How to Make a Chicken Saddle

NOTE: While I enjoy making these saddles, I am currently overwhelmed with unfinished projects on the homestead and no longer offering to make saddles for others. The below instructions should step you through making your own in no time!

If a hen is being over-mated, she may begin to lose the feathers on her back from the rooster’s spurs and nails. I have even read of cases where the rooster’s spurs have actually slashed through the skin on a hen’s back.

Initially, I thought my hens were molting. I had heard others talk about “rooster tracks” on hens, but I was in complete denial that it was happening to my hens. My cousin, Julie, finally set me straight, and when I realized I have several hens that are being over-mated, I was quite upset. My once beautiful hens were looking ragged and bald spots began appearing on their backs. It upset me because a molt would be temporary. It would naturally end and my hens would have their beautiful feathers again. Rooster tracks made me feel helpless. I just wasn’t sure how to deal with it.

This is a picture of one of the hen’s back. I’m holding her on her side so Bernie could get a good picture of her back:

Photobucket

Ouch! After doing a little research, I decided to make a chicken saddle. A chicken saddle is material that you secure to the hen’s back to help protect it from rooster spurs.

This particular chicken saddle is for one of my White Faced Black Spanish hens. They tend to be rather large, so keep that in mind if you use these instructions to make a saddle for a smaller hen. Simply altering the pattern by an inch or so should do it.

Because I will likely end up making several of these, I started by making a template out of cardboard:

Photobucket

I cut the card board in an 8 1/2″ X 8 1/2″ square. Then I cut out the wing area by leaving 3 inches in the center of the top and cutting a curve to each side that ends 6 1/2 inches from the bottom.

Whether you use a template or not, cut an 8 1/2″ X 17″ piece of material. This is easily done by folding the material in half and cutting it 8 1/2″ wide, and 8 1/2″ on each side.

Photobucket

Iron fusible interfacing to the back side of the material.

Photobucket

Fold the material in half, right side together.

Photobucket

If you are using a template, lay the template on top of the folded material – the top of the template with two semi-cirles is placed on the fold of the material.

Photobucket

Cut out the two semi-circles, which are the “wing holes” for the saddle. Then round the bottom edges.

When the material is unfolded and laying face up, it should look like this:

Photobucket

With the material folded, right sides together, begin sewing them together on a 1/4″ seam- be sure to leave about 4 inches UNSEWN at the bottom. You’ll need this to pull it right side out when finished. Also, do NOT sew completely up to the fold at the top. Leave about 1/2 inch on each side. You’ll need this to insert the elastic. Below is the saddle sewn (wrong sides together), and then right sides pulled out through the hole in the bottom.

Photobucket

Cut two 5 1/2″ strips of 1/4″ elastic. Insert the ends of the elastic into the holes on each side of the top of the saddle. Sew the elastic in place, and sew a 1/4 inch seam around the entire saddle. Then quilt it by sewing two lines down the front to hold the two pieces of material together.

Photobucket

Add snaps on the end of the elastic, and place the other end of the snaps about 1/2″ from the edge of the bottom of the wing holes.

Photobucket

You should bring the elastic around to snap it under the chicken’s wing, like this:

Photobucket

I layed the saddle, snaps down, on my White Faced Black Spanishs’ back. Then I lifted each wing, brought the elastic under the wing, and snapped it to the material.

Photobucket

Just look at how pretty she is in her new chicken saddle!

Photobucket

64 Responses to “How to Make a Chicken Saddle”

  1. basicliving says:

    Hi Rebecca – yes, if you quilted the saddle, I’m sure the regular interfacing will work just fine. So glad you found the pattern handy!

  2. Ava says:

    hi! thanks for this tutorial! I’d like to make a couple of these for 2 black cochins I recently got from a hatchery that retired them from breeding. They are beeeeat up! And now the other hens peck on them too. I hope the saddles help their feathers grow back in easier.

  3. Tina says:

    Hi.. thanks for the great idea! Ive made 4 of them so far one for the duck too… rooster wouldn’t leave her alone either… one of the girls even has a sunburn on her backside.. well she is now sporting a saddle… they all look great. each one is gonna be different.. 4 more to go.. thanks for the great tutorial and instructions! However……….rooster in the freezer… didn’t need fertile eggs anyways… Got a guinea hen to protect the girls…. best of all .. Tina

  4. Deb Tejada says:

    I just found this page and immediately whipped up one of your saddles, it took me about 20 minutes. I sew for animals to begin with, so I have everything set up. Thank you for the pattern! I have a RI Red that is being picked on by one of our Barred Rock Hens. She’s always had it out for the Red but it’s gotten much worse the last week and a half since our Red was wounded by a coyote. I think the Rock is jealous of the attention the other is getting. The other chickens are fine with her, but today the Rock drew blood in the healing wound and I couldn’t let things continue. Still trying to figure out how to solve the situation, but right now the Rock is in a dog kennel while our Red is recovering in the back yard with her flock. She seems comfortable with the saddle on, although the nasty Rock tried to rip it off her back as soon as she saw it. I used velcro rather than snaps which made construction faster for me.

  5. KG says:

    Deb Tejada,
    Could you give me some specifics about using the velcro in place of the snaps? Our hens are always getting the saddles off because of repeated yanking on it. I’m thinking that velcro sounds very good.

  6. Deb Tejada says:

    KG, I just got notice of your comment this morning (9/17)! Here’s a picture of the velcro on the chicken saddle:

    http://rathappy.com/images/apron.jpg

  7. basicliving says:

    Great job, Deb! Do you find that the velcro gets debris collected in it?

  8. Deb Tejada says:

    Not much debris really, but my chickens don’t wear these that much. Now the velcro on my horse’s flysheet is an entirely different experience, with all his rolling in grass, dirt, hair gets stuck too. Since the velcro on the chicken saddle is closed when being used, that keeps most of the junk out of it.

  9. Lucy B says:

    I am so glad to have found this pattern. I have 14 hens that are being torn apart by the 5 cockerels. I can protect all my girls now.

  10. Tia says:

    Thank you for the great pattern. I gave it a whirl last night, just wish me luck getting it on! I love your “slogan” under your photo. We’ve been trying to get back to some more relaxed living ourselves. The chickens help. :-)

  11. Wendy says:

    I’m so glad we found you. I made one for each of our five hens today. My husband sales office furniture and brought samples of fabric (nice and thick) home about two years ago. It came in handy today. Each piece was 17″ long. I guess it was meant to be.

  12. Dee Dee says:

    Thanks for sharing (all of you) the chicken saddle patterns and ideas. I have a hen that was attack and has about a 4″ area under her wing with no skin. She is doing fine but I would like to get her out of the ‘hospital’ (guest bath) and back with the flock. I know she will need protection on her wound from the roosters. Sewing is not something I do well but I think I can make a saddle. I know this sounds totally crazy but my Vet told my to LIGHTLY spray PRUNING SPRAY on chickens wounds. This came from a D.M.V. that is a poulty expert. It also keeps the other chickens from pecking at a wound on a chicken. Yes, it is the same type of pruning spray you use on trees. Key is LIGHTLY, just enought to cover.

  13. WyoLinda says:

    O.K. considering this is for a CHICKEN, I just went to thrift store and bought large thick POT HOLDERS and did some cutting and added straps for chest and belly. It worked and who cares how they looked.

  14. Kathy says:

    Thank you for posting the pattern. I have a few hens that can use this but didn’t want to pay so much for one. I have material and elastic and snaps so I’m all set.
    Thank you again for sharing your pattern and the instructions. I believe I can make these, at least I hope I can

Leave a Reply

- Type what you see above