I would like to report that none of our chickens are wearing “saddles”. The bare spots that Jack has caused the ladies have filled in with new feathers and they are all looking good.
collard greens hung on a wire
The ladies have been very consistent with their egg production averaging better than 4 eggs per day from five hens. Until this year, For the month of January they averaged less than 3 eggs per day and February is looking the same. I have had one day this year that I got 4 eggs. All of the other days have been 3, 2, or 1. They are approaching their 2nd birthday, we think 2 of them were going through a molt and it has been a little cold around here. Maybe they are just on strike because they don’t get to free-range as much. With this last snow they won’t leave their run if we opened it. Our chickens are spoiled and as such we will keep them and feed them and care for them even if they aren’t laying as many eggs.
Our over-zealous Jack, in his mating, is de-feathering our ladies. Believe it or not, you can find chicken saddles on-line that protect the hens back from the rooster’s claws. My wife and I put saddles on Mo and Mini
Mo’s de-feathered back
placing saddle on Mo’s back
Mo with her chicken saddle
The ladies were not happy with their capes. I think it made them faster. They ran around like crazy chickens trying to get away from this thing that was on their back. They squawked and pecked at it. Mo actually started to undo the stitching on the elastic. We put these on just before bed time and I was very worried with the way they were running that they might be in the next county before they stopped. But we got them into the run and they did go to bed. The next morning they were much better. They still fly up to the roosts and do their chicken things. Hopefully this will protect their backs and they can grow new feathers. We don’t like any of the other options, segregating Jack, getting rid of Jack or surgically altering Jack. I read someplace that each rooster need at least 10 hens, getting five more chickens isn’t an option that I like either.
The saddle may protect the back feathers but Jack has ripped out the feathers on Ini’s head when he mounts her and grabs with his beak. I’ll have to look up chicken helmets next. She’s only a year old and already going bald.