So you bought that cute little harness, called the chickens over and tried to put it on your favorite hen. Then she freaked out. No doubt you're thinking "this is never gonna work!" Not so fast. First things first, take the harness off. Now get a chicken saddle (apron) and put it on her at night right before bedtime. Let her wear that for a few days first. She'll still freak out a little, but a saddle is safe to leave on for days at a time. The saddle gets her used to the feeling of having something on her back, and strapped across her front. A saddle also doesn't have anything bulky or any excess hardware to get caught on anything. I always put it on them before bed because they seem to wake up and forget it's on. After a few days she should be used to wearing something, now take that off and put the harness on.
She shouldn't be bothered by the harness now. If it still seems to irritate her, a few more days with the saddle on should fix that. Once she's walking around with the harness on, attach the leash and follow her around! Now, chickens are never going to walk on a leash like a dog, but they can do alright. I would take my chicken to outdoor events and even though he didn't 'go for a walk' very well, it kept him by my side and safe. Next time you decide you want to take you chicken for a walk, just put her saddle on for a day or 2 before hand as a reminder and she should do well with the process.
Since that harness picture began making the rounds on social media I've seen a lot of people say "Why would you do that?" well, in most cases I just don't know. It's cute, it's funny...why not? In my case though, this is what you call a gimmick.
About 3 years ago I decided that I wanted to be able to take my chickens to events. I sponsored and attended a lot of local shows, events, races, rodeos etc and would take a large dog crate or day pen and put the chickens in it. It was ok, but they got a whole lot more attention when they were out of the pen. So I would hold them. The whole time! That got messy. At one point when I was in Petco I found a small animal harness on the clearance rack and decided to try it. This would be the perfect gimmick! A chicken walking on a leash would get tons of notice and give me opportunity to discuss chicken keeping with just about everyone.
I had 1 chicken that was very pretty, fluffy and a good boy. He was a white Silkie named Snowflake. He loved being petted and fed treats and took to walking on the leash like a pro. He was always the hit of the party. I haven't taken a chicken to an event in awhile but people still ask me about him all the time. They even remember him at Petco and Tractor Supply where I would take him to get treats!
So that brings me to the question....do you plan on getting a harness & leash for your chickens?
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