Friday, June 28, 2013

Feathered Friend Friday: Chicken Saddles

Have you ever heard of chicken saddles? About four years ago when I was a fairly new chicken keeper, I heard of them but had no clue what they would be used for. Surely nothing was going to be hitching a ride on my hen, right? Eventually I figured it all out and have found saddles to be very useful in my flock!


The saddle is made from is a piece of fabric that rests on the hen's back for protection with two elastic loops fitted over the wings to hold the fabric in place. We put this saddle on Lucy because our head rooster, Cam, is very fond of her and mates with her quite often. Roosters can be rough with hens during mating and actually pull out some back feathers while positioning or "treading" on the hen. Poor Lucy's back was getting pretty bare so we put a saddle on her to protect her skin from Cam's nails. With no feathers for protection, Lucy's skin could easily be cut open by Cam's nails resulting in a very serious wound - this has actually happened a couple times with our other hens and it is quite traumatic.


The saddle will keep Lucy's back safe while allowing for feather re-growth. The saddles are fairly easy to put on and my girls don't seem to mind them at all after they get used to them. For a few minutes they usually fidget around, but soon enough they seem to forget the saddle is even there.


Even if you don't have a rooster, saddles are great to have on hand. Back when I just had my first flock of pullets, someone developed a bad habit of feather picking and lots of the girls' backs were totally bare. Saddles would be great in this situation to prevent any injuries from pecking (and cannibalism - it happens in rare occasions - yikes!). Also, if a hen is broody and sitting in the favorite nesting box, other hens may peck at her to try to get her off the nest so they can lay their eggs in the box. A saddle would protect the hen's back if you are unable to move her to a separate enclosure with her clutch of eggs (which is recommended in the case of broody hens).

If you have chickens, have you ever used saddles on any of your hens?

~Tammy

Shared with Backyard Farming Connection 

41 comments:

  1. i used to follow a blogger that made and sold chicken saddles. :)

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  2. Ok this seriously made my day. How freaking awesome! I had never heard of this before. And she looks like she's showing it off lol.

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  3. I've never gotten these before but they look like a great investment! We've been integrating some girls together and they have their pecking order, but this would be some protection. :) Do you buy them anywhere? Thanks for sharing!

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  4. That was interesting even if I don't own chickens...I did know that they do have a feather pulling habit though. Great informative post!

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  5. I'd never heard of chicken saddles! Being our first season with a rooster in the flock, I might need to make some - fingers crossed I don't! S:)

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  6. What a smart little invention and so simple to keep your hens happy and healthy! So nice of you to take such good care of the girls. xoxo

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  7. We do not have chickens right now but if we did....
    Very cute as well as practical.

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  8. Have never heard of chicken saddles! Clever idea to protect their feathers.

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  9. I've never heard of a chicken saddle - it's not only practical - it's pretty cute!

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  10. I think they look kind of pretty and would have no qualms about using one. Do you make your own or buy them?

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  11. I have heard of them but have never used them. They are cute:) B

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  12. This is all new to me. Chicken saddles....who wouldhave thought it? They just look lovely all dressed up. I have learned something new. I always love visiting with you and all your "chicken antics". Such a joy! Blessings!

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  13. I'll have to ask my friend that has chickens if she's heard of this. I do know (from speaking with her) that the roosters can be aggressive .. unfortunate for the hens. This is a great idea!

    Have a nice weekend Tammy! xxleslie

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  14. Interesting! I have heard of the saddles, but didn't know what they were for! I do believe two of our growing chicks are roosters, so this is good to know!

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  15. I love that you had a saddle with bees on it ;-)

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  16. yea, yea, yea!!!! I've been wrestling with the idea of using these. You have just made up my mind! I'm going to get some right away....:)))) You are always spot on with your information! Thanks for sharing this...:)))) Hugs.
    Lisa

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  17. I never knew that before, Tammy.. It is nice to learn something new,eh?
    Take care..

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  18. Although I've seen the chicken saddles in ads, you are the first person I've known who really uses them. Thank you for this great post!

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  19. I have seen photos shared of coats, or cloaks on chickens.. but in the case of what I saw, I thought it was just for novelty. This makes total sense, now!
    Very good information!
    Our little hens are doing awesome - we have a buff named Lucy as well. :)
    I can't wait for them to start laying eggs! Maybe another month or so.

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  20. Chicken Saddles are new to me, I am learning all about chickens on your blog. It looks cute too! Thanks for sharing. Have a happy weekend!

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  21. Lucy looks very cute in her saddle. It's great that you take such good care of her!

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  22. The wound that could result sounds serious (and awful!). I'm glad there's an easy way to get around it.

    The fabric for your saddle is the exact same fabric my son's Kindergarten teacher used for her Show & Tell bag (her whole room was a bee theme). :)

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  23. I never knew! Thanks for sharing. I hope Lucys feathers grow back soon. But she looks pretty cute wearing it!

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  24. Wow. Great info Tammy. We have one hen right now that is the roosters fave girl ...she def needs one of these. Do you mind me asking where you got yours ...it is very cute.

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    1. Thank you so much Tammy for popping over and leaving tbe info. I am sending off for a few this week :)

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  25. Well, I've learned something from your post. I've never heard of chicken saddles. I'm glad there is something to help your poor hen.

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  26. Oh boy, I didn't realize mating was so rough. Jeez. Those little saddles are a great idea then :)

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  27. We had to use saddles on a few of ours. They totally freaked out after we put them on and pet trying to pull them off with their beaks! We have one hen now that needs a saddle- I think our rooster favors her.

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  28. We used saddles when we had our rooster. Unfortunately, they often fell off of the smaller girls but they stayed on well with the larger ones. Great post!! :)

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  29. Oh this is the first I've heard of a saddle..so adorable and great that it keeps the girls safe.

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  30. hi tammy, the saddle is very cute! what a great idea indeed!
    lovely shots, as usual.

    big hugs~

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  31. Oh no, Tammy, this is my first time hearing about saddles! :) You gave her a really cute one, I love the bees on it.

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  32. What a nice idea! Cute saddle.

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  33. That's just great I have never heard of these , what a Fab idea. Lovely Shot's to Tammy :)

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  34. Oh Tammy-I've learned something new today! And I can see why Cam is so fond of Lucy-she's very pretty:)

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  35. Lucy looks very nice in her saddle apron! It's wonderful that you share your information for others - what a great idea!! for the chickens!!

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  36. now you just need to find someone little to ride them. i'd have a volunteer here. :)

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  37. I like the ones you featured. Where did you get them? Anyone have a good pattern?

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