The Omlet Blog

Date Archives: September 2005

Omlet Newsletter September 27th 2005

Hello,

The offer of attending a demonstration of cooking at the Royal Institute by Hervé This and Pierre Gagnier was too good to resist last week.  Hervé is the founding father of the science of cooking known as molecular gastronomy and Pierre is a world renowned Michelin starred chef so the chances of picking up some fancy moves in the culinary department were high. The show didn’t disappoint as Hervé showed the possibility of writing recipes with equations to produce infinite variations and Pierre attempted to make something edible out of these chemical formulae.  Afterwards, the man from Omlet introduced himself to Hervé who was delighted to share this interesting fact for egg lovers:  you can cook an egg in water forever at 60 deg ‘C and it will never change state, but if you raise the temperature to above 61 deg ‘C then the white will start to coagulate.  For a perfectly tender egg you should cook it at 65 deg ‘C, never boil it!

You can find out more about this here  http://www.pierre-gagnaire.com/anglais/cdmodernite.htm

Thanks for everyone who has been along to the shows in Newbury and Malvern last weekend, especially Clare and Mary, two fantastic eglu owners who came along and helped on the Omlet stand.  If anyone else is interested in helping at shows just email johannes@omlet.co.uk

We will be at the Ardingly Show ground this weekend with a full compliment of eglus, chickens and rabbits, you can find out more here http://www.seas.org.uk/shwidx.asp?ID=3  this may be our last show before Christmas so if you want to see an eglu in real life come on down!

You can see an eglu  at the South of England Show 1st /2nd of October.

Katie and her chickens

 

Judy got a triple egg!

 Katie and her chickens

This Weeks Star Photo
Kitchen Invaders

Kitchen Invaders!  If you see these chickens in snooping round your kitchen please report them to Omlet on 0845 450 2056.

Barbara’s Weekly Diary!

Dustbaths

There was a question about dustbaths on the forum this week and as my girls love a good roll about in the dirt, I thought I’d tell you all about theirs. They have a special tray with sandy soil in which they use to dustbathe in. It is simply a large greenhouse tray with nice high sides which keeps the soil more or less contained. They all love to lie in it and twist, turn, roll and kick the sandy soil all over them to allow the dust to come into contact with their skins. This helps to rid them of skin parasites and keeps their feathers in good condition. I add a sprinkle of louse powder or some Diatom to the dustbath every few weeks because the hot summer weather brought forth creepy crawlies which make the hens lives a misery with the unpleasant itching. Dustbaths don’t have to be formal in construction although it is a good idea to have them somewhere where they will stay dry for all weather dustbathing. Hens will make use of flower beds or sandpits in exactly the same way and will lie dozing in the sun covered in soil! This week, my girls have made decided to use my vegetable garden which is now empty and have left me lovely hen shaped holes all over it.  Dustbathing must be a wonderful thing to do – you only have to look at the blissful way they roll about flicking dirt everywhere to know they’re enjoying every minute. I don’t think I’ll be giving it a try though.

Barbara

What’s on the forum?

A worried Sara wrote “Hi, Got our first soft shelled egg this morning (found it in the dropping tray). The last couple of eggs have had thin shells as well. I’ve looked in several pet shops and can’t find any grit, does crushed oyster shell do the same thing as grit? I have being sprinkling crushed up baked egg shells in the run for a while, but obviously it hasn’t worked.”

Replies from the forum include:-

“Yes the oyster shell does the same thing as mixed grit in providing extra calcium for the egg shells. You might like to add some to the food peanut or put it in a little dish – I’m quite surprised at the frequency with which I see my girls dipping into their grit container. Grit also supplies hard less soluble bits which all birds need for their gizzards to grind up food properly. Free range birds would be able to pick up bits of grit from the ground to do this.” – Motherhen

“Even though ours are part time free-rangers, we tend to buy bags of mixed grit with oyster shell and sprinkle it in the run – we’re amazed at how quickly it goes! (not as quick as grapes or corn of course” – Mel and Paul Marvin

“I was going to suggest you ask your local pet shop to see if they could get hold of some for you. It is hard to come by – we’ve had trouble finding some in Leicester. Luckily we found a big bag of the stuff in Melton which has kept us going for 3 months and there’s still loads left. Good luck with the soft-shelled eggs. If the girls new to laying I would put it down to them being immature and they will definitely get better at it as they start to get older now, and especially with the extra grit you’ve got.” – Gina

“I asked someone I knew who used to keep chickens about soft-shelled eggs, and she said she had only seen one or two in her life. I suspect that these soft-shelled eggs are more noticeable to Eglu-owners because they show up so well in the droppings tray, where the hens can’t get at them and eat them. The first soft-shelled egg that I saw was dropped on the grass by my hen, and the pair of them hoovered it up and in ten seconds there was no sign of it. If I had not been fussing over my hens like a new mother, I would not have known anything about it. I get eggs in the approximate ratio of five hard-shelled to two soft-shelled, and am not worried about it. I have never found a soft-shelled hen in the nest: my hen is sensible and treats them like droppings. I am giving my hens baked crushed eggshell and I am confident that things will sort themselves out as my hens get older”. – Gallina

Egluowner of the Week

Siân Morrison

Penny

Penny

Sitting in thier run

Fudge and Penny

My name is Siân Morrison, I am 13 years old.
I live with my brother (Joe, 11yrs), my Mum (Kate) and my Dad (Nigel).  My hobbies are guitar, card making, chating to my friends and of course looking after the chickens.

We live in a town called Clevedon, Clevedon is a quiet place just south of Bristol.  Our pets are 1 black cat (Jet), Several small tropical fish, 1 sand/beige guinea pig (Jack) and 2 chickens – Penny (Miss Pepperpot) Fudge – Before known as Betty (Gingernut Ranger).

Before we got the chickens we were going to call them Betty and Ethel but when they came the neither looked like an Ethel. The Gingernut looked like a Betty so thats what we called her. The Pepperpot ended up as Penny. They are now called Penny and Fudge.

Penny’s party trick is undoing peoples shoe laces and unzipping zips and Fudge’s is using paths as runways and pretending to be an areoplane (flapping her wings as she goes and never getting more that half a foot off the ground)

The question you missed is ‘What are your chicken’s favourite treats?’, Penny and Fudge like grapes.

Siân, Joe, Kate, Nigel, Jack, Jet, Penny and Fudge xxxxxxxx

The Chicken formally know as Betty

The chicken formally know as Betty

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Have an eggcellent day,

The Omlet team!

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This entry was posted in Newsletter on September 27th, 2005 by admin


Omlet Newsletter September 14th 2005

Hello,

It’s all go, go, go here at the moment.  If you haven’t visited the Omlet club for a bit there is a new library section where you will find all the past newsletters as well as so called White Papers – here.   Ok, ok they’re not that highbrow but they are fact sheets for eglu owners.  And if that’s not enough why not have a peek in the galleries – here ?  There are masses of great photos up there which don’t make it onto the star photo section of this newsletter.

And finally, there are lots more opportunities to see eglus over the next few weeks as we keep adding more dates to the Omlet tour.  This is the closest any of us have come to being in a real rock and roll band so please humour us!  We will be playing at the following festivals:

Royal Berkshire Show, 17th and 18th of September

RHS Garden Show, Malvern 24th /25th  September

South of England Show 1st /2nd of October.

Come down and dig the vibe dudes!!

 

Izzy’s unusual nest box in the runner been pot.

 

This Weeks Star Photos

Carwash the cat started to get desperate
for attention after the chicken arrived!

 

Aggie the rabbit can’t believe that
he gets to live in a gaint carrot.

Barbara’s Weekly Diary!

Rules and Regulations! Don’t fall “fowl” of the law. ( sorry !! )

Hard to believe that any one could have something against you keeping a couple of lovely hens in your own garden! But I do get lots of emails from people asking whether there are any laws which prevent them from doing just that.   I phoned my local council and after chatting to a friendly chap found out that there aren’t any bylaws in my county and that this is the case generally.  He did point out that it is a good idea to check your house deeds or rental agreement in case there are any clauses which would prevent the keeping of chickens and livestock in your garden. This is rare but occasionally new houses and some older ones do have this written into the deeds.  If this is the case, don’t despair!  The only people likely to know or object to the chickens are your neighbours so it is well worth having a word explaining that the hens won’t be noisy, they won’t smell and that they might even get some eggs every now and then. Thankfully most of the time no one minds and neighbours are often fascinated to see hens in your garden, you could even find that they volunteer to look after the hens for you when you go on your hols!

Barbara

What’s on the forum?

Desperate to get an eglu… but?

“I am DESPERATE to get an Eglu and chickens, but partner is worried it will a) kill off all the grass and b) chickens will eat all the flowers etc! Do chickens poo on the grass much or is it mainly in their Eglu? How easy is it to clear up?! I love the idea of them pecking around my garden all day till dusk – is it necessary to put them in the run when you go out? And if so, how easy is it to ’round them up’? Sorry for all the q’s – I’m a total chicken novice!” – Bungo

“I guess there’s no hiding the fact that ours hens do eat some of the plants in the garden, and will keep the lawn nice and trimmed. If you keep the Eglu on the grass it will obviously rot the grass underneath. You can avoid this by moving it regularly, which will also stop the chickens scratching and pooing in one area of your lawn. The other alternative is to make them a bark chipped area that the Eglu and run can stay on permanently. I find this much more practical, and it saves on the lawn. Chickens have no preference as to where they poo! They will poo in the Eglu over night and they will also poo wherever the mood takes them. The poo is easily picked up, and if you compost it down it makes a fantastic fertiliser for your plants. Mowing the lawn will also get rid of any poos, as will the hose pipe.” – Gina

“I agonized in the same way, as I am very fussy about my garden. You can only keep the Eglu on grass if you have quite a large lawn and can swing it round in a complete circle regularly. NB: The Eglu + run seems huge when you first get it set up in a modestly-sized garden. I kept moving my run around on a small lawn but got rather distressed at what was happening to the grass. Because the chickens were confined in the run all day, they were digging their own dustbaths everywhere, destroying the grass. I made a bark base and have been delighted ever since. You will love your chickens so much you will forgive them anything, but if you love your garden too you will have to compromise. And I couldn’t leave them out in the garden all the time even if I weren’t so garden-proud, as we have daytime urban foxes here.” – Gallina

“Chicken poo seems to do the grass the world of good – it just breaks down or I rake it up and chuck it in the compost bin. I let mine roam around the garden when I’m there and they have occasionally helped themselves to my herbs and make themselves dust baths in the borders but I’m very garden-proud and neither of these bother me. Sometimes I have to round the girls up to go back in the run but mostly I find they just bimble back in when they’ve explored enough. I haven’t noticed mine scratching holes in the lawn yet but maybe I’m just lucky on that front??” – Tom and Barbara

“I have to admit, my girls are partial to a pansy when they are out in the garden, love sticking their heads through the fence and eating next doors privet, and have scoffed the low lying leaves on the cherry tree. Apart from that they are fine – they have a spot under a hedge that they use for dustbaths, so leave the grass pretty much alone, and have made short work of the dandelions, slugs and snails! – Shona (Chookiehen)

Egluowner of the Week

Laura Hardy

Forum username: dispic1

Age: 31

Occupation: Lab manager

Hobbies: Baking cakes, travelling and of course my birdies!

Where do you live? Robin Hood country, nottingham

What pets do you have? 2 chickens, 1 loach, 2 goldfish, 1 comet, 1 redcap, 1 fantail and will soon be getting a mussel! yes really!

If you where stranded on a desert island  what would be your one luxury? An infinate supply of cake [ We could think of anything better ourselves – Ed ]

How many chickens do you have and how old are they? 2 chickens and they are 8 months old

What are your chickens called and why? nuggett, cos its funny, and henno cos she’s hard like henno in ultimate force

How many eggs do you get a week and what’s your favourite way of cooking them? We eat numerous, and the best wy to eat them is in cake

What do your friends think about you keeping chickens? They think its all a bit mad, but quite typical of me to do something that’s not the norm.

Do your chickens have a party trick and/or have they ever got you into trouble? They haven’t got us into trouble, but as for party tricks…..they go fruit picking, only we don’t get to eat any of the fruit cos they have already scoffed it! and eglu diving, its abit like highboard diving but off the top of the eglu! they have yet to score a perfect 10

What question have we missed? Do your neighbours think you are barking??

 

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Have an eggcellent day,
The Omlet team!

 

 

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This entry was posted in Newsletter on September 14th, 2005 by admin


Omlet Newsletter September 5th 2005

Hello,

The eglu tour bus has been out on the road with Omlet’s merry band of men, women, chickens and rabbits playing to sell out crowds…we really must get round to recording a version of Old Macdonalds farm, could be a Christmas number one!  We visited the National Gardening show in Somerset.  It had amazing giant vegetable arena which was a surreal experience – almost as difficult to comprehend as some of the west country accents!

This newsletter is packed with some extra goodies. There is the very first Eglu Owner of the week, a fantastic recipe from Barbara’s collection for scotch eggs and lots of photos.  Enjoy!

National Amature Gardening Show

National Amature Gardening Show

 

Is this a giant marrow or just a small person?

 

Large Pumkins

Are these large pumkins or a new style of eglu?

Barbara’s Weekly Diary!

Coloured  Eggs
Did you know that there are hens which can lay green and blue eggs? Amazing! Years ago, the only ones you could buy from the supermarket were white until they introduced the so-called “healthier” brown shelled egg. Silly really because eggs are healthy whatever colour the shell! The colour comes from the oviduct which is the last stage of the egg’s formation. During the last hours of production, the shell is formed and the pigment is deposited on the outside of the egg at this time. Strangely, you can rub off the dark brown pigment on a Welsummer’s egg while the duck egg blue of an Araucana’s egg goes right through to the inside. Most dark brown eggs are white inside.

If you are after a palette of different colours, perhaps you should consider that Leghorns lay white shelled eggs while Rhode Island Reds and Faverolles produce softly tinted brown shelled eggs. Anconas and Silkies lay creamy coloured eggs and Araucanas will produce wonderful greeny blue ones. Cotswold Legbars eggs are almost sky blue and Barnevelders have deep brown shells. Speckledy’s produce shiny chestnut eggs with dark brown speckles all over them.

Scotch Eggs

Ingredients:
4 eggs
454g sausagemeat or sausages
breadcrumbs
seasoning

Method:
1. Hard boil the eggs and leave to cool then remove the shells.

2. Take the sausagemeat and divide it into 4 portions. If you are using sausages, skin them first before dividing into portions. Flatten out each portion and place a hard boiled egg onto the centre of each one then mould the sausagemeat around the egg so that it is entirely surrounded by meat.

3. Roll the sausagemeat covered egg in seasoned breadcrumbs and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 30 minutes. Serve either hot or cold. Delicious!

For a healthier version, use half fat sausages.

Enjoy,

Barbara

p.s. if you have any recipes that you would like to share them please email them to barbara@omlet.co.uk

 

This Weeks Star Photos



Thanks Gwen for this wonderfull photo!

Diana, Amy and Carla with chickens Angel and Pirate

If you have any pictures of rabbits in your eglu then we would be delighted if you could send them in to james@omlet.co.uk

What’s on the Forum?

Getting them in at night! Judybart’s hens arrived the other day and she posted that

“My chickens arrived yesterday and it took ages to entice them into their Eglu in the evening. I tried the torch but to no avail. Eventually we were successful but it took hours. Any suggestions to avoid the same thing happening tonight?” – Judybarts

“They should get the hang of it. I would just leave them to it as long as they are in the run and it is locked they won’t come to any harm and I should think that before you need to go to bed they will be in the Eglu snuggled up then you can just close over the door and lock it………Or as some people have done you could gently shove them in from behind with a broom handle. I have to admit I never had any trouble my chooks just went off to bed as soon as it went dark.” – Nicola

“Mine came yesterday too and I was amazed. I went out at 9.00 armed with a torch, broom and a stern disposition and as I opened the back door, I saw them both trotting off to bed.” – *Sarah*

“We kept ours locked in the run for about 10 days after they were delivered. After letting them out for the first time, we simply put our arms out wide (as though you were herding sheep) and they march back in. Works every time! No problems!” – Daisy Duck

“The torch trick worked for ours on the first night and now Henrietta is in bed by 8pm every night!! Mildred on the other hand will pretend to have gone to bed and as soon as we step outside she’s back out eating and scraping around!!! This lasts for about 10mins until she finally gives up and potters back to bed!”  –  Rachel19

“Thanks everyone for your helpful suggestions. Last night I was so enjoying Fawlty Towers that it was dark before I thought about putting the girls to bed. It was 9pm and they were all happily tucked up in bed already – all by themselves. I can only conclude that 8pm was just too early for them the first night or of course that they have sussed already that dark means bedtime. As you have all said, they are very clever” – JudyBart

Egluowner of the Week

Anne Prouse

Forum Username: AnnieP

Age: 35

Occupation: Primary School Deputy Head teacher

Hobbies: Cars (we own 4), gradually turning our home into a miniature zoo (don’t tell my husband: he hasn’t realised yet), eating and drinking.

Where do you live: Pewsey, near Marlborough, Wiltshire

What pets do you have: 2 dogs (Airedale Terrier and a Collie x). 2 rescued donkeys (Misty and Boots) and of course, “the girls”. We also “rent out” some of our land to whoever wants it: We’ve had 6 various horses staying with us and a flock of 40 sheep. Next spring we are buying 2 pigs: A breed from New Zealand, called Kune Kune (pronounced Cooney Cooney), who look like little wild boar. They’re the smallest breed of pig in the world and are exceptionally friendly and domesticated, as they used to live in the Maori’s homes with them. Our two will live in the paddocks however, not in the kitchen!

Desert Island luxury item:   An endless supply of bread, butter and marmalade and my Dualit toaster

Chickens: 2 (a Pepperpot and Gingernut). We got them at the end of May, so still quite young. Called Crockett and Tubbs. Because we haven’t owned a TV for about 15 years and Miami Vice was just about the coolest programme on when we gave it up!

Eggs: We get around 10 a week.

How do we eat them? Ermmm, I don’t like eggs! Jon loves fried egg with our traditional breakfast every Sunday after we have mucked out the donkeys, I love using them for quiches: Never made one until a few weeks ago, and can’t believe how easy they are and how much tastier home made ones are to shop bought ones! We’ve suddenly gone quiche crazy!

Our friends, when we said “we’re getting chickens” thought we really had lost the plot: foxes, rats, poo etc. We didn’t tell them about the Eglu, so I guess they were imagining a more traditional set up. However, when the girls arrived, we threw a massive “hen party”, inviting over 40 of our friends and neighbours down to meet them: It was a beautiful evening, and we hosted it in the garden, with champagne, music and nibbles. When people saw the Eglu, it blew their minds! It really is such a cool design! Many of our friends have design backgrounds, so of course, they loved its functionality and appearance. Others just fell in love with the girls, who were the absolute stars of the show! I think they must have thought, “Blimey, its alright here innit? Plenty of entertainment”! And of course, now the eggs are flowing, the girls are universally popular!

We have now moved the girls onto the paddocks to keep the donkeys company, and their party trick is to flap up onto the donkey’s backs and pick off the flies! The donkeys love them! They can also do the 100 metre dash quicker than Linford Christie if the prize is a few bits of sweet corn: Their favourite treat!

What question have you missed? How about, would you ever give your chickens and Eglu back? And the answer is a resounding “no”, after a few weeks of wondering if we were “doing it right”, we’ve relaxed into ownership and now absolutely love their antics and characters, and the eggs of course! The Eglu is just amazing. Chickens are by far the easiest pet I have ever owned.

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Have an eggcellent day,

The Omlet team!

 

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This entry was posted in Newsletter on September 5th, 2005 by admin