I had to do some creative thinking this week for dear Wellington, my much beleaguered rooster. You see, since he arrived, he suffered from a distinct lack of tail feathers. This was OK, for the most part, because he didn't really need them to have a fulfilling life as a rooster. He could still happily eat, drink, patrol, dance for the ladies, and pass on his wild oats.
As you can see from this picture (not mine) of a cream legbar rooster below, he does not have that rather majestic fountain of tail feathers one might expect in a fully grown rooster.
As a result, I had the idea to make him a sort of a cape. I'm not a proponent of dressing chickens in sweaters as a rule. Their feathers provide plenty of insulation and a sweater can prevent them from fluffing up their feathers, which could actually make them cold. However, in the past, I've used fleece sweaters on rescue hens who have very few feathers when they've arrived and they are very effective in such cases. I decided that a modified sweater in the form of a cape would help Wellington.
He and I went looking at my stash of polar fleece to find a nice manly colour, and we settled on this Green Bay Packers football team print, which I had purchased for next-to-nothing as a fabric for making plant protectors for my winter garden. The leftovers were still on the shelf. I fitted him up and quickly sewed a little "cape" of sorts. The cape is sewn closed at the neck (but not too tightly) and it has wing holes so it stays in place due to his wings being through the holes.
Most importantly, the lower end of the cape covers his nether regions without impeding the poop production pathway, but while keeping his red rump out of view of the ladies.
Today, having been 2 days since I created this fashion statement for him, I checked on his progress. The redness is much reduced and there are no signs of further pecking. It should allow for feather development to proceed and once the feathers grow in sufficiently, his skin won't be visible and it can be removed without the concern of more plucking.
I told him, following his fitting, that he was now SuperRoo. He said he thought that was a type of car, or SUV. "No," I said, "that's a Subaru. Quite different indeed." He was suitably pleased and is considering watching a football game in future when he has a tail to wave around.