Monday, March 21, 2011

sewing a chicken saddle

Poor Chamomile.....

She has bald spots on her back near her rear end due to Mr. Rue's mating habits. No matter how sweet he may be, he is a BIG boy and his affections have caused some feather damage.  Well, Chamie, Mama's gonna make you a pretty little chicken saddle to wear!

Penny from Back to Basic Living helped me in determining that her missing feathers were likely due to Mr. Rue's mating habits and not feather plucking. She also directed me to one of her posts on making a chicken saddle. Thanks, Penny!

So here goes:

I basically sewed the chicken saddle according to the pattern on the Back to Basic Living blog:

My fuzzy felt material
-cut out the material (I used scrap leftover material) in an 8 1/2" x 17" piece, then fold in half and cut holes for the wings. I cut out an additional two pieces of felt-like material to make it extra thick.

-Sew the pieces together like you would making a pillow cover, right sides together with felt on either side, leaving a hole at the bottom and two small 1/2" holes at the edges of the wing holes to fit the elastic through.

- sew the two elastic pieces, about 5 1/2" long, in the small holes left near the wing holes, and then make a 1/4" seam around the entire edge of the saddle.

-Quilt the material in the center by sewing two lines down the middle of the saddle. Then add snaps to the edges of the elastic and to the tips of the wing holes.

Now I have my finished chicken saddle!

Time to put the saddle on Chamie:

This turned out to the quite a traumatic event. Bless her heart.... I think it might be a little big on her, and she was NOT having it when I first fit the saddle on her. A lot of squawking and crying and fussing. Then she hobbled around for a while, a little bit off balance because of the way her wings fit around it.  I might need to make some adjustments so that it fits her better.

 I had to pick her up a couple of more times to get the saddle situated right, which stressed her out more. Finally, I got her calmed down and she was almost asleep in my arms, but as soon as I set her down she went back to freaking out about the weird yellow thing on her back.  She pecked and pulled at it the rest of the night, and tried to wiggle out of it.

Mr. Rue was not amused.  He kept his gaze on Chamie and on me (I am sure he thoroughly believed I was hurting her) and at times even sounded his "danger" alarm noises. At one point they had both walked in their coop and I reached in to straighten out her saddle because her little wing got caught, and that's when he BIT ME. Hard. I scolded him and tried to catch him but was unsuccessful. He is usually very sweet and respectful, but intervened when he sensed one of his ladies was upset.

I'm hoping she'll adjust eventually.....

In other chicken news, Rosemary is BROODY!!!! I'm so excited I might have baby chicks for Easter! Pics to come....



  1. Ok! That is the cutest thing...I think this would be a good thing also for when one of the girls gets sick and all the other hens pick at her. It would be like chicken armor. Very clever...xo Caroline

  2. Wearing that saddle- She reminds me of Henny Penny or the Little Red Hen from a children's book...that is so cute!
    I hope it works. Will she heal up and grown new feathers? is this something she'll always have to wear?


  3. Oh my gosh, what a scream! I am thoroughly amused.

  4. Ah, poor Chamie- but have to say that is she quite cute with her little saddle. :) Have never even thought of doing this- but what a great idea and informative post! Thanks for sharing this with the Homestead Barn Hop!

  5. I was skeptical at first - but now I'm intrigued! I think I'll try this and see how my chickens do ...

    Thanks for posting :-)


  6. That's so funny...I've never heard of a chicken saddle.

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments- Chamie is adjusting much better to her saddle today. (But she still pulls a little at it...)

    Caroline- that is a great idea to use it for "pecking" protection too! I had never thought of that but I guess it would work just the same!

    Pat- The saddle will allow her feathers to grow back into the areas that were bald by protecting those areas. I hope to be able to take it off of her for a while once her feathers have grown back and are healthy.

    Val- let me know how your saddle sewing goes and how your chickens do with it!

  8. Too funny! The chicken saddle not only works and solves the problem, she looks quite fashionable also!!