We recently ordered a chicken saddle for our silkie hen.
A chicken saddle is also known as a chicken apron, chicken jacket or a hen saver. Its main purpose (other than looking super cute) is to protect the skin and feathers on their back from when roosters mount them so that hens don’t end up with wounds or infections or loss of protection from sun from feathers.
There are lots of places online to order chicken saddles. We ordered ours from ABknits on Etsy. One saddle was only $4.
Almost as soon as we opened the package, we couldn’t wait to try the jacket on our hen. But, she is currently taking care of her newly-hatched chick and is separated from the rooster and not really in need of the jacket at the moment. (We only have the three silkies — rooster, hen and chick). We didn’t want to traumatize her or the chick by separating her to try on the saddle, so, we decided to try it on our rooster — just to see how it looks.
Catching Peep, our rooster, was the hardest part. Putting the saddle on was pretty easy, although I’m always nervous about touching chicken’s wings because I had a chicken who broke her wing on something a few years ago and ended up dying in spite of extensive efforts to save her.
Anyway, these are the instructions from ABknits for putting on the saddle, which we followed pretty much to the T and had surprisingly little complaint from Peep.
Saddles are very easy to put on. Grab your chicken and hold it against your chest. Take your saddle and pull the strap all the way to one side. Place the strap around the corner of the wing then pull down slightly while gently pulling the wing upwards and through the opening. Repeat for the other side then even out the elastic and adjust the saddle to fit neatly on the back.
I can’t say Peep was super thrilled to be wearing the saddle, but he was able to move around just fine in it and didn’t attempt to take it off or anything. We ordered the Bantan size (it also comes in standard and large size). I think it was a little tight on him and will probably fit Gidget much better when it’s time for her to wear it.