Introducing a new cat or kitten to your resident cat can be quite a daunting situation. One thing you don’t want to do is just put them together without any thought or preparation.
If you introduce the cats too soon or without easing them in they can become very hostile due to the fact that they might be feeling threatened or scared.
One thing to note particularly with cats is that once they feel this way about another cat it can be very hard to change their minds, hence why a cautious and slow introduction is the best way to ensure both animals feel safe and happy together.
Unlike many animals and humans, cats don’t actually crave companionship from one of their own. They are perfectly happy being the only cat in the house. This isn’t to say they won’t enjoy the company of another cat, it’s just they don’t have that need or desire for company that you are used to seeing in other animals.
Introducing a new kitten to an existing adult cat might be easier as the older cat might not feel as threatened, due to the fact that the kitten isn’t sexually mature. However, it is worth noting that a kitten will be very lively and playful which for a resident older cat might be quite stressful so it’s important you give your existing cat some down time in a separate room to chill out.
Initially it is best to keep the cats in separate rooms of your house. One in the living room and one in the spare room for example. Place all the items your new cat will need in this room, litter tray, food, water etc. Make sure there is no competition for food, litter trays and sleeping areas. Create safe separate spaces for both of them to co-exist.
Cat diffusers- These can be used a couple of days before you bring your new cat into the home, these are designed to emit pheromones which relax and soothe your cat which makes them feel safe and secure.
If you are introducing a kitten, you can use a dog crate for the initial stages. Top tip: get your kitten used to the crate before you place the kitten in the same room as the resident cat, you can do this by using it in a separate room with the door open for the kitten to become familiar with the crate.
Height is another great asset for cats particularly when they’re feeling scared or threatened. Make sure there is enough high areas or places in your house for the cats to access to give themselves a bit of time to calm down.
Cats have a good sense of smell, therefore unfamiliar scents can be stressful for them, especially when they know it’s from another cat. The idea of scent swapping is an easy but super effective way to safely get the cats familiar with one another. Try swapping their bedding nightly also stroke both cats separately but don’t wash your hands in between, this will cause their scents to become mixed up and they’ll start feeling more familiar with one another even before they’ve met!
Common ground- for initial introductions you want to make sure that the cats are meeting in a neutral area that’s not assigned to either of them but ensure that they have access back to their own safe spaces if they want to leave. In this time, initially just leave them to it, they will assess each other from afar and when they feel comfortable enough to approach each other they will. Try to refrain from picking them up and forcing them to be closer together.
One great way to start the cats bonding is to feed them both at this time, in separate bowls but with a good enough distance between them.
Hissing and moaning isn’t unusual but it just lets you know where they are at, perhaps slow the process down and keep them separate for a few more days and then try again.
Most importantly to create a harmonious environment for your new and existing cat is to make sure there are enough separate areas for them to eat, drink, sleep and go to the toilet, this is a sure fire way to ensure there’s no unnecessary fights!
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
Guinea Pigs are not pigs but, rather, rodents. They are also not from Guinea; they originated in the Andes mountains of South America
A male is called a boar; females are sows and babies are referred to as pups.
“Pups” are born with fur and their eyes open.
A healthy weight of a Guinea pig is between 700 and 1200g (1.5 – 2.5lbs)
Guinea pigs are around 20 and 25 cm long (8 – 10 inches)
The life span of a guinea pig is between 4 – 7 years
They have 4 toes on their front feet but only 3 on their back ones
Their teeth continue growing throughout their lives which is why it’s important for them to constantly gnaw on the things they like to eat so they wear their teeth down
Guinea pigs only sleep for about four hours during a 24- hour period and usually nap from between 20 seconds to six minutes.
Guinea pigs are extremely vocal and have a broad range of sounds which include purring, whining, shrieking, cooing, rumbling, hissing and teeth chattering.
They are very social animals and they are much happier when kept in pairs or groups
All breeds of Guinea pigs have five different types of hair that make up their coat.
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
Winter is coming. If you’re new to keeping chickens you might wonder what you can do for your chickens to keep them happy and healthy during winter. Most chicken breeds cope well in moderately cold temperatures as long as they have a well-insulated and dry coop. Chickens normally acclimatise themselves to the cold weather, so you shouldn’t worry too much about your chickens getting too cold, especially if you have an Eglu which is well insulated. In fact, chickens are able to adapt better to the cold than they are the heat. But why not give your chickens a bit of extra protection during the winter, if only for your own piece of mind.
The basics of any chicken coop and run in the winter
Weather Protection and insulation. The coop must be weatherproof. As said, most chicken breeds don’t mind the cold at all but they prefer not to get wet. The chicken coop should also be insulated enough that it remains warm inside even in the midst of winter. If you have an well-insulated Eglu chicken coop you can increase the level of protection against the most extreme temperatures with our range of insulating blankets and jackets.
Ventilation. A well ventilated chicken coop will ensure that plenty of fresh air gets inside the coop. This will keep the odours down and avoids moisture build-up. When a chicken coop is too tightly insulated, not only will it retain heat, it will also retain moisture. Just make sure the coop is draft-free.
Rising damp. Rising damp can also be an issue for chicken coops. Coops should be raised off the floor to prevent the base becoming damp. If your coop doesn’t have legs fitted, you can place bricks under the coop to allow air to circulate and reduce damp. Always make sure you place or build your chicken coop and run on high ground that won’t flood during heavy rain.
Size of the coop. Make sure your chicken coop is not too big for the amount of chickens you have. When the coop is too big, your chickens won’t create enough body heat to warm up the space. Chickens huddle together and keep each other warm, so they don’t need a lot of space. Try not to open the door of the coop at night when your chickens are roosting. Be mindful that their body heat is keeping them warm and by opening the coop you will let out the build-up warmth. If you do have a large coop/stable and just a few chickens, you can put a large cardboard box on its side, half filled with chopped straw/wood shavings in a corner to help them conserve their body heat.
Run. It’s important (a part of) the chicken run is covered with a winter shade. You can even build a kind of greenhouse style addition to your coop, covering it with clear plastic. This will give your chickens a bit more space on nice days. Another tip to prevent the area under the run becoming muddy is to cover the area with bark chippings. Mud is a breeding ground for poultry worms so muddy areas should always be avoided.
Perches. Give your chickens have plenty places to roost. To prevent their feet will get too cold, you’ll need to give your chickens a place to perch in both their coop and run. The perches need to be wide enough so that the chickens can cover their toes with their feathers. This will provide them with a little extra warmth which will save them from the bitter cold.
Cleaning. Keep your chicken coop clean and dry. Clean the droppings from inside the coop daily and replace the bedding as necessary. By keeping the coop both dry and clean, you will help to prevent dampness which can cause frostbite.
Also take care of…
Water. It is important your flock always has a source of fresh, unfrozen water. Depending on where you live this can be quite challenging. To prevent you have to keep rushing outside to swap over your drinkers every few hours, there are heated waterers like the Eton Drinker Heater. You can also wrap the drinkers up in a layer of bubble wrap to keep the water unfrozen for longer. Don’t place the water inside the coop, this can cause damp.
Feed. During winter your chickens feed consumption will typically be much higher than in the spring/summer. Often chickens enjoy warm feed, like cooked lentils or warm oatmeal with some raisins or other small dried fruits. Give your hens extra corn in the afternoon as this will heat them up internally as they digest it overnight. To encourage your chickens to keep laying eggs in the winter, always have a good amount of food available. Layer pellets have the right nutrients your chickens need throughout the winter.
Combs and Wattles. If it gets extremely cold across the winters your chickens’ combs and wattles can be in danger of getting frostbite. Most hardy chicken breeds have small combs, but if you have breeds with very large, floppy combs you will need to gently rub petroleum jelly onto their combs and wattles. You will also need to keep an eye out for coughs, colds and general symptoms of being unwell. Read our chicken breed directory to find out which birds are best suited to colder climates.
Vermin. Remember at this time of year, there are hungry rats and mice attracted to the chickens feed and water. Take extra care with the storage of your feeds. Store feed away from the coop and keep it in an airtight container. If you notice any signs of vermin, remove the feeders and drinkers at night.
Boredom. It is more likely your chickens will get bored in the winter, when there are no grass and weeds to munch and fewer bugs to feast on. This will lead to mischief, like feather pecking, egg eating etc. Prevent boredom by giving your chickens a Chicken Swings, perches, piles of leaves and/or a mirror. Read our blog “Keep your hens entertained!” for more non-food ideas for keeping your chickens busy.
Sources: Omlet Chicken guide, the British Hen Welfare Trust, My Pet Chicken, the Happy Chicken Coop, Fresh Eggs Daily, Poultrykeeper.com.
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
Patience. The first thing to remember is that pet photography requires patience. It doesn’t matter if you want a posed photo of your rabbit or a action shot of your dog, you’re probably going to get rather frustrated when your models are not behaving in the way you want them to. So arm yourself with patience, and never force your pet into doing something the don’t feel comfortable doing.
Get help. If you have a family member or a friend at hand, it’s always useful to ask them to assist you. They can use toys or treats to get the attention of the pet and direct their gaze while you focus on getting a great photo. If you’re by yourself you’re going to have to find other ways. Sometimes making a sudden noise can get the attention of the pet, but probably only for a second or two, so make sure you’re ready. Depending on the type of photo you’re after it might be easier to have the photo session after you’re played together for a while and the pet is less excited and bouncy.
Use natural light. If you’re not a professional photographer with access to different lenses and flashes, you’re probably going to want to take advantage of the natural light. Try starting outdoors, or if you’re indoors, by a window. The light will make the photo look better, and will give you more freedom to experiment. We would suggest going somewhere where both you and your pet feel comfortable, maybe a place that means a lot to you and where you have created lots of memories together. Try to choose a place with a relatively clear backdrop, like a while wall or a grassy field, as a messy background can be distracting.
Try to focus on the eyes. If the eyes are blurry or out of focus the photo will look slightly off. The camera will automatically focus on what is closest to the lens, which in most cases will be the nose of your pet rather than the eyes. This is especially important when you’re taking close ups.
Get down to their level. This might mean you have to crouch down in the mud or crawl on the floor, but in return your photos will be significantly more unique and interesting. Try taking photos from different angles: from above, below, in front of your pet, behind it. You’ll get to see your pet from all sides, and sometimes the photos from the weirdest of angles are the ones you will love the most.
Have their personalities in mind. The whole point of taking photographs of your pets is to try and capture their personalities, so try to make sure that their characters are showing in the photo. If you cat is the lazy ruler of the house you probably want to capture it yawning in their favourite spot on the sofa, and if you have a dog that bounces around the house and is impossible to tire, you probably want to capture its liveliness in the middle of a jump or running towards you in the park.
Quantity is key. The more photos you take, at different times and locations, the more likely you are to get that one amazing shot. This will also mean that you get loads of photos of your pet in different places, moods and positions. Get used to taking photos when you’re out on walks, playing in the garden, or just relaxing at home, and try to spy on your pet to catch what they’re doing when you’re not around. And remember to always take 20 photos instead of just one.
Use treats. If you’re trying to have a properly arranged photo shoot, try using treats. Depending on what pet you have, and their personalities, offering treats can make them sit still and look at the camera. Others will just walk up to you to get the treat, or ignore the treat completely, but it’s worth trying. Make sure that you reward your model throughout the shoot.
Add humans to the photo. Having family members in the photos with your pet makes the pictures even more special, and they are the ones that you will come back to and look at. A photo of your child playing with your dog or feeding the chickens will capture their characters in a way that a posed photo very rarely do.
Have a go at these tips, and make sure to tag your photos on social media with #OmletPets – we love to see what you’re up to!
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
We all have our bolt holes – that little space in the home with our personal stamp on it. It might be a bedroom, a hot bath, a study, a garden shed, or just a comfy chair. The important thing is that it comes with an unwritten message: Do Not Disturb.
Dogs are no different. When the stress levels rise, or when the busy day demands some down time, they need a den, a cosy corner that they can call their own.
Why the Crate is Great
Many dog owners don’t consider buying a crate. This is a missed opportunity, as crate training sets up a young dog for life. It gives your pet an appropriate sense of territory and personal space, and speeds up toilet training.
A crate also acts as a cosy corner and personal space. It’s important to realise how easily a dog can become uncomfortable in the home. Some are more panicky than others, but all dogs will experience some level of anxiety when unexpected things happen.
This can include loud noises, changes in routine or the sudden arrival of strangers. The brains of dogs and humans alike react to undesirable situations by flooding the body with the “fight or flight” stress hormone cortisol. A constant flood of cortisol has a negative effect on an animal’s health; while opting for “fight” rather than “flight” has obvious hazards all dog owners want to avoid.
A crate provides the “flight” option – somewhere to run to and escape the source of anxiety.
How to Spot the Signs of Stress
Humans communicate stress easily. Dogs do the same, but mainly through body language. Here’s what to look out for:
- The stress yawn – sometimes accompanied with a whine
- Panting for no obvious reason
- “Cringing”, with tail low or tucked between the legs
- Stiff body posture
- Ears pulled and held flat against the head
- Turning away and avoiding eye contact.
Part of the Furniture
The crate alone won’t stop your dog woofing at loud noises and growling at strangers. He will need training sessions too. Without these, he might simply run to the bolt hole and continue to bark.
Combined with training and desensitising, though, a crate can be a real life saver. But that doesn’t alter the fact that a great big cage plonked in the living room isn’t necessarily going to blend in with the rest of your décor.
It was this tension between the necessity of a crate and its intrinsic ugliness that inspired us to design the Fido Nook. It’s a piece of stylish furniture, complete with a wardrobe section for doggy bits and pieces, into which a crate can be placed. With the crate removed, the Fido Nook is still a lovely piece of furniture, and, more importantly, provides a comfy kennel space – your dog’s own special home within the home.
The Fido Nook will de-stress your dog in style. Bolt holes have never looked so good!
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
Did you know that it is becoming more and more common for our pets to become overweight.
Overweight cats are at a greater risk of developing serious problems, like cardiac diseases, cancer, diabetes and arthritis. Obesity is normally caused by the cat’s sedentary lifestyle in combination with over-feeding and too many treats.
Helping your overweight cat lose weight is the best thing you can do to improve their general well being and make sure they live a long and happy life!
It is not always straightforward to tell if your cat is overweight, especially if they have long hair and are of a generally stockier breed, but a healthy cat should have a well-proportioned body with a defined waist and neck. You should be able to easily feel your cat’s ribs and hip bone, and it should have minimal abdominal fat. You can also do a search for ideal weight for the breed of cat you’ve got and compare it to the weight of your cat. If your cat is 15% over the normal weight it is seen as overweight.
If you’re unsure about whether or not you need to put your cat on a diet you can always consult with your vet.
It is generally always good to have a chat with your vet before you make any changes to your cat’s diet, as weight gain could actually be caused by an underlying health problem, rather than over-eating.
If you have decided that your cat needs to lose weight, have a look at our best tips:
Control calorie intake
Look for canned, high quality, meat-based, and highly digestible food to give your cat. Canned or raw food contain a large percentage of water, which can help a cat feel full on fewer calories, and also allows you to control how much food you give your cat every day. Canned wet food is also better than dry food, as it does not allow the cat to nibble on food throughout the day and eating just for sake of eating rather than because they are hungry.
Measure out how much food you’re going to give the cat in a day, and make sure you stick to it. Dividing the food into smaller and more frequent meals can help if you feel your cat is struggling with hunger, but keep track of what and how much you are giving them. If you’ve got more than one cat it might be worth trying to feed the overweight cat separately to stop him or her stealing food from the others.
Limit the treats
Get rid of all high-calorie treats and titbits, and make sure everyone in the family knows the rules! It might seem unfair to completely stop giving your cat treats, but the nicest thing you can do for them at this stage is to help them lose weight.
Try substituting treats with a nice cuddle or a toy, as most cat will respond just as well to the attention. If you still feel like you want to treat your cat with something edible, look for low-calorie treats in your local pet shop, or give the cat healthy nibbles, like a piece of broccoli or green beans.
Weight loss should be done slowly and steadily to reduce the risk of several health issues, like fatty liver disease. The cat should not lose more than 3-4% of their total body weight per month.
If you are changing the cat’s diet, make sure you do this gradually to not upset the stomach. Substitute more and more of the old food with your new, healthier choice every day, or reduce the amount of food little bit little, until you have reached the desirable level.
Introducing new toys and games into your cat’s life can not only decrease boredom, help cats bond with each other and their owners, and improve agility and coordination, but will also help your cat lose weight. The increased movement will burn calories, and take the cat’s mind off eating.
Try to find out what types of toys your cat likes, and switch them around every now and then to make sure the cat doesn’t get bored. Different cats like different toys, but feathers and catnip-infused toys will be a hit with most! Make up games that forces the cat to move around and use their whole body, like searching for hidden things or chasing toys.
Try walking your cat on a leash
Although some cats absolutely hate going for a walk on a leash, others will really enjoy it, as they get fresh air and are able to spend time with their favourite human. Let the cat get used to the harness at home, and start with a short walk in the garden or around the block. If that works you can increase the distance gradually.
Don’t worry if it proves a real challenge – some cats will never accept the leash, and you should not force them, but if you’re able to take the cat for a walk once a day it can be a great way of exercising (for both you and your cat).
Add dietary supplements to your cat’s diet
Depending on what food you are giving your cat as part of his or her new diet, they might not be getting enough of the nutrients they need to stay healthy and active. Check the new feeding routine with your vet, and they can recommend supplements that might be good for your cat, such as Omega 3 or multivitamins.
Create an exciting and enriching environment for your cats
You want to make sure that your cats are encouraged to move around in the home even when you’re not there to play with them. Give them scratching trees, climbing posts and stimulating toys, both to prevent boredom and make sure they stay active.
If you’ve got an indoor cat, you might want to consider giving your cats the possibility to play outside in a run.
Help with grooming
This is not so much a tip as a general thing to think about. Overweight cats can sometimes struggle to keep their fur nice and tidy, as they might not have the mobility to reach everywhere. While you’re helping your cat lose weight, make sure to stay on top of grooming!
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
Hamsters are rodents from the subfamily Cricetinae. They were brought to the United States from Syria in 1936
There are approximately 25 species of hamster. There are 4 basic breeds of hamsters, namely the Syrian, Russian Dwarf, Chinese and Roborovski hamsters
Hamster comes from the German word hamstern,” which means “to hoard.” Even domesticated hamsters will hoard, despite the fact that they don’t need to.
After hamsters are born, it’s nearly two weeks before they’ll open their eyes.
Hamsters do not have good eyesight, they are nearsighted and also colour-blind.
Hamsters rely on scent to find their way. They have scent glands which they rub on objects along a path.
Syrian hamsters live 2 – 3 years in captivity, and less in the wild. Other popular pet types such as Russian dwarf hamsters live about 2- 4 years in captivity.
Hamsters range in size from the largest breed, the European hamster at 13.4 in (34 cm) long, to the smallest, the dwarf hamster at 2 – 4 in (5.5 – 10.5 cm) long.
Hamsters’ incisor teeth never stop growing and they have a ‘self-sharpening’ system where the incisors grind against each other while gnawing, which wears the teeth down.
Hamsters breed in the spring & summer and will produce several litters per year. The average litter size is around 7 pups (babies), however, it is possible for some hamsters to have up to 24 in one litter!
Hamsters have large cheeks in which they carry food back to their burrows. Full pouches can make their heads double or sometimes triple in size!
The typical hamster diet consists of seeds, nuts, grained, cracked corn, and certain kinds of fruits and vegetables. Hamsters in the wild may eat other small animals like lizards and frogs, but not pet hamsters!
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
Many of us would agree that there are few things nicer on a hot summer’s day than a trip to the beach, and as long as you come prepared there is no reason to leave your pooch at home. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for dogs, and you can stay as long as you like without having to worry about getting home to let the dog out!
There are however a few things you need to do before you leave, and some things that are good to know when it comes to dogs and the beach. Here are our best tips for a successful outing!
Find a dog-friendly beach
Dogs are not always allowed on public beaches, but there is normally an area close-by where you can take your dog. Search for a dog-friendly beach nearby, read up on the rules, and make sure you follow them!
Keep an eye on your dog
Even if you’re at a dog-friendly beach you must always keep an eye on your dog, and show consideration to the other beach goers and dog owners. No one appreciates being sprayed with water from a wet dog as they’re relaxing with a good book! If you’re not absolutely sure your dog will come when you call or stay close to you, it might be best to keep it on the lead. Omlet stocks several leads in different lengths so that you can adjust how far the dog will be allowed to wander.
You also have to make sure your dog stays safe at the beach. Dogs are amazing at finding things in the sand that might not be good for them, everything from leftover barbecue ingredients to rotting fish. Glass, sharp shells, or even old fish hooks may hide in the sand, and can hurt your dog’s precious paws.
Teach your dog to swim
Many believe that all dogs know how to swim, but that is not the case. Even if all dogs will automatically paddle their feet if you put them in the water, there are several dog breeds that aren’t built to stay floating. Breeds with large heads and short legs will struggle to keep their head over the surface to breathe. If your dog seems to love swimming but you’re not completely sure about their ability, it might be a good idea to invest in a doggy life jacket.
That being said, there are lots of dogs that don’t really enjoy the water, or who will be perfectly happy running around in the shallow parts where they don’t have to swim. Never force a dog to come swimming with you!
Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, it’s important for you as an owner to keep an eye on them as they’re out in the water. Make sure you stay informed about currents in the water, and don’t let the dog in if there are high waves or lots of boats or jet skis around. Dogs can easily get too excited in the water and swim out into deep waters, where the current might be much stronger. You also have to supervise dogs playing and swimming with children.
Make sure you pack everything you need for a day at the beach. Dogs will need plenty of fresh water, so get enough for the whole family. It’s a good idea to have a collapsible water bowl, so you don’t have to make your dog drink straight from the bottle. This way you can also keep track of how much water the dog has actually had.
Bring toys that will entertain your dog throughout the day. If you’re able to throw balls or other toys down the beach, that is a perfect activity that will entertain your dogs, and give it a good amount of exercise. Just make sure the toys float if they end up in the water.
If you’re staying at the beach for a few hours, or maybe even the whole day, it’s important to make sure the dog can get some shade. If you’re not sure whether there are shaded areas where you’re going or not, bring a parasol or a small beach tent where the dog can relax during the hottest hours of the day.
Before you leave
Make sure you leave nothing behind, and clean up after yourself and your dog!
If there are taps or beach showers where you are, you might want to rinse your dog before you leave for the day. Salt can cause irritation to the dog’s skin, and sand can get in their eyes as they’re trying to get rid of it from their faces, which can cause eye infections and lots of discomfort. The dog will probably also have been exposed to plenty of dirt and bacteria during all the exploring.
If you can’t find any fresh water at the beach, it might be a good idea to scrub your dog with a towel before you get in the car (maybe mainly to not end up with a desert in the boot), and then give him or her a quick bath when you get home.
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
Did you know that chickens can’t sweat? Instead, chickens use their legs, combs and wattles to lead heat away from their bodies. They also pant and spread their wings in order to get some air through those feathers. Chickens also enjoy lying down in the shade when it’s very hot, and of course they drink lots of water. Did you know that it is actually easier for chickens to keep themselves warm in winter than it is for them to cool down during the summer? It isn’t just an issue of comfort either – chickens can die of heatstroke. Since chickens have a hard time cooling themselves down, when it gets extremely hot they rely on you to help them. So, what can you do to help your chickens keep cool in the summer heat?
Here are our 7 top tips:
Eggs consist mainly of water, so producing an egg absorbs a lot of water from a hen’s body. Drinking cool water is also one of the main ways in which chickens cool themselves down. Your chickens will therefore need lots of fresh, clean and cool water in the heat of the summer. It’s best to change the water every day to make sure they have this. It is also a good idea to provide several water sources so all your chickens can drink at the same time and don’t have to fight for access and end up dehydrating.
Another way you can use water to help your chickens cool down is by providing some shallow pools where they can dip and cool their feet and legs, remember that this is one of the areas where heat leaves their bodies. Try filling some shallow bowls or tubs and leaving them around in the run or your garden. If your chickens don’t like to stand directly in the water you can try placing a brick in there which will be cooled by the water and which the chickens can then stand on top of.
It is absolutely essential to provide shade for your chickens and even more so when it gets really hot. If you let your chickens free-range in the garden they might be able to find shade under trees and bushes but in any case it is a good idea to provide shade in the run as well. You can easily create shady spots in the run for instance by having a raised coop and/or attaching covers to the run.
3) Treats and Feeding
Try giving you hens some cool treats such as frozen berries, vegetables or pieces of fruit. You could even create hanging treats by freezing your chickens’ favourite treats in an ice cube tray with a string in the middle so they can hang in the run. Or try keeping a whole watermelon in the fridge to cool it down before serving as a summery treat.
Be careful not to give your chickens too many treat though, as you want to make sure they eat their layers pellets. Chickens eat less when it’s extremely hot because digestion produces more body heat, so it’s important to make sure they eat the right things and get the vitamins and minerals they need. Try feeding your chickens during the cooler parts of the day such as in the evening. See tip #4 as well.
4) Nutritional Supplements
It is a good idea to give your hens some nutritional supplements in the heat such as vitamins and tonics which can be added directly to their food or water. These can improve absorption of minerals, give your chickens a boost to improve their overall health and help them cope better with the heat.
Apple cider vinegar, for instance, can help with calcium absorption in the body which is essential for egg shell production.
5) Dust Baths
Chickens love to dust bathe in the warm weather, but you might not want them scraping around in your flower beds. The best thing to do is to build another flower bed (but not for your flowers) and fill it with some sand, soil and some louse powder. If you have a large flock you might even want to provide several spaces so all your chickens have a chance to dust bathe in the shade.
Make sure that you place the dust bath in a sheltered spot or cover it up when your chickens aren’t using it otherwise the rain might turn it into a mud bath.
Your chickens will need plenty of space during the hot summer months so make sure they aren’t overcrowded. It will be even hotter for them if they are crowded too closely together. Chickens need to be able to spread out and spread their wings for ventilation, and everyone in the flock needs to be able to drink cool water and lie in the shade at any time.
7) Cool Coop
All Omlet Eglu chicken coops have a unique twin-wall insulation system which works in a similar way to double glazing. This means they do not overheat in the summer. They are also built with a draught-free ventilation system, carefully designed to avoid air blowing directly over the roosting area whilst allowing fresh air to circulate.
If you have a wooden chicken coop, it is important to think about how you can keep the coop nice and cool for your chickens. Make sure you create plenty of ventilation either by opening windows in the coop or by using a fan. Be careful not to have too much thick and heavy bedding as it absorbs heat. Also keep an eye out for mould if you’ve got a wooden coop. Mould can make straw and hay start to rot faster, thereby producing more heat, so make sure you clean out the coop regularly and especially at any signs of mould.
If your chickens are reluctant to go into the hot coop during the day to lay their eggs you could try providing nesting boxes for them outside in cooler, shaded areas.
We wish you and your chickens a lovely summer!
Sources: https://www.fresheggsdaily.com, http://www.henrescue.org, https://www.omlet.dk, https://www.backyardchickens.com
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
DOGS AND HAY FEVER
Hay fever is a type of inflammation which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. Hay fever (or Allergic rhinitis) is typically triggered by environmental allergens such as pollen, pet hair, dust or mold. The condition can make feel people who are prone to it feel really miserable. But did you know dogs (and cats) can suffer from hay fever too? However, their immune systems are not the same as ours, so sneezing and runny noses aren’t usually the presenting symptoms. Pets with hay fever are often very itchy all over their bodies. The most commonly affected areas of the skin include the armpits, the groin, the base of the tail, the feet and the sides of the face. Signs of canine hay fever involve:
• Itching and scratching
• Bold spots
• Rash on the face and paws
• Ear infections
• Scabs and lumps in the skin
Hay fever is a seasonal allergy, so the greatest problems will be during the summer and early fall. Some dog breeds seem to be particularly prone to hay fever, including terriers, poodles, schnauzers and the Dalmatian. Like humans, dogs can develop hay fever at any age although symptoms often begin when dogs are 1 to 3 years old. It can be difficult to figure out what’s causing your dog’s allergies, since the symptoms of hay fever are similar to many other things. Your vet can do allergy testing to identify if hay fever is indeed causing the problem.
CAN CANINE HAY FEVER BE TREATED?
With hay fever it’s not possible to remove the source of the allergy and unfortunately there is no cure for it. But there are a few things you can do for your dog to make him feel better:
• Keep your dog indoors as much as possible on days when pollen counts are high, especially on windy days.
• Wash your dog’s bedding weekly with hot water and vacuum regularly to remove the pollen your dog picked up during walks.
• Choose the areas where you walk your dog carefully, keeping him away from longer grass and vegetation.
• Wipe your dog’s coat over with a damp towel immediately after a walk to remove any pollen. Start with the face and end with the legs and paws (your dog may have been running on grass, coming into direct contact with pollen).
• Boost your dog’s immune system. By improving the general health of your dog allergic reactions can be helped. Make sure your dog has a healthy weight and a balanced diet.
• Give your dog oatmeal baths frequently to sooth the skin and remove pollen. Oatmeal can give your dog temporarily relief from dry and itchy skin. Just poor one cup crushed whole oatmeal in a tub and stir. You can also use an oatmeal shampoo for dogs or other shampoo’s designed to reduce skin problems (although not so frequently that it dries out the skin).
• For the rare cases where pollen allergy does provoke sneezing and runny eyes, eye and nose drops supplied by the vet can be effective.
If none of the mentioned treatments prove effective, your dog might be a candidate for hay fever medication or allergy shots. Consult your vet for further information.
sources: www.vetinfo.com, www.pets4homes.co.uk, www.kingsteigntonvetgroup.co.uk, www.selfselectionforanimals.co.uk
This entry was posted in Pet Advice