Tobi Kosanke's hen-saving "aprons" protect birds from overzealous roosters and other birds that pick on the weakest birds. The aprons also make it difficult for hawks to get hold of chickens.
The Hempstead, Texas, entrepreneur designed Hen Saver aprons with three layers of tightly woven 100 percent cotton fabric. The aprons come with optional shoulder protectors that are sewed in place or detachable with Velcro.
Kosanke, who has 100 chickens, says there are other aprons on the market, but the seams come apart, the fabric frays, and the straps never seem to hold the aprons in place. The Hen Saver design came about after much R&D on her own flock.
Hen Savers come in single and double strap styles. Single straps work best if the chicken is extremely narrow or very confined. The strap goes under each of the hen's wings.
Double strap models are recommended for active birds on pasture. She says birds put on an entertaining show when you first put them in.
"They walk backward for awhile, because the two-strap versions cross under the throat," Kosanke says. They quickly get used to it, however, and one of the things customers often tell Kosanke is how well the aprons stay on.
Hen Savers come in five sizes to fit most birds and are available in Navy, brown, black, khaki, and camouflage. Kosanke will make custom aprons out of fabrics that customers choose, but can't guarantee the fabric's longevity.
"Our hens went from looking ready for the pot to looking like they had never lost a feather," Kosanke says. "I also dress my rooster in hen savers for the potential protection they offer from hawks. We do not guarantee that our apron will protect chickens 100 percent from birds of prey -- nothing can do that -- but based on what we've seen on our farm, our apron does appear to make it more difficult for the hawks to securely grab a chicken."
Aprons range in price based on size and shoulder attachment options. Kosanke is interested in adding dealerships.