Q. How do you crash your email inbox?
A. Run a competition to win loads of chocolate!
Johannes went away after the last newsletter was sent (another of his trips to sample cake, see picture) and came back a week later to find his inbox flooded with entries to the Easter competition. The emails ranged from the supremely confident – “There are 41 chocolate eggs in the glug” to the faintly desperate “I think (hope and pray) that there are 53 chocolate eggs in the glug!” The worry that the actual number of eggs would decrease after the photo was taken was mitigated by leaving the Glug in the safe care of Jim, a well known cocoaphobe who did his best to keep everyone else at Omlet under constant surveillance.
So, how many eggs does a glug hold? Well the answer is 88 and there was one person who got within one egg of the right answer – her forum name is Chookiehen, and congratulations and a very happy Easter to her from everyone at Omlet.
A lot of you will already know about the Battery Hen Welfare Trust and the magnificent work they do in giving battery hens a new lease of life after their commercial laying days are over. Omlet are travelling down to the next rescue in Devon, not just because we have been offered lunch by founder Jane Howarth but also to collect 4 ex battery hens ourselves. Jane has warned us that these will be four fairly sorry looking fowl but that with a bit of determination, sunlight, space to move and good food the hens will make a full recovery. Naturally, when we get them back to Omlet HQ they will be moving straight into an eglu and because this should be a fascinating adventure we’re going to keep an online diary of their progress on www.eglu.co.uk, our sister site. More details to follow.
Guinea Pig Guide
The Omlet website has just got even bigger with a fantastic new guide to Guinea Pigs. As well as useful advice on how to look after them, you can expect to find nuggets of obscure information that only Omlet bring you. For example, did you know that they are neither pigs, nor did they come from Guinea, or cost a guinea (an old British coin worth about £1.05)? Thought not! And now you are just dying to know where the name comes from you can have a look here to find out.
News from Will and Simon who are in the US to oversee the arrival of the eglu there is that deliveries of the first eglus to excited customers is just around the corner. If you’re reading this from the States then why not have a little look at www.omlet.us
Elsewhere in the newsletter Barbara goes all broody at the idea of spring and the possibility of hatching some chicks and the forum members give good council to someone worried about road noise affecting her chickens. There are more stunning photos from the Club Gallery.
some of you may remember we used to always start the newsletter with a bad joke, the problem was it used to put a lot of people off reading the rest of the newsletter. So for this newsletter we’ve moved it right to the end.
We hope you enjoy the newsletter.
If you need a Tart in New York, Johannes heartily recommends this place.
The chickens head for the nesting box as the One Man Band sings “lay a little egg for me” at the Ardingly show.
Guinea pigs now have their own guide on the Omlet website.
The Omlet Team
Barbara’s Weekly Diary!
The garden is full of Daffodils and spring definitely feels as though it’s here at last. The temperatures are slowly creeping up and leaves are bursting out all over the trees in the garden. The longer daylight hours and rise in temperature sometimes brings on broodiness in our hens which can be pretty annoying if you’re desperate for eggs for the kitchen but it could be the perfect time to get hold of some fertilised eggs and have a go at hatching yourself some chicks.
It’s quite easy to tell if your hen has become a bit hormonal. You’ll notice that she disappears into the nest and doesn’t come out again for hours. If you peep in at her through the door, she’ll probably be sitting on an egg with her feathers all puffed up making her look like a feathery football and she may well be making a very strange grumbling noise! She may also develop another strange habit where she picks up leaves, twigs, feathers and bits of grass and drops them over alternate shoulders as she pads out her nest. She’ll probably even pluck out her own breast feathers to add comfort to her construction leaving a rather embarrassingly bare patch which she actually uses to keep her eggs nice and warm!
With no cockerel about, your hen’s eggs obviously won’t hatch into chicks no matter how long the devoted hen sits on them. However, you can obtain fertilised eggs (from breeders) that you can pop under your broody hen and she will hopefully do the work for you. She will sit for around 3 weeks as it takes 21 days for a hen’s egg to hatch or 19 days for bantams. Once she’s sitting on the eggs, leave her for a couple of days to make sure that she’s happy to sit but then she should be encouraged to get up and have something to eat and drink once a day. You should also keep a close eye on her to make sure that she hasn’t picked up any skin parasites as she won’t be dustbathing to keep her feathers in good condition while she’s looking after those eggs. After the 18th day, she shouldn’t be disturbed so make sure that you put some food and water nearby for her to reach without leaving her eggs. Hopefully you will soon hear cheeping noises coming from underneath your hen!
May Day Madness – Polly the chicken causes a riot with a whopping 100g egg!
You’ve been a very bad dog!
“My, what big nostrils you have”
“And you can stay in there until I say you can come out.”
You can see more photos in the gallery
What’s on the forum
Bridged has recently joined the forum and asked
“Hi All, We are really interested in getting Chickens. My one concern is the possible noise? We have a fairly large garden with a pub for a neighbour on one side and some not very pleasant people the other. The pub is quiet but the road outside is quite busy and has fairly constant traffic noise would this upset the chickens? If it did and they clucked a lot this would probably upset the not-so-pleasant neighbours on the other side… Any thoughts greatly appreciated.”
Nicola H – “I live on a fairly busy main road and have very noisy neighbours with lots of children screaming and it doesn’t seem to bother my three chickens the only time they make a noise is when an egg is on the way Babs likes to tell the world but it only lasts a couple of seconds then she is quiet again……………….More people should be along soon to give you an account of their experience but mine really are very quiet.”
Tizzi2 – “Same for us – we are next to a main road – the chickens are quite used to it now – occasionally we get a huge lorry or very loud motorbike or police sirens, at first the chickens would flap around but now they ignore it. The chickens themselves are very quiet – they shouted at our window cleaners for 5mins but we thought that was a good alarm call. If they see us in the garden they cluck away to us but it’s a gentle coo-ing noise. I must admit it was one of my biggest worries before I got mine, but I am so glad I did.”
Chookiehen – “We live in a fairly quiet village, but sadly the peace is frequently disturbed nowadays by annoying teenagers on motorbikes scooting up and down the back lanes. I think this is probably more of a problem for the chickens as it is sudden noise, as opposed to the steady noise from a busy road, but even then, they seem quite undisturbed by the noise. As for the noise they make in return, yes there is a bit of clucking and cheers when an egg is laid, but our neighbours are quite happy to accept a bit of ‘natural’ noise in return for the odd box of eggs!”
Kate – “I have neighbours on both sides of me with barking dogs and the girls aren’t unduly bothered by them, although the bigger dog can sometimes startle them when it runs out of the neighbour’s house barking loudly. Their response to this is a sort of quiet trilling noise and they stand stock still, eyes moving rapidly as they try to work out where the noise is coming from! Other noises don’t seem to bother them at all. The lawnmower and strimmer are completely ignored and the boys playing soldiers in the garden also don’t seem to bother them.
Jenny can be a bit of a noisy madam on occasions – usually when she’s wanting to announce the imminent arrival of an egg but compared to the dogs either side, she’s very quiet indeed!”
Egluowners of the Week
Occupation: PHD Student
Where do you live? Sheffield
If you were stranded on a desert island what luxury item would you have? Nice supply of food, or maybe music to listen to.
What pets do you have? 3 chickens: Trinny, Susannah, and Beth2 chickens
What breeds are they? Trinny and Susannah are Amber Stars and Beth is an ISA warren
How old are they? 1Don’t know exact ages. We got Trinny and Susannah 4/12/05, and Beth 9/2/06 both at point of lay..
How many eggs do you get a week and what is your favourite way of cooking them? Beth has laid an egg a day (3) since we got her on Thursday. Trinny and Susannah haven’t laid any eggs yet in 10 weeks! We like boiled and fried eggs, and will no doubt have poached eggs, pancakes and cakes at some point.
Do your chickens have a party trick? Susannah is very good at flying and could clear a 5-6 foot fence before we clipped her wing. She is the one that likes to escape in general, including through the hedge before we stopped her! Trinny is really inquisitive. Beth is smaller than both the others, but took over position of head chicken when she arrived, the others are now no longer running at full speed away from her!
A still life worthy of Caravaggio.
Considering the great role they play in ensuring we can enjoy a boiled egg on a Sunday morning, chickens are remarkably humble little creatures.
Who needs doves, when you have chickens?
No, this isn’t the japanese for saying “bless you” but it is a fantastic way of dealing with chicken droppings. You see a clever professor by the name of Teruo Higa from the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa discovered that by combining a mixture of the most beneficial of naturally occuring micro-organisms he could increase the microbial diversity of soil.
The exact mixture of microscopic bacteria, yeasts and fungi is top secret but what they do is nothing short of miraculous. They work quietly together to speed-up composting, suppress pathogens, prevent putrefaction, neutralise droppings (normally these are acid) and eliminate bad odours. Wow.
The microorganisms are mixed with molasses and bran, allowed to ferment and then dried to produce a stable product. This sweet smelling mix is known as Bokashi and can be fed daily to your chickens at a rate of 5% of the weight of their feed, sprinkled on the dropping tray under the perching bars or directly onto the soil where they are. Your chickens will love it and just thinking of all those millions of little organisms working away improving the soil has just got to make you feel good too.
£4.10 – click here to order
Chicken Horoscopes by Mystic Peg
Mystic Peg is stares deep into her crystal egg to tell you wattle happen next.
Taurus (The Bull) 20 April – 20 May
Taurians are earthy, practical and dependable. They are also patient and careful. Slow to anger they will nevertheless become fiercly protective if provoked. With your ruler, Venus closest to the sun this is therefore a good time to begin a project which you may have been putting off for a while requiring these talents. Furthermore, a dream of a garden would be a sure sign of fertility and good things to come…but only if it is a garden with a large vegetable patch.
And now I predict a bad joke
Q. What did the chicken say to the scrambled eggs?
A. There go my crazy mixed up kids!!