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:
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:
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.
Iron fusible interfacing to the back side of the material.
Fold the material in half, right side together.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
You should bring the elastic around to snap it under the chicken’s wing, like this:
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.
Just look at how pretty she is in her new chicken saddle!