Chicken Vest

Here’s a story with a happy ending and it involves chickens.

We have been keeping chickens for a with varying success. There are 3 of the original 6 left but a few months ago one of them started to look increasingly hen pecked. This is as nasty as it sounds, the hen on the receiving end loses a great deal of feathers and generally gets constantly bothered. With a cold winter looming my wife’s maternal instincts kicked in and she went to work seeing what could be done.

Searching through the underbelly of the ‘net she came across the idea that you can knit a vest or coat for the chicken. It was unclear to me whether the vest was to keep the chicken warm or protect it from pecking. In due course the vest was knitted and presented to me to put on the hen. (Sadly we did not keep a note of the link to the pattern.) Not entirely sure why I get to do these jobs, but there you go.

Well it turns out that chickens are not fond of clothes. Quite resistant to them, in fact, and it did not help that due to snow on the ground the chickens would not come out of their coop. So this meant I had to kneel down in the snow, lean into the coop and try to catch the right chicken (remembering there are 3 of them running around) then attach the vest. Wait, I think I just worked out why I get to do these jobs.

A few days later we noted the Chicken in a Vest (CiaV) was not roosting with the other two but sleeping in the bottom of the coop. Upon investigation it looked like she had hooked a leg through the vest and could not walk or fly properly. A quick adjustment sorted that out and CiaV was back up in the top of the coop.

As the weeks went by it became apparent that the other chickens were completely ignoring CiaV and over time her feathers grew back and she plumped up a little.

About two months after the vest went on we thought CiaV had recovered enough and the vest was removed.

We didn’t take many pictures, but here is one we have a few days before taking the vest off.

Chicken Vest

And the happy ending is because we took the vest of a few weeks ago and the hen pecking did not resume. Of course this also meant I had to concede the vest had worked.


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