There is an article on NPR about the how urban chicken farmers are using “chicken diapers.” While the overall consensus of the commenters is that this is a foolish thing to do, even prompting one commenter to remark that we have “officially jumped the shark,” I beg to differ.
When Charlie lived in our house for about 6 months (we had gotten her as a newborn in January and by the time she was old enough to face a freezing winter, she had become a family pet) I tried everything I could to toilet train her. I tried clicker, paper, and treat training.
I even tried the diapers.
The name diaper, however is a bit of a misnomer, these “diapers” are actually sacks that hang from the chicken’s butt and collect the waste as it falls out. You can get an inner sack that collects and is washable but there is no absorptive material there. As we know, chickens poop, they poop. a. lot.
Trust me on this one, you have to be very devoted to your chicken in order to use these chicken diapers.
Which I was to Charlie, and that is why I ordered them and tried my best to use them on our pet house-chicken.
You know the saying that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink?
Well, here’s a new one, you can put a diaper on a chicken but you can’t make them keep it on.
Charlie hated the diaper, she twisted and turned and scratched it out of position each time. I could have kept making the straps tighter and tighter but I had a feeling that I would have strangled the bird before she would have allowed that diaper to play house on her butt.
I have heard stories of people having success with chicken diapers and I have also heard stories of people who have successfully toilet trained their chickens.
Alas, I am not one of those people.
I’ve held onto these diapers to bring to my chicken classes to show people that they do exist and *might* be helpful if you have an injured or sick bird that needs to be housed, but as for me and our new house chicken – Violet?, this time our house-raised chicken is going to join the flock, au natural with no absolutely no long-term traumatic toilet training issues weighing her down.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.