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Chicken Saddles

(Zone 5a)

I am posting here to let others know that chicken saddles may not be the best option for your flock. And also seek suggestions on nail trimming.

I wish we had seen such a thing before we ordered several chicken saddles. At least, we did not order one for every hen we had. Our rooster has favorites so some of their backs are fine, no signs of feathers missing or raw skin.

After two attempts at putting a saddle on a hen and the rooster trying to attack her, we gave up. He didn't attack the saddle, but chased the hen around and pecked at her head. I thought this would have been a simple thing to just put on the saddles and everything would be fine. I called the company we bought these from. The man explained that some chickens do fine with the saddles, some don't. I asked if rooster's hormones will settle down once it gets cooler, he said some do and some don't.

It could have been various things on our part: timing, color (which all choices were all bright and cutie, rather than something dull or similar to the bird's color), and whatever else...

We are still in our first year of raising chickens, so still learning a lot. Yes, I search the internet for things, but you read five sites, you get ten opinions, so I just feel at a loss sometimes. Even the books we have written by "experts" conflict on some important points.

But one suggestion that seemed fairly common was to trim the rooster's toe nails and spurs. His spurs are short, so were left alone. Only one foot was done last night, since even with cutting a minimal amount they still bled. We used styptic powder. His nails are dark, so even shining a light on them, we couldn't find the quick.

We're thinking of trying the dremel to file down the nails on the other foot. Does anyone here have experience with that? The rooster is not real aggressive toward us, he's calmer than he was, but I wonder what this may do over time.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Richmond, TX

I have never heard of trimming roosters' nails. We do remove their spurs, but the favorite hens still lose feathers. Good luck!

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