I get a lot of questions about what hen saddles are and more often than not, I get grief about it being ‘chicken clothing’. There is so much to a hen saddle than just looking pretty on a hen! These were created for a purpose. Have you ever had a hen that had feathers missing near her tail where the rooster often stands on her? That’s usually due to too much mating. A lot of people are under the misinformation that they need to separate their rooster until the hen heals but when you’re trying to get fertile eggs, that’s impossible! Instead, you’re able to buy these saddles to put on your hen and have it cover her back so that she’s able to grow those feathers back.
Sometimes, the cause is feather picking. This is one of the worst since it’s often hard to see who’s the feather picker. If the picking is happening on the back where the saddle will cover, it gives the back time to heal and can even help eliminate some of the pecking. Pecking can lead to open sores and so can other types of attacks. A saddle covers these so that you can still have her with the flock instead of separating her and stressing her even more.
There’s also molting. We all know that there’s always that one girl who molts too late in the season and it’s getting cold out. We offer fleece on our saddles to keep her a little more warm. The worst one; a molt and a rooster.
My hen here had no time to grow her feathers back from her molt because of the rooster. I have no way to separate them so a hen saddle was in order. Measuring for our saddles is incredibly easy. They’re measured from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. A lot of people order based on the size of their chicken, but it’s actually based on how long their back is.
**Scotchgard: This is a spray that gives your fabric a little waterproofing. It repels water to help keep the saddle dry. We apply two coats of this before we package it.**
Putting on our saddle is easy.
First you need to catch you hen. You can sit down for better control but we’ve done this so many times we can hold them in one hand and put the saddle on with the other.
This hen wore this saddle for a few months before her feathers grew in nicely. When her back healed, we switched her to our butterfly saddle (which covers the back and the wings).
As you can see, she’s all healed and back to normal! Healing time varies. Some take just weeks, some take months it entirely depends on your hen and how badly she’s been torn up.
The hen also has no loss of movement in these so she’s able to do everything she did before.
Being broody. Great time to put a saddle on and let her heal.
Free ranging. Getting cause on something happens, but very very seldom. Saddles are able to be pulled off if caught too. Not only from being caught on a branch or fence, but we had one that was picked up by an owl last summer and she fell out of her saddle. The owl ended up with a new item for their wardrobe and my hen retreated to the coop! (This doesn’t guarantee that the same will happen in every situation, though. My hen was very lucky!)
They’re also able to stay with the rest of the flock which I think is the most important. Chickens are picked on when taken away for long periods because they need to reestablish the pecking order when brought back.
They’re able to roost and be comfortable. After the first few minutes, they won’t even notice the saddle is on anymore. Saddles will also move around a lot the first few days. When it does, if you don’t readjust it the next time your hen shakes or flaps her wings it will go back into place.
The biggest thing of all – they can still dust bathe!!! Sure the saddles get a little dirty (it’s recommended you wash them every month to two months) but they’re able to be a chicken and that’s the most important part!
Not all saddles are created equally, however. Some sell them at incredibly high prices which makes it hard to buy for, sometimes, an entire flock. We keep our prices as low as we possibly can so that you have the best possible price.
Some are even one layer with slits cut into them and nothing more. No warmth for the winter, they’re not able to breath and allow the chicken to keep cool during the summer. In fact, these are likely to cause them to overheat and may even attract mites more than a normal saddle will. Sometimes, saving money just isn’t worth it.
We’ve been making saddles three years now and have perfected our own design. Saddles take us 1 – 2 business days to send since they’re made completely by hand, right here in our own home. We’re often mistaken for a large business but this is actually me (Amanda) and my mom (Brenda) with the help of my dad (Marvin) working nearly 24/7 to make these and help everyone out.
You can find all of our saddles and other chicken products on our website Louise’s Country Closetand you can find us on Facebook!