Harness and Leash
by Claire Apple
Edited by Alan Stanford, Ph.D.
November 30 2002
Yup, Harness and leash. Small cat/ferret harnesses work fine (a regular
H style, not a figure 8). A harness fits a chicken like it does a
dog, with the wings going through the openings for the front legs.
The leash and ID tags attach to the back of it on a D ring. I use
a very thin leash, or my Sheltie's show lead (basically thick embroidery
floss woven together). I like to have ID on my animals if they are
traveling, and that goes for the chickens too! This harness fits any
of my bantams - both Silkies and my Cochins and crosses; so whoever
is going gets to wear it.
I harness train chickens the same way I teach puppies. I let them
wear the harness without a leash for short periods, like during feeding
time or treat time. I next let them wear it with the leash dragging
somewhere they won't get snagged and freak out. Next they walk with
me as I hold a treat and the leash (always slack). Eventually, when
they know to come with me while wearing the harness, I put a little
pressure on the leash if they try to go the wrong direction. I release
the pressure when they realize it is better to just stand.
Red in Her Harness
That’s when they get to go where they want. They eventually learn
how long the leash is and that the ground with earthworms is much
more interesting than picking at the damn leash.
Red understands the leash, will occasionally get mad at it, but understands
that she is to come with me. This is very handy for trips. I am the
one walking the chicken and the sheltie side by side at rest stops
along the highway.
The trick really is teaching them to walk with you and teaching them
that you will follow them with a slack leash if they are calmly investigating
Claire and the Golem Kennels Crew
(guess we just do things a little differently...)