Safeguarding Your Turkeys:

The Importance of Turkey Saddles

Raising turkeys can be a rewarding experience, but it comes with its own set of challenges. One of the key concerns for turkey farmers is ensuring the well-being of their birds, especially during the mating season. This is where turkey saddles, also known as hen aprons or turkey aprons, play a crucial role.

what is turkey saddle?

A turkey saddle, also known as a hen apron or turkey apron, is a protective garment designed to cover the back and part of the wings of a turkey. It is used to prevent injuries caused by mating, aggressive pecking, and environmental factors. Made from durable materials such as cloth, quilted fabric, or waterproof material, turkey saddles (hen saddle) are essential for maintaining the health and well-being of hens by reducing feather loss, skin damage, and stress within the flock.

The Need for Turkey Saddles

Turkeys, like other poultry, can be prone to feather loss and skin injuries due to various reasons:

  • Mating: During the mating season, toms (male turkeys) can be quite aggressive, leading to the hens’ back feathers being pulled out and skin being damaged.
  • Pecking Order: Turkeys and chicken establish a social hierarchy through pecking, which can sometimes result in severe feather loss and wounds.
  • Environmental Factors: Rough handling, tight living conditions, and certain environmental factors can exacerbate feather loss and skin injuries.
These injuries can lead to infections, reduced mobility, and overall stress for the hens, affecting their health and egg production.

Types of Turkey Saddles

Turkey saddles come in various designs and materials, each catering to different needs and preferences:
  1. Standard Cloth Saddles
    • Material: Made from durable fabrics like denim, canvas, or cotton.
    • Design: Covers the back and part of the wings, secured with elastic straps around the wings and chest.
    • Usage: Ideal for general protection against mating injuries and feather pecking.
  2. Quilted or Padded Saddles
    • Material: Includes an additional layer of padding for extra protection.
    • Design: Similar to standard cloth saddles but with added thickness to cushion against aggressive pecking or mating.
    • Usage: Best for use in flocks with particularly aggressive toms or high pecking order stress.
  3. Waterproof Saddles
    • Material: Made from waterproof materials like coated nylon or PVC.
    • Design: Provides protection from rain and moisture, preventing feathers from getting wet and muddy.
    • Usage: Suitable for outdoor flocks, especially in rainy or damp environments.

Benefits of Using Turkey Saddles

  1. Prevention of Injuries
    • Protects hens from the physical trauma of mating and pecking, reducing the risk of open wounds and infections.
    • Helps maintain the integrity of the feathers, promoting better insulation and overall health.
  2. Stress Reduction
    • By preventing injuries and feather loss, saddles help reduce stress levels in hens, contributing to a more peaceful and productive flock.
    • Less stress leads to better egg production and healthier turkeys.
  3. Enhanced Recovery
    • Hens already suffering from injuries or feather loss can recover more quickly when wearing a saddle, as it prevents further damage.
    • Saddles can be used as a rehabilitative measure to help injured birds heal.
  4. Cost-Effective Solution
    • Investing in turkey saddles can save money in the long run by reducing veterinary bills and improving overall flock productivity.
    • They are a cost-effective way to ensure the well-being of your turkeys, especially during the critical mating season.

How to Use and Maintain Turkey Saddles

  • Fitting: Ensure the saddle fits snugly without being too tight. It should cover the back and wings comfortably, allowing the turkey to move freely.
  • Installation: Place the saddle over the turkey’s back, securing the straps around the wings and chest. Check regularly to ensure it remains in place and adjust if necessary.
  • Maintenance: Clean the saddles regularly to prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria. Check for wear and tear, replacing saddles that are damaged or worn out.
  • Observation: Monitor the turkeys for any signs of discomfort or irritation. Ensure the saddles are not causing any new issues, such as rubbing or chafing.


Turkey saddles are a vital tool for poultry farmers, providing essential protection for hens against injuries caused by mating and pecking. By investing in the right type of saddle and ensuring proper use and maintenance, you can significantly improve the health, well-being, and productivity of your flock. Whether you are a small-scale hobbyist or a large-scale turkey farmer, incorporating turkey saddles into your poultry management routine is a wise decision that will pay off in the long run.

Scroll to Top