Omlet Newsletter – Friday, 26th March 2010
Your names: Claire, Steven, Daniel & Ella Peach.
Where do you live? The small village of Hanbury near Burton on Trent in Staffordshire.
How long have you been keeping bees? Since soon after we moved here, so it’s about 20 years.
What pets do you have? Oh this is a bit of a long list, 1 horse, 2 mini shetland ponies, 4 goats, 2 kune kune pigs, 17 chickens and 2 dogs (oh and some visiting guinea pigs)
How long have you been keeping chickens? Nearly 6 years.
What made you decide to keep chickens? When Daniel had just turned 1 and we moved to a house with a bigger garden I decided we needed hens. Steve wasnt too keen on the idea and thought if he said he wouldn’t build anything it would put me off, but by the power of the internet I found Omlet and ordered us a lovely bright yellow eglu (mark 1) and 2 hens.
How many chickens do you have and what are their names? Our first 2 hens were called Margo and Barbara. We have had quite a few hens since then that the children have given various names. Currently we have 1 Buff Orpington Cockerel called Sir Lancealot with his 2 orpington hens called Gwen and Nimaway. We have 7 red hybrid laying hens who are collectively called ‘the girls’. We have 2 speckled hybrids called spotty and split beak, we have 2 moran bantams, called Tiny & Mo.
What’s your favourite thing about the eglu?
We have an eglu and a cube and apart from the striking funky design, the fact that they are soooo easy to clean out it is brilliant and great for time saving.
What do you like doing when you’re not hosting hen parties? As you may have gathered we are a bit animal mad (at times it does feel like Noah’ s Ark here) we have a smallholding so that does take up most of our free time as we have dairy goats and Steve is trying to perfect his cheese recipe!
Why did you decide to become a hen party host?
We were looking on the Omlet website and saw the courses page and thought what a great idea they were, as we could have done with attending one when we got our first hens. So looking into it further we thought it would be lovely to talk ‘chicken’ with other enthusiasts and share some of our early hen keeping mishaps.
When was your first course and how did it go?
Our first course was in August 2009. We had 4 people attending and the weather was kind to us and so were the hens who made us look very professional, so were well rewarded with treats. Apart from nerves and over running it went really well.
What do your courses include? We try and do all sorts on our courses, the beginners course focuses on everything you need to know for looking after your hens from day to day. Our advance course takes it a step further looking at aliments and injuries along with breeding and keeping birds for meat. We also do junior hen keeping courses, which was due to our children wanting to know when we were going to do a course they could do. We try and run the junior courses during the school holidays and we cover how to look after hens and handle them along with fun and games including an egg hunt.
What’s the best thing about being a hen party host?
Getting to meet new people (cheesy but true).
Why should people attend a course?
Apart from great conversation and tea and cakes, it is a great way to get some confidence of handling hens and how to look after them. Also to meet other people who share your passion for chickens!
Example Review: “My husband and I attended claire and steves course on the 8th. We spent a couple of hours with them and two other students in learning how to keep chickens. It was thoroughly enjoyable, very informative and time well spent. Claire and Steve were very hospitable and easy to get on with. Moreover, they have a beautiful small holding set in an idyllic location. Furthermore the sun was shining all day which made it even more special. We rounded off the session with some of steves cakes (made with their fresh eggs) and a nice cup of tea. High marks for this session. We had already bought our omlet cube and 6 chickens the week before, but we wanted to attend a short course which made us more comfortable with looking after these new pets. This gave us everything we needed to know and more than met our expectations. We highly recommend claire and steve to other newbies to chicken keeping – thoroughly eggcellent – sorry could not resist.” By Sally.
Junior Easter Hen Party
Wednesday 7th April, 1:30pm, Hanbury, Burton on Trent
Hen Party for Beginners
Saturday 10th April, 11am, Hanbury, Burton on Trent
Spring is in the air and Easter will be with us before you know it, but don’t forget that this weekend it’s Mother’s Day. If you haven’t bought a gift yet don’t panic, you can treat Mum to breakfast in bed instead with Tom’s terrific recipe. Also in the newsletter, the story of an unusual mother hen, tips for tackling broody chickens and an eggstra special eglu owner mum of the month. Enjoy!
This years Bake me Happy competition is in full swing and we have already received some delicious looking entries but we are sure that there are lots more of you that make tasty treats using your fresh eggs. With Mother’s Day this weekend it is the perfect time to get baking if you haven’t already, so be sure to take a snap of your culinary creation.
First prize is a set of our beautifully bright, melamine baking bowls worth over £25.00. And two runners up will be able to choose from the Omlet apron in pink or denim. Just email a photo to email@example.com by Monday 22nd March. And although your masterpiece is the most important thing, it would be nice to see who made it too, so feel free to pose proudly with your plate!
Ideal Home Show
The show season is going to be kicking off next weekend with our first in a long line of appearances, and this one is going to be a cracker. We will be at the Ideal Home Show in Earls Court, London, from March 20th to April 5th. If you’ve never visited the show before this is the perfect year to do so as it is going to be bigger and better than ever.
There will be eight shows in one: Ideal Interiors, Ideal Home Improvements, Ideal Food, Ideal Gardens, Ideal Home Gadgets, Ideal Shopping, Ideal Woman and Ideal Village. The keen cooks amongst you will love the celebrity chef theatre with Aldo Zilli and Phil Vickery cooking up some tasty recipes, fashionistas will be inspired by the twice daily catwalks and after a busy day of shopping there is a beauty bar for a bit of pampering and relaxation. Rumour has it the show will even be putting on its own versian of our Bake me Happy competition.
Visit us at stand 1G5, in the Ideal Gardens section, to see the Eglu, Cube and Beehaus and our friendly volunteers. To find out more or book tickets visit the website. We hope to see you there!
We’re all for animal adoption but we’ve never heard of one this unusual. A chicken in Shrewsbury has decided to become mother hen to a litter of puppies, belonging to the Tate family. Their pet dog, Nettle, decided to go for a wander shortly after giving birth to the pups which gave Mabel, the hen, her chance to sneak into her place and roost.
Mabel had been living indoors since she had hurt her foot and she had been wathcing Nettle’s behaviour carefully. She had obviously been waiting to hop on and keep herself and the puppies warm. Although she had to move aside to let Nettle back, Mabel is now on baby sitting duty whenever Mum needs to pop out. Image courtesy of Ananova.
If you’re thinking of buying someone something a bit more eggstravagant than an Easter egg this year, why not opt for an Eglu or Beehaus? There’s no denying that chocolate is popular with everyone, but it gets gobbled down in seconds, whereas this is a gift that will last much longer and provide years of enjoyment.
Chickens make truly hentertaining pets that will give you fresh eggs every day (not the chocolate variety, unfortunately). Keeping bees is a great hobby that will fascinate and amaze the whole family, and there is the potential for harvesting a heap of heavenly honey. And if Easter’s not Easter without a visit from the bunny, the Eglu makes a brilliant home for pet rabbits…
With only a few weeks to go until the big day our deliveries are booking up fast so visit the website or give us a call now on 0845 450 2056.
The Omlet Team
Where and with who do you live? I live near Clevedon, North Somerset on small smallholding with my wife Heather. Our children grew up here and have now left home so we run the place as a small B&B. My background is electronics and computer design and Heather used to be a Design and Technology teacher.
How long have you been keeping bees? Since soon after we moved here, so it’s about 20 years.
What made you decide to keep bees? That is a long story. Briefly when we bought this place it was at the worst time possible as it coincided with the last major housing crash in 88/89. We couldn’t sell our other house and the bank manager had no real advice other than keep bees! I had always been interested in bees as I thought you could get lots of honey for doing nothing! How wrong I was!
How many beehives do you have? Currently 8 but it fluctuates. This year I am planning on going into double figures, as well as raising a lot of colonies for sale to new beekeepers.
What plants in your garden do your bees like most? Fruit blossom (we have an orchard), rudbeckia, dandelion and clover. They adore poached egg plant when it flowers in the Spring.
What’s your favourite thing about the Beehaus? The ability to try a large colony space. I normally use Nationals which of course are limited in available internal space for colonies. Other members of our branch use Deep National or Commercial and I know what they achieve so I can’t wait to see how the Beehaus performs this year.
What do you like doing when you’re not hosting beekeeping courses? Preparing courses! It takes a lot of work to produce a good course and course material. Also I am a tutor for BBKA correspondance courses and help teach at our Branch courses at a local college. Outside of beekeeping I have the smallholding work and general maintenance for B&B. We have won a lot of Eco / Green Awards for the B&B and were awarded South West Micro Business of the year in 2008 in the C+ Carbon Positive Awards. We aim to be as self sufficent as reasonably as possible.
What I like to do when I have the time is model engineering and would love to make a steam locomotive to run round the garden!
How long have you been running bee courses? I have been running the courses with Omlet since the beginning of the year. I have been involved with Branch (Blagdon, Clevedon and District Branch of Avon Beekeepers) teaching and training events for many years.
What made you decide to teach others about beekeeping? I was fortunate enough to be taught and mentored by an old time beekeeper. He died last year aged 94 and it’s lovely to be able to pass on the wonderful skills he taught me. I found out that Omlet were promoting courses and called to see if I could help. The upshot was that Omlet market the courses and do the administration and I run them locally. I must say that so far the bulk of people coming have been through our local contacts and local PR, although we have had people coming from as far as Malvern and Woking through seeing it on the Omlet site.
What do your courses include? A lot! So far I have run two types of course. The first is a Taster Session. This is aimed at telling people what is involved in beekeeping, the duties and responsibilities of beekeepers, the nature of a colony and the risks and hazards. In an afternoon you cannot cover everything so this gives people a good flavour, warts and all. Afterwards they say, “I didn’t know all this was involved in beekeeping. I thought all you did was put a hive in a garden”. This is good, because it shows they are starting to realise you must know what you are doing.
This leads on to the other course which is for those who have decided to get bees. In this course I go into more depth and emphasise the importance of practical training and belonging to a local beekeeping association. At the end of the session they have an action plan to help them get started.
Once the bees start flying the courses will also include practical hands on colony management and inspection of hives in my apiary.
In all the courses I emphasise the importance of training, either with me or elsewhere. I make sure they have good quality handouts with colour photographs to take away for reference. These are expensive to produce but are worth it. Finally, people can contact me if they have any subsequent questions or require mentoring.
What’s the best thing about being a course host? Its fun to meet lots of people and knowing I have made a positive impact on their beekeeping future.
Why should people attend a course? There’s a lot of interest in bees at the moment and people want to know. If you want to keep bees and take these lovely and fascinating little lives in your hands you have a social responsibility to look after them properly. You won’t learn it all in a single session but I put in the foundations and basic knowledge to help everyone take it further and to know the next step. Beekeeping is not a textbook art, it needs to be learned from an experienced beekeeper. This is not the kind of experience that is learned in one season.
Example Review: “Stephen’s course was excellent – well presented, with a clear passion and depth of knowledge. In addition to the presentation of information (with superb handouts/materials), being able to look at and handle some equipment was extremely useful for me (having read much about beekeeping, but not as yet having the opportunity to start beekeeping). The course enthused me more and I can’t wait for the spring…” by Martin Callow
Beekeeper Taster Course
Sat, 6th March, 2:00pm – 4:30pm, Clevedon, North Somerset Click here to book now
Beekeeping Getting started Course
Sun, 7th March, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Clevedon, North Somerset Click here to book now
Stephen has recently appeared in two local papers for his beehaus parties. You can read the article from the Weston Mercury by clicking here.
With Valentine’s Day fast ap-poaching there is love in the air…Call us cupid because Tom and Barbara are reunited in this newsletter with some fantastic chicken advice from our chicken health eggspert and a wonderfully romantic recipe for that special someone. But it’s not all about hearts and roses in February, there’s pancake day, and even rubgy…what a month!
Money Saving Eggspert
Thankyou to everyone that has applied to be our Money Saving Eggspert for the newsletter. We had a great response and there were some brilliant tips from all of you…so eggcellent, in fact, that it’ll be a recipe for scrambled heads trying to choose just one of you for the role. We won’t be accepting any more applications now but if you have any other eggstraordinary ideas for new features in the newsletter please email us – we are always keen to know what you think!
In case you had forgotten it is Pancake Day very soon – a day to make use of your chickens’ eggs and enjoy some fun and frolics in the kitchen. So on the 16th of February forget your worries, mix up a batter and get flipping! Eat pancake after pancake and don’t feel guilty about it because it’s only once a year. If you’ve really over-indulged you can always give something up for lent the next day anyway!
Don’t forget we want to see your eggcellent pancake flipping skills in eggschange for prizes. We challenge you to prove you are the best pancake flipper in the land by sending us an action shot. Whether your pancakes are flying through the air, falling to the floor or landing on someone’s head, get someone to take a photo and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The crowned winner will receive a £20 voucher to spend in the online shop and we will publish the best photos in the next newsletter. Competition closes 21st Feb.
Yes, the six nations rugby competition has kicked off and although it isn’t usually something we would associate with chickens we recently heard a bit of news that made our ears prick. Apparantly two of the England rugby players keep chickens and enjoy the good life.
So we would like to know how popular keeping chickens is with rugby players. Are you a true egg chaser? Are you a pro at chicken tackles? Let us know, and why not pose in your rugby gear with your hen and send us a photo.
The Nicest of Neighbours
This month we had a lovely email from Karen Ridley that we had to share with you. An eggstraordinary tale to ruffle your feathers and warm your hearts…
“I just wanted to send you a quick email to say how good my neighbours were a few days ago. I’d put Harriet and Beatrice out in their large pen while I cleaned out their Eglu and run and they were having a lovely time. I’d nearly finished and had put everything back together apart from the Egg Port which I left open as I’d just gone up to the house to get some hay for their laying bed. Of course, I got sidetracked! I totally forgot to put the Egg Port door back on. Later in the afternoon I had to go out, so I took Hatty and Bea from their big pen and put them back into their Eglu run then went out. While I’m out I got a phone call from my dad to say he’d had three lots of neighbours round saying my hens had been found in one of their front gardens! I couldn’t understand at all how they’d got out. When I got home I realised what I’d done – because I left the Port open, the hens’d gone back into their Eglu, hopped out through the open Port and gone on a big adventure! I went
round to all three of my neighbours houses and discovered they’d found Harriet in Carolyn’s garden, having a whale of a time! So Steve caught her (which I was proud of because often people who don’t own chickens themselves can be quite weary about picking them up) and put her back in the Eglu, shutting the Port door. Then Carolyn, Steve and Richard all spent half an hour seeking out Beatrice, worried she’d been eaten by a fox. They finally found her and put her back in the run too.
I just wanted to let you all know how good my neighbours are! So thank you Carolyn, Steve and Richard – you’re the best hen neighbours my girls could ask for!”
Here at Omlet HQ we thought it was about time we had a Spring clean, and what better way to get rid of the old and make way for the new than with a sale!? It’ll soon be time to stock our shop with some gorgeous, Easter goodies, but in the mean time why not take a peek at our great reductions? You’ll find bargains ranging from books to birdfeeders at eggstraordinary prices, but you’ll need to be quick because when they’ve gone, they’ve gone!
If you fancy nabbing yourself some great gifts for ‘cheep’ click here to visit the sale.
iPhone your way to Perfect Eggs!
Now here’s something for the egg heads. Find it hard producing the perfect boiled egg? Well now there’s an iPhone application to ensure you get it right every time. It’s a very nifty app indeed! And here’s how it works:
You select the diameter of the egg, the iphone detects the altitude of wherever you are and you choose the egg temperature – whether it has been in the fridge or at room temp. It then cleverly gives you time options for a soft, medium or hard boiled egg. After selecting just how you would like your egg it will give you eggsactly the time needed in the pan and even count it down for you. Our favourite feature is the ‘egg spy’ which shows how the egg is looking in the current state of cooking, from raw to boiled (kind of like an eggs-ray).
What will they think of next?
It’s almost February and there’s still a definite nip in the air – here at Omlet HQ we have our fingers crossed that it won’t snow again in a hurry, and we’re hoping the sun will start appearing soon. It won’t be long until the beekeeping season beegins and your chickens will start laying fully again. But for now, read all the latest in the world of Omlet to brighten your day.
Winter is a chilly time for all of us, including our chickens, but a thick coat of feathers stops hens from shivering through the snow showers. It’s not the best time to go through a moult, so when Sandra’s bantam Blanchein decided to do eggsactly that during the Winter freeze, she was wrapped in a snug little coat.
Blanchein didn’t fully appreciate her new Winter attire though and would only walk backwards while wearing it, so after three days Sandra gave up on it and brought her into the house instead. We hear the new feathers are now growing well so she will be cosy again in no time.
Eggs for Christmas
What did you ask for this Christmas? A widescreen tv? A pair of shoes? An Iphone? Well Hayden and Heath Kay got a very special treat – their chickens’ first eggs.
Their hens Bolt and Rocky had been with them for 8 weeks before Christmas and they had been checking the Eglu Cube every day in the hope of finding an egg, with no result. Amongst all the eggcitement of Christmas day they were delighted to find not one, but two eggs. We think the shock of seeing Santa flying through the sky must have made them lay!
We’ve never had eggs with our Christmas dinner before, but we bet it would be eggsquisite!
In the last newsletter we asked you to make the most of the snow and send us your photos. You didn’t disappoint, and all your brilliant pics go to show what fun you had. Our favourite photo was from the Steel family, of the final touches being made to an impressive giant snow chicken. It looks as though they have had eggsperience in building snow poultry before. You will be receiving some goodies shortly.
The eggsperts say we will be getting another cold spell shortly so we can eggspect so see snow chickens in gardens all over the country once more. Maybe there will be some rabbits popping up this time too!
It’s always nice to hear from happy Omlet customers, and this month we received a letter from a lady passionate about her eglu and chickens. She wrote us this poem, and we couldn’t resist sharing it with you!
Two young ladies came into our lives
Neither is married nor yet to be wives
They came unexpected. They brought their own space
A tidy abode, so expensive a place
There’s a sleeping compartment, there’s exercise for the mood
Water laid on, and a good store of food
They are quietly behaving, in their own place
An example to any of the human race
* * *
Oh yes, you must see. I haven’t said
“These lovely young ladies are specially bred”
We feed ’em and cosset ’em and what do they do?
They lay us two eggs and leave fertiliser too. (poo)
Money Saving Eggspert
Could you give Martin Lewis a run for his money? With many of us watching the pennies and trying to be more eco-friendly these days, we are looking for someone to write a newsletter column every month on saving money. Think ‘how to make your own soap’, ‘what to do with empty jars’ and ‘how to make the most of your leftovers’.
If you enjoy reading our newsletter and you would like to be a part of it (and get paid for the privilege) just email email@example.com with your top money saving tip!
Do you Tweet?
Now for some eggciting news if you are familiar with the world of tweets. No, we are not talking about birds in the garden singing songs, we mean the 21st century craze that every celebrity is taking part in. And we have now joined the Twitter phenomenom. Follow us and you will be the first to know what is happening in the world of Omlet. Click here to follow!
Can you Flip the Perfect Pancake
Yes, we know it’s still January, but with just over two weeks to go until pancake day we thought it was about time to give you your first reminder of the annual pancake flippping competition. There is lots of time to practise your flipping before the big day so there are no eggscuses not to see some cracking photos. Use this time wisely; perfect your pancake batter, discover the most effeggtive cooking temperature and get that wrist action accurate. Then the only thing you need to worry about is getting someone to take photo eggsactly when your pancake’s mid flip.
Send your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org by 21st Feb and you could win £20 to spend in the Omlet shop!
The Omlet Team
P.S. Don’t forget it’s not long ’til Valentine’s day so if you want to buy a gift with a difference check out our range!
Happy new year to all! Yes, the day has finally come for the first newsletter of 2010 and you must all be breathing a sigh of relief to hear from us again. Christmas may have been and gone but the winter weather is hanging around, so we hope this newsletter brightens your day. Enjoy!
And the Winners are…
We’ve made you wait a whole month for this newsletter so you must have all been checking your inboxes every day for the results of the two christmas competitions we set you. The moment has finally arrived to reveal the winners…we know you’re eggcited.
We asked you what you get if you cross Father Christmas with a duck. And the answer is Christmas Quackers! Lots of you emailed with the right answer but Adrianne Pizer was the winner this time. Our best-selling soldier egg cup is on its way to you!
The christmas crossword was a bit more of a challenge and hopefully you enjoyed having a go at it during the festive holiday. Most of you got the answer, but for those of you that were left scratching your head, the secret word was Christmas Tree. Our lucky winner was Karen Hall, who will receive a £25 voucher to spend in the Omlet shop. We hope you enjoy your new year treat.
With the cold weather showing no sign of budging anytime soon we have been receiving a lot of calls from eglu owners worried about their chickens. There’s no need to panic – as Barbara eggsplains later on in the newsletter they will be fine in their eglu during these freezing temperatures. There are a few products that will benefit your hens during the winter chill though:
Petroleum Jelly – 450g
Protect hens from getting frostbite on their combs by rubbing on some petroleum jelly a couple of times a day.
Snugglesafe Microwave Heatpad with Cover
Heatpad will provide your pets with warm, cushiony comfort wherever and whenever they might need it.
Keep your little darlings dry and comfortable in the winter months when they’re out in the run.
Speaking of snow it looks like lots of you have been having fun in this winter weather. There have been snow chickens popping up in the forum again and we have been very impressed by your creativity. As the snow is still falling in parts of the country why not make the most of it, and if you haven’t yet, build a snow chicken too!
And so the launch of the 2010 snow chicken competition begins…Send us your photos of your eggstraordinary sculptures and we will feature them in the next newsletter. And don’t worry if you’ve made something else out of snow, whether it’s a traditional snowman or an eglu, our favourite will win a selection of goodies from the Omlet shop.
Inspired by the photos in this newsletter? If you think you can do better what are you waiting for? Get outside and build that snow chicken! Send your photos to email@example.com. Photos of real pet chickens in the snow also welcomed.
Were you lucky enough to find an Omlet 2010 Calendar under the Christmas tree? If Father Christmas disappointed you this year and you have spent the last two weeks missing dentist appointments and forgetting your Aunt’s birthday, there is still time to get your mitts on a calendar. We have a few left and they are now available at the reduced price of £5.00 – a small price to pay for staying organised through the year! Click here to buy yours now (and start writing in those birthday’s straight away!)
If you were a lucky recipient of our fabulous calendar you might be looking through and thinking you want to star in the next calendar. Well, it might only be January but we thought we would give you plenty of notice this time. Our calendar theme for 2011 is…Ordinary Chickens. No that is not a typo. It may sound like a title you are familiar with, but this will be very different. We agree plain old pictures of hens would be boring, so we’ve added a twist – these ordinary chickens need to be doing eggstraordinary things. Think chickens mowing the lawn, baking a cake or building a sandcastle…
We can’t wait to see what you come up with. Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please sent photos at 300dpi.
Bees Buzz into 2010
Have you made any new year resolutions this month? Perhaps you want to beecome a bit more self sufficient and do you bit for the environment? If you started keeping chickens last year maybe the next step for you is to keep bees. The Mail on Sunday’s You Magazine recently featured the A to Z of the hottest lifestyle trends for 2010, and keeping bees was one of the ‘must-do’s’.
Although it’s still snowing it won’t be long before the sun is out and we will all have a spring in our step. Spring is the perfect season to start your new beekeeping hobby and you can order your Beehaus starter kit right now to bee prepared. Click here to find out more!
It appears it is true that kids prefer to play with the box than the toy inside, as this photo proves. Sophia, Leon, Lena, Josh and George have transformed the box from their Eglu into the country’s first Eglu Stores. It is the one stop shop for free range eggs. We love what these budding hentrepreneurs have done, but one thing was missing t – all shop workers should have a uniform, so we have sent them all some Omlet badges to wear with pride while serving their customers.
So, the question is, what else can you do with an Eglu box? If your children (or yourselves) have turned the Eglu box into a car, boat or house, send us a photo. We might just send you something back!
A Tale about Quail
And now for some eggciting news…The Eglu Go and several quail will be appearing on the Alan Titchmarsh show on Monday. Alan himself keeps chickens in an Eglu, but after this brilliant feature we think he might be persuaded to get some new pets too. You can see the Eglu on ITV at 5pm on Monday. Don’t miss it!