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Harness and Leash
by Claire Apple

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.

Red in Her Harness

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.Thatís 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 their environment.

Claire and the Golem Kennels Crew
(guess we just do things a little differently..)

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