Avian Flu is an issue that affects all chicken keepers. Efforts to contain the virus never result in its eradication, and the fact that it is not currently in the headlines doesn’t mean it’s disappeared. Many countries are enduring the avian flu version of lockdown in certain regions this year, and people are being told to take appropriate measures.
There have been local outbreaks in the UK, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands in the second half of 2020. The current avian flu strain in Europe is a low pathogenic avian influenza, meaning that it is highly unlikely to spread from its bird hosts to humans. The ghost of a bird flu pandemic cannot be ignored, though.
The outbreak is thought to have originated in western Russia and Kazakhstan, following the same pattern as the avian flu outbreaks in the summers of 2005 and 2016. In both previous cases, epidemics soon spread to northern and eastern Europe.
This article describes the impact of pathogenic avian influenza, how it spreads, and what chicken keepers can do to prevent it, based on government guidelines and other practical measures.
What is avian flu?
As its name suggest, the avian flu virus is a form of influenza (flu) biologically adapted to bird hosts. Bird flu is not a virus specific to chickens and poultry, and in theory any bird, wild or domestic, can be infected. The reservoir of avian influenza is, indeed, flocking wild birds such as geese and gulls.
Symptoms of avian flu in chickens
Chickens with avian influenza will display various symptoms. They may be less active than usual, and will lose their appetite and show signs of nervousness. Their egg production will drop, and eventually their combs and wattles will look swollen, with a blue discoloration. Other avian influenza symptoms in poultry include coughs, sneezes and diarrhoea. Unfortunately, many of these bird flu symptoms are associated with other ailments, too, so a vet will need to make the diagnosis.
It can take 14 days for an avian influenza outbreak to spread throughout a flock. Some infected birds may exhibit no signs, even though they are still potential virus carriers. Others may ail and die very quickly.
How to treat avian flu in chickens
You can reduce the risk of avian influenza in your poultry by following the latest guidelines issued by Defra and the government. Vaccination of a flock at risk from the avian influenza virus is the only method of prevention. If avian influenza affects a flock, the flock has to be put down. Links to the latest UK government advice is given at the end of this article.
How to protect your chickens
- Place your birds’ food and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly.
- Keep your equipment clean and tidy and regularly disinfect hard surfaces.
- Clean footwear before and after visiting your birds.
- Ensure clothing that you use when handling your chickens is washed after contact.
- Use run covers to protect your chickens’ enclosure from wild bird droppings.
- Keep moveable coops in the same place – if coops are moving to fresh ground there is more chance of coming into contact with wild bird faeces.
- Keep a close eye on your chickens. If you have any signs of illness, seek advice from a qualified vet.
Areas in the UK affected by avian flu in 2020
The latest cases of avian influenza virus amongst chickens and other poultry occurred in the Melton Mowbray region of Leicestershire in November 2020, with the other affected areas located south of Liverpool and in the Leominster region of Herefordshire. There are 10-kilometre exclusion zones in place at these locations, and there are dozens of other areas observing a 3-kilometre exclusion zone based on the risk from wild birds. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has an up-to-date interactive avian influenza map showing all the areas affected by restrictions in England, Scotland and Wales. Not surprisingly, areas adjoining the island’s various estuaries, firths and The Wash, are affected, and anyone keeping chickens in these areas needs to be up to date with the latest government advice and regulations.
The UK government recommends registering your hens (and any other poultry), which will ensure that you receive the latest advice regarding the flu. If you keep over 50 hens, registration is a legal requirement, as you are then, by definition, a poultry farmer. Farmers who do not comply with regulations regarding avian flu can be imprisoned for up to three months or face unlimited fines.
“The risk of HPAI incursion in wild birds in the UK is HIGH. The overall risk of infection of poultry in the UK is MEDIUM; although it should be noted that the risk of introduction to individual premises depends upon the level of biosecurity implemented on farm to prevent direct or indirect contact with wild birds.”
(Official advice about biosecurity can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#biosecurity-advice)
“Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of bird flu in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.
If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 – please select option 7).”
*Advice correct as of 25th November 2020.
This entry was posted in Chickens on November 26th, 2020 by chloewelch
While all cats are different, there are certain traits common to most felines. Most cats, for example, are united in the things they dislike. Unfortunately, a lot of the things cats dislike are things that that humans do to them, often unaware how much their cats hate it.
To guide cat owners towards more feline-friendly behaviour, here are the top ten things humans do that cats wish we wouldn’t.
1. Cats hate loud noises
A cat’s ear is designed to channel sound, and their hearing is much more acute than a human’s. This means that washing machines, shouting, music and phones – not to mention fireworks and family parties – are all things cats hate. Being respectful of a cat’s sensitive ears may help minimise the problem, but cats are also very good at escaping the loud noise and finding somewhere quiet. It is only when the noise is unescapable – fireworks, for example – that the cat’s stress can really mount.
2. Cats don’t like aggressive petting
While some dogs may enjoy a rough back-scratch or enthusiastic belly rub, most cats prefer a gentler approach. Heavy-handed pats, stroking and paw- or tail-handling will make cats feel in danger, and they will either run, lash out with their claws or simply become stressed. Many cats dislike being cuddled, a condition that has a name – feline hyperesthesia. This is particularly common in rescue cats, so always take care when petting your cat – watch its reactions and don’t force the issue. Dressing cats up in supposedly cute outfits falls into this category, too. Make sure everyone in the household, including the children, is aware of these kitty rules.
3. Some cats don’t like to be ignored
While not all cats crave attention, many domestic cats love it – on their terms, and when it suits them. A cat who doesn’t want to be left alone and wants you to stop doing what you’re doing and give them some attention will jump onto your lap or desk and generally get in the way of your hands. In an age of laptops and home-working, many cat owners are very aware of this feline attention seeking, and the demanding pet cat sometimes seems to be a permanent feature of the desk, computer keyboard or sofa!
4. Cats don’t like water
The fact that cats hate getting wet is such a well-known fact that it has become a cliché, but that doesn’t stop it being true! Cats avoid water, hide from the rain and simply hate being showered. As far as a cat is concerned, that all-purpose tongue is quite capable of delivering the perfect cat shower. You should only resort to cat baths or showers when absolutely necessary –to clean something toxic or oily from the fur, or to prepare a cat for a show.
5. Cats hate car journeys
Felines often hide under cars when they’re afraid, but most of them do not like car rides at all, and some cats are terrified by vehicles. The combination of motion, loud noises and strange smells is stressful for a cat, and they are also prone to motion sickness. Car journeys should therefore be restricted to necessities – for example, trips to the cat vet or to the cat hotel when you’re going on holiday.
6. Cats dislike other pets
Although a kitten that has been brought up with other cats, or even dogs, will tolerate their company, cats need their own territory, and they are also natural loners. Unlike humans – and unlike many breeds of dog – cats do not need a significant other in their lives. You only have to watch how cats react to other cats in their territory – in the garden, for example – to see how true this is.
7. Cats hate taking medication
You can fool a dog by wrapping a slice of ham around its tablet or mixing its medicine into the food bowl. Cats are more resistant to our efforts to make them feel better, though. Giving a cat tablets involves a coating of butter and some gentle throat massage.
8. Cats won’t use dirty litter boxes
Cats are very clean animals, and will not use a dirty litter box. Regular cleaning of the tray is therefore essential, and fresh kitty litter needs adding regularly to keep everything smelling nice and fresh. People often ask “what smells do cats hate?”, and the answer “cat wee and cat poo” is high on the list (along with air fresheners, incense and peeled citrus fruits!)
9. Cats should never be given physical punishment
This is one that a cat is unlikely to forgive a human for. A cat should be dissuaded from unwanted behaviour by making a not-too-loud noise, such as hitting your hand with a rolled up magazine or clapping (but, again, remember that they dislike loud noises too). Any physical chastisement will break the bond of trust between cat and owner.
10. Cats need their own space
A cat’s bed, favourite hidey-hole or quiet corner of the garden should be areas where humans never intrude. Children need reminding of this, as their instinct may be to pluck the cat from its bed and give it a cuddle. Once again, cats have a territorial nature and need their own quiet spots and safe zones, where they can unwind.
Knowing what a cat likes and what a cat dislikes is one of the keys to avoiding pet peeves and keeping your cat happy and healthy. One of the key takeaway messages is that cats are not like humans or dogs. They are cats – unique and purr-fect.
This entry was posted in Cats on November 26th, 2020 by linnearask
Anxiety is an issue that affects many dogs. Some breeds are prone to nervousness, and some individual dogs may have had a tough puppyhood that results in anxiety as an adult. Others may have issues such as joint pain that require extra comfort and a cozy corner.
The symptoms of anxiety in a dog or pup may include hiding, ‘burrowing’ under blankets, cushions or on a bed (the dog bed or the owner’s bed!), or ‘cringing’ (with the tail between the legs). Some dogs will express anxiety by whining and whimpering, panting when there has been no energetic activity, shivering. Jumping – even nipping and snapping – can also be a sign of dog anxiety.
Treating dog anxiety is not a straightforward issue, neither in humans nor dogs. While humans can talk to someone about the issue and receive good advice, the options for a dog are more limited. Positive training can go a long way towards reducing dog anxiety and boosting confidence, and a calm environment can have a very positive impact, too. The dog bed can make a big difference here.
What can calm an anxious dog?
Dog anxiety often stems from puppyhood stress. With rescue dogs, the events in the early months of your pet’s life are often unknown. Dog anxiety is usually linked to separation, though. Out and out abuse manifests as fear and lack of confidence in dogs, but anxiety is something slightly different. A high quality calming pet bed can help dogs with a mild form of separation anxiety – that is, if your dog frets when left alone, or is particularly ‘clingy’ with one member of the family.
Dog anxiety can also be brought on by discomfort. Many dogs suffer from joint pains, notably in the hips as they grow older. Lying on a blanket or a thin dog bed or a pet bed that’s too small will not give these dogs the comfort they need for a good night’s sleep, leading to a vicious circle of anxiety-inducing poor sleep and stress.
A comfortable pet bed provides the anxious dog with that all-important sense of security, a combination of a bolt-hole and a life jacket. Such dog beds may feature orthopedic padding, blankets or quilts for really snuggling down, extra-soft cushions and raised sides for resting a lazy head on.
Even the best dog beds alone will not ‘cure’ a dog’s anxiety, and they need to be part of a general dog-friendly environment, combined with a consistent behavioural dog training programme, a healthy diet, supplements, and – if absolutely necessary – medication. Dog beds, then, are where dog owners should start when addressing anxiety issues, but they are only part of the wider solution.
Best dog beds for anxious dogs
The central part of a calm environment for dogs is the dog bed. The location of the pet bed is important. It needs to be somewhere relatively quiet, where the dog can feel safe and in control. The design of a bed for dogs is equally important, and a comfortable mattress is the beginning, rather than the end of the story.
So, what type of bed does a dog prefer? For many dogs, a bed is simply the place where they lie down and sleep. It doesn’t even have to be the same spot each night – some dogs like to spend one night on their allocated bed, the next night in a cool spot on the kitchen floor, and the next night camped at the foot of your bed. But with anxious dogs, consistency is important, and the right bed in the right place is the key.
An anti-anxiety dog bed can actively reduce stress and anxiety, and when combined with anti-stress training, the dog bed can go a long way towards eliminating the issue. Calming supplements can also help, and in extreme cases a vet will recommend anti-stress medication, too.
Do anxiety beds work for dogs?
An anti-anxiety dog bed is all about giving dogs and puppies a sense of security, reinforced by sheer comfort. The key is in the design, and there are many models to choose from. The best options include dog beds that go the extra mile to enhance your dog’s comfort, including features such as a removable cover, orthopedic foam, memory foam, a washable cover (machine washable, ideally), and a generally easy to clean design. Dogs love their comfort, and a consistently good night’s sleep, after all, is one of the best ways to tackle and reduce dog’s anxiety.
A well designed dog bed will be soft, machine washable and hygienic. Omlet’s Bolster dog beds, for example, provide plenty of comfort and support for your furry friend, with super soft memory foam mattresses, raised edges and an easy to clean washable cover. Topology dog beds combine these benefits with the option of raising the bed off the ground to improve air flow and prevent issues such as mould, mildew, dust and debris, all of which can accumulate in a poorly ventilated dog bed. The Topology dog bed mattress can be covered with different ‘topper’ blankets, some of them gently absorbing damp and dirt, others simply adding an extra layer of soft bedding to burrow under. A dog loves to feel cozy!
A top class calming dog bed won’t cure dog or pup anxiety on its own. But a good night’s sleep is half the battle, providing the dog with the comfortable start and end to each day, making the rest of the anti-anxiety regime that little bit easier.
This entry was posted in Dogs on November 24th, 2020 by linnearask
Fido Studio in White
Is someone in your family getting a new puppy that they are planning to crate train? Or have your parents got a nervous rescue dog that feels most secure when they have their own space away from all the hustle and bustle? Then we have the perfect gift for them, human or canine.
The amazing Fido Studio is a dog crate that looks like piece of modern furniture, so that it doesn’t have to be hidden in a corner somewhere. The Fido Studio is also available with an optional and extremely practical wardrobe where all the dog’s things can go!Save 10% on white Fido Studios in the Winter Sale!
Whether you’re buying for a dog or a dog owner, an upgraded bed will always be appreciated, especially if the current one is looking a bit dirty and chewed. The super comfortable Bolster Beds come with a memory foam mattress that moulds itself around the dog as they lie down on it. Perfect for everything from growing puppies to older, more tired dogs.
The Bolster Bed has a machine washable cover, comes in three sizes and colours, and can be purchased with a set of stylish feet. And at the moment all beds are 20% off!
Psst – cats love them too!
Blankets / Cooling Mats
Upgrade your dog’s bed for Christmas to make sure it’s ready for the year ahead. Omlet’s super soft blankets will make the bed extremely warm and cosy for your pet after long winter walks, and is perfect for putting on sofas or car seats to keep them free from hair and mud. And if you already want to get ready for 2021, the Cooling Mat is a perfect addition to a dog bed in spring and summer. This self-cooling mat is activated by the weight of your dog’s body, and will minimise the risk of overheating on warm days.
Cooling mats are 20% off, and Blankets 15% off in the Winter Sale!
Click here for full terms and conditions.
This entry was posted in Dogs on November 22nd, 2020 by linnearask
2 x 2 Outdoor Rabbit Run
Any rabbit owner looking for more space for their pets will be delighted to receive this 2×2 Outdoor Rabbit Run. The run is extremely stable and secure, and can be connected to an existing Eglu Go Hutch with or without run with a simple connection kit.
This is perfect if you, or the person you’re buying a gift for, want to give rabbits or guinea pigs a bit more space to play on in the garden. Choose between the full or low height, both are currently 10% off in the Omlet Winter Sale!
Zippi Tunnels, Play Pens & Runs
Zippi is the perfect way to enhance your pets’ life. The amazing tunnel system allows you to create a burrow-like path in your garden that your rabbits and guinea pigs will love exploring. Expand with corners and T-junctions, and add intrigue with hayracks and lookout towers!
The Zippi Tunnel System also makes it super easy for your pets to independently move between their hutch and a remote run or playpen, so that they can come and go as they want throughout the day.
This is the perfect opportunity to extend an existing system, or to start a completely new one! All Zippi Tunnel System parts are discounted by 20% in the Winter Sale, and the Zippi Run and Playpens are currently 10% off!
The Caddi is the perfect stocking filler for any small animal lover. This interactive treat holder can be hung from the roof of any hutch or run, and can be filled with fresh vegetables or hay for rabbits and guinea pigs to enjoy.
It’s super easy to refill, will keep the pets’ snacks fresher for longer, and they will love the challenge of the swinging Caddi as they go in for a bite!
Save 15% on the Caddi right now!
This entry was posted in Gift Guides on November 22nd, 2020 by linnearask
Eglu Cube / Eglu Go / Eglu Go UP
This is the ideal time to treat yourself to that chicken coop you have been dreaming about! If would like to start keeping chickens in the new year, the Eglu Go or Eglu Go UP are brilliant starter coops for 3-4 hens. If you currently have a smaller Eglu, or keep chickens in a coop that is starting to look a bit worse for ware, you might want to consider investing in an Eglu Cube, our largest chicken coop with space for up to 10 small bantam hens.
All Eglus are super safe, very easy to clean and can be moved around the garden as often as you like. This makes life easier and more relaxing for both you and your pets!
Eglu Chicken Coops are currently discounted by up to 20% in our Winter Sale!
Omlet’s amazing range of Chicken Toys and Accessories make great Christmas gifts for chicken keepers of all ages. Interactive food toys like the Poppy and Pendant Peck Toys and the Caddi Treat Holder that can be filled with fresh veg and hung from the roof of the run will entertain chickens during the cold winter months, as will the super fun Chicken Swing and the more traditional Chicken Perch.
All these accessories are currently significantly discounted, so why not take the opportunity to get the whole hentertainment bundle?
If you’re planning to treat a traditionalist that prefers to keep their hens in a wooden chicken coop this Christmas, we’ve got just the house for you. The timeless, yet practical, design of the Boughton makes it easier to keep chickens happy and healthy, and any chicken keeper will enjoy seeing the coop in the garden every morning. It also comes untreated, so that the person getting this very generous gift can decide what look they would like to go for!
The Boughton is now 15% off in the Omlet Winter Sale!
Click here for full terms and conditions.
This entry was posted in Chickens on November 22nd, 2020 by linnearask
Are you planning on finally giving up on your rotting chicken coop and getting an Eglu? Do you want to give your rabbits more space to play? Are you getting a budgie or a hamster in 2021? Or would you just like to treat your pets to something special for Christmas?
This is the time to do it! Take the opportunity to save up to 20% on some amazing Omlet products until the 1st December. Here are some of our favourites:
Our bestselling chicken coop Eglu Cube in green is now 10% cheaper! This revolutionary chicken coop is super quick to clean, extremely secure and really easy to adapt to your flock and your garden. This is an offer you don’t want to miss out on!
Geo Bird Cage
The inventive geodesic design of this cage makes it a striking feature of any home, while also providing pet birds with a practical and comfortable home. It comes with a unique no-spill feeder and drinker and two perches as standard, and can be customised with different base and mesh colours, stands and a beautifully designed night cover. Get 10% off your Geo in the Omlet sale!
Outdoor Pet Run
Some of our very popular Outdoor Pet Runs are now discounted by 10%; perfect if you want to connect your Eglu to a Walk in run to make it easier to spend time with your chickens, or if you want to give your guinea pigs a bit more secure space to run around on in the garden. At the moment you get 10% off all 2×2 runs, in both full and lower height.
Qute Hamster and Gerbil Cage
If your son or daughter has finally convinced you it’s a great idea to get a hamster or a gerbil you will not want to miss out on this chance to get 15% off this amazing cage. This levelled hamster habitat lets your pets live out their natural instincts, like burrowing and tunnelling, and allows you to keep your pets’ home clean and hygienic with absolutely minimal effort. The pull out bedding tray does not only mean the cage is super easy to clean, it also makes it much more convenient for your child to spend time with their furry friend!
The Zippi range is a fantastic way of giving your rabbit or guinea pig a bigger and more stimulating home. The Zippi Tunnels make it super easy to connect your hutch to a run or playpen, so that your pets can run through and explore the burrow-like system whenever they like. You can extend and expand your system whenever you want, but Zippi Tunnels are now 20% off, and you get 15% off the Zippi Runs and Playpens!
Terms and Conditions
The promotion runs from 19/11/20 – 1/12/20. No promo code required. Subject to availability. 20% discount applies to Eglu Go Chicken Coop – Green, Zippi Tunnels, Peck Toys, Chicken Perch, Bolster Dog and Cat Beds, Dog and Cat Cooling Mats and Wooden Dog Bed Feet with Base. 15% discount applies to Eglu Go UP – Green, Qute, Caddi Treat Holder and Super Soft Luxury Blankets, 10% applies to Eglu Cube – Green, Eglu Go Chicken Coop – Purple, Eglu Go UP – Purple, 2x2x2 and 2x2x1 Outdoor Pet Runs, Fido Studio – White, Chicken Swing, Zippi Run and Playpens, Geo Bird Cage – Black or White, Fido Accessories and Boughton Chicken Coop. Offer excludes Eglu Classic, Eglu Cube – Purple, Eglu Go Hutch, Outdoor Pet Runs bigger than 2 x 2 x 2, Outdoor Pet Run Extensions, Chicken Fencing, Fido Nook, Fido Classic, Fido Studio – Walnut, Autodoor and Coop Light, Geo Bird Cage – Gold, Run Covers and Extreme Temperature Covers and Jackets, Feeders and Drinkers, Topology, Fido Sofa Frame and all other products. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer is only valid on full priced items and cannot be used on delivery, already discounted products or in conjunction with any other offer.
This entry was posted in Offers and promotions on November 19th, 2020 by linnearask
Only very tame pet hens enjoy being picked up. Most chickens find the whole procedure stressful, so you should only catch or handle them if you have to.
There are a few reasons why you might need to know how to catch a chicken. Your hens might be in danger, might require a clean-up after coming into contact with something oily or sticky, or you might need to carry out a chicken health check.
There are various ways to catch a chicken. If the hen is in danger as a result of escaping onto a road or into a garden with a dog in it, you can usually manage things by ‘herding’ the chicken rather than trying to lift it. If a dog is the problem, controlling or confining the dog is the first thing to sort out. If the hen has escaped and you need to catch her, guiding her back to safety by standing with your arms stretched out to the sides and encouraging her to return to the chicken coop is the best option. In these situations, the chicken will desperately want to find her fellow hens, so ‘steer’ her towards the hole in the fence or the open gate, or whichever escape route she took.
If the hen has flapped over a wall, however, you may have to resort to old fashioned hunting techniques for catching chickens.
How Do You Catch a Stray Chicken?
If your hens are very tame, you can simply offer some treats, bend down and pick them up. If only it were that easy with every chicken! Some are about as easy to catch as a fast-moving bar of wet soap – they can sprint at speeds of around 9 miles (14.5 km) per hour – and you will usually have to corner them first if you want to catch them.
If a hen has escaped or you spot her running away, or simply hidden somewhere in a large garden or meadow where you can find to trace of her, the best approach is to be patient and rely on the chicken’s homing instinct. As dusk begins to fall, the hen will instinctively head back to the coop. This is one of the handy things about keeping poultry!
The Best Way to Catch a Chicken
Do chickens like being picked up? In general, the answer is no. But if you’re trying to catch a chicken for whatever reason there are various ways of doing so. Not all of them can be recommended for the non-expert chicken keeper.
- Using a pole with a hook or noose for catching a chicken. Let’s get the dangerous one out of the way first. A pole, hook or noose should only be used by experts when trying to catch a chicken. This is a dangerous tool, and in the wrong hands the poultry hook or noose can break a chicken’s leg or neck as you try to grab it, so our advice is to avoid it.
- Using a net to catch chickens. Nets can be dangerous tools, as a chicken’s claws can snag in the netting, causing injury. If you opt for this method, the chickens should be netted as quickly as possible to minimise stress – although forever afterwards the sight of that net will send the poor hen into a panic! You should always use as large a net as possible for catching your chickens. A blanket may offer a safer way to catch them.
- Using crate traps for catching chickens. Putting irresistible treats into a crate, and then slyly closing the door with a pole or long stick is an effective method. The main drawback is that all the other chickens will be tempted to take a look inside too!
- Boxes for catching chickens. A large box can be placed over a cornered bird in the coop or run, and the flaps can be tucked in to secure the chicken. This technique can be useful if you need to capture chickens in daylight (although it works at night, too) and if they tend to be aggressive.
- Torchlight makes chickens easier to catch. This is the simplest and most effective method when you need to trap a roosting chicken. When chickens are with the rest of the flock in the coop or run on their roosting bars or perches or in their nesting boxes at night, they instinctively stay put. If you open the top of the coop and shine a torch in (head-mounted ones are perfect), you’ll be able to pinpoint the hen you need to examine, and grab her up with minimal fuss.
Picking Up the Chicken
When picking up the hen, try to be firm but not rough. Getting a good grip and preventing the wings from flapping is the key. The correct method is to hold the chicken by placing your hand over its back, confining the wings, and then bring it close to your body. If the bird is very nervous, you may have to cover her with a towel to calm her down.
A tame hen is the easiest type of chicken to capture. Simply lure the hen in with a few treats, and grab her, stroking her back to reassure her. Once the cleaning or the examination is over, put the chicken on the ground and step back. She will do the rest, scuttling back to the safety of the flock.
So, there are several ways to catch a chicken, but you should only put them into operation when you definitely need to catch one. Try to avoid the poultry hook or net if you can, and use the method that suits both the chicken and the circumstances.
This entry was posted in Chickens on November 18th, 2020 by linnearask
For delivery in time for Christmas, please ensure you have placed your order by the below dates. Please be advised problems with couriers cannot be avoided, and if you want to be sure your order will make it to you in time for Christmas, we highly recommend ordering well before these dates. Alternatively, please call or email our customer services team for advice on the best courier to use at this busy time of year.
Monday 21st December
Monday 21st December
Monday 21st December
Thursday 17th December
This entry was posted in Pets on November 13th, 2020 by linnearask
Moving house is stressful for everyone involved – and that includes pets and chickens. As far as your hens are concerned, the secret to a successful relocation is to have everything ready at the other end. In the same way as you might unpack a kettle and two mugs before opening any of the big boxes, the chicken shed and run should be ready in the garden before the first kettle boils!
Hens are prone to stress, and at the very least you can expect the egg count to plummet for a few days following a move. Weak or very nervous chickens are in particular danger, as panic can make them flap blindly and break legs, or even kill themselves. Minimising stress is therefore the key to a successful move.
The most stress-free way to get your hens ready for the move is to collect and crate/box them from the coop, rather than later in the day when they are out and about and need chasing and cornering. That is not a good way to minimise stress!
Your hen-carriers need to be covered, well-ventilated boxes or pet crates. They should have enough space for the birds to turn around in (to prevent them from panicking at the confined space), while being dark enough to make their instincts kick in and help them snuggle down for the duration of the trip. On longer journeys, however, you will need to have enough light in the boxes to enable the hens to feed, and pet crates will make this easier.
You’ll need one box per chicken, generally, so make sure you have enough boxes for the big day. Hens with similar, placid temperaments can be transported in a single box. Each box or crate should be lined with straw to soak up the droppings, and the boxes should be stacked securely, not more than three boxes high.
It’s important that the birds don’t get too hot on the journey, so ventilation is an issue. If you only have two or three hens, they could travel on the back seat of a well-ventilated car, secured with quilts or blankets – or even seatbelts – to prevent the boxes from sliding around.
The journey itself should be taken using as many straight, non-bumpy roads as possible, combined with the need to make the trip as brief as you can. If your new home is a short stretch of motorway and a couple of A-roads away, that’s all very straightforward. Rural locations with lots of windy-road options will need more planning. If all the roads are B-roads with lots of bends, the quickest route is the best option.
In the two weeks before the move, make sure your hens’ diet is rich in all the required vitamins and minerals. Some owners recommend adding probiotics or extra vitamins to the feed, and this is something you should discuss with your vet.
For short journeys, you will not have to worry about chicken feed. On longer trips, though, food will need to be provided. Make sure you take a long break at least every three hours, to allow the confined birds to settle down and feed. If you are transporting the hens in crates, you can attach a water dispenser to the side.
A Portable Chicken Coop?
Old fashioned chicken coops can be tricky to transport, and many hen keepers prefer to erect a new run and chicken shed at their new property. This sometimes involves housing the birds in temporary accommodation while the new coop and run are being sorted out.
There are ways of avoiding the inconvenience, though. A portable coop and run can be packed away and then installed in the new garden in a few minutes, and they have the advantage of familiarity. Hens introduced into a coop that they already know inside out will reduce the stress of the move enormously.
Coops and runs such as the Eglu are ideal in this respect. Placing the coop in your new garden as soon as you arrive will enable the chickens to feel at home before you’ve even managed to open any of your removal boxes. Human will inevitably feel the stress of the moving-in process, but the hens don’t have to!
The process isn’t quite over when your hens are safely cooped up in the new garden. Stress can cause any underlying diseases to bloom, so you need to carry out daily health checks on your birds as the flock settles down in its new surroundings. This is yet another reason to consider a pack-and-go portable coop and run.
This entry was posted in Chickens on November 11th, 2020 by linnearask
Topology Dog Beds give all dog’s that ‘clean sheet’ feeling.
There are an estimated 8.5 million dogs in the UK, and a recent survey suggests that over 1 million of them sleep on beds that haven’t been washed in 6 months!
We’re known as a nation of dog lovers, but it has become clear that many owners do not give their dogs the sleeping experience they deserve. In fact, the survey showed that only half of Britain’s dog owners wash their dog’s bed as frequently as dog and hygiene experts recommend: at least every other week.
The survey found the main reasons people struggle to keep their dog’s bed clean is that it’s time consuming and it leaves their dog without a bed while the cover is being washed and dried.
So how do we make it easier for the owners, and more comfortable and hygienic for the dogs? Enter Omlet’s newest innovation: Topology, the dog bed evolution our pets have been craving!
Topology Dog Beds feature patented, machine washable toppers that easily zip on and off a sturdy and supportive memory foam mattress. This allows owners to quickly swap to a new topper when the dirty one is in the wash. A range of designs from luxurious sheepskin to highly absorbent microfibre and even a beanbag version mean that you can find a topper that suits your dog perfectly, and looks great in your home.
After many days of rigorous play and nights of deep sleep, a worn topper can also be replaced without the need to throw away the rest of the bed. Economical, hygienic and kinder to the environment!
Another exciting feature of the Topology Dog Bed is the possibility to raise the bed with stylish designer feet. Not only does this make the bed blend beautifully in with the rest of your furniture, it also improves airflow around the bed without creating nasty drafts, minimising dust and debris as well as unwelcome disturbances. Yet another improvement to dog bed hygiene, thanks to Omlet!
Omlet’s Head of Product Design, Simon Nicholls, says: “We wanted to combine all the things dogs and their owners find important into one ultimate dog bed, and what we ended up with was Topology. The combination of the base, the toppers and the feet provides extreme comfort and support, cleanliness and hygiene, and durability. It’s been really nice to see how different dogs tend to go for different toppers and how their favourites match their personalities!”
This entry was posted in Dogs on November 9th, 2020 by linnearask
Rabbits make great family pets, and there are many different breeds to choose from. Some are suitable for first-time owners, while others require a little more expertise. The following list includes rabbits that can be kept by families or individuals with no previous experience of rabbits.
There is one golden rule that covers all rabbits – they are not suitable for young children. Most rabbits do not like being constantly picked up, they are naturally nervous, and they need gentle but confident handling. They are also quite fragile animals, and can easily break limbs, or even their backs, if they fall from your arms.
So, as long as you handle them with care and give them plenty of space to run around in, these seven widely available breeds will soon be firm family favourites.
If they have not become accustomed to people in their first few months, Dutch Rabbits can be very jumpy, and may bite and claw. When buying from a pet shop, always ask how old the rabbit is, as animals more than 12 weeks old may be tricky to tame.
This comes back to that central point – most rabbits don’t like being picked up. If your pets are going to be spending their time in a run, though, without being handled all the time, age is not an issue.
Being small, these rabbits used to be popular gifts for children. However, small does not mean easier to handle or easier to look after – in rabbits or any other type of pet. Dwarf Lops are fine for children who are able to learn how to handle rabbits correctly, and who are happy to groom their pet regularly to prevent the long fur from tangling. They are not suitable for small children, though.
The English Spot is a black and white beauty, instantly recognisable due to its Dalmatian-like spots. They are placid rabbits, and if they are stroked and petted from a young age, they become very happy in human company. Children should still be supervised when interacting with these rabbits, though, as even a chilled breed like the English Spot can become skittish if there is too much noise or inexpert handling.
Netherlands Dwarf Rabbits
One of the great things about the Flemish Giant – and it really is huge – is its chilled-out temperament. If socialised while they are still very young, they can be taught to use a litter tray, and can live in a house like a pet dog. However, they still need to be treated with respect and handled correctly, to prevent them panicking and using those big teeth.
Netherlands Dwarf Rabbits
This breed is increasingly popular, and a lot of that popularity is based on the rabbit’s super-cute looks. No matter how old it gets, it always looks like a baby. As a result, it is often bought for children, but this sometimes results in a very nervous and skittish pet that never properly settles down. This is because the rabbit is naturally timid, and unintentionally rough, noisy, excited handling can turn it into a nervous wreck.
The Netherlands Dwarf is an intelligent breed, though, and responds well to gentle handling. It is therefore essential that children should handle the rabbit gently, and an adult should be present during handling sessions. The patience pays off in the end, as this clever little rabbit can be litter trained, and can even be taught to respond to simple commands.
There are several different types of Rex, all with a genetic quirk that makes their short fur stand up rather than lie flat. This makes them very ‘strokable’, and fortunately, the rex is a rabbit breed that really doesn’t mind being stroked a lot. Their placid nature makes them popular family pets – although, once again, younger children will still need supervising when making friends with these bunnies.
The key takeaways here are that rabbits are not the easiest pets to look after, but with patience and appropriate handling they can become very attached to their human friends. It’s also worth remembering that, unlike smaller pets such as gerbils and hamsters, rabbits can live for eight to 14 years, so being an owner is a big commitment.
This entry was posted in Rabbits on November 9th, 2020 by linnearask
Meet five pawsome stars from our exciting new video, and find out more about their new favourite dog bed: Topology!
Topology is a super stylish, comfortable and practical bed that both dogs and owners will love! Machine washable toppers zip on and off the supportive memory foam mattress, so that your dog’s bed can easily be kept clean and hygienic. The range of five different toppers also means that you will be able to customise the bed to fit your dog and their personality.
We asked five of the canine characters in the Topology video to tell us which topper was their favourite and why:
Freddie love his Topology Dog Bed with a comfy Beanbag topper
Freddie is a boisterous Dalmatian with bundles of energy! He loves showing off his jumping skills, and will happily throw himself at his bed over and over again to burn off some steam. This isn’t a challenge for the robust fabric and stitching of the Topology Dog Bed, and Freddies favourite topper, the Beanbag, is both fun and super comfortable as it fully lets the dog’s body relax as they lie down on top of it.
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes even Freddie needs a good, long nap, and as much as the Topology dog bed can withstand his lively playing, it will also provide superb support for his resting body. Thanks to the memory foam layer in the base and the softness of the topper, Freddies owners have no doubt he’s fully relaxed and comfortable when he finally settles in for the night.
Woody could relax for days on his Topology bed with luxurious Sheepskin topper
Even if neither he nor his owner would admit to it, Woody the Goldendoodle is what many would describe as a pampered pooch. He won’t settle for anything but the most luxurious of dog beds after his strolls around the city’s parks, so it’s no surprise that his favourite topper is the sheepskin.
Positioned in the best position in the living room, Woody can stretch out on his Topology Dog Bed and feel the super soft fabric against his skin while the memory foam mattress moulds around his body. Woody’s owner really appreciates how easy it is to remove and clean the topper.
Winston feels safe and supported on his Topology dog bed with Bolster topper
Little Winston is a Dachshund, and only six months old. With all the exciting exploring, learning, playing and chewing shoes he has to do all day, it’s extra important that he has a comfy bed to retreat to when he gets tired.
Winston absolutely loves the bolster topper. Not only does the perfectly padded bolster give his little head support when he snoozes, it also encloses the body to provide a den-like feeling that adds a sense of security.
Margot favours the elegance and extreme comfort of the Quilted topper
Margot is a classy Afghan Hound who appreciates the simple luxuries in life. She loves being comfortable, preferably curling up by the fire after a walk around the town when she enjoys meeting new dogs to sniff.
Margot’s favourite topper is the super soft quilted version. It stays cool against the body in summer and has a warming effect in winter, and the classic design oozes luxury and comfort. Additionally, Margot’s owners love the look of the soft minty grey against the rest of their furniture!
Esme can dry off and relax on the Microfiber topper on her Topology Dog bed
Esme is a perfectly sized terrier mix who loves nothing more than running over wide fields and chasing squirrels between trees on long country walks. Rain and wind won’t stop her – the muddier the better! That’s why the microfiber topper is her favourite. The structured fabric is nice to roll your wet back against, and it will speed up the drying process.
Esme’s owners also love that she’s got a space to dry off after inevitable hose-downs that isn’t the living room carpet! Leftover mud and moisture from walks will quickly and smoothly blend into the microfiber topper, and it can be washed over and over again, allowing for more lovely nature walks.
Read more about Topology here
This entry was posted in Dogs on November 6th, 2020 by linnearask
In many ways dogs age in similar ways to humans. Older dogs have less energy, lose some of their senses, experience changes in sleeping and eating patterns, go grey and can have trouble remembering the most ordinary things.
Additionally, muscles and bones become weaker, and the immune system is not as good at fighting off infections. Internal organs also get more tired, so the dog is more prone to liver, heart and kidney disease.
This may seem rather gloomy and depressing, but it’s just a part of nature we have to accept, and as long as you as an owner continue to care for your dog in an appropriate way as they get older, you can really enjoy the last golden years together.
What counts as a senior dog?
Not all dogs reach old age at the same time. Just as with humans, some dogs seem a lot younger or older than their actual age, and genetics play a part in the risk of developing diseases and problems with hearing and sight.
But the most important thing when figuring out when your dog will be a senior is size. Toy dogs, terriers and other small breeds are seen as old when they are 10-11 years, medium-sized breeds like retrievers are considered seniors when they are 8-10 years, and large and giant breeds reach old age at 5 or 6.
What can I do to help my dog in old age?
Your dog will still need regular exercise, even if it might look a bit different from when they were young and bouncy. Accept that the dog won’t be able to come on the long walks they used to love, and try exercising for shorter periods of time more often. Remember to also stimulate your elderly dog mentally. Food toys and puzzles will be great for keeping your dog’s brain sharp.
Older dogs that don’t move around as they once did run the risk of excessive weight gain, and their diet will need to be adjusted to fit their new energy levels. Ask your vet for advice on what to feed your senior dog, but in general it’s good to choose a low fat feed and limit the amount of treats.
Make sure you take your dog to the vet for more regular check ups as he or she gets older. That way you will be able to spot potential problems early on. Dental hygiene is more important than ever, and it’s common that the skin gets drier and the coat less shiny, so it might be a good idea to do a bit more grooming.
Changing sleeping habits
Long gone are the puppy days when your dog passed out anywhere and slept for hours. Comfort is super important for older dogs, and their tired muscles and bones will need support.
Choose a dog bed that is designed to look after the dog’s body, ideally with a firm but supportive mattress and a soft cover. Omlet’s Bolster Dog Beds are great for senior dogs, not only because of the high performing memory foam mattress and supportive features, but also because they can be raised off the ground, making it much easier for an older and less agile dog to get in and out of the bed.
It’s also important to be aware that senior dogs often are much more sensitive to temperature changes. Place the dog’s bed somewhere that stays warm in winter and cool in summer, and provide them with an extra blanket in winter and maybe use a cooling mat in summer.
Making the right decisions at the end of life
There might come a time when you as an owner will have to make unpleasant decisions regarding your dog’s health and potentially whether or not your pet’s life is worth living.
If your dog develops an illness that can be treated, you will need to consider what the interventions will be like for the dog, what their quality of life will be after the treatment, and how long it may extend their life. If you have insurance, money hopefully doesn’t have to be a factor to consider, but many operations and treatments are extremely pricey and far from risk free.
Remember to try and put your own feelings to one side and concentrate on what is best for your dog. Although you might be able to get another few months together with your pet, he or she might be in constant pain, and will not be able to do all the things they used to love, and will not enjoy themselves.
Older pets can easily struggle with anxiety. Their body and mind are changing, and they can’t figure out why. Even if your dog might not be able to see or hear you as well as they used to, they can sense your presence, and that will make them calm and happy, so try to spend as much time together as possible. The last few years of your dog’s life can be a wonderful time for both of you, so don’t dwell on aging but take them for a walk, snuggle up with them on the sofa and play with them – just like you’ve always done!
This entry was posted in Dogs on November 5th, 2020 by linnearask
As with all pets, you as the owner have the main responsibility for making sure the animals are safe and happy. That means that before you go away overnight, whether it’s for work or on holiday, you will need to make sure you have a plan for the chickens, ensuring they will be alright while you’re not around.
Chickens are much more self-sufficient than some other popular pets; they don’t need human interaction every day, will sort out their own exercise, and will not overeat even if there is more food than needed available. That being said though, there are lots of things to think about before you leave them alone.
How long can I leave my chickens alone for?
This is not an easy question to answer, as it depends heavily on your chickens, where you live, and what your setup looks like. Even leaving your flock of chickens for a day requires some preparation.
Hens need constant access to food and water, and enough space to move around on. This is relatively easy to organise if you’re going away for 2-3 days. The more important, and probably the trickier, thing to ensure is that the chickens are safe from predators when you are not there to keep an eye on them. Letting your chickens free range without any supervision is very risky, so you will need to have a safe enclosure that is big enough for your chickens to move around on.
An Eglu Cube connected to a Walk in run is a perfect setup for all chicken keeping situations, but maybe particularly when you’re not able to keep a constant eye on your hens. The Walk in run can be extended to suit the number of chickens you have, and you can be sure that they won’t have to fend off any foxes or wild birds.
If you are confident your enclosure is safe and spacious enough, and that there is no risk that the chickens will run out of food and water, most flocks will be alright by themselves for a weekend.
Should I get a chicken sitter?
If you’re going away for anything longer than three days, you will need to organise for someone to help you come and check on and take care of your chickens on a daily basis. Even if you’re just gone for one night, we would recommend asking a friendly neighbour to poke their head over the fence to make sure the hens are well.
Accidents happen: one of your chickens could have had a fall and seems to be in pain, or a water container may have fallen over. Your friend or neighbour will then hopefully be able to refill the water or give you a call to let you know what has happened.
You might be surprised at how many of your friends and family will be happy to go and check on your chickens once a day if they get to keep the delicious fresh eggs. If you have an automatic door that lets your chickens out in the morning and shuts behind them at night, your helpers can decide for themselves at what time of the day they would like to go.
If you are getting someone to look after your chickens for you, it’s nice to make it as easy as possible for them before you leave home.
What do my chickens need while I’m away?
If you have decided you feel confident that your chickens will be okay by themselves for a few days you will probably already have thought about these things, but they are still worth mentioning:
Food and water
You probably have quite a good idea of how much your chickens eat and drink in a day, it all depends on breed, age and size. It’s always better to leave a bit too much food than too little, and make sure you have more than one feeder to choose from in case something were to happen to one of them.
Prep for different weathers
Don’t trust the weather forecast completely. Make sure the chickens can return to the coop and that they have sheltered spots on the run in case of all day rain or a particularly scorching sunny day.
If your chickens are used to you coming to hang out with them after work every day they might miss the fun. Try to make up for this by giving them some fun toys to play with on the run. Some chickens absolutely love perching on the Chicken Swing, whereas others will go crazy for food dispensing toys, like the Caddi Treat Holder or Peck Toys.
This entry was posted in Chickens on November 5th, 2020 by linnearask
Humans stress about work, running late for a brunch, money issues or that something is going to happen to our loved ones. In times of stress and worry, our cats are always there for us to calm us down and make us focus on something else for a moment – they know exactly how to reduce our stress. But do we as owners ever think about what might potentially make them stressed?
Stress is not an uncommon problem with cats. They are naturally anxious animals that don’t deal well with change, so there are lots of factors that might make your pet stressed. It’s not always easy to spot signs of stress, or to combat them, but it’s important to try, as chronic stress can lead to health and behavioural problems in felines.
What causes stress in cats?
Stress for cats is, easily explained, the perception of threat, rather than something actually harmful or risky. Often this is triggered by something changing in the cat’s daily life, as even positive change will be seen as a threat to the cat.
It’s important that you manage to identify what might be the cause of your cat’s stress. We’ve divided the most common causes into four categories:
An illness or physical trauma that requires treatment or medication will very likely make your cat feel worried. Apart from the potential pain or discomfort, the cat might also have to take pills or wear a cone, which limits their agility and freedom. Being on heat, or being pregnant, will unsurprisingly make most female cats feel on edge, and it’s very difficult to tell them what’s happening to their bodies. Apart from more medical conditions, grooming related changes like having a bath or getting a haircut can sometimes cause stress in your cat.
The big ones here are moving to a new house, or spending time away from the home, like in a kennel or on holiday. Cats prefer the safety of what they know, and will most likely not enjoy travelling anywhere.
Extreme weather and seasons changing can make cats worried and stressed, as can a lack of stimulation in their current living space. Outdoor cats who for some reason have been limited to the house will for example often develop stress related symptoms. Another common environmental stress factor for cats is the presence of other pets, including another cat.
Anyone unfamiliar to the cat coming into the household will be seen as a threat, and can make your pet anxious, whether they are guests who are just over for dinner, or new housemates moving into the spare bedroom. A new baby in the house is also a nightmare for some cats.
Often the problem is a change in the amount of attention the cat gets. Excessive stroking and playing will be just as stressful as the sudden lack of attention a newborn baby can cause.
- Litter tray and diet factors
Changing brand or type of litter or food will likely make your cat stressed, unless done gradually over a longer period of time. A new litter box can also be anxiety-inducing, as can an unusually dirty tray or lack of food and water.
What can stress do to a cat?
All living things are affected by stress, cats included. Bursts of stress, fear or anxiety are normal and harmless, but prolonged, chronic stress can be dangerous. Like in humans, longer periods of stress are associated with depression and a weakened immune system. In cats, stress is also believed to cause or trigger things like asthma, allergies, liver disease and stomach problems.
Stress can also cause many behavioural problems like aggression and litter tray avoidance.
How can I tell if my cat is stressed?
First of all, it’s worth pointing out that a cat that seems worried by a barking dog outside the window or the sudden noise of something dropped on the floor is completely normal. You only need to help your cat if you think they may be stressed than normal, or if they are constantly on high alert.
Physical symptoms of stress include, but are not limited to:
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Excessive shedding and/or grooming
- Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
And in terms of behavioural symptoms you should look out for:
- Any big changes in routines or behaviour
- Urinating outside the litter tray and spraying on furniture
- Unexpected aggression towards humans or other pets
- A disinterest in things going on around them
- Excessive meowing
- Hiding for long periods of time
If you notice a change in your cat’s behaviour or physical appearance, the first thing you should do is take them to the vet to rule out any possible medical condition that could be causing the symptoms. Stress can in itself be a symptom of some diseases and illnesses, but the vet will be able to give you some advice.
What can I do to help my cat?
The most important thing to do is to try and find the source of the stress. Have a look at the things we’ve listed above and try to observe your cat’s behaviour in different situations to try and see if there are any triggers.
Once you think you have located the reason or the reasons your cat feels stressed, try to solve the problem. Some are easier to deal with than others, and in some cases, as with moving or introducing a baby to the family, you will just have to give it time.
Make sure your cat has a safe space they can retreat to when they feel stressed or anxious. It can be a room where you rarely go, or a cat den like the Maya Nook. It’s important that everyone in the family knows not to disturb the cat when they are in their safe space, so that the cat can fully relax.
Spending time with your cat is a good way for you to keep an eye on him or her to make sure they are not struggling, and it gives the cat stimulation and social interaction, which are both great ways of dealing with stress. It can be chasing after a catnip toy or just relaxing on the sofa, let your cat decide.
Another thing to think about is that our pets are highly affected by our wellbeing. If you feel stressed your cat is more likely to feel stressed, and if you’re relaxed they are more likely to not see everything around them as a threat. It’s obviously easier said than done to stop feeling stressed and anxious, but maybe the knowledge that you’re affecting your pets’ mental health can make you find ways of making your life less stressful.
This entry was posted in Cats on November 2nd, 2020 by linnearask