One of the great things about the Omlet Outdoor Cat Run is how extremely versatile it is. The run in itself can be modified to fit the space you’ve got and the need of your cats, but it doesn’t stop there! We constantly see creative and and fun ways of using the run, and we thought we might share some that could inspire you, whether you’re getting a run for the first time, or are just looking for ways to getting the run ready for spring!
When it comes to decorating the cat run there are practically no limits. Allow your cats to do all the things like like on the run, whether it is climbing, playing, running, scratching, hiding, or just lounging in a hammock. You can make the run even more practical with run covers that allow you cat enjoy the run in all weathers, or a chair for you to sit on while you’re spending time with your furbabies. We also love all the (catfriendly) flowers and plants that customers add to the run to make it blend in to the garden even more!
CONNECT IT TO THE HOUSE
The cat run comes with four walls, but is robust enough to be stable with only three of them. If you manage to find a way to secure the open end to the house, this is a way of allowing the cats to move between inside and outside at their own will. This amazing set up is from a customer in Denmark, with a special kitty entrance from the basement into the run in the garden, where by the looks of things both humans and felines will enjoy spending time. By combining clear and heavy duty covers they have also made sure the cats are safe from both rain and sun while out on the run.
WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT
This German customer decided to build their run around a small tree in the garden. This way you get around most of the decorating of the run, as the tree will act as both a climbing post, and provide shade during sunny days. Ideal!
RUN ON WHEELS
The modular design of the cat run does mean that it’s possible to move it whenever needed. If you just want to shift it to a different spot in the garden you can invite some neighbours around and lift the whole run, and if you’re moving house or want to use the space for something else for a while, you can take it down and pack it up into pieces that are easy to store, ready for when it’s next needed.
However, this French customer didn’t think either of these solutions were good enough, and decided to build a platform with wheels, so that the run can be pushed around on the patio to find the perfect sun/shade ratio, or have the cat either relaxing in a corner away from the hustle and bustle, or close to the house for a more sociable time in the fresh air.
A DIY specialist will be able to help you find what you need for this. Our advice would be to make sure you fasten the run on the platform, and that you choose wheels which can be locked to stop the run from rolling into the neighbours’ garden in strong winds!
If you run out of space in one direction – turn a corner! This amazing feline haven might just be the best thing we’ve ever seen! The different resting places, the play tunnels, the toys, the decorative pebbled outline – who wouldn’t want to spend their days here?
Have you got a cat run? Send us photos of your set up, and you can feature in future posts!
Is your chicken’s coop strong enough to survive the winter?
Is it time I upgraded my wooden coop?
These are all questions many chicken keepers ask themselves when facing the reality that their wooden coop may not be up to another winter.
Take this short test to see whether your wooden coop is suitable for the winter.
Wood absorbs water, does it seem heavier to move in the winter?
A = Yes, either I’m getting weaker or my coop is definitely heavier in the winter
B= Yes, but I solved it by getting someone else to move the coop for me.
C = I’ve given up trying to move it.
D = Nope, I spent the summer sanding and varnishing my chicken coop and now it’s more waterproof than a Norwegian fisherman’s beard.
Have you had to pour boiling water onto locks to get them to open?
A = Yes, my coop deicer kit is more comprehensive than the one I use for my car.
B = Boiling water would have been a better idea than the brick I used to hit the sliding bolt which slipped and went straight through the greenhouse.
C = I religiously grease all hinges and bolts every few weeks to keep things moving.
D = I have very carefully aligned my coop to the morning sun so that the bolts and hinges have defrosted by the time I get out. On cloudy days I resort to the kettle.
Has your wooden coop grown over winter?
A = It’s funny you should mention that, yes the doors all seem too big for the frames and nothing opens or shuts properly any more.
B = Yes, all the panels seem to have swollen a bit and I’m a bit worried about what will happen when they all shrink again because I filled all that extra space with another couple of chickens.
C = Mostly seems fine, but the bottom sections are looking a bit soggy.
D = Thanks to my painstaking varnishing and siting of the coop on some free draining pea shingle it’s in tip top condition.
Is the roof leaking?
A = I’ve already fixed the roof a few times this year, and it’s leaking again.
B = Yes, but this is the first time and I think it’s easy to fix.
C = At the moment I don’t have any troubles with the roof.
D = My wooden coop is brand new and I don’t expect to have any problems this winter.
Is it cold and damp inside?
A = Yes, it does feel cold inside and the bedding gets damp quickly.
B = It is a little chilly in there, but my chickens huddle together for warmth.
C = I have no problems with dampness, and I have a lot of chickens to keep each other warm.
D = The coop keeps warm well overnight once I have shut the door, and my chickens are outside during the day.
Did you have difficulties with red mites in summer?
A = Yes, I had to clean and treat the coop and my chickens regularly and I am dreading this summer.
B = No more than usual, I’m used to it and tackled the problem as best I could.
C = I did have some mite issues over summer but I have a solid cleaning strategy in place.
D = The red mites didn’t cause a problem in my coop this year.
How long does it take to clean?
A = It’s an all day task which I dread doing so it doesn’t get cleaned regularly in winter.
B = It does take quite a long time, so it’s not fun in winter but I know my chickens appreciate it.
C = It takes a few hours to do but the whole family helps.
D = It doesn’t take me long at all and I have a good system in place.
Mostly A’s = If you experience repeated issues with your wooden coop, like red mite, a leaking roof, or poor ventilation, then these problems are unlikely to disappear overnight, and will only get worse in poor weather conditions. Consider upgrading to a plastic chicken coop for faster cleaning and red mite removal, better insulation without compromising ventilation, and happy chickens all-year round.
Mostly B’s = You’ve done well to keep going with your wooden coop this far, and seem to be willing to overcome the problems involved in owning a wooden chicken coop. The coop itself may be able to survive another winter, but are you and your chickens happy about it? The most important thing for you to do here is keep an eye on any dampness inside the coop and ensure that the coop has plenty of ventilation to keep the water particles moving through without making your chickens super cold.
Mostly C’s = Sounds like you’re a veteran wooden chicken coop owner and know exactly what you’re doing! Keep an eye on the typical problems areas throughout winter, and make sure you’re keeping up with the cleaning, especially if you have lots of chickens sharing the coop. In spring, reevaluate how your coop held up during the colder months, if some damage is done, or some of your chickens got ill, consider why this might be and look to other housing options.
Mostly D’s = Your wooden coop is likely in its early days, or you have spent lots of time and effort in preserving it as best you can. It’s still worth checking around all the problem areas before the worst of winter hits, and looking at potential accessories which could improve your chickens’ home. For example, an Automatic Chicken Coop Door can be placed on the wooden coop door so that it can be shut earlier in the evening once all your chickens have gone to bed, even when you’re not yet home. This way your chickens can begin to roost in the warm with no blowy drafts, and they will also be safe from predators once they’ve gone to bed.
Dogs like having their own beds. There is, however, a big difference between an old blanket in a drafty corner and a proper bed in an optimum position.
When it has no official bed or bedroom, if left to its own devices a dog will try several different parts of your home in search of a good place to sleep. It’s only when you give them something proper to sleep on that they begin to settle down. But even then they might still be restless, always looking for a better spot. If your dog wanders around a lot in the night, slumping in different places, it is a sign that he needs a proper bed.
The first step, then, is to buy the bed itself. There are several good ones available, including the Fido Dog Sofa Bed, the Fido Dog Bed and Crate and many more. These have all the good design necessary for the perfect dog-nap, but you’ll still need to think about where the bed will actually go.
The Best – And Worst – Places To Put A Dog Bed
Your dog crate may be the obvious choice, if that’s where your pet tends to chill out.
If the dog has already chosen a favourite snoozing place in the house, simply put the dog bed there, if that’s practical.
The bed should be away from drafts, and also away from hot radiators and fires.
A corner, or at least against a wall, is usually the best location. Dogs like to feel safe and closed-in when settling down for the night, and wide open spaces don’t make for a good night’s sleep.
The bed should not be in the middle of the room or in a noisy corridor. Dogs like to stay close to their human friends, but they don’t want to be interrupted by constant commotion when they’re trying to sleep.
At the other extreme, a room where no one usually goes is not a good choice either. Dogs like to stick with the pack – or at least to have them in the immediate vicinity.
If the dog is used to sleeping in your bedroom, put the new dog bed there. The only thing you have to do now is persuade him that his bed is a better place to sleep than yours!
If your dog is in the habit of catching 40 winks outside, you could put a spare bed in a shed, kennel or other garden building. It shouldn’t be on a wet lawn, though.
The main compromise when finding the best spot for a dog bed is to balance your pet’s need for peace and quiet with his equally strong need to be near you. Some breeds are more ‘clingy’ than others. If you opt for a spot in the bedroom, though, always discuss it first with your nearest and dearest – not everyone is happy with the idea of a midnight mutt snoring in the vicinity!
So, the best place for a dog bed depends on the nature of your home, the whim of your dog, and the practicalities of keeping everyone happy. One thing is for sure – the sight of your contented hound chilling out in his own comfy bed is very satisfying.
While most people check the weather forecast to help them plan their week activities or outfits, chicken keepers can also be using it to predict what accessories their coop needs to ensure their girls are as comfortable as possible.
From sun to snow, wind to wet, the breakfast time weather reports and the handy app on your phone are all giving you helpful hints that you might be ignoring.
🌡 TEMPERATURE 🌡
Firstly, the most obvious indicator: the predicted temperature for the coming 10 days. Depending on what time of year we are in, this can be super helpful or utterly confusing if it is varying drastically. But let’s think about what we can act upon.
In winter, if the predicted temperature is at below 0 degrees celsius for more than 5 days in a row or the temperature is near freezing and you have very few chickens in your coop, you may want to consider attaching the Extreme Temperature Blanket to your Eglu to give your chickens some extra help with keeping warm, without limiting the coop ventilation.
During hot summer months, when temperatures can be above and beyond 30 degrees celsius daily in some countries, it is wise to move your chicken coop into an area that is in the shade for as much of the day as possible. For your chickens, daily health checks are essential to ensure they are not suffering with the high temperatures. If your coop is attached to or inside a secure run, you can leave your coop door open to increase airflow at nighttime without your girls being exposed to predators.
☀️ SUN ☀️
When the sun is shining, it is tempting to cover your chickens’ run with shades so that it is completely protected from the sun inside. However, this can have the opposite effect on what you intended. Instead of shading and cooling the area, lots of shades create a tunnel which traps the heat, like a greenhouse.
It is best to keep them in a shaded area, and protect one side of the run from the sun. If your chickens are out free ranging most of the day, make sure that they have access to shady patches in the garden, and that their food and water is also in shade.
❄️ SNOW ❄️
Exciting for some, but for others a weather warning for snow can be very disappointing. You may want to consider sheltering your coop’s run with clear covers to prevent as much snow getting on the ground inside the run as possible. If snow is predicted for the foreseeable future, you may want to prepare for long term icy conditions and bring your coop closer to the house so it is easier to check on your chickens, and they can benefit from some of the shelter your house might provide. During the snow, be sure to dry off damp feathers and remove any chunks of ice from claws. Increase the amount of bedding and food you are giving your chickens too as this will help them stay warm.
If you have time, it might be wise to consider how effective your chicken coop will be against the bitter cold. If you have a wooden coop, check if it is water-tight and well insulated. If you are not confident in your wooden coop, consider upgrading to a sturdy plastic alternative, like the Eglu Cube. It’s twin-wall insulation works in the same way as double glazing to keep the cold out of the coop, and the heat in during winter. The plastic material is waterproof and super easy to clean out quickly (especially important on chilly winter days).
☁️ CLOUD ☁️
The most boring of all weather forecasts, but often a rest bite from other more extreme conditions. During winter, a few cloudy days should raise the temperature slightly and give you a good opportunity to clean out your coop and thoroughly check on your chickens and make any changes needed for whatever the forecast predicts for the coming days.
🌧 RAIN 🌧
Some weather reports are more helpful than others when it comes to the exact timing and chance of there being rain. But if you’re looking at days of 90% chance of heavy showers, it would be wise to act fast and get some protective clear covers over the run. If the ground under your chickens’ coop and run is already extremely muddy and wet, you might want to consider moving them to a new patch of grass, and maybe even laying down a base material, like wood shavings, to prevent it developing into a swamp!
💨 WIND 💨
How you react to a windy forecast completely depends on the wind speeds predicted. Light winds, less than 25 mph, shouldn’t cause much of a problem. You might want to add some windbreaks around the base of your Eglu and a large clear cover down the most exposed side. However, in extreme high winds, the worst thing you can do is completely conceal your run, particularly a larger Walk in Run, with covers from top to bottom. In a large run, the mesh holes allow the wind to flow through without causing any issues to the structure, and a clear cover round one bottom corner of the run will provide chickens enough shelter. If you cover the run completely, the wind will be hammering against it and is more likely to cause the structure to lift or move.
If your chickens are in a smaller run attached to their coop, we recommend moving it to a position where it will be most protected from the wind and any falling debris, for example, against a sturdy building wall. The Eglu’s wheels allow you to easily move the coops around your garden to suit the conditions. If you are keeping your chickens in their Eglu coop and run, and not free ranging during dangerous weather conditions, consider adding some entertaining toys and treat dispenser for them to prevent boredom, such as the Peck Toy or Perch.
It’s true that dogs can sleep pretty much anywhere. But, when you think about it, so can we – in a tent, on a long train journey, or in front of the TV. However, by choice we would rather be tucked up in our own beds, waking up comfy and refreshed rather than grouchy and with a crick in the neck. Dogs are just the same.
A dog bed work on two levels. It provides consistent comfort for a good night’s sleep (and all those daytime doggie naps too), and it also gives a dog a sense of security. Dogs are territorial – they claim certain places as their own. Their most special places – the ones where no one else goes – are the most important parts of their territory. A dog bed is the ultimate safety zone for your pet.
If you don’t provide an actual bed, your dog will improvise. A favourite spot on the rug, a comfy corner away from all the noise, or an old towel or blanket. These can all be roped in as beds, and the dog will retire there whenever he needs some downtime.
The spot your dog chooses, given half a chance, may be your own bed. Unless you’re firm with him, he’ll be there to stay! This is yet another reason why buying a comfy dog bed makes sense.
Finding The Ultimate Dog Bed
Incorporating the bed in a dog crate makes sense. The crate then becomes an all-purpose safe place and chill-out zone. This is the inspiration behind custom-made kit such as the Fido Studio dog crate and Fido Nook.
A crate also provides a frame for the dog mattress, rather than just having it free-standing on the floor. As a sense of security is very important for a dozing dog, this is an important detail.
Another great option is a dog sofa bed. It provides a frame for the mattress to rest on, just like a human bed, and it raises the dog from the ground to minimise draughts. You can also replace the dog mattress if it becomes worse for wear, while the frame will last a lifetime.
Dog beds can prevent sores, callouses and bald patches – things that may afflict dogs who sleep on wooden or stone floors, or rough carpets. As a dog gets older and its joints become stiffer, it will appreciate the comfort of a good dog mattress.
It’s A Bed, Not A Naughty Corner!
One mistake some owners make is to send a naughty dog to its bed as a punishment. Needless to say, this makes the poor dog associate the bed and mattress with bad things, and that isn’t going to give it a good night’s sleep! A bed in a crate should not become a lock-up, either. A dog who spends all day in the crate will come to view it as a prison cell – and the same goes for the bed, too.
If you have more than one dog, they will usually insist on their own, separate sleeping arrangements. It’s therefore important that a dog’s bed is not treated to the canine equivalent of sofa surfing. A dog that shows interest in another dog’s comfy mattress should be firmly discouraged.
A comfy bed isn’t much to ask. It provides warmth, security, and the ultimate in doggie comfort. We definitely draw the line at doggie pyjamas, though…
Backyard hens usually spend their entire lives outdoors. This means they have to cope with everything the year throws at them, from blazing summers and sub-zero winters to year-round downpours.
Being hardy birds, they take much of this in their stride. But there are still ways of helping your flock through the changing seasons.
This is the most challenging time of year for any animal living outdoors. The cons outweigh the pros, but with a little bit of help from their human friends, chickens can shrug off the excesses of the season.
Although chickens cope well with the cold, they don’t thrive when it’s both cold and raining. Protecting the run with extra weatherproofing will help enormously. Keeping the birds in an insulated Eglu is a good place to start.
Keep the hens’ feet dry in wet weather by lining the run with wood chippings.
Chickens usually return to the coop at dusk. But in the winter you may find your birds trying to get more pecking time from the short days. If your hens are prone to wander in the dark, a high visibility hen coat will help you locate them – and also ensure they’re visible to anyone else, should they stray from the garden. The coats also keep the birds cosy, so it’s a double blessing in the winter. A coop light can also encourage wandering chickens to return to the coop for bed time.
Roosting perches enable chickens to cuddle up in the cold – something essential on a cold night. Roosting also prevents their feet from becoming too cold.
In sustained sub-zero conditions, rub petroleum gel (e.g. Vaseline) on the hens’ combs and wattles, to prevent them becoming frostbitten.
Keep an eye out for coughs, sneezes, lethargy, or other signs of illness. A chicken with a weak constitution may be vulnerable when the cold weather kicks in.
Egg numbers will drop – this doesn’t mean you’ll have no eggs for breakfast, though. Three hens should till deliver eight eggs a week in the coldest months, but this will vary somewhat.
Make sure the hens’ diet remains healthy, and add some extra vitamins and minerals to keep their immune systems up to scratch.
Their water will freeze, so be prepared to break the ice, and have some spare water dispensers ready in case things freeze up entirely.
On the upside, winter might kill off any lingering red mite in coops and runs!
As the days lengthen, your hens will start laying more eggs. The garden comes back to life, and the chickens will find things worth scratching for in the ground.
Foxes will be hungry after a long, lean winter, so make sure your coop and run are secure. Automatic doors will ensure the hens are in and out at the right times, and will prevent predators from gaining after-hours access. The door will also let your chickens out in the morning, so that you can enjoy weekend mornings in bed as the days get longer.
It’s amazing, having seen your chickens happily cluck and scratch their way through freezing winter, to now see them equally happy in temperatures 20-odd degrees warmer. The main problem in summer is too much sun – but with plenty of shade in the garden, your birds will love the warm weather every bit as much as you do. A chicken coop that provides shade in itself, like the space under the Eglu Cube or the Eglu Go Up, is ideal for the summer months.
Keep the water supply topped up, as hens drink more in warm weather.
Provide a dust bath – either a dry area of ground in the garden, or a tray in the chicken run. Cat-litter trays make good baths.
Daily egg-collecting will discourage hens from going broody – something they sometimes do at this time of year.
Although the summer has gone and winter lies ahead, this is actually a great season for chickens. There are lots of juicy bugs to scratch for in the still-soft ground and leaf litter. If you have any fruit trees, there are rich pickings for the birds in the shape of windfalls.
Hens often moult at this time of year, so they need a good diet to help them stay healthy and grow new feathers. Extra vitamins and minerals will help, and a little apple cider vinegar in their water will help ensure a healthy, glossy new plumage.
If anyone nearby is planning a fireworks or bonfire party, make sure the hens are safely in their coop before the fun begins – it’s not much fun at all for a chicken caught in the firework crossfire.
Chickens are a year-round commitment. Fortunately, they make it easy for you – these wonderful birds are pretty much happy whatever the time of year.
Many people bring their pet rabbits indoors during the winter months. That’s certainly one way of helping them cope with the cold. But is it necessary? After all, wild rabbits survive the winter without having to ask us to turn up the central heating.
However, wild rabbits have a very important trick up their furry sleeves. They live in burrows, protected from the weather in the confines of a cosy rabbit warren. Pet rabbits don’t have access to this comfortable underground lifestyle, so you’ll need to simulate it in other ways.
The key to underground living is insulation. In the same way as an igloo creates a relatively warm space in a cold environment, a burrow provides an insulated living space with a constant temperature. Not exactly a hot spot, but somewhere that can be warmed up by lots of furry bodies, dry grass and compacted earth.
Hutch insulation can be reinforced by adding extra bedding materials. The paper lining commonly used at the base of rabbit bedding soaks up urine, and so it gets wet very quickly. Anything wet can soon become cold, and can even freeze if the temperature really plummets. In really cold weather – anything below zero degrees C – change the paper lining daily.
The real key to cold weather comfort is hay. Double, or even triple the amount you normally use in the rabbits’ sleeping area, and they’ll be snug through the night.
Not All Hutches Are Equal
An old wooden hutch with gaps and cracks for the cold wind to blow through is always going to be a lot less cosy than something more windproof. The ideal hutch has all-round insulation, like the Eglu. This will still need its thick mattress of hay, though.
There comes a point when cold weather is actually dangerous. If temperatures plunge below minus 5 C, wild rabbits hunker down and lie close together to share and conserve body warmth. In a garden hutch they will struggle when things get this cold. Not many pet rabbits can cope with sustained temperatures below minus 5, even in something as well-insulated as an Eglu.
In these extreme temperatures, there are two choices: bring the bunnies indoors, or use a heat pad in the hutch.
It will also help, of course, to keep the hutch in a sheltered spot, away from the worst of the winter winds.
How To Fight The Freeze
Rabbit water bottles freeze when the temperature falls. You can help prevent this by wrapping insulating material – bubble wrap is good – around the bottle. The water bottle in the Eglu, for example, comes ready-insulated from the cold. But even this will freeze when it gets really cold. You’ll also need to make sure the water bottle nozzle stays unfrozen, which involves changing the water bottles a few times each day. Always have a couple of spares, for this purpose.
The hutch itself can be made cosier by adding insulation to the outside. Extreme temperature jackets are a much better option than a thick blanket, as the latter will get wet and then freeze.
If the weather forces you to bring the bunnies indoors, keep them there until things warm up again. It’s not good for their health if they are forever going back and forth from cold winter to centrally heated house or shed.
Eating To Keep Out The Cold
Outdoor rabbits, like all small mammals subject to the whims of the seasons, have to eat more during the winter. This enables them to stoke their internal central heating. We humans tend to forget that the food we eat is largely fuel to heat us up from the inside out – part of being a warm-blooded mammal rather than a cold-blooded fish or reptile.
A cold rabbit will shiver. If, in spite of your insulating efforts, you notice a whole lot of shaking going on in the hutch, you need to take action. Heating pads, or the great indoors – those are the options.
It’s important to remember, though, that rabbits love having access to fresh air. They are hardy creatures, and you don’t need to keep them cooped up until the spring. As soon as the cold snap passes they can move to their outdoor quarters again.
In winter, one of the biggest concerns we see from our customers is: “how well is the Eglu going to keep my chickens warm?”. In this blog, we explain the science behind the Eglu’s carefully designed features, which ensure your chickens are kept nice and toasty in the colder months.
Air is an amazing thermal insulator. Heat is conducted between an area of more heat to an area of less heat. The warmer molecules vibrate rapidly and collide with others, passing on energy. If the material the heat (in this case the body heat from the chickens inside the coop) is trying to pass through has few molecules in it then it will be harder for the heat to transfer through it. This is the case with air, and that is why it’s commonly used as an insulator in everything from walls and windows to cooking utensils and drinking flasks – and chicken coops! The Eglus’ unique twin wall system captures air in a pocket between the inner and outer wall, taking full advantage of air’s great insulating properties. This solution stops the cold air from moving into the coop, and retains the warm air in the coop. The same process also keeps the chickens cool in summer by stopping the warm air from entering the coop and making it too warm.
Perhaps even more important than the coop’s insulating properties, is how well ventilated it is. If the coop doesn’t have good ventilation, you run the risk of either having a nasty draft if the coop has badly positioned vents or large holes and openings, or a build up of moisture if the coop is too tightly insulated. Both will prevent the chickens from staying warm on chilly winter nights, and can cause unpleasant respiratory illnesses.
The Eglu coops are designed to let air flow through the coop, but without creating an uncomfortable draft for the chickens. The vents are positioned in such a way that your pets won’t notice the fresh air flowing through the coop, but the warm air evaporating from the animals and their droppings will move through the vents and prevent any moisture.
How chickens keep themselves warm
Chickens, like many other non-migrating birds, have a layer of downy feathers under their visible plumage that they can fluff up to create air pockets close to their bodies. This will retain the heat, and will keep them warm during winter.
Chickens also have a high metabolic rate that will speed up even more during winter, helping to keep their bodies warm. This is why you might have to feed your chickens a little extra during the winter months.
Chickens are also able to decrease the blood flow to their bare legs to minimise loss of body heat. The overlapping scales on their feet and legs trap some warm air, so walking on snow and ice rarely causes chickens any discomfort. When roosting in the cold, the feet and legs are tucked in under the warm feather blanket, and the chicken might also tuck its head under a wing to get some extra body heat.
From the latest smartphone to super clever hairdryers, we often hear and read about the top new gadgets that we need in our lives, and more recently we are beginning to see amazing tech products for our pets! But what about chickens? Yep, even our feathered friends are getting a look into the future, and this is not something to be missed.
If you buy one thing for yourself or your chickens this week, make it this.
This one simple addition to your chickens’ coop, can make a hugely significant difference to your life as a chicken keeper, and many users swear by it.
Secure the Autodoor to your chickens’ enclosure; this can be the Eglu Cube house, Eglu run, any wooden chicken coop or chicken wire, and use the control panel to set when the door opens and closes, based on a specific time or a percentage of light.
In the morning, the Autodoor will open with no fuss, allowing your chickens out of their coop or run to explore, graze and stretch their wings, especially useful in summer, when your chickens are wanting to get going far earlier than you. There’s no need to get up at 5am when you have an Autodoor.
In the evening, as the sun sets, the Autodoor can be programmed to close at a time when you know all your chickens will have gone into their coop to roost, so they can be secured and safe from predators. In winter, when it can be dark before you get home, you won’t have to worry about having to hurry back in time to shut them in. The Autodoor can do it for you.
Here’s 5 other reasons, you need the Autodoor…
Battery-powered. No need to keep your coop close to a power source.
Reliable in all weather conditions. This is a gadget that will take you from winter to summer, and back again.
Built in safety sensors ensure no chicken is harmed when investigating their new gadget.
Improves coop security and insulation. The horizontal door is far safer than it’s vertical, guillotine style competitors which can be easily lifted by predators.
Low maintenance and easy to install. Everything you need to get started is in one box!
We’re kicking off 2020 with an amazing New Year Price Rollback on the Automatic Chicken Coop Door. Save a huge 25% when you sign up to the Omlet newsletter. Don’t miss out, offer ends Sunday!
Terms and conditions
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The Omlet Youtube channel is a great place to explore our products. The informative and fun videos show all the groundbreaking features that customers love, with the added bonus of some very cute animals! By subscribing you will always be fully clued up on the latest Omlet innovations, and you will find plenty of useful information about keeping pets, like this one about making your Eglu ready for winter.
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Chickens are built to be outside, and they are known to withstand some pretty extreme temperatures. Under the visible plumage birds like chickens have a layer of downy feathers that can be puffed up to create an extra layer of insulation that will keep them warm.
Cooped up chickens will soon get bored and agitated, and even though you might be surprised that they choose to go out in freezing temperatures, you should definitely always give your chickens the opportunity to stretch their legs.
Ensure chickens have a dry and sheltered spot in a secure run or in an area of the garden where they can spend time outside.We have plenty of different covers that makes this an easy job. Clear covers are ideal for winter as they will protect your chickens from wind and rain while still letting the light in. Put straw on the ground to prevent a build-up of mud, and install a perch or two for the chickens to rest on during the day.
Close the door to the coop when all chickens have gone inside to roost for the night, or let your Automatic Chicken Coop Door do it for you. If you have chickens who are eager to stay out later you can use a Coop Light to encourage them up to bed.
2. Don’t compensate for bad insulation by blocking up the coop
Well insulated coops, like the Eglus, will keep the chickens warm in winter by capturing the heat from the chickens’ bodies while not letting any cold air travel through the walls. They are also designed to let air flow through the coop to prevent a build up of moisture, without any nasty drafts.
Drafts and moisture are the two biggest winter enemies for chickens, as they make it difficult for them to stay warm and dry. If the coop is too tightly insulated the moisture evaporating from the chickens breaths and droppings will have nowhere to go. This humid environment – and the possible build up of ammonia – is really bad for chickens, and can lead to unpleasant respiratory illnesses.
Make sure that your coop is well ventilated, with vents that directs the air somewhere other than straight onto your chickens.
3. Don’t heat the coop
Chickens are hardy creatures that will gradually adapt to lower temperatures, and heating the coop will mean that your chickens never get used to the cold. This will also make them less likely to actually leave the coop and get that exercise, fresh air and entertainment that they require to stay happy and healthy.
Apart from the fact that heaters in the coop will always be a potential fire hazard, you also run the risk of your ill-adapted chickens getting a shock at a sudden drop in temperature if the power was to go off for some reason. This is much worse for them than having a slightly chillier coop.
If you’re worried you can always add a bit of extra bedding to the nest box, or put an extreme temperature cover on your Eglu.
4. Don’t leave eggs too long
Although the Eglu will keep your eggs warm and toasty, there is a risk that eggs laid elsewhere in the run or the garden will freeze in winter. Frozen eggs are not automatically dangerous to eat, but when the content of the egg freezes and expands, there’s a higher risk of bacteria entering through the cracks in the shell.
Collect the eggs every time you visit your chickens to minimise the risk of a frozen yolk.
5. Don’t ignore the water
As goes for all animals, you will want to give your chickens constant access to fresh water, even in winter. They won’t drink as much during the colder months, but here that’s actually a disadvantage, as the water is more likely to freeze if not touched regularly.
Bring the drinker inside overnight and take it out when you go to check on your girls in the morning. If the temperature goes below zero during the day, check the water as often as you can, and break the ice or change the water if it has frozen.
There are several water heating solutions available on the market. Omlet stock Eton Drinker Heaters that you can easily plug into an outdoor power source, but there are also battery powered heaters you can put in the water. Just make sure the chickens are not able to peck their way through the heater.
If the temperature stays around zero, you can put something floating in the water, like a tennis ball. As the floating object moves, it will break up surface ice as it forms on the water, which will stop, or at least slow down the freezing process.
6. Don’t put off cleaning the coop
Hanging out in the garden is not as tempting in winter, but you will still need to make sure the chickens’ house is nice and clean. It is likely that your chickens will spend more time in the coop in winter and produce more droppings there, so keep an eye out and change your routine accordingly.
7. Don’t limit the fun
The chickens might not venture as far out in the garden as they normally do, and the opportunity to forage for bugs and other treats will be limited when the ground is frozen or covered with snow. This can lead to chickens getting bored, which might result in aggressive feather pecking and egg eating.
You will need to make sure that they have plenty of fun things to do in their run. We have lots of boredom busting accessories in our shop. Put up perches the chickens can sit on and try the super fun Peck Toys or the Caddi treat holder for gradual treat-dispensing hentertainment. Or, if you feel your chickens might be the adventurous kind, why not put up a Chicken Swing they can enjoy together?
8. Don’t stick to the same feeding schedule
Your chickens will most likely eat more in winter, as they need the energy to keep warm. Give them some extra food, and make sure it doesn’t freeze in the feeder. For an extra snack, sprinkle some corn on the run in the afternoon to add both calories and some foraging fun. Or why not try this yummy chicken porridge that will warm their tummies on cold winter mornings.
Also make sure that you provide plenty of grit. As chickens don’t have teeth they need it do digest their food. The rest of the year they find and swallows little stones and pebbles as they peck around the garden, but if the ground is frozen this will be much harder.
9. Don’t ignore combs and wattles
All chickens, but particularly breeds with large combs and wattles, run the risk of frostbite on these sensitive body parts during winter. It’s not necessarily dangerous as it’s normally just the tips that get affected, but can be a bit uncomfortable. To prevent this, apply petroleum jelly to the combs and wattles during cold spells.
10. Don’t take covers off when the sun is shining
If you’re in the habit of taking the covers off the chickens’ run when it’s sunny, it might be a good idea to stop doing this in winter. Clear covers in particular will create a lovely sunroom feeling on the run when the sun is out, and your girls will love having a warmer spot to retreat to. Covers will also stop cold winds, so we would suggest keeping them on permanently in winter.
If you’ve ever needed to get inside your Zippi run to refresh food and water, or pick up your pet, you will likely have noticed the smaller openings make it difficult to reach inside, and removing a whole panel is rarely worth the hassle. The Zippi Locks have been designed to solve this problem.
Available in varying pack sizes to suit your needs, the Zippi Locks allow you to replace clips between mesh panels on three straight edges of any panel you wish to open up.
The Zippi Lock encases the edge of two mesh panels and secures them together in the same way as a run clip, however, once unlocked both mesh panels are still held in position until all locks are opened to lift open the panel you wish to use as an entry point, without it collapsing into your run and endangering your pets.
You can even use multiple Zippi Locks to convert adjoining panels of larger runs so you can open up a larger door or run roof. Simply follow these handy diagrams to see how many Zippi Locks you need to create your desired run opening.
With this improved accessibility to your run it is much easier to reach or climb in to feed your pets, tidy and clean the run floor and accessories, pick up your pet to take out of the run, or play with them inside. Making it easier for adults and children to access the run and play with their rabbits and guinea pigs inside ensures pets get as much playtime as possible to be happy, healthy and closely connected to you.
The Zippi Locks are durable, predator resistant and super simple to operate – even little hands can do it! The integrated safety button requires you to push and turn simultaneously in order to open the lock, making it harder for unwanted visitors to gain access.
Watch the Zippi Locks in action in this YouTube video…
The new Zippi Locks are now available online, from £2.75 each.