The Omlet Blog

Date Archives: April 2019

Deep-cleaning an Eglu Go or Eglu Go Up with a Steam Cleaner

Using a steam cleaner to clean any Eglu can be a very effective way. It will not affect the plastic, whereas all surfaces are cleaned, disinfected, and all killed mites, insects and dust are blown away by the power of the steam. As a bonus the surfaces will be dry in no time, because the plastic is warmed up.

Deep-cleaning an Eglu Go once or twice a year is extra easy if one follows these steps:

1. Take of the top panel (lid)

2. Unscrew both side panels and bumpers, and take these off as well. For a complete cleaning you may want to disconnect the run as well.

3. You now have access to all inner and outer surfaces. Clean them thoroughly with the steam cleaner, if required using an old dish brush as well.

4. Clean the bumpers, panels and top lid in the same way.

5. Re-assemble the run and the coop.

This cleaning method has been used for several years now by our Dutch team-member and is guaranteed to keep your Eglu in a top condition, without damaging any parts!

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This entry was posted in Chickens on April 30th, 2019 by linnearask


FREE Feldy’s Chicken Pecker Balls with First 40 orders of the NEW Caddi

To celebrate the launch of our NEW Caddi Chicken Treat Holder, we are including a pack of the exclusive Feldy’s Chicken Pecker Balls with the first 40 orders of the Caddi. Simply quote discount code CADDI at checkout to claim your treat ball pack.

The NEW Caddi Chicken Treat Holder is the ideal way of feeding your chickens fresh fruit and vegetables. The Caddi Treat Holder keeps food off the ground, which is healthier for your hens, improves run cleanliness, reduces food wastage and keeps pests away. As an added benefit your chickens will enjoy the fun and interactive experience of foraging their treats from the swinging feeder.

The Caddi measures a generous 20cm top to bottom and 8cm across. It is made from heavy duty welded steel with a waterproof rain cap, and thanks to the adjustable nylon string you can hang it in all types of chicken runs, including the Eglu runs and Omlet’s Walk in Chicken Run.

A range of quality, high energy chicken feed balls has been developed specifically for use with the Caddi Treat Holder. Feldy Chicken Pecker Balls are ideal for placing in the treat holder for your hens to peck away at, and they offer a high quality and practical treat solution for your hens. This high energy feed supplement helps to improve your flock’s condition, feathering and health and features added calcium for the production of top quality eggshells!

Use the code CADDI at checkout to see if you made it in time to get a free pack of Feldy Chicken Pecker Balls with your Caddi order!


Terms and Conditions
Free pack of 6 Feldy’s Chicken Pecker Balls is only valid with orders of the Caddi Chicken Treat Holder and Caddi Chicken Treat Holder Twin Pack. Use code CADDI at checkout. The first 40 worldwide orders of the Caddi Chicken Treat Holder will receive the FREE pack of Feldy’s Chicken Pecker Balls pack. If the promotion code does not apply to your basket, the first 40 orders have been placed and the code has now expired. The free bundle are subject to change. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point.

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This entry was posted in Chickens on April 29th, 2019 by linnearask


Fun and mentally stimulating ways to feed your dog

For most pet dogs meal time isn’t very challenging time of the day. Typically owners only put the food bowl down and leave them to it. If this suits you and your dog that’s absolutely fine, but they would without a doubt not have been served food in this way in the wild. Instead they would have had to scavenge and hunt for their meals, keeping both mind and body active. If you feel like you would like to challenge your dog and enrich their daily routine, then making some changes to their meal times can be a good start.

Adding more mental stimulation to your dog’s life can have several benefits. It keeps them busy and tires them out in a similar way to a long walk. Many dog owners forget about challenging their dogs mentally, and when they encounter problems with boredom and linked behavioral issues like chewing, pacing, jumping and barking, they just presume they need to increase the physical exercise. This helps, but it doesn’t satisfy your dog’s hunger for mental stimulation.

Mentally stimulated dogs are not as hyperactive, and they tend to adapt more easily to stress. This is useful if you’ve got a very worried pup who shows aggression towards other dogs walking past the house, struggles with separation anxiety or gets stressed during thunderstorms or fireworks.

Brain games are therefore a brilliant way of tiring your dog out for the evening, or before you leave for work in the morning. By combining this with their normal feeding time, it won’t take much longer than normal, and your dog will love the extra challenge. Additionally you don’t have to worry about giving your dog too many treats as they are rewarded with food they would have eaten anyway.

So what are some fun ways of mentally stimulating your dog during meal times?

The aim is that it should take your dog 10-15 minutes to finish their food. Make sure you supervise your dog the first few times you’re trying a new way of feeding.

Our first tip is nose work. Using their nose comes naturally to dogs, and searching for their food will definitely add stimulation to their daily routine. Scatter the food in the garden so that your dog will have to sniff around to find it. You can also do this indoors, but it might be good to choose a room that’s easy to clean and where the pieces of food won’t get stuck under furniture. If you want to make it even more challenging you can hide little heaps of food under a bush, on a window sill or behind some flower pots. If your dog doesn’t get the game, start with something that smells a bit more than their normal dry food.

Our second suggestion is puzzles and food dispensing toys. The Classic Kong is the most well known food dispensing toy, but you can also find treat balls and complicated puzzles that provide your dog with a harder challenge before they are rewarded with food. The idea with most of these is that your dog will have to move the toy around the floor or press certain parts of the toy to make the food fall out. Dogs absolutely love this, and as they get rewarded again and again it can keep them entertained for hours.

If you don’t want to buy toys you can make some yourself. Try putting the food in a cereal box and taping it shut, in a toilet roll with folded sides, or in a plastic bottle with some holes cut out where the food can fall out. This can get a bit messy, and definitely noisy, but it’s worth it when you see your dog running around trying to get into the box, tail wagging with excitement.

You can also use mealtime as an opportunity to practice tricks and teach your dog new ones. Don’t ask your dog to do the same tricks every meal time, as it will just become a part of the routine, and not challenging or mentally stimulating. By using this time for training you are able to give your dog more than just the one treat at a time, as it’s the food he or she is supposed to eat anyway. This will form a stronger positive association, and your dog might learn faster.

Another thing you can do to change the daily routine is to change the texture of the food. If your dog normally gets wet food, try freezing it into little discs or cubes that they will love crunching on. If your dog gets dry food you can mush it up with a bit of yoghurt or water. It’s all about novelty and enriching your dog’s daily routine!

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This entry was posted in Dogs on April 25th, 2019 by linnearask


Should I shut the door to my Eglu at night?

Here at Omlet we often receive calls from aspiring chicken keepers who are seeking chicken keeping advice before getting their first birds. Some of the most popular questions we get asked are, what should I feed my chicken with or how can I protect my chickens from predators? One question that keeps coming up is, do I need to shut the Eglu door at night?

Often people ask us this question because the idea of adding another task to their daily routine might be one of the reasons which puts them off chicken keeping. Much like you wouldn’t like to sleep with your front door open, unfortunately for chicken keepers, nor do your chickens, therefore most nights we would recommend you close the chicken coop door.
But having to close the door doesn’t necessarily mean that it would need to be done by the chicken keeper themselves! Have you ever thought about automatic door system? Well luckily for chicken keepers, Omlet has recently launched a new Autodoor which will solve all of these problems.
Even though our Eglus are specially designed to keep your chickens warm in winter with a unique twin-wall insulation system which works in a similar way to double glazing, leaving the door open overnight would let the cold enter inside which might result in having frozen eggs after a freezing winter night and could make your chickens feel unwell. Which is why we strongly recommend you use the handle on top of the Eglu and simply lift and twist it to close the door in one convenient motion each evening after having make sure all your flock are inside
As important as it is to close the door to protect your hens from the cold, it is also important to do it to protect them from potential overnight predator attacks. Most predators would wait for the night to attack your chickens therefore by simply closing the door it would protect your flock from being attacked by predators such as racoons, foxes and coyotes.
Having said how important it is to close your chicken coop overnight we understand that not everyone has the luxury of being at home every night to close the coop door especially for people working late shifts that are often home well after the sun sets. That is why we recently launched an automatic chicken coop door that can be attached directly to any wooden chicken coop, wire or the Omlet Eglu Cube Mk1 and Mk2.

Much like a personal chicken coop concierge, the Autodoor will always make sure your chicken’s coop is securely closed at night even when you’re running late. Whether you decide to use the light or time mode, the Omlet  secure and safe Autodoor will either open and close at dawn and dusk or at specific times that you have programmed it to. In addition to being designed to be used in different modes the Autodoor has a unique safety sensor detecting any blockages to prevent your chickens from being injured when they decide to stop half way through the door.
Benefits of the Omlet Automatic Chicken Coop Door:

  • Easy to install, no maintenance required
  • Operated by light sensor or timer
  • Powered by battery
  • Works with all wooden chicken coops
  • Improves coop security and insulation
  • Compatible with the Eglu Cube
  • Reliable in all weather conditions
  • Built-in safety sensors
  • Can be used with any chicken run or mesh

To summarise, closing the coop door is definitely the recommended action for every chicken keeper in order to protect their chickens from the cold and predators however this task can easily be completed by an Autodoor.
Check out the review below to see what one of our Autodoor owners thinks of this new product:

Thank you Omlet for a wonderful product and great service. The door arrived quickly, very well packaged and my concerns over fitting it were unfounded as I was able to complete the task completely unaided. The door is easy to operate and means my girls are safely tucked up at dusk and I do not have to get up ridiculously early to open the coop and stop them hollering!” – Wendy

Read more reviews

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This entry was posted in Chickens on April 24th, 2019 by linnearask


8 Quotes Every Chicken Keeper Can Relate to

1. ”I’m thinking of selling the TV, I just watch the chickens anyway.”

 

2. “I’m feeling a bit low today, so I’m just going to hang out with the chickens for a bit.”

 

3. “Yes, we had a lovely holiday. But I spent most of it worrying about my chickens.”

 

4. “Sorry I’m late, I just had to check on my chickens before I left.”

 

5. “I tried to have a lie in this morning, but my chickens were hungry.”

 

6. “A day when I don’t get to hug a chicken is not a day worth living.”

 

7. Colleagues: So, have you got any exciting plans for the weekend?
Me: Chickens.

 

8. Me then: 3 sounds like a good number of chickens.
Me now: 🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓

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This entry was posted in Chickens on April 23rd, 2019 by linnearask


WIN 1 of 5 £200 Omlet Gift Vouchers this Easter

To celebrate the long Easter weekend we are giving you the chance to WIN a £200 Omlet gift voucher to spend on your pet. All you have to do is tell us how many rabbits are hidden in the image below… Head to the competition page here to submit your entry!

There will be 5 winners chosen from the Omlet community so don’t miss your chance to enter to win this amazing prize and a chance to treat your pet.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition closes at midnight on the 22nd of April 2019. To enter you must complete this competition entry page. There are 5 x £200 Omlet gift vouchers to giveaway. The winners will be randomly selected from all those entrants who have provided the correct answer and notified within 7 days of the competition closing. The 5 winners will be notified via the email address you provide when entering the competition. If we do not get a response to the email within 7 days, the prize will be offered to a runner-up.

Prizes cannot be transferred to cash. This competition is not open to Omlet employees or members of their immediate families. Likewise, it is not open to the Employees of Omlet Partners who may be involved in promoting this competition. Omlet may cancel or amend any competition, competition information, or these terms and conditions without prior notice. Any changes will be posted either within the competition information or these terms and conditions. No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are lost or delayed, or which are not received for any reason. No prize will be awarded where any entrant has committed any form of misconduct (as determined by Omlet in its sole discretion). Only one entry per household. Any personal information relating to entrants will be used solely by us in accordance with applicable data protection legislation. All prize-winners agree to participate in any reasonable post-competition publicity as requested by Omlet.

By signing up to the Omlet Newsletter, you will be the first to hear about offers, competitions, new products, recipes, pet advice and much much more! You can unsubscribe from the Omlet Newsletter at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails

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This entry was posted in Competitions on April 18th, 2019 by chloewelch


7 Expert Tips When Introducing Your New Dog to a Flock of Chickens

You’ve seen it on some TV programmes or driven past small-holdings and seen canines and chooks living in harmony.  Maybe they are a working dog? Maybe they are a family dog? How do they do it?  We have put together 7 expert tips to help you introduce your new dog to a flock of chickens.

Understand How Dogs and Animals Learn

Our canine companions, on the whole, are super intelligent and trainable, providing we know how they learn and what we need to do to train them.  Introducing them to our chooks can be done and co-habiting harmony does exist. It’s through this small thing we call desensitization. Stay with us for a short Psych 101 and we promise it’ll be worth it.

Desensitization is a process where, through graded exposure, an emotional response is diminished and adapted to a specific stimulus.

Now, what the heck does that mean I hear you yell?

In short, you expose your dog to your chooks, from a distance.  As he behaves how you expect him to, you gradually move him closer to the chooks.  You eventually get to the stage, that through the gradual exposure, he’s not that interested in the chooks after all.  His emotional response has diminished, and he has adapted which results in a calm response.

Stay Safe

Start with your chooks in their coop or a fenced in area.  Keep your dog on leash and feed him treats, providing he is ignoring the chooks.  If he is paying too much attention to them, move to a greater distance.  The aim is to find a distance where he is not having any emotional response towards them.

Grade the Exposure

Providing your dog is ignoring the chooks at a certain distance, you can move gradually closer to them.  Say you start at 50 feet away, slowly reduce to 45 feet, 40 feet and so on.  Continue to praise and reward him for ignoring them. Remember, you want his emotional response to diminish. Keep training sessions short, you don’t want to over tire your dog.  Some dogs get hyper-aroused just by being over-tired.

The Big Moment!

You’ve finally made it to near the chicken coop or fence, providing he is still pretty chilled out in ignorance of the chooks, ask him to sit next to the fence or coop.  Praise and reward.  If he behaves how you expect him to, lengthen the leash, so he can move around the border of the coop or fence, he can sniff and explore.  If he’s calm, the chooks may even come over to investigate.  Stay calm.  If he starts getting excited or lunges/barks at them, remove him to a safe distance where he will ignore them again.  You may need to do this a few times.  What he learns is that to be around the chooks, I must stay calm.  If your chooks will stay in a coop or fenced area, this may be where you spend the time repeating the behaviour and praising and rewarding.  You may sit with him with a chew or just work on some commands.  Again, the aim is to encourage him to ignore the chooks.

If you plan on having free range chickens, and canine and chooks will be mingling daily, read on.

The Great Escape

When you feel confident that your dog has so far, happily ignored the chooks and not shown any aggression or heightened arousal towards them, you can let them out of their coop/area to roam freely.  Keep your dog on his leash.  Ask him to sit or lay down if this makes you feel more comfortable.  As the chooks are roaming, providing your dog shows little interest, praise and reward him.  Again, you may want to give him a chew or even a slow feeding puzzle game.  He just needs to learn than he can co-exist with the chickens without interacting with them a great deal. 

Patience Is A Virtue

You may have to spend a significant amount of time working through these steps, but done in the right way, it will be worth it.  Whilst on leash you can walk him through the chooks, he may sniff, they may also show interest too.  The only behaviour you don’t want to see is aggression, lunging or chasing.  If this happens, go straight back to beginning and work on the gradual exposure again. 

Riding Solo?

The most nerve-wracking part will likely be when you feel he is ready to be let off leash to mingle on his own.  Again, take your time.  You may pop the chickens back in the coop and let him explore off leash around a fence.  You may prefer to put him on a long line (50ft) when in with the free-range chooks.  This way, he feels like he has more freedom, but you still have control if it goes pear shaped.  Be realistic though, some dogs just never quite make it to being able to mingle unsupervised with chooks, so watch the behaviour of your dog and make the call. 

Conclusion

Chooks to dogs are super-interesting, like most things.  The long and the short of it, successful introductions mean the chooks are no longer that interesting and your dog learns that to be around them he simply just needs to be calm.  Arm yourself with some high value treats, chews and any other slow feeder puzzles; start from a distance and encourage the behaviour you want to see.  Praise and reward when you do.  Grade the exposure.  Always stay calm and in control and don’t be afraid of going back to square one if things don’t go as you’d hoped.  It may take time, but it will be worth it when you have canine and chooks living in harmony.    


This post was written by John Wood at All Things Dogs.

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This entry was posted in Chickens on April 15th, 2019 by linnearask


Get 10% off & FREE delivery on all Zippi Tunnels and Runs

Upgrade your rabbit’s and guinea pig’s home with the range of Zippi Tunnels and Runs – now all with 10% off AND free delivery for a limited time only!

This offer is available on ALL Zippi Tunnels, Playpens, Runs and accessories, so you can create your pet’s perfect play area and save 10% with free and fast delivery – just in time for spring!

Use promo code ZIPPISAVE at checkout for free delivery!

Connect your rabbit’s or guinea pig’s hutch to a brand new run with the Zippi Tunnel System, perfect for providing your pet access to more space to play and exercise via the safe, predator proof tubes.

Available with a number of accessories to suit your needs, your very own Zippi Tunnel System can be easily designed with our online configurator, complete with lockable doors, hay racks, look out stations and more, or choose from one of our popular starter packs.

Designed to be easily connected to the Zippi Tunnels, the new range of Zippi Playpens and Runs provide a movable solution to giving your rabbit or guinea pig more space, making them happier and healthier.

The Zippi Playpen is an open style exercise and play space that provides easy access for children and pet owners alike and is great for interactive play. The Zippi Run offers a secure space for your rabbit to exercise unsupervised and comes with an enclosed roof and an option of underfloor mesh or a surrounding mesh skirt.

Don’t forget to complete your pet’s new play area with the range of Zippi weather protection so that playtime can carry on whatever the weather!

If you already have a Zippi Run you can now provide your pets with even more space, thanks to the Zippi Run Extensions.

 

 

Terms and Conditions
10% off and free delivery promotion is only valid from 12/04/19 – midnight on 26/04/19. 10% off requires no promo code. For free delivery use promo code ZIPPISAVE. This offer is available on all Zippi tunnels, accessories, playpens and runs only. Free delivery applies to order containing Zippi products to the minimum order value of £100. Offer applies to Standard Delivery Service only. Free delivery offer is not redeemable on pallet deliveries. Omlet cannot take responsibility for third party supplier delays such as courier service. Free delivery is only valid for orders shipped to the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and Spain.

Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer is only valid on items from our Zippi range and cannot be used on existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.

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This entry was posted in Offers and promotions on April 12th, 2019 by chloewelch


Make a super yummy carrot cake this Easter!

INGREDIENTS

Carrot Cake:

  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 150g softened butter (unsalted)
  • 100g natural yoghurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 300g shredded carrots
  • 3cm fresh ginger
  • 180g self-raising flour (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

For the Icing:

  • 50g icing sugar
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 lime
  • 100g walnuts

METHOD

1) Heat oven to 170 degrees. Line bottom and sides of two 20 cm round springform pans with parchment paper, then lightly spray pan with cooking spray. Whisk butter (room temperature), yoghurt, caster and dark brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt. Add the eggs one at a time. Stir in the grated carrots and ginger. Use a spatula to fold in the sifted flour and baking soda.

2) Pour the mixture into the springform pans and bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If any wet mixture clings to the skewer, return to the oven for 5 mins and check again. Leave to cool in the tins for two hours.

3) To make the icing, beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and lime juice and zest together. Remove the cakes from the tins and sandwich together with half the icing. Top with the remaining icing and walnuts.

Freshly baked carrot cake will keep well for about 1 week in the fridge when properly stored.
Best eaten at room temperature.

 

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This entry was posted in Recipes on April 11th, 2019 by linnearask


How to Convince your Family to Let you get Chickens

Whether you’re trying to convince your partner, housemate or parents to let you keep chickens, fear not, we have all the tricks of the trade to help get them on your side. Most importantly you are going to want to house your chicken in an Eglu, therefore immediately some of their reservations about chickens will be eliminated by the unique and innovative design features.

The Omlet guide for convincing anyone that you need to get chickens!


🥚 Don’t chickens need lots of space?

🐥 Answer: You may be surprised to hear that you can keep hens in a relatively small area. Chickens will appreciate as much space as you can give them so they can forage for food. If you are happy to give your chickens the whole garden then they will have more than enough space to be happy.

Ideally your garden should have a fence all the way round. This will prevent your chickens from wandering into the neighbour’s garden and, more importantly, ensure that all the eggs are laid on your side of the fence! The fence should be about 1.5m (5ft) high.

If you do not have grass, it is possible to keep a couple of chickens but you must provide them with a layer of wood chippings to rummage about in as this will give them the right type of surface underfoot.

 

🥚 Aren’t chickens a bit smelly?

🐥 Answer: Chickens smell lovely but maybe you mean isn’t their poo smelly? Well it’s not exactly perfume but chicken’s do 50% of their droppings at night and the Eglu is so easy to clean, in less than 5 minutes you can have it smelling like roses. The droppings are a great fertilizer too and will help produce amazing vegetables. We’ve even heard of one enterprising school child who started selling bags of chicken droppings to local allotment owners turning muck into brass and starting her entrepreneurial career early!

 

🥚 Ok so they aren’t smelly, but won’t they make a lot of mess?

🐥 Answer: The key to keeping things nice and tidy is having the right number of chickens for your garden, if you have a small garden then 2-3 hens are ideal, maybe consider bantams which are miniature chickens and perfect for even the smallest spaces. An Eglu is also easy to move, all models are available with wheels from the largest Eglu Cube to the smaller
Eglu Go and by moving them regularly chickens actually improve the grass by raking out moss and fertilizing it.

 

🥚 But we have lots of predators where we live…

🐥 Answer: Eglus are really secure chicken houses.  Eglu runs are made from strong steel weld mesh, impossible for predators to break. A unique anti-tunnel skirt sits flat on the ground and prevents animals from digging in. The unique tunnel-proof panels have been proven in rigorous testing to be predator resistant. The run means that when you are out and about you can be sure that your chickens are safe

We’ve even had bears try and fail to get in to an Eglu. Foxes, badgers and birds of prey are all put off by the anti-tunnel skirt and tamper proof design.

 

🥚 What about when we want to go on holiday?

🐥 Answer: Chickens live outdoors and you can leave them for a weekend with enough food and water. For longer periods your friends or neighbours will be happy to come and check on them, especially if they can help themselves to the fresh eggs.


Here’s some fail safe tricks you can try that should help nudge them in the right direction:

 

🐓 Subtle hints – Start leaving cutouts from the Omlet brochure or pictures from our website around the house. Particularly successful spots include the fridge door, bathroom mirror and on top of their pillow.

 

🐓 Taste test – Get a farm fresh egg and also a store bought egg, do a taste test showing the difference in both colour and taste.

 

🐓Rescuing hens – Show them success stories from rescue hen charities and explain how you can save these birds and give them a happy home.

 

🐓 They eat bugs – Chickens are great little workers, so long as you keep moving them about your garden they’ll eat all the nasty bugs and ticks that you can’t seem to get rid of.

 

🐓 Friendly pets – People will be surprised to find out that chickens are actually very friendly pets, each with their own personalities. See if you can find a friend who already has chickens that you can introduce your loved one to so they can have the opportunity to ‘hug a hen’ and see for themselves how nice these animals are. Alternatively local farms and petting zoos will most probably have chickens you can go to see.

 

🐓 Start ‘hypothetically’ naming them – Start giving your soon-to-be chickens names. Try and get your loved ones involved in the brainstorm and then they’ll start to see how much fun you can have. Hen Solo, Princess Lay-a, Cluck Rogers… the list goes on!

 

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This entry was posted in Chickens on April 11th, 2019 by linnearask


Step by Step Guide to Hatching Chicks

As long as your chickens are laying and there’s a cockerel in your flock, you can hatch and incubate chicks all year round. However, traditionally the most popular time to breed your own chickens is in the spring.
Hatching and rearing your own chicks from eggs is an incredibly exciting and rewarding process. There is nothing better than seeing your tiny chicks grow up in the knowledge that they are getting the best possible life from start to finish.The incubation period for chicken eggs is usually 21 days. The most reliable way to incubate your fertilised eggs and maximise the chance that they will hatch into healthy chicks is to use an artificial incubator. Here’s our step-by-step guide to hatching chicks:

1. Long Term Plan

Before the hatching starts, you will need to have a plan in place as to what you are going to do with the chickens once they hatch. It is a safe estimate that 25-50% of eggs will not hatch due to either not being fertilized or due to some mishaps during incubation. Among those which will hatch, approximately 50% will be cockerels and 50% will be hens. Everybody wants hens and hardly anyone needs cockerels, so there is a question of what to do with the latter. In many breeds, cockerels do not tolerate each other and they will fight vigorously unless they are completely separated.

2. Eggs

First of all, you need to be as sure as it is reasonably possible that the eggs are fertilized, so getting them from a good breeder / farmer is crucial. Eggs of some breeds are quite expensive, so every egg that will not hatch costs you money. A breeder can never give you a 100% guarantee that the egg is fertilized, but an experienced one can be quite confident they are.

The eggs should not have any deformations or bear any other visible defects. Any cracks in the eggshells are a no-go. Any defect of the eggshell might result in the chick having difficulty in hatching, being deformed, or not developing at all.

Once you have the eggs, it is a good practice to wash them with an egg disinfectant. Eggs are porous and the embryos get oxygen and water through their eggshells. If there are any toxins or bacteria on the eggshells, that might endanger the embryos.

3. Keep a Diary


It is a really good idea to keep a diary of hatching. This includes numbering the eggs and keeping a daily record of each eggs weight. A developing egg will gradually lose weight in its 21 days of incubation. It will lose about 10-15% of its original weight over time. When the egg in the incubator is not losing weight it usually means it is not developing.

4. Incubator

Turning

Choose your incubator carefully. Some incubators, such as the Brinsea Mini II Incubator have an Auto-turn mechanism built-in. Auto-turn saves you a lot of time and effort. Every egg during the incubation time needs to be turned every 90 minutes in order for the embryo to be positioned perfectly in the egg. A broody hen naturally turns all the eggs she is sitting on as she moves around the nest, so the turning simulates what naturally happens when a hen takes care after eggs. If the incubator does not have the Auto-turn option, you will need to turn the eggs manually. It is therefore a good practice to mark all eggs with a non-toxic marker just to be sure that every egg is being turned every time you visit them.

Temperature control

A good incubator will be able to keep a steady temperature within. One that we recommend is the Brinsea Mini II Incubator.  The optimal temperature for hatching chicks is 37.5 degrees Celsius. A good incubator will set its alarm off if the temperature within drops below or rises above a certain threshold. Temperature in the room where the incubator is placed is crucial here, as it heavily influences the temperature in the incubator. You will be opening the incubator during routine controls of the eggs, so it is really important the eggs don’t get a temperature shock in the process – such a shock might kill the fetuses. We advise keeping a steady temperature of approx. 25 degrees Celsius in the room with the incubator. The room should also be draft free.

Humidity control

A good incubator will be able to provide a good humidity inside. Optimal humidity for the eggs during hatching is around 40-50% but needs to be increased on Day 19 in order to soften the eggshells and help the chicks to hatch out. With some Incubators such as the Brinsea II Mini Incubator, there are two water containers inside. Fill one up every day, and fill both of them from Day 19 onward. You can fill up the water container in the Brinsea without the need to open it which is very useful, since you generally don’t want to open the incubator too often. It is perfectly normal that some condensation starts to build up in the incubator after a few days due to high humidity.

5. Daily routine

Cooling

Day 7 is an important threshold. First of all, you need to start cooling the eggs for half an hour a day. It’s best to do this around the same time each day. A good incubator has a fan and you can set an automatic cooling time. If not, you need to cool the eggs down manually by taking them out of the incubator. The cooling temperature should not be shockingly different – a difference of 2 to 5 degrees Celsius will do.

Developing eggs keep their own temperature when exposed. That is how a hen tells the difference between a developing and a dead egg. When the hen gets off the nest to eat and drink, the dead eggs will go cold almost instantaneously. The hen will then get rid of the dead eggs from the nest.

Candling

You also need to start candling the eggs on Day 7 at the latest. Candling will show you which eggs are developing and which are not. If an egg does not show any signs of development on Day 7, it will not hatch. It is essential to take out any eggs which stop developing as they will start to decompose if left in the incubator. From Day 7 onward you should continue candling on a regular basis. It’s not necessary to do it every day, as you won’t see any significant progress on day-to-day basis, but it is a good practice to do it every third or fourth day. Weighing and candling combined are usually good indicators if the egg is developing or not. 

From Day 7 up to Day 19 tasks should continue in a routine manner: daily cooling, weighing, and occasional candling.

6. Hatching

Day 19 marks the next important stage. You need to stop turning the eggs and cooling them, and lay out a hatching mat in the incubator (so the chicks won’t slip on the incubator’s surface on their first day of life). You also need to increase the humidity inside up to at least 65%. When using the Brinsea Mini II Incubator you can achieve this by filling up the second water container inside.

At some point during that period the eggs will start wiggling: the chicks will be moving around the egg to position themselves perfectly to hatch out. You might feel the temptation to check on the eggs often, but at this time it is best to leave them be and inspect the eggs every 6 hours or so.

Around Day 20 the chicks should peck out a small hole in their eggshells to catch their first breath of fresh air. It’s best to leave them be. Do not help them by making the hole bigger or breaking the shell apart. They will do it themselves in their own time. In that time they will also consume all the nutrients in their eggshells, so it is vital for them to stay inside for the time being.

Most of the chicken breeds hatch on Day 21 with only a handful of breeds hatching on Day 20 or 22. Do not help the chicks in hatching, they should be able to do it themselves – it’s their first test of strength. Only give a helping hand when a chick is really late (in comparison with its companions in the incubator) and/or the eggshell is really thick and the chick is evidently struggling to get out for a prolonged period of time.

Once the chicks hatch out, leave them in the incubator for another 24 hours. They should be well fed having eaten all the nutrients from their eggs. Apart from that, the incubator provides them with the optimal temperature and humidity.

Now watch our eggcellent egg hatching video to see how easy it is to hatch chicks!


Save £70.99 today when you buy a Purple Eglu Go Chicken Coop and a Brinsea Mini II ECO STARTER PACK. The starter pack includes everything you need to hatch your own eggs including a Brinsea incubator, a candling lamp, a Chick Brooder and an Eglu Go Chicken Coop which the chicks can move into when they reach 9 weeks old.

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This entry was posted in Chickens on April 10th, 2019 by helenkennedy


How to give your rabbits more space with Zippi

Rabbits are designed to run, and they love hurtling around on the grass, sprinting back and forth and doing big jumps in the air. In the wild, rabbits will run about 3 miles every day, and it’s important to make sure your pet rabbit gets sufficient exercise to stay happy and healthy.

Rabbits who are confined to their hutch for most of the day will soon get bored, and will often eat too much, which can lead to obesity. Overweight rabbits will struggle to move the way they want to, and are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases and joint pain. Bored rabbits also tend to over groom themselves, and can get problems with hairballs.

You might not be able to give your rabbit a 3 mile run every day, but you should make sure that he or she gets at least 3 hours outside the hutch, so that they can stretch their legs and explore and socialise. The more space you can give them the better. Unless you have a very rabbit proof garden and keep an eye on your pets at all times, letting them run free in the garden is not a good idea. Rabbits are escape artists, and will find ways to get through the safest of garden fences or gates. They also run the risk of predator attacks, and ingesting something poisonous.

A good way of making sure your rabbits get enough exercise is to have hutch that is connected to a run, so that your pet can move in and out of the hutch whenever he or she wants to, like the Eglu Go. You can extend the run to make it bigger, but there is now also another way of giving your rabbits more space.

Omlet’s Zippi runs are cleverly designed playpens for rabbits and guinea pigs that allow you and your kids to spend time with your pets as they are enjoying a new patch of grass in the garden. The optional roof and underfloor mesh keeps the rabbits safe if you want to keep them in the run while you’re not around, and the skirt stops predators from digging in. The runs can easily be moved when the rabbits have trimmed the grass in one area, so you won’t have to get the mower out every weekend!

 

Many people find moving their rabbits between the run and the hutch a very stressful part of the day. You want your rabbit to have a run around, but you probably don’t fancy chasing them around the run for half an hour every evening when it’s time to go back in. This can be solved with the Zippi tunnel system. If you’ve decided to give your rabbits more space with a new run, you can easily connect these to their hutch and create your own system that the rabbits will love running in, as it’s a version of the warrens they would have created in the wild. The fact is that rabbits who have the freedom of moving in and out of their hutch as they please will happily go back inside by themselves when night falls, and then all you have to do it close the door that gives access to the tunnels.

Make sure you furnish your pets’ new run or play pen with things you know they will love. Maybe you want to give them a few more hideaways? A digging pit? Or maybe a few boredom busting toys to gnaw on.

You can see all the different versions of out Zippi runs and play pens on our website, so that you can find one that suits both you and your pets!

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This entry was posted in Rabbits on April 6th, 2019 by linnearask