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Date Archives: October 2005

Omlet Newsletter October 27th 2005

Hello,

A while ago a photographer and his assistants turned up at Omlet.  They took their time selecting the location, setting up lights and arranging props.  This was a professional shoot, no doubt about it.  So when the time came for the serious work to begin, onlookers were bemused to see a little Gingernut Ranger wander into the spotlight.  Juliet le Poulet (as she was swiftly named) stunned the photographer with her natural posing and he proclaimed she had “a pout to rival Keira Knightly”.  If there were an agency for talented chickens Juliet would certainly be on the books.  Looking at all the photos of performing chickens in Omlet’s gallery she wouldn’t be alone in forging another successful career as a model or an actress.

Juliet Le Poulet

Anyway, the image was for the front cover of critically acclaimed musician Geraint Jones’ new album, Turn That Chicken Down.  Which made us think there must be lots of songs out there that feature either a chicken in the title or the sound of a chicken in the actual song.  So, how about doing a compilation?  Great Idea!  Just send your suggestions to johannes@omlet.co.uk.  At the very least it’s a good excuse to spend the evening going through your old vinyl collection!

With only a few nights to go until Halloween it’s worth reminding everyone that although the eglu is extremely safe it can’t keep a ghost out.  The only protection against that is a spooktacular glowing pumpkin – so make sure you carve one.  Even better if you take a photo and send it to johannes@omlet.co.uk because then you will have a chance of winning a £20 Omlet gift voucher.  Entries accepted until midnight on the 31st Oct.

And last but not least we have launched a set of exclusive Omlet Christmas cards which are our featured product of the week – see below for more details…

This Weeks Star Photos

Emily’s new ear muffs were the talk of the town.

Which of these rabbits just farted?

These eggs are from the same chickens
before and after a electrical storm.
(but I thought the eglu was insulated – ed)

Maybe they are keen golfers? – ed

Omlet Health Advice
Although feeding treats to your chickens is fine –
you should always feed your chickens
Layers Pellets as part of their daily diet.

Barbara’s Weekly Diary!

Taming Hens
I get lots of e-mails from eglu owners who are worried about handling their hens and the thing that I suggest is to try picking them up through the eggport when they go to roost at night when they are more drowsy. You can give them a cuddle for a few minutes because they don’t tend to flap so much then. Pop them back in through the eggport carefully when you’ve finished and they’ll probably go straight off to sleep, all relaxed and cosy.

If you keep doing this for a few days, they get used to human contact and this makes handling them during the day much easier. Chickens will also do almost anything for treats. If you hand feed them something delicious like tinned sweetcorn, grapes or the thing my girls go mad for at the moment – dried mealworms, they will associate you with all things tasty and won’t run a mile when they see you.

Once they begin laying, you suddenly become the dominant bird in the run. For some unfathomable reason, they suddenly see you as the cockerel and flatten themselves in a mating position! Whilst this is very funny to observe, it also makes picking them up an absolute doddle because they don’t run away! As they flatten themselves on the ground, you can just walk up behind them, carefully place a hand on either wing and scoop them up with ease. They will never peck you or hurt you so you needn’t be worried about them. They might peck at a ring or watch or maybe even painted finger or toe nails as they think shiny things are food but they soon learn what’s edible and what’s not so you will be absolutely fine. Be confident, hold them securely and they will let you cuddle them for as long as you like, especially if you’re also bearing a handful of treats.

Perseverance is the name of the game and it doesn’t take long to tame a chicken. Once they are used to being picked up, they are as friendly and cuddly as any kitten or puppy.

Barbara

What’s on the forum?

Handling your hens

Skippy asked “Had my chickens, Barbara and Margo for three weeks and I am struggling to handle them (as advised). I don’t want to alarm them as this may impede their egg laying (which has not started). I have tried not chasing them, cornering them, grabbing their legs, surprising them etc all to no avail they always manage to outsmart me and I am worried they will not get used to being handled but am also worried about stressing them out. Any tips?”

Evie an Mabel

To start with, I took the general advice about taking them out of the egg-port when they went to bed. This worked OK. Marvin the Speckledy didn’t mind at all, but BB the Pepperpot thought it was a bit undignified t be extracted bottom-first out of the door – she tolerated it, but wasn’t best pleased! Things are much better now I have built a lawn pen (AKA Colditz!) – I can go in with them now.

My picking-up technique is as follows…
1. stay calm
2. approach with both arms outstretched – this seems to stop them going both ways – the only way for them to go is up!
3. Stay calm
4. bring hands down slowly and gently over their backs
5. Stay calm! This way they seem to stay calm, and so do I. I’ve never tried to grab their legs – I’ve seen this written, but it sounds like it would panic them to me… persevere – and I’m sure it’ll come good” – Phil (revnev)

“Phil’s advice about taking them out of the Eglu through the eggport is good, as the girls are more docile at night time and should stand more amounts of fuss. As they get older, they’ll come to see you as the Top Chook in the pecking order and as you approach them they will instinctively crouch down (as if you are a cockerel) into a submissive position. Not only is this highly amusing, but it’s makes picking up very easy. Keep tempting them to you with treats, and keep persevering. You are right not to chase them, it will only stress them (and you) out and won’t really help in the long term. Things will progress given time. You’ll be tucking them under your arm in no time.” – Gina

“I find it easiest to catch them if once you’ve got a hand to their back you push down slightly. They can’t run away because they need to be able to go up a bit to give their legs room to move. Once you have them stationary you can then pick them up by sliding one hand underneath them from the head end pointing to their rear. Spread you fingers slightly to go around their legs & with a young bird or bantam you can sometimes hold their wings in place too with your thumb & little finger.. The other hand is then free to stroke them or whatever.” – Freerange

Featured Product

Pack of 8 Omlet Christmas Cards
Send a little happiness with these original Omlet Christmas cards. Each of the four designs features the hilarious comic capers of our feathered friends. Snowball fights, a chicken pretending to be Father Christmas and even a fox and chicken kissing under the misteltoe! Each pack has 8 cards ( 2 of each of the 4 designs), and envelopes.

These aren’t just the funniest Christmas cards available because by buying them you will help give some less fortunate chickens a new lease of life. Omlet will gives 50p to the Battery Hen Welfare Trust for each pack sold. The Trust rescues Battery Hens and rehomes them so that they can enjoy grass under their feet and sun on their combs.

Please note that these will packs will be despatched from Omlet HQ on Monday 7th November

Find out more here

Have an eggcellent day,

The Omlet team!

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


Omlet Newsletter October 20th 2005

Hello,

On a recent visit to Berlin to sample cake we spotted this majestic 1880’s egg cooker in a museum.  Designed by the electrical company AEG it was designed to make “housework easier!”  You can just imagine a terribly fashionable Lady inviting her friends to tea and amazing them, not with yet another spread of daintily decorated fairy cakes, but by removing a perfectly cooked egg from this futuristic new silver cooking contraption.

Nowadays it’s getting harder and harder to impress people but a gift of some of your chicken’s eggs can melt the hardest heart, especially if you also include a novelty egg cup.  Browsing the egg gallery on the omlet forum you can find quite a collection, it’s like a virtual museum of egg cups!

On another note we have prepared an “all you need to know” fact sheet about the current avian flu situation which you can find by either clicking the above link or  in the Club area of the Omlet website.

And don’t forget the pumpkin carving competition, dozens of entries have arrived in the omlet mailbag already.  The closing date is the 31st of October so still plenty of time and the prize is a £20 Omlet voucher to spend in our shop – yippee!  Send your entries to johannes@omlet.co.uk. (don’t worry he’s not easily scared so make them as spooky as you like).

Barbara’s Weekly Diary!

Chickens, ethics and feeling good…

I’ve been buying free-range eggs for as long as I remember. I think it comes from reading as a teenager about the appalling conditions that poor battery hens have to endure which made me want to buy my eggs more ethically. However, since my lovely hens came into my life, my thinking has changed even more. We’re not vegetarian because the rest of my family would starve within a week faced with vegetables only but I suddenly twigged why the shrink wrapped chickens on the supermarket shelves were so cheap – they were battery hens too. That really upset me so I now only ever buy free range organic when we want meat on the menu because that guarantees that the animal has at least seen sunshine, felt the rain and had the wind ruffle its feathers or skin before it died.  Somehow the thought that it had a happy life as opposed to being cramped in a tiny, artificially lit cage makes me feel better about eating it – if that makes any sense!

We also grow more of our own fruit and vegetables now than we ever did before we had hens. I think the lovely fresh eggs every day make you want to have a better way of life. Why eat carrots and apples which are covered in chemicals when you can go out and pick your own, fresh from the plot for a little effort and the pleasure of watching them, grow or buy tasty organic ones from the Farmers Markets. I’ve noticed that so many Omlet forum members have also started to want more of The Good Life now that they have chickens brightening their lives and that is such a good thing.

Barbara

 

This Weeks Star Photos

Is it me or do my ears look big in this?

SarahJo shows off the new t-shirts

Got the eglu, got the chickens, now collect the t-shirt!

Gingers First Egg

Gingers First Egg!

What’s on the forum?

What do you use to clean the Eglu?

Dawn (Peckham) asked “I wondered what cleaning products people are using on their Eglu?

“I tend to alternate – cleaning with hot water and Citricidal sometimes, but when I think its not strong enough I’ve get the bleach out, diluting it with water and scrubbing the Eglu and bars with it. I always feel better when I’ve done that. So what do people use and what do you think is the best?”

“I use hot water and fairy liquid and rinse it well and scrub the bars with a brush. I intend to wash it with Jeyes fluid every few months in order to give it a good clean. I hope it ok to use these products – no ill effects so far!” – Lavinia

“My Eglu gets a clean every 2 weeks. I take Eglu apart and wash down with hosepipe, then wash Eglu using hot soapy water with 20 drops of Citricidal added, or 2 drops of tea tree oil. The roosting bars get scrubbed (dry) and sometimes I spray them with a pet disinfectant” – Ali-s

“I do whatever I have time for; sometimes I just wash it down with hot water, others, I use a bucket full of Milton solution to scrub it with. I always allow it to dry (more of a challenge with the cooler weather) and then put Diatom in the grooves where the bars go. The girls always like to supervise!” – Clare Taylor

“Mine is cleaned once every week or two. I use a hose and an old washing up brush. As I’ve said before – they’re chickens – it’s not necessary to get the Eglu as clean as your kitchen” – Martin

“Weekly good scrub out with pet disinfectant wash and my magic sponge from JML (found the Magic sponge better than a brush and less scrubbing)
then a wipe round with Dettol disinfectant without bleach. Bars get a dry scrub then a wash as well. when dry a light dusting all over with Diatom.” – Lyn (Tizzi)

I use a steam cleaner on every part of the Eglu -Fleata

My husband………….! – Mel Marvin

“Depends how my shifts fall – or how dirty it gets… I always use a drop of bleach and washing up liquid in hot water followed by a good hosing down…” –  John H

Egluowners of the Week

Maria Clegg

Age: 36

Occupation: Teacher

Where do you live? Coulsdon

What pets do you have? 4 year old staffordshire bull terrier and a 6 year old cat

If you were stranded on a desert island what luxury item would you have? my hair dryer!

How many chickens do you have? 2

What breeds are they? Rhode Island red cross
Rhode island red/plymouth rock cross

How old are they? 1 year

What are your chickens called? Thelma and Louise

How many eggs do you get a week and what is your favourite way of cooking them? Around 13 and we love to have them poached on toast

Do your chickens have a party trick? Both are very good at jumping onto the top of the garden gate – trouble is they haven’t quite mastered jumping off so are quite easy to retrieve!

Featured Product

Winter shade
This full length shade covers the top and one side of the run. It is also of course handy if you are keeping your pets in a windy or rainy part of your garden in the winter months and will keep your little darlings looking great all year round!

Find out more here

Have an eggcellent day,

The Omlet team!

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This entry was posted in Newsletter on October 20th, 2005 by admin


Omlet Newsletter October 7th 2005

Hello,

It’s October so that means its Autumn and that means conker competitions, discovering your favourite jumper has been eaten by moths over the summer and at the very end of the month Halloween!

Halloween is one of the “liminal” times of the year when the spirit world can make contact with the natural world and when magic is most potent.  We all know that ghosts can be naughty, so just imagine what they get up during the “liminal time” but there is a way of keeping them at bay…glow in the dark pumpkins!  So we thought it would be kind of cool to have a pumpkin carving competition.  The rules are simple, as many entries as you want, entries via email to johannes@omlet.co.uk and photographs should include a shot taken at night with full glowing effect.  Deadline is midnight on October 31st and the winner will receive a £20 Omlet gift voucher to spend in the Omlet shop.  Several Omlet employees will all be entering too so expect competition to be fierce!

Thanks to Clare and Kate who helped at the Autumn show in Ardingly last weekend.  It was a marvelous show because quite unexpectedly one of the last One Man Bands left on the planet appeared on the Omlet stand where he delighted the crowds with a rendition of Chick, Chick, Chicken lay a little egg for me.  Those of us who were lucky to be there will remember it forever!

 

One Man Band

A rare sighting of a one man band

Barbara’s Weekly Diary!

Creepy Crawlies!
I check my girls over regularly for skin parasites and have avoided them….until now. My hens are all used to being handled which makes checking for lice and mites really easy. I hold each hen with one hand and carefully ruffle the feathers against the direction they grow in to see if I can spot anything scurrying away. The hot spots to check are round the neck area, under the wings, the abdomen, breast and around the vent. Last weekend, I spotted one or two tiny beige discs the size of pinheads on some of the neck and belly feathers and as I watched them, they moved! All of the hens have now had a really good dusting with louse powder which I’ll repeat in a week to catch any eggs that have hatched out. Red mites are the most dangerous because they don’t actually live on the birds, preferring to hide in cracks and corners of the hen house. They come out at night and feed on the blood of the birds and can cause anaemia (often a sign is a pale pink comb) and lethargy. Sometimes you will realise that you have a red mite problem if you can see a whitish powder at the ends of roost bars or tiny blood spots on eggs. Luckily the eglu doesn’t have any difficult to get into crevices so doing a thorough clean out is possible.  You can then treat with a red mite spray or powder which is now available in the Omlet shop. Northern Fowl Mites are similar to Red Mite but live on the birds and leave dirty dull looking patches on the feathers and leave the hen depressed and miserable. Scaly Leg Mites burrow under the leg scales and cause horrible irritation. This is easy to cure by dunking the legs one at a time in a jar of surgical spirit or smearing the legs with a thick layer of Vaseline.

Be vigilant as a parasitic infestation can make your hens feel really miserable and can even stop them from laying eggs – a scenario definitely worth avoiding!

Barbara

This Weeks Star Photos

First egg was a double yolker

The first egg and a double yolker,
it doesn’t get any better than this.

Which chicken laid that enormous egg at the end of the bench? (sorry Trevor – we couldn’t resist that one!)

 

What’s on the forum?

Liz Steed has been wondering about her fussy hens:

“Hi Don’t know whether I’m worrying over nothing but my ladies don’t appear overly interested in layers mix. I’ve had them just over two weeks now, and have dutifully only fed them layers mix in the morning and titbits in the afternoon when I get in from work. I’m not convinced that the little loves are eating enough of the layers mix as I rarely need to add any more (I’ve measured what’s in there today so tomorrow I’ll have a better idea). If they could, they’d rugby tackle me for whatever I put out later in the day, and start running up and down the run when they see me come home. They get to roam the garden when I get in, until they roost. They love porridge oats, sunflower hearts, sweetcorn, peas, bread, pasta rice, but turned their noses up at cabbage (will try lettuce when I have some). It feels a bit like kids refusing to eat whats good for them. Am I an overanxious new mum??!!!”

Forum members offered some good advice to get the faddy ladies eating properly!

As a chicken expert (ha ha) of 4 months I have found chickens to be exactly like children rufusing to eat what is good for them. When my girls first arrived I couldn’t wait to give them extra treats, mostly to get them used to me and tame. One day I would give them sweetcorn, the next grapes and oh tomorrow we are having curry and there will be rice left. In the end I realised that they were not eating their pellets but waiting for their afternoon treats because treats probably tasted nicer than the pellets.

Well I have now stopped this. For one week they only got pellets. They didn’t starve to death because they soon realised pellets was all they were getting.

Now I give treats two or three times a week. I hang greens for them everyday. (my girls do not free range in the garden, but they do have a large run).

Layers mash or pellets should make up the bulk of a chickens diet. They have all the necessary nutrients needed to keep chickens healthy and for them to produce their lovely eggs. Hope this helps” – Ali-S

“We stopped all treats for 10 days when we realised that ours were ignoring their layers mash. It does work and then they seem to realise that they eat that and then get treats!” – Lesley

“They can be dumb sometimes but not that dumb when it comes to food. Once they get into the habit of eating mash or pellets in the early part of the day they seem to stick to it, even though you do introduce the afternoon treats back in.” – Trish

“Maybe you are expecting the chickens to eat more than they should: they are quite small animals under their feathers. Omlet say that a fully-grown chicken will need 120g of layers mash/pellets a day. In a measuring jug, 120g of pellets only comes up to around the quarter-pint mark. If your chickens are young, they won’t even need that much. On the other hand, if you gave me a choice between a bowl of dull layers mash/pellets and bowl of porridge oats, sunflower hearts, sweetcorn, peas, bread, pasta, and rice, I know which I would choose — and I think everyone else on this forum would do the same!” – Gallina

“My 3 chooks aren’t that keen on their pellets either. I only have to the refill the peanut feeder once a week. I still have a third of the pellet bag left after 2.5 months. But they seem healthy and as they are eating some pellets, snacks (favourites – porridge, sweetcorn, bread, cabbage, pasta) and freeranging for a couple of hours a day, I’m quite happy that they are getting a fairly balanced diet. Hope yours start to eat them soon” – Jacqueline

Two Egluowners of the Week

Victoria Tebbs

Age: 38

Occupation: publisher

Where do you live? Peterborough

What pets do you have? 9-month old Parson Russell terrier, Sydney Dylan.

If you were stranded on a desert island what luxury item would you have? chocolate and Jelly Bellies.

How many chickens do you have? 2

What breeds are they? Pekin bantams – silver partridge and porcelaine – beautiful!

How old are they? 10 months

What are your chickens called? Sybil and Margot.

How many eggs do you get a week and what is your favourite way of cooking them? On strike at the moment – we’ve had about 30 eggs from them since April. Favourite way of cooking them is eggie bread or in cup cakes.

Do your chickens have a party trick? Eat single seeds from my fingers, sitting on my knee – only Sybil though. Margot’s having none of it. Sybil’s also good at pecking our puppy. They also answer back when spoken to and perform the most fantastic two-footed bounce.

Helen Cowmeadow

Age: 26

Occupation: Copywriter

Where do you live? Raynes Park, London, SW20

If you were stranded on a desert island what luxury
item would you have?
A pillow!

How many rabbits do you have? 4

What breeds are they? Blue French lop doe, Orange dwarf lop buck, 2 black butterfly dwarf lops (m/f)

How old are they? 1+, 1.5, 2+, 2.5 yrs

What are your rabbits called? Sylvia, Oliver, Humphrey & Tilly

What are your rabbits favourite food? Spring Greens!

Would you like to be egluowner of the week?
Each week we will be featuring an elguowner of the week.  If you would like to be featured then read our questionnaire here and email your answers to james@omlet.co.uk .

Featured Product

Chicken Spice – 450gm
Chicken spice (Poultry Spice) is a mineral supplement to keep your chickens in tiptop condition. You might give this to your chicken if it is moulting or help it maintain a good appetite. It shouldn’t to be confused with that musty old scent – Old Spice or something you rub on your Sunday roast to make it taste better. You can give 1/4 teaspoon of this mixed into the layers pellets per 2 chickens.

Find out more here

Chicken Spice – 450gm

Have an eggcellent day,

The Omlet team!

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This entry was posted in Newsletter on October 7th, 2005 by admin