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Home > Birds > Are There Chicken Harnesses? The Surprising Answer!

Are There Chicken Harnesses? The Surprising Answer!

chicken harness

Though harnesses are most often associated with dogs, many other pets wear them, too. You can find harnesses for cats, rabbits, rats, ferrets, hamsters, reptiles, and even chickens. A chicken harness might sound strange, but it’s a very useful tool for chicken keepers and is something you can have on hand for daily exercise and to keep around just in case.

Read on as we explore chicken harnesses in more detail, why you might want to use one, and some of the common problems chicken keepers face when using harnesses.

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How Do Chicken Harnesses Work?

Since we usually fit our four-legged friends with harnesses, it can be baffling trying to imagine exactly how a chicken harness—which is designed for a two-legged animal—works. The good news is that there’s nothing too complicated to them (unless you have a very reluctant chicken that you’re trying to put one on).

Chicken harnesses come with a neck hole that you pop over the chicken’s head and a strap lower down that fastens behind the wings, then a leash is attached to a clip on the back. We had a look around and found chicken harnesses in a wide variety of colors and styles, from plain designs to ones featuring cute motifs (the bow tie is our favorite so far) and patterns.

man holding chicken
Image Credit: diignat, Shutterstock

Why Use a Chicken Harness?

A harness broadens the range of places you can take your chicken. For example, if you need to walk your chicken somewhere they can’t roam freely for whatever reason, a harness is a great compromise. It allows you and your chicken to explore places you otherwise wouldn’t be able to and ensures your chicken is getting plenty of exercise.

A harness is also a good idea if you need to transport your chicken somewhere, like to the vet clinic. Some people sign their chickens up as therapy animals and take them to schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—a harness may be a good alternative to a crate and helps you keep things under control just in case.

Do Chickens Mind Wearing Harnesses?

A well-designed and properly-fitting harness should not cause any discomfort to the chicken, but whether or not they take to it well depends on the individual chicken. Some chickens are really chilled out and are comfortable being handled, whereas others are more apprehensive about it. If you have a nervous or especially rebellious chicken, you may experience difficulties getting the harness on.

One thing you can do is let your chicken wear just the harness without the leash for short periods at first to get them used to how it feels. Once the chicken is a bit more used to wearing the harness, then you can try taking them for a walk on the leash.

Problems with Chicken Harnesses

Two of the biggest problems chicken owners face when choosing a harness are getting the correct size and getting the chicken to actually wear it. You’ll need to carefully measure your chicken before you choose the size as some chickens may just slip right out of a too-large harness. On the other hand, a too-small harness may cause discomfort around the wing area.

As for the issue of getting the harness on a chicken, the best thing to do is to try to be as calm and natural as possible when putting the harness on and ask someone to help you if you suspect your chicken may get into a flap.

Offer a treat just before you start to sweeten your chicken up a little and teach them to associate the harness with something positive. It may take a few attempts to get your chicken used to the feeling of having the harness put on and actually wearing it.

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Final Thoughts

Whether you have just a couple of chickens or a whole brood, harnesses are very handy to have around for those moments when you want to give your chicken a bit more space to explore safely or need to take them somewhere. They’re also inexpensive—you can even get packs of several chicken harnesses for a very low price.

So, if you’re feeling like your chicken could benefit from a wider area to explore or you plan on taking your chicken on a trip somewhere, you might want to consider investing in a harness.

Featured Image Credit: EF Photography, Shutterstock

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