The school summer holidays are in full swing and there’s no better time to do some baking with the kids! Ruby and Harry decided they would like to make some treats for their Syrian Hamster called Ginny!!
So here’s a simple recipe to make some yummy Crunchy Honey Delights!
Cheerios (sugar-free kind)
1. Add sesame seeds and oats into a bowl
2. Crush the Cheerios in a small bag, don’t crush them into dust, just small pieces
3. Add the Cheerios to the sesame seeds and oats and mix together
4. Drizzle honey over the mixture and coat well
5. Use your fingers to mold the mixture into small balls that your hamster can hold,
then put them on a baking tray and into the fridge for 15 minutes
6. Heat your oven to 190 degrees and bake treats for 8-10 minutes and then let them cool completely
7. It’s time for the taste test….. does Ginny like the new treats….?
8. Ginny loved the Crunchy Honey Delights!
Happy Baking and remember to only give your Hamster little treats once or twice a week!
This entry was posted in Recipes on July 31st, 2018 by helenkennedy
Raspberry & Lemon Meringue Roulade
We’ve always been fans of a super summer pavlova for dessert, but this year have been rolling up all that yumminess into a meringue roulade that guarantees a taste of all the flavours in every spoonfull!
Ingredients for meringue:
6 Eggs (whites only)
300g Caster Sugar
25g Caster Sugar for sprinkling
1 tsp Cornflour
1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
Ingredients for filling:
400ml Double Cream, whipped
Small jar Lemon Curd (homemade if possible)
2 punnets of Fresh Raspberries
Icing sugar for dusting
1) Preheat the oven to 180c, line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment.
2) Whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks.
3) Sprinkle the cornflour and white wine vinegar over the whisked egg whites then add the sugar steadily whilst still whisking.
4) Spread the meringue mixture onto the lined baking tray.
5) Bake for 10 mins at 180c then turn the oven down to 160c and bake for another 10 mins until the meringue is starting to colour and is firm to touch.
6) Lay a clean tea towel on the work surface, place a sheet of parchment over the top and sprinkle with 25g caster sugar.
7) Take the baked meringue out of the oven and turn upside down on the prepared sugar dusted parchment, remove the baking sheet, allow to cool completely.
8) Once the meringue is cool, peel off the sheet of baking parchment that it was baked on and spread the whipped cream over the whole area of of the meringue.
9) Dollop/spread spoonfuls of lemon curd at regular intervals over the cream and scatter the raspberries on top.
10) Using the parchment paper for support, carefully roll the meringue to resemble a swiss roll, ensuring the parchment and tea towel don’t get caught up in the dessert!.
11) Transfer to a serving platter, dust with icing sugar and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Hen Corner
This entry was posted in Recipes on July 25th, 2018 by helenkennedy
Hamsters are rodents from the subfamily Cricetinae. They were brought to the United States from Syria in 1936
There are approximately 25 species of hamster. There are 4 basic breeds of hamsters, namely the Syrian, Russian Dwarf, Chinese and Roborovski hamsters
Hamster comes from the German word hamstern,” which means “to hoard.” Even domesticated hamsters will hoard, despite the fact that they don’t need to.
After hamsters are born, it’s nearly two weeks before they’ll open their eyes.
Hamsters do not have good eyesight, they are nearsighted and also colour-blind.
Hamsters rely on scent to find their way. They have scent glands which they rub on objects along a path.
Syrian hamsters live 2 – 3 years in captivity, and less in the wild. Other popular pet types such as Russian dwarf hamsters live about 2- 4 years in captivity.
Hamsters range in size from the largest breed, the European hamster at 13.4 in (34 cm) long, to the smallest, the dwarf hamster at 2 – 4 in (5.5 – 10.5 cm) long.
Hamsters’ incisor teeth never stop growing and they have a ‘self-sharpening’ system where the incisors grind against each other while gnawing, which wears the teeth down.
Hamsters breed in the spring & summer and will produce several litters per year. The average litter size is around 7 pups (babies), however, it is possible for some hamsters to have up to 24 in one litter!
Hamsters have large cheeks in which they carry food back to their burrows. Full pouches can make their heads double or sometimes triple in size!
The typical hamster diet consists of seeds, nuts, grained, cracked corn, and certain kinds of fruits and vegetables. Hamsters in the wild may eat other small animals like lizards and frogs, but not pet hamsters!
This entry was posted in Pet Advice on July 24th, 2018 by helenkennedy
Many of us would agree that there are few things nicer on a hot summer’s day than a trip to the beach, and as long as you come prepared there is no reason to leave your pooch at home. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for dogs, and you can stay as long as you like without having to worry about getting home to let the dog out!
There are however a few things you need to do before you leave, and some things that are good to know when it comes to dogs and the beach. Here are our best tips for a successful outing!
Find a dog-friendly beach
Dogs are not always allowed on public beaches, but there is normally an area close-by where you can take your dog. Search for a dog-friendly beach nearby, read up on the rules, and make sure you follow them!
Keep an eye on your dog
Even if you’re at a dog-friendly beach you must always keep an eye on your dog, and show consideration to the other beach goers and dog owners. No one appreciates being sprayed with water from a wet dog as they’re relaxing with a good book! If you’re not absolutely sure your dog will come when you call or stay close to you, it might be best to keep it on the lead. Omlet stocks several leads in different lengths so that you can adjust how far the dog will be allowed to wander.
You also have to make sure your dog stays safe at the beach. Dogs are amazing at finding things in the sand that might not be good for them, everything from leftover barbecue ingredients to rotting fish. Glass, sharp shells, or even old fish hooks may hide in the sand, and can hurt your dog’s precious paws.
Teach your dog to swim
Many believe that all dogs know how to swim, but that is not the case. Even if all dogs will automatically paddle their feet if you put them in the water, there are several dog breeds that aren’t built to stay floating. Breeds with large heads and short legs will struggle to keep their head over the surface to breathe. If your dog seems to love swimming but you’re not completely sure about their ability, it might be a good idea to invest in a doggy life jacket.
That being said, there are lots of dogs that don’t really enjoy the water, or who will be perfectly happy running around in the shallow parts where they don’t have to swim. Never force a dog to come swimming with you!
Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, it’s important for you as an owner to keep an eye on them as they’re out in the water. Make sure you stay informed about currents in the water, and don’t let the dog in if there are high waves or lots of boats or jet skis around. Dogs can easily get too excited in the water and swim out into deep waters, where the current might be much stronger. You also have to supervise dogs playing and swimming with children.
Make sure you pack everything you need for a day at the beach. Dogs will need plenty of fresh water, so get enough for the whole family. It’s a good idea to have a collapsible water bowl, so you don’t have to make your dog drink straight from the bottle. This way you can also keep track of how much water the dog has actually had.
Bring toys that will entertain your dog throughout the day. If you’re able to throw balls or other toys down the beach, that is a perfect activity that will entertain your dogs, and give it a good amount of exercise. Just make sure the toys float if they end up in the water.
If you’re staying at the beach for a few hours, or maybe even the whole day, it’s important to make sure the dog can get some shade. If you’re not sure whether there are shaded areas where you’re going or not, bring a parasol or a small beach tent where the dog can relax during the hottest hours of the day.
Before you leave
Make sure you leave nothing behind, and clean up after yourself and your dog!
If there are taps or beach showers where you are, you might want to rinse your dog before you leave for the day. Salt can cause irritation to the dog’s skin, and sand can get in their eyes as they’re trying to get rid of it from their faces, which can cause eye infections and lots of discomfort. The dog will probably also have been exposed to plenty of dirt and bacteria during all the exploring.
If you can’t find any fresh water at the beach, it might be a good idea to scrub your dog with a towel before you get in the car (maybe mainly to not end up with a desert in the boot), and then give him or her a quick bath when you get home.
This entry was posted in Pet Advice on July 4th, 2018 by helenkennedy
Did you know that chickens can’t sweat? Instead, chickens use their legs, combs and wattles to lead heat away from their bodies. They also pant and spread their wings in order to get some air through those feathers. Chickens also enjoy lying down in the shade when it’s very hot, and of course they drink lots of water. Did you know that it is actually easier for chickens to keep themselves warm in winter than it is for them to cool down during the summer? It isn’t just an issue of comfort either – chickens can die of heatstroke. Since chickens have a hard time cooling themselves down, when it gets extremely hot they rely on you to help them. So, what can you do to help your chickens keep cool in the summer heat?
Here are our 7 top tips:
Eggs consist mainly of water, so producing an egg absorbs a lot of water from a hen’s body. Drinking cool water is also one of the main ways in which chickens cool themselves down. Your chickens will therefore need lots of fresh, clean and cool water in the heat of the summer. It’s best to change the water every day to make sure they have this. It is also a good idea to provide several water sources so all your chickens can drink at the same time and don’t have to fight for access and end up dehydrating.
Another way you can use water to help your chickens cool down is by providing some shallow pools where they can dip and cool their feet and legs, remember that this is one of the areas where heat leaves their bodies. Try filling some shallow bowls or tubs and leaving them around in the run or your garden. If your chickens don’t like to stand directly in the water you can try placing a brick in there which will be cooled by the water and which the chickens can then stand on top of.
It is absolutely essential to provide shade for your chickens and even more so when it gets really hot. If you let your chickens free-range in the garden they might be able to find shade under trees and bushes but in any case it is a good idea to provide shade in the run as well. You can easily create shady spots in the run for instance by having a raised coop and/or attaching covers to the run.
3) Treats and Feeding
Try giving you hens some cool treats such as frozen berries, vegetables or pieces of fruit. You could even create hanging treats by freezing your chickens’ favourite treats in an ice cube tray with a string in the middle so they can hang in the run. Or try keeping a whole watermelon in the fridge to cool it down before serving as a summery treat.
Be careful not to give your chickens too many treat though, as you want to make sure they eat their layers pellets. Chickens eat less when it’s extremely hot because digestion produces more body heat, so it’s important to make sure they eat the right things and get the vitamins and minerals they need. Try feeding your chickens during the cooler parts of the day such as in the evening. See tip #4 as well.
4) Nutritional Supplements
It is a good idea to give your hens some nutritional supplements in the heat such as vitamins and tonics which can be added directly to their food or water. These can improve absorption of minerals, give your chickens a boost to improve their overall health and help them cope better with the heat.
Apple cider vinegar, for instance, can help with calcium absorption in the body which is essential for egg shell production.
5) Dust Baths
Chickens love to dust bathe in the warm weather, but you might not want them scraping around in your flower beds. The best thing to do is to build another flower bed (but not for your flowers) and fill it with some sand, soil and some louse powder. If you have a large flock you might even want to provide several spaces so all your chickens have a chance to dust bathe in the shade.
Make sure that you place the dust bath in a sheltered spot or cover it up when your chickens aren’t using it otherwise the rain might turn it into a mud bath.
Your chickens will need plenty of space during the hot summer months so make sure they aren’t overcrowded. It will be even hotter for them if they are crowded too closely together. Chickens need to be able to spread out and spread their wings for ventilation, and everyone in the flock needs to be able to drink cool water and lie in the shade at any time.
7) Cool Coop
All Omlet Eglu chicken coops have a unique twin-wall insulation system which works in a similar way to double glazing. This means they do not overheat in the summer. They are also built with a draught-free ventilation system, carefully designed to avoid air blowing directly over the roosting area whilst allowing fresh air to circulate.
If you have a wooden chicken coop, it is important to think about how you can keep the coop nice and cool for your chickens. Make sure you create plenty of ventilation either by opening windows in the coop or by using a fan. Be careful not to have too much thick and heavy bedding as it absorbs heat. Also keep an eye out for mould if you’ve got a wooden coop. Mould can make straw and hay start to rot faster, thereby producing more heat, so make sure you clean out the coop regularly and especially at any signs of mould.
If your chickens are reluctant to go into the hot coop during the day to lay their eggs you could try providing nesting boxes for them outside in cooler, shaded areas.
We wish you and your chickens a lovely summer!
Sources: https://www.fresheggsdaily.com, http://www.henrescue.org, https://www.omlet.dk, https://www.backyardchickens.com
This entry was posted in Pet Advice on July 2nd, 2018 by helenkennedy
Rocky is a Medical Alert Assistance Dog and a fantastic companion for 7 year old Josh who has unexplained hypoglycemia and Epilepsy and has had many hospital stays since he was born. Rocky has been trained by the Medical Detection Dogs charity to alert Josh’s family when his blood sugars drop dangerously low and could trigger a seizure.
We spoke to Josh’s mum Paula to find our more about this delightful friendship!
What type of dog is Rocky? He’s a Cockapoo
How old is he? He’ll be 2 on the 28th September. He joined our family when he was 9 weeks old.
What does Rocky do to help Josh on a daily basis?
Rocky spends all his time with Josh and alerts us when his blood sugars drop too low by sense of smell. Josh has unexplained hypoglycemia along with epilepsy and his seizures can be triggered by low blood sugar. We test Josh’s blood sugar numerous times a day but are extremely lucky to have Rocky with us who has alerted us many times when his blood sugars drop to a dangerous level which has fortunately stopped things escalating to a medical emergency. Rocky sleeps in Josh’s room and we are confident he will come and wake us if he ever senses a problem.
If Rocky wants to alert Josh, he stands on his back legs and puts his paws on Josh’s shoulder and licks his face. If Josh is asleep he comes to find me and licks my hands to wake me.
Did the Medical Detection Dog Charity advise you about what type of dog to get? We had spoken with the charity prior to buying Rocky and knew what to look for when looking for a puppy to give us the best possible chance of buying a puppy that we may be able to train successfully. Obviously we knew there were no guarantees on this and also looked for a puppy we thought would be the ‘best fit’ as our new family member.
Did you have to crate train him or was he already crate trained when you got him? We chose to crate train. He was used to a crate from being with Mum so it was very straight forward. He took his blanket in with him and was always happy. The training we did with Rocky with the crate was very easy, primarily due to him already being used to one.
During Rocky’s Medical Detection Dog training did you have to attend lots of classes? Rocky and I used to have one to one training on a weekly basis. Josh attended the training whenever possible. I would also send off any records of alerting behaviours along with all of Josh’s blood sugar recordings.
What did the training include? Where was the training held? The training was held at a variety of places. It included public access, off lead walking, heal work, distraction work etc etc. We had a train trip, a bus trip, taxi ride, public access – so inside shops, supermarkets etc, in school, busy places and quieter places, all to see how Rocky would react. And of course, a vet visit.
How long did the training take from start to finish? Rocky qualified at 18 months of age. The youngest possible age to qualify. We were training with him from the moment he came home at 9 weeks of age.
Do you have to go for additional training even now he has qualified? We have a first post qualification check 6 months from qualification and then every 12 months after. If we come across any problems at all at any point, we are fully encouraged to speak with MDD for full support wherever it is needed. We will also attend regular refresher training to ensure Rocky maintains his high standard of behaviour and alerting.
What type of treats do you feed Rocky as a reward? Rocky always has the same reward, dehydrated hotdog sausage – his absolute favourite!
Is Rocky allowed to go everywhere with Josh?
Yes he is. Rocky has to wear his ‘Medical Alert Assistance Dog’ tabbard whenever we are out in public and is allowed in all public access areas including shops, restaurants, beaches and cinemas.
Rocky and Josh are best friends. Josh trusts Rocky completely and understands that he helps to keep him safe. Rocky is simply a life changing member of our family.
Medical Detection Dogs is a fabulous charity that trains dogs to detect the odour of human disease. It is at the forefront of the research into the fight against cancer and helping people with life-threatening diseases. To find out more about the amazing work that they do click here
If you are looking to crate train your dog, click here to find out more about the new Fido Nook 2in1 Luxury Dog Bed and Crate
This entry was posted in Interviews on July 2nd, 2018 by helenkennedy