How to use chicken saddles?
by Jennifer Behm – Chicken farmer| Last Updated – 25 March 2021
Chicken saddles have for a long time been associated with funny videos of chicken being shared on social media. These images are always hilarious and one can’t stop laughing about them. But what are they really and how do they help the chicken? This is what we are going to help you answer in this article.
What are chicken saddles?
They are also commonly known as a cape because they look like aprons. So, this saddle is a piece of cloth or fabric that gives protection to the chicken’s skin from getting injured during mating.
Roosters have a common behavior of over-mating while at the hens back which leads to feather loss and in extreme cases injuries to the hen. Aggressive roosters tend to always have a preference for one hen and may cause baldness in some parts of the hen.
We, therefore, use saddles to protect this vulnerable area. This area that lacks feathers is prone to infections, mostly they start with bleeding then cannibal chicken gets attracted to the blood and starts pecking, this will lead to serious injuries to the hen, it can even result in the death of the hen.
This leaves open wounds which make the hen vulnerable to diseases. This reason highlights one of the importance of using a saddle.
Saddles period of use
Chicken saddles period of use depends on several reasons. The common reason is to act as a protective layer during mating, it can also be used to protect the hen that is wounded. During this period the saddle will keep the wound from dirt and keep away other hens from increasing the wound.
The saddles can be on the hen for a long period of time, normally if the hen has an injury it will take long before the next molting season where their feathers fall off and others grow. This duration is determined by a lot of factors and among them is the time of the year. Saddles come in handy during such a period and give hens some extra insulation in areas they are missing the features.
How do we make these saddles?
These saddles materials are always readily available. They are majorly composed of the thing we have at home and what we use frequently in our daily activities. You also don’t need any expert knowledge in making them, all you have to do is follow the simple instructions and the results will be exactly what you desire. No Fancy machine is needed to complete this task. Here are some of the materials needed.
- Jeans with a leg width of approximately nine inches
- Printout of the pattern (not a must)
- Sewing machine (not a must)
- Straight pins
- 11 inches of half-inch elastic
- Two 1-inch pieces of Velcro
This is not compulsory but necessary for neatness, you can download a pattern, then print it and cut the pattern.
- Continue by measuring eight inches from the bottom of the leg and cutting it off from the jeans.
- Use a marker to measure and slowly mark off the shape.
- Proceed by cutting off the pattern.
- Hold the elastic piece and place it between the two pieces of jeans at both corners then use a needle and a thread to tighten it.
- Use the end of both elastic ends and position them on the lower side of the jeans. Use a tape to measure at least an inch from both edges and fix it to both sides. It is advisable when your fabric is less than nine inches, move the elastic towards the edge for compensation of the limited fabric.
There are many ways of making saddles, some require sewing machines others require only a need, you have to choose the method that soothes you best. The best alternative is always the one that requires fewer skills.
Precautions when putting the saddle on the hen
Naturally, chickens are not afraid of humans but they can’t allow you to catch them. Chasing them is never fun but tiring. You have to look for an appropriate time when the chicken is dull and are together limiting their chances of escaping.
Also, you have to ask for some help because holding the hen and at the same time trying to put on the saddle is a dough ting task. Ask for help to make one person hold the hen and the other carry on with the activity of putting the saddle on.
During the process, you have to be cautious because chicken wings are fragile and they can easily break. You have to move them gently and they should cover a small distance to reduce the risk of breakage.
Putting the saddle on the hen
The procedure is simple, you first start by making sure the time is appropriate normally during dusk or at night. You have to move quickly to hold the hen before they escape, so try being fast in catching them.
Secure the hen and hold it for a while to ease it. Continue by holding it firmly and sliding one end of the elastic strap on one side of the wing. Then do the same for the opposite wing with caution. Make sure not to inflict pain on the bird and hold it firmly to avoid sudden movement which might cause harm to the bird.
The first few hours after putting the saddle, the hen will feel uncomfortable and try to peck the elastic edges. But with time they will get used to it and feel comfortable having it so don’t be rush to removing it because of the discomfort.
You should also consider applying healing cream to hens that have wounds or that are bleeding. This is to prevent infection from occurring.
Saddles can stay on the hen for a longer period, provided it is not torn or in a state, it can cause injury to the hen. A chicken won’t appreciate what you have done but the satisfactory feeling you will have once you are done is that matters.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found the information helpful in your quest to improving the living condition of your chicken. Kindly comment below if you have any concern and share it if you like them.
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