Like most other animals, chickens can suffer from parasitic worms. These are endoparasites that live inside your bird’s body, and are collectively called Helminths by vets.
Does my chicken have worms?
The three types of parasitic worms that your chickens are most likely to contract are:
- Roundworms. There are a number of different roundworms, with the large roundworm being the most common. They live anywhere in the bird’s digestive system, and can sometimes be spotted in your chickens’ droppings.
- Gapeworms. These nasty parasites attach themselves to the trachea of the chicken, hooking on without moving.
- Tapeworms. These attach themselves to the lining of the intestine and can get really long and unpleasant. They are less common, but will more significantly affect the bird.
It’s not always straightforward to tell if your chicken has worms, but symptoms may include a paler comb, decreased egg production, diarrhoea and increased appetite without weight gain. A chicken who has been infected with gapeworm will stretch their neck and gasp for air. Sometimes you won’t spot an infection until it’s really serious and possibly untreatable.
To worm or not to worm
Many chicken keepers therefore choose to worm their chickens regularly to prevent them getting infected, usually once in spring and once in autumn. This is normally done using Flubenvet, a poultry specific wormer you can get at the vets that will kill both the worms and their eggs. Make sure you get a worming treatment that is suitable for chickens, and check if you should be discarding the chicken’s eggs while she is being treated. Always worm all chickens at the same time.
Other chicken keepers think it’s better to only treat chickens that have a confirmed infection. This is partly because some wormers are only effective on particular parasites, and will be pointless if your chickens have a different type of worm. Some also think it’s unnecessary to stress the system by giving the birds treatment for an issue they might not have. Additionally, it can be pricey to worm a whole flock twice a year.
If you don’t want to treat your chickens without a diagnosis, but suspect they might have worms, you can get their droppings tested for presence of eggs. Ask your vet if they will do it for you, or you can send the droppings off to a laboratory in pre-made kits.
Whether you decide to treat only confirmed worm cases or worm preventatively, it’s always best to do everything you can to make sure your chickens don’t contract parasites.
One of the best things to do is to regularly move their coop and run to a new patch. This will stop serious outbreaks, as it stops the life-cycle of the worms. Worm eggs are expelled in the droppings from infected birds, and survive on the ground for a surprisingly long time before they are picked up by foraging chickens. This is called a direct life-cycle, as the worm doesn’t need a host animal to get to your hens. Worms that have an indirect life-cycle on the other hand let their eggs first be ingested by for example earthworms, slugs or centipedes, where they lay dormant until the host is eaten by one of your chickens. The larvae hatch inside your hens, and the cycle repeats.
To prevent an unbreakable chain of worm infestations, it’s therefore important to regularly move your chickens. This is made easy by portable chicken coops like the Eglu Cube or the Eglu Go UP.
Another useful thing is to keep the grass mowed as the ultraviolet light from the sun can kill off potential worm eggs in your chickens’ droppings. Clean the run every week and scoop up droppings and wet bedding. If one of your chickens is infected it’ll be very difficult to get rid of all worm eggs from the ground, but every little helps!
Finally, many chicken keepers swear by the mineral supplement Verm-X. It’s a herbal formulation that works to create an environment in the gut that is able to eradicate and expel any intestinal challenges. This can be given as a supplement to your flock regularly to help their immune system stay on top.
This entry was posted in Chickens on September 18th, 2020 by linnearask
There are five hamster species commonly kept as pets. They are all similar in their requirements, but with one or two important differences between species.
The most familiar is the Golden, or Syrian hamster, which is also the largest of the five. The others are all in the group known as Dwarf hamsters – Campbell’s, Roborovski, Chinese and Winter White.
Looking After a Golden Hamster
An estimated 75% of pet hamsters are Syrians, largely because they have been popular for many years, and are therefore widely available. This species is 15–18 cm (6–7 inches) long, and is relatively slow moving (compared to the much nippier Dwarf species). This makes them easy to handle, and that’s one of the keys to their popularity. A nervous owner will find handling very easy (i.e. the hamster isn’t going to run up your sleeve or make a bolt for the door before you can stop it!)
The Golden is a loner, and that means its owner will be its only companion – which is great for forming owner–pet bonds. The hamster will usually live for 2 to 2 ½ years, and can be hand-tamed from a very early age, so you will usually have a long and satisfying friendship with these little bundles of fun.
There are a different types of Golden hamster. One of the most popular is the long-haired ‘Teddy Bear’. There are also different colour varieties, with mixtures of gold, brown, russet, yellow, grey, black and white.
IDEAL FOR: first time hamster owners looking for a single, easy-going pet that’s easy to handle.
Looking After a Chinese Hamster
The Chinese – also known as the Striped, Grey or Rat-tailed – is the least common of the hamsters in the pet trade, although its popularity is growing all the time. There’s a lot to love in these little characters – they are very gentle, and once hand-tamed they will love their daily human interaction.
This species grows to a length of between 10 and 13 cm (4–5 inches) inches and, and is dark grey with a darker stripe running down the back. It has a long tail, by hamster standards, hence the ‘Rat-tailed’ tag. It tends to live a little longer than the Golden hamster, with a lifespan of 2 ½ to 3 years, and like the Golden it likes to live alone. This makes it bond very readily with a human companion.
IDEAL FOR: first time owners, or owners looking for something a little less common than the Golden, but with a similar personality.
Looking After a Roborovski Hamster
This is a lively little pet, and likes to live with at least one other fellow Roborovski – in a same-sex pair or small group. Single animals will do just fine, though, as long as they get lots of human company and handling. They are 10 cm (4 inches) long, and are endlessly curious about the world around them. When handling, you need to be alert, as these are fast movers.
Roborovskis are long-lived, by hamster standards, generally lasting between 3 and 3 ½ years. Being keen climbers and explorers, they will need a cage large enough to accommodate their endless expeditions, so space is sometimes an issue for would-be owners. They also have a rather strong smell, so they need cleaning out very regularly.
IDEAL FOR: owners who want to keep more than one hamster at a time, and have space for a larger cage.
Looking After a Winter White Hamster
This species is also called the Siberian, due to its wonderful colour change during the winter. It is grey-brown for much of the year, with a handsome black stripe down its back. In winter the fur becomes white, but the black stripe remains.
This little character reaches just over 10cm (4 inches) in length, and can live alone very happily, making it a good pet for someone who has lots of time to handle and bond with their pet, and who isn’t nervous handling a fast-moving, small animal. Winter Whites only live 1 ½ to 2 years, and this makes them less popular than some of the other species.
IDEAL FOR: hamster lovers looking for a change from the commoner species, and who can’t wait to see that wonderful change to wintry white!
Looking After a Campbell’s Hamster
This is another short-lived hamster, with a lifespan of 1 ½ to 2 years. They are usually kept in same-sex pairs or groups, but can thrive as singletons as long as they get lots of handling and attention from their owner. Their small size makes them tricky to handle, being both swift and fragile, so they are not suitable for young or nervous owners.
IDEAL FOR: owners who want to keep a group of hamsters together in a larger cage.
This entry was posted in Hamsters on September 18th, 2020 by linnearask
Take this opportunity to get some good quality feed that will keep your chickens happy and healthy this autumn! When you sign up to the Omlet Newsletter on this page you will receive a unique promo code that gives you free delivery on your feed – for a limited time only!
The offer is available on your pick of two bags of Omlet’s Organic Chicken Feed, Omlet’s Organic Mixed Corn, Organic Omlet Chicken Feed 10kg and Mixed Corn 10kg or Organic Omlet Chicken Feed 10kg Twin Pack!
Terms and conditions
This promotion is valid while stocks last. Once you have entered your email address on the website you will receive a unique discount code that can be used at checkout. By entering your email you agree to receive the Omlet Newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any point. The offer of free delivery is available on Omlet’s Organic Chicken Feed, Omlet’s Organic Mixed Corn, Organic Omlet Chicken Feed 10kg and Mixed Corn 10kg and Organic Omlet Chicken Feed 10kg Twin Pack. The offer does not include any non-Omlet branded feed. Excludes grit. Offer is limited to 4 bags of feed per household, or 2 bags of Easichick. Free delivery only applies to feed, delivery charges will be added for other items added to the order. 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 sent to mainland UK, and only applies to Standard Delivery Service. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.
This entry was posted in Chickens on September 15th, 2020 by linnearask
As a chicken owner, you are responsible for making sure your birds are as happy and healthy as possible. By providing them with a hygienic home, plenty of space, good food and fun toys, you are doing everything you can to keep them free from illness and parasites. That unfortunately doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to your flock, however.
Accidents occur and, just like humans, chickens sometimes get ill. As prey animals, they are highly skilled at hiding pain and weaknesses, so by the time they are obviously showing discomfort, they are likely to be very ill.
After spending time with your chickens and getting to know them, you will soon be able to tell what is normal behaviour, and what is a sign that they are feeling under the weather, but to make sure you spot problems early on it’s good to regularly carry out thorough health checks. We would suggest doing this beak to tail check at least once a week – just go through our list:
Your chickens’ eyes should be clear, bright and fully open. They should not have any discharge or look dry, or be watery or teary.
The nostrils, or nares as they are called in chickens, should be clean, without any crusty dry bits or discharge.
Your chicken’s beak should be smooth, without cracks or other damages. The top and bottom should align, with the top one being slightly longer. Healthy chickens keep their beak closed most of the time.
A grown chicken who is not broody or moulting should have a firm, bright red comb. It should be positioned according to the breed standard, i.e. if the breed’s comb is upright, it should not be hanging or looking shrivelled.
It’s especially important to check combs and wattles in winter, as they are prone to frostbite. Larger combs can be protected by a daily layer of vaseline.
When you first let your chickens out in the morning the crop should be empty, as they should have spent all night digesting their food. After eating, the crop will feel firm, but not rock-hard. If it never seems empty or the hen’s breath is really foul smelling, you could be dealing with an impacted or sour crop.
Unless she is moulting, your chicken should have a shiny and full plumage. Bald patches or ruffled feathers could be a sign of stress, parasites or behavioural problems within the group. It’s important that you know what moulting looks like as it happens at least once a year, and should not be confused with other feather problems.
Legs and feet
Check the scales on the legs and make sure they are smooth and lying flat against the bone. Raised or dry looking scales can be an indication of scaly leg mites. Also check the bottom of the foot and remove any dirt to check for cuts or black spots, which could cause the chicken discomfort and lead to a potentially fatal infection called bumblefoot.
A hen in lay has a pink, wide and moist vent, whereas an older chicken’s vent is dryer and has a paler colour. It should never protrude or look injured, as other chickens might start to peck her if they see blood.
Mites and lice love the area around the vent, so it’s particularly important to check for little black specks or irritation on the skin.
A slide out dropping tray under the chickens perches or roosting bars, like on the Eglu chicken coops, lets you inspect your chickens poo when you’re cleaning the coop. The droppings should be firm and dark brown with some white, more liquidy parts going throughout. They will vary somewhat depending on what the chickens have been eating, but if the droppings are very loose or have blood in them it indicates something is wrong.
If you follow this list and go through it regularly with each of your chickens, you’re in a good position to spot potential problems early. Some might be treatable at home, like certain parasites or smaller cuts, but if you’re unsure it’s always best to consult your vet. You can read more about common chicken problems in our guide.
This entry was posted in Chickens on September 14th, 2020 by linnearask
Chickens’ fondness for perches is instinctive. Our pet chickens descend from the Asian Jungle Fowl, that roosts high up on tree branches, and holding on to a perch is as natural to hens as scratching and egg-laying.
Most of the breeds we keep today are however not able to get up a tree even if they were offered one to roost in – they are too big and heavy. But by holding onto something, chickens get a sense of security, as perching initially was a strategy to get away from predators.
The Eglu Chicken Coops have perfectly rounded roosting bars that the chickens will love sleeping on at night, but it’s advisable to also provide them with a perch in the run. A wooden stick might not seem like much fun to us, but a perch is an excellent way of enriching their enclosure.
The Omlet Chicken Perch is purposefully designed to be comfortable and easy for hens to use, and it is also durable and super simple to install on your run. Choose between the 1m or 2m, and add enough to make sure all your chickens have a spot to take a break and watch the world go by.
Chickens without perches are more likely to attract mites and lice, or pick up bacteria from sitting on the ground. The stress of not having a place to roost can also lower their immune system and reduce egg-laying.
Take this unique opportunity to save ⅓ on the Omlet Chicken Perch and give your chickens a new toy they will love! Use promo code PERCH4LESS at check out to claim the discount!
Terms and conditions
Promotion of third/33% off The Omlet Chicken Perch runs from 10/09/20 – midnight 14/09/20. Use promo code PERCH4LESS at checkout. Includes Omlet Chicken Perch 1m and 2m. Offer is limited to 2 Chicken Perches per household. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on delivery, existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.
This entry was posted in Chickens on September 10th, 2020 by linnearask
Provide your pet with the possibility to rest on a super cool and comfortable spot on those warm September days, or after a long and strenuous autumn walk! The Omlet Cooling Mat is self-cooling and has a memory foam layer that will enclose your pet’s body as they lie down on it, and you can choose to display either the classic cream coloured or the stylish grey side of the mat depending on your home and your pet!
Right now you get £5 off Omlet Cooling Mats for dogs or cats, but only for a limited time! Use promo code COOLOFF at checkout to claim this exclusive discount!
Terms and Conditions
Promotion of £5 off cooling mats runs from 03/09/20 – midnight 08/09/20. Use promo code COOLOFF at checkout. Includes Omlet Cooling Mat cats and dogs. All sizes are included. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on delivery, existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.
This entry was posted in Cats on September 3rd, 2020 by linnearask
Like lots of other birds, budgies absolutely love sparkly things. They will prod, peck and pick anything that shines, and will love having something in the cage that reflects light and creates enticing glares. The new Geo Bird Mirror will give them exactly this!
Modern and stylish with a large shiny surface, the mirror fits beautifully and securely to the Geo Bird Cage, and is available in two convenient sizes matching the geodesic shape of the cage. Additionally, it makes a brilliant splash guard for the Geo Bird Bath, minimising mess in and around the cage.
Budgies are incredibly curious and sociable birds, and the main reason your budgie will be mesmerised by a mirror in the cage is because they think the reflection is in fact another bird. This new “friend” can be a great addition to your birds’ life.
Once you have two or more budgies in your cage, mirrors will normally not be given more attention than other toys, but it’s a wonderful and stimulating addition to your setup that your birds will love.
Although it’s recommended to always keep budgies in pairs or larger groups, there are circumstances when it’s just not possible. Maybe one of your budgies has recently passed away, and you’re in the process of finding a new cohabitee for your bird, or your bird has some health issues that require them to be separated for a while.
If your budgie lives by themselves, you will need to be their main source of social interaction, but a mirror in the cage can be a great backup while you’re not around. Budgies can spend hours preening with and chatting to their handsome roommate, and for many, this has long lasting positive effects. Lone budgies should be let out of the cage and played with for a substantial amount of time every day, but a mirror mate will make the hours when the bird is left alone fly by!
This entry was posted in Budgies on September 3rd, 2020 by linnearask