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New Year Resolutions For You And Your Pet

January is historically the month to set yourself some achievable goals for the year ahead. We’ve put together some ideas for creating New Year Resolutions for you and your pet!

Get Fit
No more quick walks around the block after dinner. 2019 is all about getting fit with your pet. Both you and your pet will reap the rewards both physically and mentally. On an average 30 minute dog walk you can burn between 100 and 200 calories.

Try a new activity with your pet
From hiking to kayaking, hitting the waves to joining a pet exercise class, it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new pastime. These new activities will help you burn lots of calories! A 30 minute walk on the beach will burn approximately 150 calories and you could expect to burn 220 calories on a 30 minute hike.

Incorporate More Playtime into Your Routine
Dogs love to play games and Cats love the thrill of chasing a toy; let’s just not tell them it’s exercise! Enjoy spending more time playing with your pets this year. A fun 20 minute tug of war would see you burn 50 calories.

Groom Your Pet Every Day
Brushing your pet helps to remove excess fur from their coat which reduces the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It also helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, to keep their coat healthy and shiny. Grooming an average sized dog burns 200 calories.

Teach an Old Dog a New Trick
Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in older animals. By keeping your senior pet’s brain active, it can actually make it healthier.

Update your Pet’s ID Info
Over the course of a year, a lot can change — people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags. Don’t wait — update their tags and microchips now.

Make new Friends
Visit your park and get to know other pet owners! It’s easier that you think!

Maintain a healthy diet
Lead a healthy life with a balanced diet and not too many treats.

Most of all; enjoy spending time with your wonderful pets!

Sources: BravoTv, Petmd, PetSit

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Top Ten Benefits Of Owning A Pet

Studies have shown that having a pet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, relieve stress, increase fitness levels and boost overall happiness and wellbeing.

Read our top ten benefits of owning a pet

  1. They keep you fit
    Dogs need regular, daily walks in order to stay happy and healthy, and so do we. On an average 30 minute dog walk you can burn between 100 and 200 calories!
  2. They lower your stress levels
    Life can be stressful and high levels of anxiety can lead to numerous health problems. Pets can help us to relax. Stroking your cat or simply watching your chickens in the garden can make your worries melt away
  3. They make sure you’re never lonely
    If you live alone, or your partner works different shift patterns to you, it can get very lonely at home – unless you have a pet! They make great companions – they’ll always be waiting for you to come home.
  4. They can lower your cholesterol Levels
    Reports have shown that people who own pets–and men, in particular–have significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than those who don’t have pets.
  5. They can lower your blood pressure   
    It has been suggested that owning a pet decreases your blood pressure. The reduction in blood pressure could, in turn, lower risk of stroke and heart disease.
  6. They can help you make friends
    The pet owner community is incredibly friendly – you’ll often find that people will stop to talk to you about your dog during a walk. Having a pet is a great way to meet new people.
  7. They can teach children responsibilities
    Having a pet in the home is a great way for children to learn valuable life lessons in a fun, rewarding way. They get to take on the daily responsibility of feeding, exercising and caring for their animal.
  8. They can boost your mental wellbeing.
    Studies have found that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets and ownership can reduce stress and anxiety levels. Playing with your pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
  9. They help you establish a daily routine
    The responsibilities that come with owning a pet can give your day purpose, reward and a sense of achievement. Regular routines are said to help forge discipline, help energy management and support mental space.
  10. And last but not least, they will give you unconditional love
    However bad your day’s been, you’ll have someone who depends on you to shower you with affection. The British Medical Journal believes the emotional bond between owner and pet can be as intense as that in many human relationships.

Sources: PetMd, PawCulture, WomansDay

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Are you finding frozen eggs in your nest box?

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.


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This entry was posted in Keeping Chickens


Happy Howlidays: Food do’s and don’ts for dogs this Christmas

Christmas is a time that all members of the family should enjoy, including your pet pooch. The problem is that if you are not careful, the festivities can turn out to be not so great for your dog. Giving them the wrong food, or inviting them into a busy kitchen, can cause things to take a turn for the worse, very quickly.

Foods that your dog should not eat

Starting with the basics, your furry friend should never be encouraged to join in with Christmas drinking. Even a small amount of alcohol is bad for them. There are also several traditional festive food goodies that you should not share with your pet:

  1. The bones and skin from the turkey.
    Bones from any bird can be dangerous. They are delicate and can break into small pieces making them a serious choking hazard. The skin of turkeys and chickens is full of fat which can cause problems with your dog’s pancreas.
  2. The gravy you have with dinner.
    You may think that gravy is delicious and completely harmless. However, it’s high in salt and fat; both of which can be dangerous to dogs.

  3. Onions and other bulb vegetables.
    Onions are the main cause for concern when it comes to bulb vegetables. They are poisonous to dogs, so your pet should be kept away from them. It’s also a good idea to not feed them other bulb vegetables like garlic. They are not as immediately toxic but a build-up of them can cause serious problems.
  4. Christmas cake ingredients, raisins, currants and sultanas.
    All of these items, together with grapes, are poisonous to dogs. In fact, if your pet does eat even a small amount, you should seek help from a vet as soon as possible. For this reason, Christmas treats such as Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies should never be fed to dogs.
  5. Chocolate in any form.
    Chocolate is a favourite in most homes over the holidays. This is fine for humans, in moderation, but it’s not good for dogs. The theobromine that is present in chocolate can be deadly to your furry friend, so do not let them have any,, no matter how much they give you the sad eyes treatment.

These are a few of the festive food treats that you should not share with your dog at Christmas, or any other time of year. However, it’s not all bad news, there are some favourites that your pet can enjoy.

Christmas food that your dog can eat

Before you start feeling mean about depriving your pooch of all the food that they want, but is really bad for them, there are several favourites that pets and people can all enjoy. It’s important to remember that all of these foods should be given to dogs in moderation; keep portions small.

  1. A few slices of turkey.
    You can give your pet some white turkey meat, as long as the skin has all been removed.
  2. Boiled and mashed potatoes.
    Dogs enjoy a little potato that can be boiled or mashed. Remember that you should only ever feed your pet plain potato with no salt or butter added.
  3. Mixed and green vegetables.
    As with any other food items, do not give your dog a pile of vegetables, but it’s fine to let them have a few selected items such as carrot and swede mash, sprouts, parsnip and green beans. Do not add any seasoning or sauces before you give the vegetables to your pet.
  4. Fruit with pips or stones removed.
    Aside from rhubarb, which is poisonous to dogs, you can share fruit bowl items with your pet. However, you need to make sure that pips and stones are removed. You should also remember that fruit is acidic and contains sugar so can cause stomach problems in dogs if they have too much.

Making sure your furry friend has a great Christmas is important. Keeping your dog out of the kitchen, and making sure they eat and drink the right things, can help make this happen.


Written by Ella Hendrix.

Image Credit: Stonehouse Furniture

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Have yourself a Pet Friendly Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, and we are all looking forward to celebrating together with our loved ones, including our pets! It’s therefore important to think about what effect all the festive fun is having on our furry little friends, and make sure they’re also having a nice time. Here are some of our top tips for keeping your pets safe and happy this Christmas:

Limit treats

We know it’s much more difficult to resist feeding scraps to your pets over Christmas, but in most cases it really is not good for them. In some cases it can actually be harmful. Instead we suggest that you, if you’ve got a few days off from work, spend some extra time with your pets. They will without a doubt prefer that to treats or presents!

Keep routines

Try to stick to the normal schedule as much as possible over the holidays, especially when it comes to meal times. Let your chickens out at the same time as usual, walk your dog as you would normally and give your cat its daily play time. They might not understand that you have got lots to do, and a disruption of their routines will add to a possibly already stressful time.

Give your pets a safe space

Christmas can get hectic, so make sure your pet have somewhere to go to get away from all hustle and bustle, preferably in a different, quieter, room. If you’ve got guests coming over, let them know what to do, and what not to do, around your pets. It’s important that everyone knows what doors, windows and gates need to be kept closed, what the pets are allowed to do and eat, and when they are to be left alone.

Going away

If you’re spending Christmas somewhere else, you need to take your pets into consideration. Don’t leave them alone for longer than they are used to, and make sure they’ve got what they need while you’re away. If you’re taking them with you, bring something that will remind them of home, like a blanket or a toy, or even their crate or cage. If you can’t take them with you, you will need to find another solution.

Make sure you plan the journey and be aware of the fact that traffic can be busy around Christmas. Your pet must have access to food and water at all times, and depending on your what pet you’ve got, there might be a need for toilet breaks.

Christmas Trees and Plants

Make sure your Christmas tree if safely secured, as cats tend to try and climb them. It might also be a good idea to hang especially intriguing and tantalising decorations higher up in the tree where pets can’t reach them as easily. This minimises the risk of cats getting tangled and the tree falling over.

Hoover under and around the tree regularly to get rid of fallen pine needles. The needles can get stuck in mouths or between toes, which can be very painful.

Lots of our most common Christmas plants, including poinsettias, mistletoe and amaryllis, are poisonous to a lot of pets, so make sure you stay clear of them, or keep them out of reach.

Decorations and presents

If possible, choose non-toxic Christmas decorations. Keep cables from lights and other decorations out of reach, or your pets might try to nibble through them, which can cause damage to both cable and pet.

Don’t leave presents containing eatable things (chocolate in particular!) under the tree. It will soon be sniffed out, and it won’t take a couple of greedy paws long to get into a wrapped present.

Once the gifts have been opened, clear away the wrapping paper straight away. Not only will you avoid having paper all over the room once your pets get to it, but coloured paper and string should also not be ingested by pets.

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Does my pet need a buddy?

An animal that exhibits a high degree of sociality is called a social animal. This means they need contact with their own kind. Being kept on their own causes these animals to experience boredom, frustration and fear. Unless you have plenty of time to socialise with them, it is recommended these pets have a buddy.

Solitary animals on the other hand spend a majority of their lives without others of their species, with possible exceptions for mating and raising their young. They are often territorial and do not like the company of another animal, especially an animal of their own kind. Some solitary animals will even start fighting when kept together, which can harm or even kill one or both animals.

 

Rabbits
Wild rabbits spend their lives as part of a large group, known as a warren. Rabbits are very sociable animals and need to be kept with at least one other rabbit. It is easiest if rabbits are kept together from birth, but rabbits less than 3 months old will usually live together happily. The best combination is a neutered male and a neutered female. Two litter brothers or two litter sisters will also get on well, but to prevent fighting it is important that they are both neutered.

Hamsters
Syrian (and sometimes Chinese) hamsters must be kept alone. If kept together, these hamsters will get very stressed, even if they are housed in a large enclosure. For owners who want to keep two or more hamsters together, Dwarf hamsters are recommended (such as Roborovskis or Winter Whites). These species can be kept in pairs or groups as long as they are given adequate space.

Guinea pigs
In the wild guinea pigs live in groups of 10 or more, they are social creatures, and like company. As pets they are usually kept in pairs; two females (sows) will live happily together, as will two males (boars), particularly if they are brothers. Two boars of different ages will usually live together, as long as there are no females around. If a female and male live together the male should be castrated.

Gerbils
Due to their social nature gerbils need the company of their own kind, the exception being Fat-Tailed gerbils. It is always advisable to get a pair of gerbils because it can be difficult to introduce two gerbils to each other when they are adults (around 16 weeks old). You can keep either two males or two females. Whilst gerbils are social and can live in groups, unless you have a very big area to keep them in, it’s better to keep no more than 2-4.

Dogs
Dogs love nothing more than attention and affection, whether it be from you (their owner) or their fellow dog friends. They can be perfectly happy with just the attention from their owner and family, which means getting another dog is not essential. It is often thought that adopting another dog will instantly solve all problems associated with your first dog’s separation anxiety, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. When adopting a second dog you must consider a number of different variables, including gender, temperament, energy requirements and size.

Cats
It is thought that cats don’t actually crave companionship from one of their own. Often they are perfectly happy being the only cat in the house. Cats are indeed a solitary species but they can and do live in groups. But an extra cat friend (or partner in crime) does provides extra mental and physical stimulation. The major benefit to getting two cats is that they will keep each other company whilst you are away. Getting kittens from the same litter of cats is always the best choice.

Chickens
Free-ranging chickens are social animals. Hens and chicks are the core, while roosters live independently. Because they are social animals they prefer to live in a flock. A chicken without a buddy will get lonely and stressed out. When you have a group of chickens or add new chickens to your existing flock, they will have to establish the pecking order and you might start to wonder if they are social animals after all. Read the guide on our website for more information on how to introduce chickens to an existing flock.

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Warming Winter Breakfast for your Chickens

The cold, frosty temperatures of Winter are in full swing, and while you are enjoying a warm cup of tea in the warmth of your kitchen, you might be looking out on your girls wondering how they feel about the colder weather.

If you’re looking for a new way to keep them warm first thing in the morning, or late afternoon just before they go to roost, consider making this yummy, warm corn recipe, specially for your hens, with a festive flavour which will provide extra nutrients to keep up their health this winter. It’s super simple and quick to make.

Ingredients – for 2-3 chickens

40g corn

20g oats

20g raisins

100ml hot water

Pinch of ginger, cinnamon

Method

Soak the corn, oats and raisins in hot water for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in a pinch of Ginger and Cinnamon for added nutrients for your chickens. Leave to cool slightly before feeding to chickens.

Ginger supports the immune system and provides anti-inflammatory benefits which can be particularly beneficial for a poorly hen. Cinnamon has antibacterial and antioxidant benefits, and can reduce inflammation, these are extremely good for chickens as they are likely to experience respiratory problems.

Only feed your chicken’s porridge as an occasional treat. Make this recipe outside of your kitchen to avoid cross contamination of food.

Source: https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2015/05/spice-up-your-chicken-keeping-for.html

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Give your bunny rabbits their own warren

Why Settle For A Hutch When You Can Have A Warren?

We all know that pet rabbits need a hutch and a run. But what if they could enjoy the luxuries of a warren in your own back garden, complete with rabbit burrows and tunnels, without having to dig under the lawn and flower beds?

Connecting a rabbit hutch to a run is a simple way to keep bunnies happy. A set up such as Omlet’s Eglu Go is part of the solution, combining the indoors and outdoors that rabbits require. But there are other, more ingenious ways of giving your bunnies the perfect home.

Drain Pipes For Rabbits?

Like all animals, rabbits have inbuilt instincts that need satisfying. Rabbit tunnels and rabbit burrows are as central to their requirements as a bathroom and a comfy bed are to you. In the wild, rabbits live in complex warrens, made up of many private and communal living spaces linked by underground tunnels. This instinct to move around underground is strong in pet bunnies too. And yet, for many, it is an instinct that remains unsatisfied.

This was the inspiration behind the Zippi Rabbit Tunnel System, a design that builds and improves on the concept of drain pipes for rabbits. Its durable, flexible, easy-to-clean tunnels are a neat DIY solution that gives rabbits the tunnelling their instincts demand, and with no extra digging required.

A Rabbit Tunnel, And Then Some!

The Zippi Rabbit Tunnel System’s burrow pipes provide easy access from hutch to run, and a cosy bolt hole too. They can link runs to playpens too, enabling your kids to become part of the home warren.

Because rabbits come in all sizes, the Zippi Rabbit Tunnel System is built to accommodate the very largest of breeds, and is designed with a flexibility that puts the average drainpipe to shame:

  • It comes in 90cm sections, with no limit on the length and complexity of your set up.
  • All fixings and connectors are supplied.
  • The Zippi doesn’t think in straight lines – it can curve around any garden feature if required.
  • In addition to the standard 90cm tunnel, there are optional Zippi T-Junctions, Corner Pieces, Lock-out doors, and mid-tunnel Look-out sections which double as Hay Racks.
  • Support hoops lift the Zippi from the ground, enabling the grass to grow beneath it.
  • The unique design provides ventilation and drainage, and keeps out any would-be predators.

Bunny Bliss

Rabbits make great pets. They don’t disturb the peace, they don’t hunt birds and rodents, and they don’t require constant walking and training. Coupled with the fact that they are cute and full of character, this has made them a hugely popular choice of pet in recent years.

But it’s not just about keeping you happy, it’s about delivering the bunny bliss your pet deserves. With a hutch and run, you’ve provided a cosy home. But add the Zippi Rabbit Tunnel System, and you’ve got a wonderful warren that represents the ultimate des res for rabbits.

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Introducing a new feline friend to your resident cat

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!

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12 facts you might not know about your Guinea pig!

1)

Guinea Pigs are not pigs but, rather, rodents. They are also not from Guinea; they originated in the Andes mountains of South America

2)

A male is called a boar; females are sows and babies are referred to as pups.

3)

“Pups” are born with fur and their eyes open.

4)

A healthy weight of a Guinea pig is between 700 and 1200g (1.5 – 2.5lbs)

5)

Guinea pigs are around 20 and 25 cm long (8 – 10 inches)

6)
The life span of a guinea pig is between 4 – 7 years
7)

They have 4 toes on their front feet but only 3 on their back ones

8)

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

9)

Guinea pigs only sleep for about four hours during a 24- hour period and usually nap from between 20 seconds to six minutes.

10)

Guinea pigs are extremely vocal and have a broad range of sounds which include purring, whining, shrieking, cooing, rumbling, hissing and teeth chattering.

11)
They are very social animals and they are much happier when kept in pairs or groups
12)

All breeds of Guinea pigs have five different types of hair that make up their coat.

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Preparing for Bonfire Night

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Get your Chickens and their Coop ready for Winter

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.

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