Louisa Enright's Blog

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Turkey Tracks: Making A Hen Saddle

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Turkey Tracks:  May 5, 2012

Making A Hen Saddle

I had to do something.

Two of my hens are in terrible shape.  Our new rooster, Cowboy, is about a year old now, and he’s a real “whipper snapper.”  We named him Cowboy because he does not miss a thing that happens on this piece of property.  Not a leaf falls that he isn’t right there.  Of course he’s that earnest with the hens as well.

Poor Annie Chickie’s back is entirely bare of feathers.

And my beautiful Pearl, the youngest and the lowest on the chicken totem pole, is a wreck of broken feathers and bare spots.  I’m really worried about her.  As the lowest in the flock, she hangs with the rooster for protection, so she’s “available” all the time.

The answer is a hen saddle, that protects a hen’s back from the rooster’s claws.  (But not, I’m finding, the upper wing joints.)

Buying a hen saddle costs about $20 each, and that’s without paying postage.

So, here’s the most wonderful web site for how to make a hen saddle–complete with lots of pictures.  The result is sturdy and really works.  I had to cut down the pattern a bit for Pearl, as she’s tiny.

http://backtobasicliving.com/blog/make-a-chicken-saddle/

And, here’s a picture of the first saddle I made–which only took about 20 minutes once I got the hang of it and had all the parts assembled.  I used an elastic that was too wide, so for the next two I’ve made, I cut down the sides of the elastic, leaving each end thicker to insert into the saddle and to sew on the larger, sturdier snap.  You can see the pattern I printed out and what nice pictures it has.  Also, the saddle is lined with iron-on fusible webbing, which gives it a little water protection and makes it really sturdy.  It’s two-sided, with fabric on both sides.

Here’s Annie in the first saddle–putting it on her was hard as she struggled and screamed at me.  These chickens are slowly going quite wild with all their freedom these days.  I need to get hold of her and cut out some of the elastic width on her saddle, which is best done at night after they’ve roosted.  Only she was right next to the rooster on the roost, and I wasn’t going to reach in the coop and get her without gloves on.  That would be certain folly and would just upset everyone.

It isn’t a great picture of the saddle, but when you point the camera at her, it makes her nervous.

I’ve now made a smaller one for Pearl, and I put a big one on Valentine, the Freedom Ranger.  The other girls are looking ok.  I think they are smarter about running from Cowboy.

THANK YOU “Back To Basic Living” web site!

Written by louisaenright

May 5, 2012 at 11:50 am

3 Responses

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  1. I’m so glad it worked for you! They have sure saved my poor hens’ back. The one you made looks great! Cowboy is a handsome rooster.

    Penny

    May 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm

  2. I love it that you are using the Hoffman challenge fabric from 1997 for your chicken saddle! I have some of that fabric, too and have been using it for a project that was supposed to be finished in 2010 — alas. 😉 Here’s a link it you are interested. Kindest regards, Dianne B. in England
    http://rosewillow.org/2010/06/28/too-good-to-cut-challenge-on-my-design-wall/

    Rosewillow

    May 6, 2012 at 6:51 am

    • Loved your blog! Thanks so much for sharing it. What I’ve been trying to do all winter is to USE UP stash fabrics. It’s time to reduce its size. I’m so enjoying making the scrappy quilts too. Thanks for commenting on my blog! Louisa

      louisaenright

      May 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm


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