus, a nationwide organization that donates homemade blankets to sick children, so knitting for chickens was a departure for them, and it came with a lot of trial and error.

NANCY KEARNS: Because the pattern really was for big chickens. And Prince Peep, in particular, is a miniature.

CRISTINA QUINN: Weighing in at roughly one pound, he’s certainly diminutive. But what didn’t fit Prince Peep looked tailor-made for the larger hens. And it worked out perfectly, since many of them were molting, making them more vulnerable to the elements.

ERICA MAX: Oh, well, you look marvelous, darling.

CRISTINA QUINN: On this particular day, Erica Max couldn’t find Prince Peep’s sweater. It’s so tiny that it’s easy to misplace. So we found another easygoing chicken to try one on.

ERICA MAX: We have chicken and we have a sweater. We’re going to attempt to put a sweater on a chicken. We are going to attempt.

And this beautiful hen is not used to having sweaters put on her. But this is her first time, so we can give her a little credit for being nervous. But it’s certainly a fetching sweater.

CRISTINA QUINN: It’s lovely.

ERICA MAX: Yes, that’s a very good-looking sweater.

CRISTINA QUINN: That really suits you. Chicken, this really suits you.

For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Cristina Quinn in Milton, Massachusetts.

JUDY WOODRUFF: You have to love it. I wonder what those chickens did before they had sweaters knitted for them. We will find out.

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