So what? What on earth are hen saddles and why would you need one? Well, you wouldn’t but one of your hens might. Hen saddles are padded fabric covers that go over a hen’s back and fit under her wings to keep it in place, and they protect her back from an overmating rooster. Sometimes a rooster favors a particular chicken, like our sweet Dulcinea, and because roosters used their nails and spurs to hold on to the hen’s back, she can lose all of her back feathers, exposing bare skin. That in turn can lead to other hens pecking at her exposed skin, harming and even killing her. Yeah, not good.
Dulcinea has always been a rooster favorite, and every time I see her back more and more bare, I just cringe. So I found this pattern on Etsy and decided to make my own saddles. It’s $1.99 for an instant download — the pattern is very simple, and the instructions are clear, even for a beginner. It takes 1/4 yard of cotton fabric and a couple of lengths of 1/4″ elastic and about a half hour. I went to the fabric store and bought these fabrics:
My sister, Laura, was with me when I was fabric shopping, so I let her pick one fabric. Scooby Doo. Really, Laura? She’s a Scooby Doo fanatic, and I love her, so what can I say. I made two saddles, one larger and one smaller (the pattern tells you how to adjust for a bigger or smaller chicken), and in half an afternoon, I had them finished.
Squee! Aren’t they adorable? I can’t even stand it when something serves its purpose and is super cute at the same time. Now my poor Dulcinea has a chance of regrowing her back feathers while having her exposed skin protected. That won’t keep my randy roos from favoring her, though — I’m afraid nothing can stop The Colonel and Thor from really digging Dulcinea. But, I’ll have you know that I’ve been counseling them to at least bring the girl some flowers once and a while.