What is a Poultry Saddle and how do I fit one?
You may be wondering quite what a Poultry Saddle is - chickens certainly aren’t made for riding, are they? So, what is a poultry saddle and why would a chicken need one?
Phill answers this and gives a step-by-step guide for fitting a Poultry Saddle, with the help of Paula the Pekin.
A Poultry Saddle is used to protect the back of a chicken or turkey from damage caused by the spurs of an over-zealous cockerel during mating or by other aggressive hens pecking at the feathers. Fitting a Poultry Saddle properly is important for the comfort and well-being of the bird.
If your hens show signs of feather loss due to mating or feather pecking, or have wounds, the Saddle will protect the bird’s back, allowing the feathers to regrow and wounds to heal. A soothing Aloe Vera Gel can help reduce any redness of the skin, or Wound Powder can aid repair of the skin.
The Saddle is normally made of robust, washable canvas fabric and available in a few different sizes to suit different breeds of hen. Measure across the hen's back from under the wings to ensure you get the right size.
Once fitted, monitor your bird for the first few hours to ensure that the Saddle is still fitting correctly and not causing discomfort. She will probably crouch down initially because, to her, it feels like something ‘heavy' is on her back.
However, she will soon get used to it and, as you can see from our photos when viewing the Saddles, they soon forget they are wearing one. Monitor daily to check it hasn’t moved or is uncomfortable and readjust as necessary.