In the summer we had a pair of silkie chickens and they hatched out two clutches of eggs. With the second clutch, although nine chicks hatched, the hen stayed sitting on the other egg. It hatched two days later. At that point the hen hopped off her eggs and took the chicks for a walk. As often happens with late hatched chicks, the last chick had splayed legs and could not walk properly so just sat down. It would not survive like that so we brought it into the house.
At first we kept the chick in an old guinea pig cage. We found out how to help the chick get stronger legs by using an elastic band around the legs, and a short piece of a straw. By the time the chick was good and strong we had gotten use to it as a pet and as such it never went back outside.
Apparently you can house train chickens (they can be trained to use newspaper) but we did not know that at the time, and when we did try it was notably more difficult than house training a dog in that chickens give less indication when they are about to defecate. When we put our chicken on newspaper, he just pecked at it.
We kept the chick in a cage until it was large enough to roam around freely without worry that the cats would get it. A house chicken is messy and we had to clean up after it several times a day. Eventually I found somebody who was making dog diapers and asked if she could make a chicken diaper and she agreed.
I had to take several measurements of the chicken and note that by this time we realized the chick was a rooster. There are several styles of chicken diapers, she opted to make one with elastic that goes over the back and a pouch to catch the waste. She made it with a removable washable liner.
Getting used to his diaper – photo by author
So far we haven’t had the chicken diaper on him enough to have him get used to it. He hates it and flaps around then just flops down and wont move. He wont poop when he wears it so in that respect I guess you could say it works, additionally he doesn’t crow when he is wearing the diaper so that’s nice too. As it stands we only put it on for a few hours at a time and only when we are home.
I should note that the chicken diaper cost $20. I should also note, in case anyone is wondering, he is a silkie chicken but has a “frizzle” gene and is what many people would refer to as a “sizzle” chicken.