Backyard chickens have been growing in popularity for years now, but here’s a sign that they’ve perhaps reached the mainstream: there’s now a niche market for chicken accessories, including diapers and even lingerie. It’s similar to the way that dog owners like to dress up their Chihuahuas and poodles.
NPR wrote about Pampered Poultry, a Claremont, New Hampshire-based company that launched after founder Julie Baker went hunting for a solution to the daily struggle of dealing with her birds’ messes after she would let them into the house to walk around (why she wanted the chickens running around the house in the first place, we don’t know). Now her cutely patterned diapers--polka dots, bright colors--sell at the rate of 50 to 100 per week for $12.50 each.
Diapers aren’t the only chicken accessory that people are buying. Baker says that a more useful product is the “saddle”--a hybrid between lingerie and a chastity belt that protects the female chickens’ feathers from roosters when mating. According to Baker:
“A rooster isn’t particularly kind to a hen when they mate. He grabs her by the back and pulls her feathers out. The hen ends up with a completely bare back. It gets raw and bleeds a little bit.”
Poor little hens. At least the saddles and diapers look nice. In Bakers words, "A lot of my customers use them as dresses […] They want their chickens to look really cute."
That last statement makes us wonder if backyard chickens have become--for some people--just about the look and urban-rustic aesthetic. Or if people are still into them for their original purpose: meat and eggs.