As many of you might remember, during one of Dolly's numerous times being broody this past Spring, she was bullied by the other hens higher up in the pecking order. Bullied to get out of the nesting box, bullied to share the eggs she sat upon and just plain jealously from the others ended Dolly with a bloody bare back picked clean of feathers. It happened within a matter of a couple of hours.
Early that morning she was fine and when I returned with late morning treats I discovered her in one of the nesting boxes badly injured. It was at this point that I realized I need to keep her protected during her broody periods, especially because she seems to always be broody. I started searching as to what I could do-enter Louise's Country Closet. They immediately sent one out to me in Dolly's size and I immediately put it on her. Her back was covered, safe from harm. Over the next few weeks, the scab healed and new little quills, pin feathers, began to emerge. She wore the hen saddle for months. Finally, the feathers returned to normal and I was able to remove the saddle. She has been saddle free for 2 months now.
Advantages to using Hen Saddles
1. Cost effective. You don't need to have a hospital for your chicken to recover.
2. Speeds up recovery. Out of sight, out of mind. The chickens stop picking.
3. Keeps your girls comfortable with overzealous roosters.
4. Ensures that your hen keeps her place in the pecking order.
5. Helps decrease your anxiety about your poor hen's injuries.
6. Keeps them warm during the Winter months when their backs are bare.
Tips for using Hen Saddles
Having used the saddles now for almost six months I thought I'd share some words of advice from our personal experiences.
1. Check daily for proper placement. Be sure that the affected area is still covered and the straps are lying flat and untwisted.
2. Be sure to check weekly for mites and lice hiding under the saddle. With a saddle on, these insects are protected during dust bathing. A gentle weekly dusting under the saddle with food grade DE should keep those little buggers in check.
3. Launder the hen saddle once a week.
4. Measure your hens before you order to ensure a proper fit.
5. Order an extra one for your henny girl to wear when the other is in the laundry.
6. Order one in each size of your hens for your first aid kits.
7. Do not be tempted to remove your saddle too early. New beautiful feathers still wrapped in their quills are very tempting for other chickens to peck at. Better to leave the saddle on until the new feathers completely match the existing ones.
8. In days with extreme heat, consider removing the hen saddle during the hottest times of the day if you notice your hens panting and/or showing signs of overheating. You might need to separate your hen from the bunch when you do this.
One Hen Saddle & One Custom Keychain
Here's How to Enter:
Visit Louise's Country Closet and pick a favorite item. Come back here and leave a comment with your name, email address and tell me about that item! One more thing, an added bonus! If you can't wait until the giveaway winner is drawn, take advantage of 15% off your order. Just enter Tilly at the check-out.
This giveaway ends on July 22, 2012 at midnight EST. One entry per person.
Items ship to one US address only.
Photo Credits: Tilly's Nest, Louise's Country Closet