Chicken Saddles

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    An interesting item that you may or may not currently have on hand is a chicken saddle. This is not a literal saddle, of course, but instead more of a cloth pad that is intended to cover the back of your chicken. Chicken saddles, also referred to as aprons, attach with straps and are useful both in the case of caring for injuries and preventing them from occurring in the first place.

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    The main reason you may wish to use a chicken saddle is to prevent injury to your hens during mating. When a rooster mounts and mates with a hen, his spurs can do great damage to her. Initially this may come in the form of feathers being pulled out and lost, but as mating continues, feather loss can result in bald patches. Once baldness exposes the skin of a hen, rooster spurs then go on to puncture that skin without a feather barrier in place to protect bare skin. It is in cases such as this that a chicken saddle or apron can create a layer of protection between spurs and the skin of hens, saving that skin from cuts or puncture wounds. Protecting bare skin with a chicken saddle can also help allow feathers to grow back more quickly.

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    Another reason to have a chicken saddle handy is to protect injuries that have already occurred. If your hen comes in from free ranging with a wound, you can treat that wound and cover it with a chicken saddle to allow it to heal. Since chickens tend to peck at the injuries of one another, a chicken saddle also serves the purpose of hiding a wound from others in the flock, thus not giving them a reason to peck. It can also aid in keeping dirt and debris from making its way into a wound and slowing the healing process.

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    Chicken saddles with a large set of eyes on them are also being utilized. The goal is to confuse aerial predators who might wish to prey on your chickens. It is thought that having a well-placed set of eyes on the back of your chicken through the use of a chicken saddle will perplex and deter predators. If this works or not remains to be seen, but the concept has potential validity.

    Whether you believe in chicken saddles or not, it might not be a terrible idea to have one around for first aid purposes if nothing else. Having something fitted to your chicken will be a lot easier to put and keep on that attempting to wrap an injured bird in a blanket or towel while recuperating. If you are gifted with an ability to sew, you can most likely make your own chicken saddle. If not, there are many for sale through online retailers. Do keep in mind that chicken saddles do require an adjustment period. Even though they are created with comfort in mind, some chickens take longer to acclimate than others and there may be some backwards walking after the initial application of an apron or saddle to members of your flock.

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