Chicken diapers? What’s the deal with them?
Are chicken diapers similar to dressing up your Chihuahua in some fancy duds?
The answer is YES. And, the answer is NO. Say what?
As you know, backyard farming is on the rise and so are backyard chickens. People love chickens. And what’s not to love about these birds?
Chickens are excellent egg layers. Having them at home helps us have fresh, free-range and antibiotic-free eggs that we can use for food and cooking. Plus, they save us a drive to the store each time we are out of eggs. Chicken are time savers. Awesome.
Chickens are smart birds too. In determining intelligence, scientists say they demonstrate high cognitive and behavioral skills. In fact, scientists now are finding that chicken intelligence is outperforming the intelligence of dogs, cats, and even four-year-old humans. No kidding. It’s quite possible that chickens are the smartest of all the barnyard animals. Cluck one up for the chickens.
Chickens also provide an excellent source of cheap entertainment, each with their own distinct quirks and personalities. If you’re not a chicken owner, just wait. You’ll be skipping Comedy Central for the free live version of The Funniest Chicken Home Videos. Woot. Woot.
House Pet Chickens Need Diapers
As you have probably guessed, chickens for many are house pets. Don’t judge if it’s not your thing. You can stick to dogs and cats for house pets if you want. As you can imagine, dressing your chicken in a diaper is a super easy way to allow the birds into the house without the mess. Chickens can go inside and mingle with family, hop on the couch, lay on your lap, or snuggle up on your head at night. They can be as pet worthy as humans let them be without leaving a trail of droppings.
Chicken diapers allow chicken owners the freedom to have their birds with them whenever they want. Of course, some owners just love to dress up their chickens in some stylish chicken knickers, possibly adding just a little bit of bling. And there is a growing market now in chicken clothes. But seriously….if Chihuahuas can have their own clothing line, shouldn’t there be hensware?
Chicken diapers might get a lot of snickers, but they serve a purpose beyond the convenience of house pet living. In fact, even chicken owners who keep their chickens outside and don’t recognize their flock as pets can absolutely benefit from the occasional chicken diaper.
Reasons All Chickens Benefit From Diapers
- Use a chicken diaper if your hen needs to recuperate indoors for a time. Many chicken owners will bring a chicken inside if it needs to heal from a wound or sickness and requires close supervision.
- Use a chicken diaper if you have a broody hen, and you want to bring the hen inside temporarily to “break” the broodiness.
- Chickens can’t live alone, so the diaper is helpful if you rescue a battery hen or purchase a hen individually and there is no flock yet for them to join.
What To Look For In Quality Chicken Diapers
It is important that each diaper is sized appropriately for your bird. Opt for natural, breathable fabrics over synthetic fabrics.
Make sure there is a cut out in the back that allows for the tail feathers to extend themselves.
Make sure the fitted portion around the neck and chest is not tight.
Choose diapers that include a moisture barrier fabric inside. You don’t want liquid to leak out the pouch. Another option is add a replaceable moisture protection insert.
Choose diapers that are washable, preferably machine washable.
Although there are variations to the look and style of chicken diapers, this photo shows what a typical diaper looks like.
Where To Buy Chicken Diapers
If you’re in a rush and need a chicken diaper, you need to know where to go because you won’t find these over at your local market. A few mom-and-pop websites are now selling chicken diapers, and Amazon also has a nice selection of stylish diapers. You can get them HERE.
How To Make Chicken Diapers (Sew Method)
This method calls for a sewing machine. You can sew this type by hand as there is not a ton of stitching. That said, the machine will make it go much quicker, and it will be easier to machine sew the elastic to the fabric.
- Fabric of choice (preferably soft, natural, and breathable)
- Elastic (the type that’s thin and easy to stretch)
- 2 small buttons
- Sewing machine
- Measure your chicken. You will need four important measurements for your chicken diaper.
Base of tail to neck
Upper chest to neck
Width of neck
Width of tail
- Cut out the chest piece. The width will be 2 inches or so for regular birds, smaller for babies and bantams. The length of the chest piece is from the upper chest to the vent.
- Cut out the back piece. The width will be 2 inches or so for regular birds, smaller for babies and bantams. The length of the back piece is the length from the base of the neck to the base of the tail.
- Cut out the poop pouch using two 3 inches square pieces of fabric. Sew them right sides together, then flip them right sides out.
- Cut elastic into 4 short pieces.
- Sew the poop pouch onto on end of the chest piece.
- Stitch the 4 elastics onto each of the corners of the back piece.
- Sew buttons onto the front two elastics.
- Stitch elastics to the front two corners of the chest piece. This will let you attach back piece to the chest piece. Then you’re done.
- Line the poop pouch with paper towels or a maxi pad, cut and sized to fit.
For details and step-by-step photos, view this tutorial over at Backyard Chickens. Or, you can watch this video.
Chicken Diaper Template (Free Printable)
One of the subscribers to Backyard Chickens has created and published a free chicken diaper template. It’s a slightly different version than the one explained above, but just as good. Plus, it uses velcro for easy adjustments with your bird.
Get the template HERE.
How To Make Chicken Diapers From Socks (No-Sew Method)
Another DIY chicken diaper option is to make one from a sock. The upside to this project is that you won’t need any elastics, velcro, or even a sewing machine.
- 1 sock
- Masking tape (optional)
- Paper towel or maxi pad
Source on chicken intelligence, Bruce Friedrich at Daily News.