The Omlet Blog

Omlet Newsletter August 1st 2005

If you go down to Jimmy’s Farm today…

You’re sure to see an eglu!  You might have seen the TV series last year following the intrepid rare pig rescuer Jimmy as he set off on his mission to save a breed of black and pink Essex pigs in danger of extinction. Over a year on and the adventure is blossoming, the farm is doing a roaring trade in a superior selection of sausages and delicious streaky bacon and if you happen to be in the area why not pop in and see the eglu and chickens that we have just delivered. You can find out more at www.essexpigcompany.co.uk

P.S Don’t forget to come and visit us at the Fruitstock festival ! It’s in Regents Park, London on the Saturday the 6th and Sunday the 7th of August We’ll be there with eglus on show and you can come and have a chat about the joys of chicken keeping. And of course this year we will also have the rabbit eglu to show. You can find out more information about Fruitstock at www.fruitstock.com .  See you there!

This Weeks Star Photo

Has anyone else got a dancing chicken or do yours have other talents (other than egg laying of course!)

Send your photos to dancingchickens@omlet.co.uk

Barbara’s Weekly Diary!

Cold Shower for a Broody Hen.I’ve got a broody hen at the moment and this means fun and games – and no eggs. It all started about a week ago. She went into the nest and didn’t come back out again. When I went to check on her, she was sitting on an egg, making a very strange noise and had puffed herself up like a football! The noise is a very deep cluck-cluck-cluck and when I hear that, I know that I need to take action or else she’ll be sitting clamped to the nest for the next 3 weeks! Something else that I’ve come to recognise as a sign of broodiness is feather pulling – she starts plucking them out to line the nest ready for the eggs and has the most embarrassing bald patch on her belly! I’ve learned after a few of these episodes that the quicker I react, the sooner egg production resumes so the first thing I do is to restrict access to the nest. This is easy if the other hens aren’t laying but can be a real nuisance if I have to keep one out and yet let the others get in so a little spying is required.

As soon as the first signs of broodiness appear, I put something into the nest to deter her from sitting. This can be an upturned plant pot, a small garden ornament or a brick – anything that she isn’t able to push out but it does need removing if any of the other hens decide it’s time to lay. If I spot her in the garden sitting on a nest she’s made from leaves, twigs and feathers, this is quickly removed and she’s moved on or tempted away with a treat or two. If all fails, she gets a quick dip in a bucket of cold water! The urge to go broody is usually caused by a rise in internal body temperature so a quick cold bath brings her back to normal and should stop the urge. A squirt with a hosepipe has the same effect. I’m hoping that this prompt treatment will mean that we start getting eggs again soon!

Barbara

Whats on the forum

Nesting Box
The delicate issue of what to put in the nesting box came up in the forum the other day, as Sydtheduck asked hay or straw?

“I can’t remember what I’m supposed to put in the nesting egg-laying part. Is that hay or straw? I’m sure I read somewhere that it must be one and not the other, but I can remember neither why, nor which was right. I’ve seen small packs of compressed hay in pet shops, but I can’t remember seeing straw sold that way. I hope it is, cos I haven’t got room for a bale!” – Sydtheduck

“You can put almost anything or nothing into the nesting box. I put straw because that’s what I used to use in my traditional wooden nesting boxes but hay will do as well as something to ‘cushion’ the eggs. Some people use shredded paper. Any of these will compost down when you change it to keep the eggs clean. With the shape of the Eglu nesting box you would probably be ok if you decide to use nothing. If you have a home shredder, or access to free bags of the stuff, then that would be your cheapest and easiest option.” – Jane

“We don’t put anything in the nestbox itself but we put straw in the poo tray. Re. Straw V Hay – hay is for eating and straw is for bedding. I don’t think hay would be good for chickens if they try to eat it – may cause impacted crop.” – Lesley

“Most of the books I’ve read advise not using hay because of the risk of impacted crop. My girls don’t like anything in the nest at all and whatever I put in, they kick out apart from a nice pile of poo which they seem to like to sit on.” – Kate

“My girls liked straw when they were young but now if I put anything in the Eglu they drag it out and spread it around and generally make a mess so now I use nothing.” – Louise

“Excellent, thanks muchly for the advice! If I can find some straw I think I’ll start them off with that and see how they react to it. If I can’t find any, we have a shredder so I could try that and hope that my chooks don’t keep track of my bank details.” – Sydtheduck

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Eating a soft boiled egg can have its perils especially if you are 2! This bib has been specially formulated to catch any yolkey moments and make the wearer look totally angelic.

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Have an eggcellent day,

Johannes and the Omlet team!

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