Finding a frozen egg in the next box is one of the most disappointing things a chicken keeper can experience, especially as eggs can be few and far between in winter.
An egg white freezes at -0.45°C, and a yolk at -0.58°C, which means that exposed eggs are at risk of freezing as soon as the temperatures approaches zero.
Can I use a frozen egg?
Frozen eggs can make you very ill. When the egg freezes the contents expand, causing the shell to crack. If you find a frozen egg with a cracked shell, the safest thing to do is to discard it, as you don’t know what unpleasant things the contents of the egg have come in contact with.
If the shell isn’t broken, you can keep the egg frozen until you need it, and then thaw it in the fridge. You might however find that it doesn’t behave completely like eggs that haven’t been frozen, especially the yolk. It can get gelatinous and thick, and will not flow like it normally does. It will also be much more difficult to separate the white and the yolk, so it’s best to use the egg for a recipe where the whole egg is needed.
How to prevent the eggs from freezing
Insulate your coop
The simple answer is to insulate your coop, or to get a coop that is already insulated, like the Eglu chicken coops. If you try to insulate your coop with plastic or tarp, or some old rugs you’ve got lying around, make sure you keep the coop well-ventilated.
Focus on the nest box
Try to make the nest box as inviting and warm as possible. Hanging curtains around them will help retain the heat from the chickens, as will lots of straw.
Collect the eggs more frequently
You will be surprised how fast an egg freezes in sub zero temperatures. Rather than collecting the eggs once in the morning, try to visit the coop 3 or 4 times a day to get the new eggs into the warmth of the house as soon as possible.
If this is not a possibility for you, Omlet’s Eglu coops can give you a bit more flexibility. The twin-wall insulation system will keep the coop warmer for longer, which prevents the eggs in the nest box from freezing, while also keeping your chickens warm and cosy, and the coop nicely ventilated. You can also protect your eggs (and chickens) against the most extreme temperatures with our rage of insulating blankets and jackets.
I’ve been lucky enough to be allowed to test the Omlet Eglu Go. Over the spring and summer I’ve first had a brood of chicks and later a brood of ducklings living in my Eglu Go.
The house is awesome to use as a broody coop and for raising chicks. The house is easy to clean, has good draught-free ventilation, it has a good size for chicks and ducklings, and the attached run gives great protection for the little ones early on, when they are very exposed in relation to birds of prey and other unwelcome guests.
Eglu Go for raising chicks
At first, my chicks were living in a cage in our guest room. They were hatched using an incubator and needed a chick brooder in the first few months as it was very cold outside. When the temperatures started to rise and the chicks had more well developed feathers, I moved them out into the coop. I kept them here for about 10 weeks. There were 10 chicks and they fitted easily in the coop until they were large enough to move into the large chicken coop with the grown-ups. I removed the roosting bars in the coop since small chicks don’t sleep on roosting bars in the beginning. I filled the coop with a generous layer of wood shavings and straw since it was still cold in the spring.
The coop is pretty easy to move around, especially if you add the wheels. You can therefore move the coop and run when the grass starts to get dull, this way, the chicks always have fresh grass to walk around on. It’s great to have a closed run for the first while. Small chicks are exposed to birds of prey – this run keeps the birds from attacking. My grown hens were also a danger to the chicks in the beginning. Chickens aren’t always hospitable when it comes to new members of the flock. The small chicks could be left in peace in their run and the big hens could slowly get used to their presence. This made it so much easier to introduce them later, since they were already used to each other.
Hatching and rearing in the Eglu Go
When the chicks were too large to all live in the coop, I introduced them to the large flock, and then I suddenly had an empty Eglu Go. My ducks had laid a lot of eggs in a large nest but none of them were interesting in brooding. I already had two broody silkies, so I tried putting the duck eggs under them. The chickens weren’t discriminative about the eggs, and they happily lay brooding.. About a week before the eggs were supposed to start hatching, I moved the two hens and their eggs into the empty Eglu Go. The hens were very good about it and continued their persistent brooding, a week later 8 large ducklings came into the world.
Again, I had removed the roosting bars from the coop since ducks don’t sleep on roosting bars. This way, there was also room for two nests. The hens got along fine and they didn’t seem to mind that their babies had webbed feet rather than chicken feet.
Again, the other poultry in the garden could slowly get used to the new arrivals, and for that reason, there were also no issues when, a few weeks later, I let the ducklings and their mothers out to join the others in the garden.
The benefit of having ducks in an Eglu Go is that ducks often prefer to sleep outside. At night I let them into the run attached to the Eglu Go and close the run door so they are protected from predators. At the same time, they can decide for themselves whether to sleep in the coop or out in the run. In the morning I open the run door, so they can run freely in the garden and collect slugs, snails and insects.
I can definitely recommend this coop both for chicks and ducklings, whether hatched naturally or in an incubator. It’s a good idea to choose the 3 meter run, since it gives the little ones more space to play and explore.
Read our handy guide first that has been provided by Sarah from Sussex Garden Poultry ….
What advice would you give for someone looking to keep Chickens?
The most important thing is going to be the coop, choose something that will be safe for the hens, that will last, that’s easy to clean. Spend well, spend once. Buy your hens from a reputable source, it’s easy to be fobbed off with cockerels or older hens if you don’t know what to look for. Buying ‘point of lay’ means they may not be laying yet, but within a few weeks you’ll get eggs, there is no way of ageing a hen, you don’t want to buy something that’s 3 years old.
Which type of Chickens would you suggest to get as a first time Chicken owner?
If you’ve never kept hens before I always suggest you choose a fairly calm type of hybrid. The Red Rangers, Blacktails, Light Sussex & speckled hens. These girls will lay you lots of eggs with the minimum of fuss. Bantams are also a good choice if you have a small garden.
What type of Coop would you recommend?
Always buy the biggest coop you can afford & have space for, hen keeping is addictive, you start with 3 & end up saying, ‘oh I like that colour, that breed, that shape……..’
Omlet sells four different types of Eglu Chicken Coops
How many Chickens would you suggest getting initially?
First think about your coop size, I always recommend starting with 3, the classic & the Go easily take 3 hens, should you have the misfortune to loose a bird you need to add a minimum of 2 hens, these coops have the space for 4 hens max. With the Cube you can take more hens, but remember when you want to add to your flock it’s best to double your numbers, so 4 or 5 in a cube allows you to add again in a couple of years time to keep a year round supply of eggs from new layers.
Should you always keep more than one Chicken?
Chickens like to be in flocks, no one wants to be lonely, why would a chicken?
Chickens love to hop onto a perch. This fondness for perches is instinctive. Chickens are descended from the Asian Jungle Fowl, which roosts on the branches of trees. Perching is as natural to hens as scratching and egg-laying. This might lead you to assume that the ideal perch is in a tree, or at least high off the ground. But while some of the lighter breeds such as Bantams or Leghorns might be able to flap their way to the topmost branches, the average domestic hen is way too big to try. A perch that a bird can hop onto from the ground is perfectly adequate.
During the day they’ll use the perch to relax, take a break and watch the world pass by. If you are keeping your chickens in a run then adding a perch is an excellent way to enrich their enclosure. Enrichment is one of those terms that does what it says on the tin. By adding accessories to the bird’s run you are enriching their lives by providing activities, variation and interest for them. Whilst it might not seem like an obvious activity, a static perch is actually one of the best additions you can make to your chickens environment, click here to see a video of how to attach a perch to your run. And if you have a big flock of chickens, you can add several perches in different locations, which will help to avoid any pecking order problems where the chickens lower down are not allowed to join in the perching fun! Top 4 tips when choosing a perch for your chickens
Make sure that the perch is strong enough to take the weight of your chickens, an average egg laying chicken weighs about 2kg. A bantam would be about 800g-1kg and a large breed could be up to 5kg.
Make sure that the perch is long enough, you should allow about 20cm per average sized chicken.
Don’t place the perch too high. When you first introduce the perch, place it quite low, maybe 10cm off the ground. The chickens will quickly learn to trust it and then you can raise it so it’s just above their heads.
When choosing a place to position your perch try to find a spot in the run that is covered so that the hens can still perch when it’s raining without getting wet.
Using a perch in the chicken house.
When chickens “come home to roost”, they usually head straight for their favourite spot on the perch. It may not look like the most comfortable way to spend the night, but that perch is every bit as snug and inviting to a hen as your warm, cosy bed is to you.
Hens will roost on pretty much anything, from an old ladder to a flat plank of wood. But it’s best to give them something custom made – wide enough with rounded corners, and easily adjustable. As their well-being is at stake – and that impacts your egg supply – it makes sense to buy the best. Omlet’s chicken perch is very easy to fit to every type of chicken run and wooden coops too, click here to find out more.
If a chicken doesn’t have a perch, they are more likely to attract mites and lice, or to pick up bacteria from the soiled ground. The stress of having no perch will also lower their immune systems, maximising their chances of disease.
Perches help hens feel safe and secure. At night a chicken is totally blind, and a perch gives them somewhere to “sit tight” if they are disturbed. As far as they’re concerned, if their feet are gripping that reassuring perch, they’re safe from predators. This reduces stress, which in turn promotes good egg-laying.
Perches even help with coop hygiene, as the entire night’s load of droppings will be dumped in one convenient spot for you to clean out.
The Run Door Self Fit Kit lets you add an extra access door to your Eglu run or Walk in Run.Simply cut out a section of your run mesh, cover the edges with the supplied edge protectors and clip the door in place.(You will need some good quality pliers to cut the hole in your run panel.) If your pets move their toys to awkward parts of the run or occasionally lay an egg just out of reach, the Self Fit Door Kit is just the thing for you! Note: The door opens inwards not outwards, so remember to take that into account when deciding on the location of your new door. If you are using it on an Eglu Go run or an Eglu Cube run, the angle of the Run panels will mean you need to mount it slightly higher to avoid it colliding with the ground when you open it.
The Victoria and Albert Museum houses the largest collection of art and design in the world, across 145 galleries and 13 acres of space in the centre of London. Home to priceless pieces by Faberge, Michaelangelo, Charles Renee Macintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright to name a few it’s not exactly the kind of place you would expect to find a couple of chickens wandering around. But that’s exactly what you would have found if you went to the Late Nights series in August which the V&A puts on every last friday in the month. In August the focus was on Urban Grow Your Own and as well as hydroponics, a seed exchange and disco soup, Omlet were invited to display an Eglu and chickens in the amazing surroundings of the John Madjeski garden. A beautiful summers evening meant that the garden was packed and plenty of people did a double take as we set up the Eglu and produced two real live chickens who promptly did real live droppings much to all the kids delight. We answered loads of questions from people all over the world who were visiting and it was great to meet so many chicken fans. It’s not the first time the Eglu has been in the V&A though, you may remember that the Eglu Classic was picked to represent great british design alongside the E-Type jaguar and Concorde during an exhibtion that ran alongside the London Olympics in 2012.
Meet Guirec Soudee, a 24 year old man from Brittany, France and Monique, his pet hen. This unlikely pair are currently sailing around the world, they set out on their voyage 2 years ago and they haven’t looked back since.
Monique is the loyal pet hen of Guirec, who had originally planned on keeping a cat on the boat for company but changed his mind and opted for a feathered friend for companionship. Guirec said that he chose a chicken as they’re very easy to keep, plus he gets to have fresh eggs whilst at sea. Win win.
Others doubted whether this new found friendship would work but Guirec said that Monique took to sea life very quickly and was laying straight away.
The dynamic duo are currently in Greenland but are heading to Alaska soon, Monique continues to lay eggs even in the colder climates, according to Guirec she lays on average 6 eggs a week.
“She follows me everywhere, and doesn’t create any problems. All I need to do is shout ‘Monique!’ and she will come to me, sit on me, give me company. She is amazing.”
We wish Guirec and Monique good luck for their continued travels, we’ll be keeping a close eye on their Instagram and Facebook.
As the weather starts to heat up we have created a list of our top tips for keeping your chickens cool in the summer months. Chickens can suffer from heat stress and stop laying eggs therefore it’s incredibly important to take measures to ensure their temperature stays as cool as possible in the heat of summer.
When chickens become very hot, you will also see them holding their wings out away from their bodies and ruffling their feathers, this is to help the heat escape. Unlike humans, chickens don’t sweat to release the heat, they pant, similar to a dog. Please keep an eye on them so that they don’t suffer from heat stress.
Signs of heat stress include:
-panting with beak open
-laying around with wings outstretched
-loss of appetite
-slow to respond to stimuli, unresponsive
Top 11 tips to help avoid heat stress
Make sure you provide plenty of shade for your hens to escape the sun. We have a variety of heavy duty and shade covers for all our Eglu runs.
Keep your hens hydrated with plenty of fresh water, why not add a few ice cubes to their glugs to keep the water nice and cold for as long as possible
Create a dust bath area for your chooks to nestle down and find a cool part in the ground.
One key tip is to look out for the signs of heat stress and act fast, if you think one of your chickens is suffering, dunk them in a bucket of room temperature water keeping their neck and head above the water. Keep them inside in the air con and make sure they get plenty of water.
Use a sprinkler/mister- the hens won’t like the water very much but it’s for their own good.
Freeze fruit and veg in ice blocks so that your hens can peck at it. Or just freeze pieces of fruit, Watermelon is a popular favourite among chickens.
Avoid foods such as corn and scratch as they require longer digestion processes, which creates more body heat.
If your local climate stays warm at night simply place a large ice block in the coop, your hens will enjoy sleeping near it at night.
Add vitamins to their water to make sure they are replacing the lost nutrients.
Pay close attention to bigger/heavier hens
Plan ahead for next year and plant a tree or bush to provide extra shade!
Welcome the Autumnal weather with 3 for 2 on all Clear, Heavy Duty and Combi Covers this week only. Suitable for all Eglus, Walk in Runs and other coops and hutches, Omlet Covers will keep your furry and feathered friends dry on the drizzliest of days. Stock up today using promo code: COVERS3FOR2
This offer is not valid in conjunction with any other Omlet offer. The offer expires at 11:59pm on 25th October 2015. The cheapest product will be free. Offer applies to Heavy Duty, Clear and Combi Covers. Previous purchases are not eligible for this offer.
Omlet Ltd, Tuthill Park, Wardington, Banbury, Oxon, OX17 1RR.
Having supported the British Hen Welfare Trust for many years now, we have decided to do something eggstra special this World Egg Day. To celebrate the humble egg, the awesome chicken and 10 years of the BHWT, Omlet are going to donate money from every Eglu sale this World Egg Day to this marvellous organisation.
Established 10 years ago, the BHWT saves hens from slaughter by rescuing them at the end of their commercial laying life and finding them caring homes around the country. As well as rehoming hens, they educate consumers about caged eggs in processed food so they can make an informed choice when shopping and they actively promote Great British Free Range Farmers.
The BHWT’s work to increase consumer awareness has led to big names, such as Hellmans, switching to free range eggs in their food products. These policy changes have improved the quality of life for tens of thousands of hens. The BHWT have also played a role in improving veterinary care of backyard chickens by facilitating the training of vets across the country.
To date, the British Hen Welfare Trust has rehomed 486,192 chickens that have gone on to have happy, healthy lives, just like Lily, in the photo above. She was rescued by an Eglu owner earlier this year and after just eight months and a little TLC, she is looking fabulous and laying eggs every day.
We would love to raise as much money as possible for the fantastic folks at the BHWT to help them to continue their amazing work and rescue even more brilliant chickens. Here’s how your Eglu purchase will help…
20 Eglus sold = £1,000 – enough for 40 new crates to transport hens.
50 Eglus sold = £2,500 – enough to set up two new teams with necessary equipment including crates, feeders, drinkers, hen first aid kits, banners, tshirts, stationary etc.
70 Eglus sold = £3,500 – enough for a standard, open trailer to transport 480 hens, with a customer-made tarpaulin that keeps hens ventilated.
100 Eglus sold = £5,000 – enough to buy a larger, fully enclosed stock trailer that can carry up to 600 hens.
This offer is valid from 12:01am until 11:59pm on the 9th October 2015. Previous purchases are not eligible for this offer. This offer applies to UK orders for Eglu Go Chicken Coops, Eglu Go UP Chicken Coops, Eglu Classic Chicken Coops and Eglu Cube Chicken Coops. Orders that are later cancelled will not be eligble.
Omlet Ltd, Tuthill Park, Wardington, Banbury, Oxon, OX17 1RR.
As seen on ‘River Cottage’ and ‘Kirstie’s Homemade Home’. This egg skelter is a brilliant way of storing and displaying your fresh eggs in date order. Every time your hens lay a lovely egg simply add it to the skelter, and when it comes to eating them you will know to use the one at the front, which will always be the oldest. Your eggs will be proudly on display and you will never have to waste one again! Suitable for 20 medium to large sized eggs.
Please note: Eggs are different shapes and sizes and we cannot guarantee that they will roll down the egg skelter.