The Omlet Blog

Omlet Newsletter March 16th 2006

Hello,

The spot the pancake competition was the best yet, it proved really difficult and it took more than 200 entries before the final pot of mealworms were won!

Loads of people went tantalisingly close but as the winners correctly worked out the centre of the pancake was in square L9.  Thanks to everyone who entered and to Mr George who has entertained us all with his talent for making a pancake disappear and reappear – not many people can do that.

The One Life show in London was a great success, a bright pink eglu on the stand drew a superb crowd.  We were even invited to talk about the eglu in the Live Theatre.  It was standing room only as people packed in to hear the talk and see Louise Palmers remarkable documentary, Urban Chickens, about three eglu owners and their hens.  If you missed it then you can download the film here. Special thanks to Claire and Damian, two eggstraordinary eglu owners who came along to help out at the show – you were ace!

Lots of lovely eglu owners have put on their lab coats and goggles this week to help us with our experiment for National Science Week which runs until Sunday.  We will publish the results of the test “does the colour of my eglu affect how many eggs my chickens lay” once our supercomputer has processed all the results, so probably in the next newsletter.  At the moment the most popular eglu colour is green but if it turns out that red eglus make more productive chickens could that all change….we can’t wait to find out!

It’s been a few months since we launched the eglu diary site, www.eglu.co.uk and it’s really taken off. If you don’t yet keep chickens then it’s an entertaining place to find out what it’s like and if you are one of the people who have signed up for a blog – take a break from the forum and post a new entry!

On the subject of blogs, the diary of one eglu owner’s chickens is making headlines in that most serious and distinguished of papers the Financial Times.  We’ve always known that chickens are good in Stocks but now it seems they might be good at Shares as well.  If you’re interested in some investment tips then click here but please remember that the value of eggs can go up as well as down.

Also in the newsletter, Barbara discusses ways of encouraging your hens to keep laying to avoid the disaster scenario of having to buy eggs!  There is an accountants take on the economics of an eglu in the forum discussion and lots more great star photos from the gallery.<b>

And finally,

The honour of the first America eglu went to a lady in California who visited www.omlet.us within hours of the website going live and placed an order for a green eglu and two Gingernut Rangers, lucky chickens – just think of all that sun!

We hope you enjoy the newsletter.

Mr George’s magnificent flip  revealed!

Drawing a crowd at the One Life exhibition in London

Eglu and chickens pose for the camera at a recent Living Etc. Magazine photo shoot.

The Omlet Team

Barbara’s Weekly Diary!

Thank goodness Spring is not far off! Although looking out of the window today, there isn’t much sign of it here just yet but the mornings are definitely getting lighter and the lights don’t go on quite so early in the evenings anymore either so it must be on the way!

It’s been a pretty poor winter for my hens this year and from the number of queries I’ve been receiving lately, my girls are not alone. Despite the fact that I have hybrids, which should really lay throughout the winter months, they’ve all been a bit reticent and as a result, I’ve had to actually BUY eggs to keep up with demand! Shock! Horror!

I must admit to being a little worried for a while about this lack of eggs as normally they are very good and can be relied upon to provide me with enough rent to make plenty of cakes. After thinking through all the reasons why they might have stopped laying, I can probably put the empty egg bowl down to the fact that the girls have all been going through a prolonged moult this winter as the run has been full of fallen feathers for quite a while from mid-October up until a couple of weeks ago. These long, slow moults can really take it out of the hens physically so to give them a little boost, they’ve had Chicken Spice added to their layers mash for the last few weeks to perk them up and correct any mineral imbalance so that should really help the egg situation.

I considered all the other factors, which might slow down egg production too. Things like parasitic worms, which they might have picked up from the garden birds whilst free ranging can affect egg production so they have all had their 6 monthly worming treatment just to be on the safe side. I also checked them over carefully for mites and lice to make sure that they didn’t have an infestation, which might make them feel a bit under the weather. They are all absolutely fine so I think it’s safe to assume that the dark, gloomy days in January followed by the recent cold snap have also contributed to their decision to take an egg-laying break. I’ve got my fingers crossed that once the clocks go forwards in a few weeks time, the girls will get their act together and start providing me with more than a couple of eggs each a week! Roll on summer!

Barbara

I’ll give you this bit of apple if you lay an egg, do we have a deal?

Star Photos

If you’re names not down, you’re not coming in. Club eglu – the hottest ticket in town.

After several hours the Gingernut Ranger still couldn’t figure out what the others were staring at.

That’s a funny looking chicken.

Lift your right ear if you like your eglu!

You can see more photos in the gallery

 

What’s on the forum?

Chancellor of the Eggschequer!

For a bit of fun, Martin, a young man who is very keen to have his own Eglu but who is currently trying to persuade his parents of the merits of chicken keeping and Eglu owning, was given this most persuasive financial argument to try by Murdo: –

”I make the following assumptions. Most are pessimistic, that is to say weighted against the decision to buy.

2 Omlet chickens lay about 10 eggs a week, when averaged over the year. Large supermarket barn eggs cost £1.69 a dozen, 13p each. Free range eggs cost between 13p and 25p (depending on organic, size etc) Evil Eggs cost 9p each.  Rounding down a little, 500 free range eggs per year will cost you at least £65, or up to £125 if you buy luxury. (Even Evil Eggs will cost you £45, but nobody would consider those to be a fair comparison. Who buys those?)

Now the costs: 1 bag of feed costs £10 and lasts 100 days, working out at 10p per day, or £36.50 p.a. (Actually I pay about £5 for a bag that lasts just under three months, so closer to 6p per day, about £22 per annum.)

Grit: mine seems to last forever. Will cost you £3 per bag, twice a year. You may not even need this if they free range enough.

So total annual operating costs are between £28 and £43

In costing the capital I made the assumption that mortgage interest rates are around 6%. So if you actually borrow the money to buy the Eglu £375 (exclude the bag of feed) @ 6% is £22.50 per year to service the loan. Some people would argue that this is unrealistic – mortgage rates are much lower than personal loans. I would counter this by pointing out this is a loan to buy a home. Not admittedly for me, but a home none the less (appreciative clucking from audience.)

So if we take a working assumption that Martin will be dropping (oops, placing) free range eggs into the supermarket trolley every week, and that he pays top whack for the pellets then the costs come in at £65 and the income at least £65. Break even! So if you can pay less for your pellets than my pessimistic assumptions then the Eglu is actually self-financing. With my figures for pellets it costs us £50 a year and we get eggs which are… priceless. But in money terms we’re at least £15 ahead each year.

Of course this all assumes that you don’t finish up with the sort of ruthless chooks that blackmail you for tins of sweetcorn every week. If you are the sort of weak willed individual who succumbs to such pressure then your profit and loss account is going to look like a government run project.

If your significant other points out that I’ve conveniently ignored depreciation on the Eglu (you have to put money aside for replacing it, say, every ten years), just start buying the extra large organic free-range eggs. You need to spend an extra £34 a year on eggs to make the cut. (I hope Lesley will be along in a minute to tell me it’s a building or something and I only need to depreciate it over 60 years.) Or you can talk about all the other intangible benefits, such as not having to throw scraps in the bin and make it smell. Another one we found is that we started eating more egg based meals, which seemed to work out much cheaper than meat and three veg, but which is difficult to quantify. You might save a pound or two a week just because of that. Or maybe I’m sounding desperate.

 

You can’t put a price on eggs from your own hens – alright you can but 10p for two seems a little cheep.

Hopefully this will assist you all in helping your other halves to come to enlightenment and the Way of the Chicken.

Disclaimer: there may be other hidden costs in running an Eglu, such as vets, wear and tear on shoe leather. Anyone taking the above seriously as a justification for buying an Eglu should contact me about the timeshare in Iraq I’m trying to sell.” – Murdo

You are funny Murdo ….. – SarahJo

Excellent Murdo. If that doesn’t persuade Martin’s dad, I don’t know what will. – Gina

Egg-cellent egg-splanation of the egg-onomics of eglu ownership. Not a bit egg-centric. You’re not the Chancellor of the Egg-schequer by any chance? – Richard T

Brilliant Murdo. I wonder if I could persuade hubby to a 3rd eglu on the basis of your posting.

Actually, no, don’t think so, since your accounts missed out the cost of re-seeding the lawn, which is looking like a dire necessity this spring, thanks to my gorgeous, free-ranging feathered quintet. – Alpefamily

Speaking as another accountant here, I don’t think you would need to depreciate the eglu much at all, since the price of second hand ones is not much less than a brand new one. You just need to depreciate for the loss in value, over the life of the eglu. Say £50 loss in value over 10 years of having an eglu (arbitrary assumption re length of time chicken keeping I know – sorry!) – would mean only £5 depreciation charge per year. – Cookie

No – as has already been pointed out on another thread you can put the sale of the lawnmower you no longer need as a revenue item. – Murdo

Very good! I would also add that as well as putting scrap food into the chickens & getting eggs out, their other product (Poo,& lots of it) will make the lovely veggies in your garden grown big & strong. There must be a further saving to be made on compost & fertiliser…….- Cinnamon

I think this is PRICELESS!! Thanks for making me laugh. – Buffie

Egluowners of the Week

Julie Holder

Age: 44

Occupation: Housewife

Where do you live?
Wickford, Essex

If you were stranded on a desert island what luxury item would you have?
Red wine

What pets do you have?
4 Cats -Mollie/Chloe/Casper/Pippy 3 Dogs – Merlin/Millie/Mak 1 Cockatiel – Bobby

Which chickens do you have?
Miss Pepperpot and Gingernut Ranger

How old are they?
I’ve had them about 5 months

What are your chickens called?
Miss Pepperpot – Betty Boop and Gingernut Ranger – Tracy Beaker

How many eggs do you get a week and what is your favourite way of cooking them?
Approx 12 eggs a week. Just love poached egg on a toasted muffin!

Do your chickens have a party trick?
They are both real characters, even come when called, my dogs don’t even do that. They just love to follow us around the garden, especially love digging for worms.

The new arrivals

Making friends

The pink eglu

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The can of worms

Chicken Horoscopes by Mystic Peg

Mystic Peg is staring deep into her crystal egg so that she can tell you wattle happen…next time!

Omlet team

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