Its taken over 5000 hours of deliberation but the results of Omlet’s Pancake Day 2007 King of the Flippers competition are finally in. The sheer volume of entries (23) combined with the high quality of tossing set the judges such an eggscruciatingly difficult task of choosing a winner. But the dedication has paid off and with a unanimous vote the title of Princess Pancake and a £20 gift voucher this year goes to Lorna, congratulations from everyone at Omlet! Special mention also goes to Cleo who scoops 2nd place and a cheeky 3rd place to the man who shall remain anonymous to protect his modesty, you have both won £10 Omlet gift vouchers (enough for a pair of Omlet boxer shorts – just an idea).
1st Place: Lorna is this years “Princess Pancake” A judge said ” This is a scene depicting the momentous struggle for supremecy between woman and pancake.”
2nd Place: Cleo impressed the judges with her
pancake UFO impression.
3rd Place: Anon.
The judges admired his cheeky style.
Omlet a victim of Eggspionage!
Well it really has been a long time since the last newsletter and our apologies to all of you who rely on it to keep you up to date with what has been going on in the outside world. The delay in sending it can only be partly blamed on the pancake competition. The other event that you may have heard about was the launch of the new eglu cube. Eagerly anticipated for over a year a children’s newspaper called First News broke an official embargo and printed top secret photographs of the cube in March. The grainy snaps were enough to cause a flurry of excitement on the Omlet forum and when the cube was officially launched in April there was a huge rush to be the first in the queue. No wonder when the cube offers such eggceptional accommodation for up to 10 chickens. If you haven’t seen it yet why not have a look here it really is a fantastic way to keep hens and with winter approaching this could be a great time to replace that draughty old wooden house…
Lots more in the Newsletter below including the latest on the forum and of course egluowner of the week – which features a great video. Barbara has some timely advice on keeping your hens safe and warm now that the days are getting shorter and colder. You know we always love to hear from you so if you have something you would like to share with the other Newsletter readers send it to us!
The Omlet Team
Pop down to Peck Savers for some
great deals on glasses.
Kids these days are out of control.
Someone should have told him that replacement roosting bar sets are available from the Omlet Shop.
None Shall Pass! Omlet’s new range of security guard chickens are proving a hit.
These unusual tomatoes aren’t quite ripe
for plucking yet.
Barbara’s Weekly Diary
Phew, I’m so glad the wait to find out who won the Pancake competition is finally over! It reminded me of the nail biting wait for the first egg when I got chickens. Three weeks two days six hours and forty two minutes after they arrived there in the nest was THE most beautiful egg I’ve ever seen. Small, admittedly, but perfectly formed and the colour of milky tea. We’d waited long enough so we popped some toast in the toaster, got the frying pan out, and fried that perfect little egg. Once it had been shared 4 ways we only got a spoonful each but it was worth it! It was delicious and the yolk was so bright that we almost needed sunglasses!
Of course at this time of year chickens that were born in the spring are just starting to show tell tale signs of laying their first egg. Things to look out for are a larger, more brightly coloured comb and wattle and frequent trips to the nesting box. Older hens will typically start to lay less now because of the shorter days but provided with food, water and a bit of chicken spice they should keep you in eggs throughout the winter months.
With the clocks going back its easy to get caught out by dusk arriving so much earlier. I try to get into a routine and see to the chickens before the children come home from school so that I know they are safe in their run while I get on with the tea. Once the girls have gone inside to roost, I can lock the eglu door and know they are warm and cosy for the night. If only it were so easy to get the children into bed!
When the temperatures are set to drop to around freezing, I like to bring the drinkers into the house so that I’m not struggling to defrost them in the morning when I go to let the hens out. There is nothing worse when you’re cold first thing in the morning than having to fiddle about with frozen drinkers, is there! The hens appreciate the water being a little warmer too and usually make a beeline for it and have a good long drink before they see what’s in their feeders. They always have their layers meal in the morning but in the afternoons, I like to give them something to keep them nice and warm through the cold winter nights. Wheat is a very good scatter food and my local feed store sells nice big sacks of it so it lasts for months but if it’s going to be really cold, the girls have a bowl of warm porridge with a handful of sultanas mixed in as a special treat.
Only a couple of my hens have large combs but to prevent them from getting frost bitten, I rub a little Vaseline on them in the mornings as it’s very painful for the hens to suffer from frostbite on their combs, poor dears. They are tough little creatures though and their feathers are very insulating so even on the coldest, frostiest or even snowiest day, they will be quite happy scratching around the garden until it’s time to turn in for the night.
The hens won’t be bothered by all the trick or treaters knocking on the door but rather than waste all that lovely pumpkin flesh after carving our lantern for the porch, we either make a nice spicy soup or roast the flesh with some thyme in the oven.
Roast Pumpkin with Thyme
- Flesh from one pumpkin cut into inch cubes if possible
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 230C/GM8
Place the pumpkin cubes in a roasting dish and drizzle with Olive Oil. Sprinkle the thyme over, season with salt and pepper. Using a large spoon, carefully toss the pumpkin cubes in the oil so they are all evenly covered.
Put the roasting dish in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until the flesh is soft and caramelised around the edges. To check that the cubes are all evenly cooked, pierce with a skewer to see if they are soft. If not, return the roasting dish to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
Add more seasoning if necessary and serve as one of your 5 a day!
Do you have a recipe you would like to share? Why not put it on the Omlet Club Wiki here
What’s on the forum?
Poor Newlaidegg is having problems catching chickens
“Well, four days in and I thought I’d let the girls out to free-range. Ginger, is point of lay and she is really friendly already happy to feed out of our hands and was a doddle to pick up and place gently in the eglu. However, the Blackrock (Doris) and Bluebelle (Queenie) are a bit older and wiser to the ways of the farmyard. After 3 boxes of raisins they had had a great time but were not going back in the run under any circumstances. It took me over an hour and I managed to get Queenie back in but Doris just kept circling the eglu. By this time it was dark and I went back into the house, for a glass of wine and left the door open. Five minutes later, Doris appeared in the porch and jumped up onto the windowsill at which point, cornered, I managed to pick her up and take her into the garden. I placed her in the run and she trotted straight into the eglu. So what advice can you give me on getting my older, wiser hens to play ball? I am tempted to only let Ginger out to free range until the others are a little more ‘hand tame’! Thanks!”
Nicki9 – I have an orange corn cup that the chooks recognise as holding treats. When they see me carrying it they follow me, I throw a handful of corn into the run and they charge after it. Works every time. Good luck with catching your chooks!
Snowy Howells – I agree – food in a familiar container! They very quickly learn if there is food involved! I have a silver metal dog bowl. As soon as they see it, even the non layers come running. One lady blew a whistle every time she took treats out in a bowl. Now they come running to the sound of the whistle! (very handy if you need to get them in quick, i.e. if you see a fox)
Laura & CTB – Same kinda thing here – I use a shiny silver bowl too- the girls will follow it anywhere even if it’s empty. Spend a couple of days giving them treats from a “special” dish and I think your problem will be solved
Egluntine – I like the whistle idea Snowy! I use a silver dog bowl too. I also find that sweet corn works far better than any other treat to get them in the run. In fact they only ever get it for that purpose. I scatter a bit to get them near the door, and then dash up to the Eglu end of the run and sprinkle it through the bars. There is a mad dash as they all try to get to it at once. Makes me laugh every time.
Olly – mealworms always do the trick for mine, but I agree they do recognise a familiar container and a call or sound. I shout ‘chook, chook’ to call them back in to the Eglu with the mealworm pot in hand, and now if mine have disappeared into the garden and I’m worried about them, I just have to shout that and their little heads come popping out in hope of a treat!
Chocolatedog – Snap! I have a little pot which I bring out and shake and they usually come running – and yup, a handful chucked into the run usually does the trick – although having said that, Pepper is getting to be a bit of a rebellious teenager, and is dragging her feet a little (“ah – just a little bit here I neglected to scratch – just give me a second to check for slugs will you, mum? Oh and look – I missed this bit earlier too………”) But I can usually persuade her in the end……
Newlaidegg – Thank you all, I am feeling much more confident now, but will build in the ‘special bowl’ thing before I let them out again! The whistle sounds good too… just need to find a whistle…
Couperwife – ours just seem to come running when they see us. When they have been free ranging I call them down and then lob a hand full of something in the run and they go charging in after it. We have had fun hours playing round and round the mulberry cube though!
Hazel – Sometimes I deliberately wait until they’re both out of sight and blow the whistle – it’s like something out of Top Gun – 2 chickens running towards me, full pelt, wing assisted. Then I walk to the run, ‘playing a tune’ on the whistle and they march along – we call it the marching band!! They get the treat bowl in the run and I close the door – everyone is happy. I’m planning to video it some time – it’s so funny!
Eglu Owner of the Week
Your names: Rhodri Williams & Helen Williamson
What do you do? Rhodri is a Sports Broadcaster & I’m a TV Producer/Director. I started work as a researcher on the BBC series “The Human Animal”, then did an MA in Film and Television Production at the University of Bristol. Since then, I’ve made TV programmes for the BBC, Channel4, more4, five, Discovery, TLC, and NHK. I directed over 50 films for the BBC’s flagship popular science show Tomorrow’s World.
When and where were you born? Cardiff, 1968 & Reading 1971
When and where did you have your first kiss? We first kissed in Manchester in May 2000.
What is your greatest extravagance? Fine wine & travelling. I’m lucky in that my work has taken me all around the world – from Japan to America, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana and South Africa. Looking forward to exploring China, Russia, Australasia, East Africa and more of the Middle East at some point.
Do you have a hidden talent? Possibly, but neither of us have unearthed it yet…
Who or what inspires you? Tiger Woods & David Attenborough – and nature…
Who would play you in a movie of your life? George Clooney & Cate Blanchett
What’s your most annoying habit? Rhodri’s is stopping mid-sentence and not… finishing what he was saying! Mine is turning the TV off at the box so Rhodri has to walk to turn it on.
It’s Sunday morning, what song do you most want to hear? Rhodri likes “Easy Like Sunday Mornings” but I prefer “Sunday Morning” by The Velvet Underground
You can go anywhere in the world, where would you go? New Zealand – working our way back via French Polynesia, Micronesia, Indonesia, Thailand & overland through Asia…
How many do you have? 3
Where do they live? In a green eglu in our garden in west London.
How long have you had them? Since 16th December 2006
Do they have names? Cilla, Fergie and Zsa Zsa (they’re Gingernut Rangers so we named them after famous redheads)
How many eggs do you get a week? On average 10 a week… you can’t beat a soft boiled egg.
What’s the most surprising thing about keeping chickens? How much time you can spend talking to them but even the chickens get annoyed when Rhodri doesn’t finish his sentences.
Do you bake more cakes now you have your own chickens? They don’t normally last long enough to be turned into a cake.
What do your chickens like more than anything else in the world? Stilton – they would do anything for cheese.
What’s the funniest thing your chickens have ever done? Cilla jumps up on my shoulder and stays there – I think she was a pirate’s parrot in another life.
If your chickens could speak, what would they tell you? “For goodness sake, let us in when we peck on the kitchen window… We want more cheese.”
Can you imagine life without chickens ever again? Without chickens, the world would be a duller place.
Egg Cosy – Pack of 4
Turn you breakfast tray into a stylish cat walk with these stripy winter warmers. They’ll give your eggs the confidence to come out of their shells and keep them at a toasty temperature. Straight from the Paris fashion show where they were worn by such Super Coddles as Naomi Scramble, Mishell Pfeiffer and Yolko Ono.
One Size Fits All ( Including double yolkers)
Includes one of each colour
Keep Your Egg Warm This Winter
Toast Rack Camper Orange
Breakfast time can be a commuter nightmare for toast, so why not take the easy route and use this convenient new park and ride system? You can easily parallel park 4 slices in this stylish ceramic camper which can then travel round the table using a special bus lane ensuring everyone gets there slice piping hot. And if you live or work in London then it gets even better because its exempt from the indigestion charge.
Smart Toast Takes the Bus to Avoid Traffic Jam
Not only a chicken treat.. brilliant fun as well.
Each pack has 5 mini corn on the cobs. You can either hang them up dry for your hens to peck at, or for lots more fun you can put them in the microwave and watch them magically turn into popcorn!
If you do put them in the microwave, be sure to follow the instructions on the packet:. Microwave for 15 secs at a time until the corn pops, then stop. Allow to cool for at least 30 mins before feeding to your chickens. Never leave the microwave unattended.
Corny, but very pop-ular with chickens.
Chicken Horoscopes by Mystic Pegg
Mystic Pegg stares deep into her crystal egg to tell you wattle happen next.
Scorpio: Oct. 23 – Nov. 21
So much for remaining anonymous. Your success in the nest box makes you in great demand with everyone suddenly wanting to know you. Mercury’s enthusiastic progress and Jupitor coming out of the shadows this month make keeping out of the spotlight even harder. With so many invitations to breakfast, lunch and dinner you need to manage your diary carefully and with eggspectations running so high you need to poach a few moments for yourself as well to avoid over boiling.
And now I predict a bad yolk:
Q: Why was the mother hen disappointed with her chick?
A: He wasn’t all he was cracked up to be.