Proper Rooster to Hen Ratio and Chicken Saddles

Our rooster to hen ratio is really off. The ideal ratio is 1 rooster for 10-12 hens. This advised ratio is to protect your hens from too much “rooster love”. Currently, we have 1 rooster and 5 hens. There is just too much of our roo a.k.a The Hoff to go around and our poor gals are receiving a lot of attention. Roosters dig their nails and spurs into the hen’s back and their beaks hold the hen’s head for stabilization while mating. 3 of the hens have complete bare spots with no feathers on their back. Luckily, none of them show signs of blood, raw, or broken skin.

We ordered hen saddles to cover the bare area for protection to allow the feathers to grow back.

Flame Pattern Hen Saddle for Protection
Flame Pattern Hen Saddle for Protection

Chicken saddles not only protect the back from further injury, they allow the feathers to grow back without separating the hens or the overly amorous rooster from the rest of the flock. They also provide a layer of warmth in the winter months that they are without due to the missing feathers. They are also stylish and too darn cute!

Don’t get me wrong, we are not the type to put clothes or Halloween costumes on our pets. But if there is a practical need for the clothing like a hen saddle, we might as well go with some stylish prints. Right?

Camo Pattern Chicken Saddle for Hen Protection
Camo Pattern Chicken Saddle for Hen Protection

 

Red Farm Pattern Chicken Saddle for Hen Protection
Red Farm Pattern Chicken Saddle for Hen Protection

 

Red Farm Pattern Chicken Saddle for Hen Protection
Red Farm Pattern Chicken Saddle for Hen Protection

Hens may also have loss of feathers for other reasons like molting, brooding, pecking and preening, and even parasites and predators. Hen saddles come in various sizes and you can even find hen saddles with wing protection as well. This is important because location of the loss of feathers may vary due to the underlying cause.

We waited until our chickens had gone to roost and were groggy and extremely docile to put the saddles on. There is an elastic strap with a snap that goes under each wing which was easy to secure on the first two. The third hen we saddled was alarmed right from the get go. I guess she had not falling to sleep yet and was startled by being picked up. So Jon just held her and talked to her until she calmed. Then I was able to saddle her up easy as well.

Immediately after placing the saddles on the hens they did peck at them a bit out of curiosity. But after a few minutes they did not even notice or care they were wearing them. The next few days we noticed they were still not concerned by the saddles. The hens just went about their scratching and pecking as usual. The hens can also still dust bath and preen while wearing the hen saddles.

Hen Preening Wearing Chicken Saddle
Hen Preening Wearing Chicken Saddle

We will monitor the progress of the feather regrowth over the next several weeks and even wash the saddles if needed until the hens are all good as new. This spring we plan on correcting our rooster to hen ratio so this will hopefully not be a reoccurring issue.

We may try making some of our own sometime, but as we had never used them before we bought some so that we knew they were constructed correctly. We are pleased with our new addition to our chicken first aid kit.

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