Omlet Newsletter October 7th 2005
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 email@example.com 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!
A rare sighting of a one man band
Barbara’s Weekly Diary!
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!
This Weeks Star Photos
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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!