Promotion of 10% off Purple Eglu Cubes runs from 28/01/21 until midnight on 31/01/21. Use promo code GOBOLD at checkout. Includes purple Eglu Cube chicken coops only. Includes runs, run extensions and wheels when bought as part of a purple Cube package only. Excludes all green Cubes, and individual Cube accessories sold separately. Exclude purple Cube feeders and drinkers. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on delivery, existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.
Bird flu, also known as avian influenza, is back in the headlines, and new restrictions have been imposed on chicken keepers. In these circumstances, it is natural to ask whether wild birds present a major risk.
Wild birds are not the main source of the spread of the disease, however, even though they can act as reservoirs for the virus. It is human commercial activities associated with poultry farming that are the major cause of the bird flu’s spread across the world. If you are keeping just a few chickens, most of the risks can be avoided by simple hygiene and protective housing measures.
Avian influenza (bird flu)
As its name suggest, the avian flu virus is a form of influenza (flu) biologically adapted to bird hosts. Avian influenza is not a virus specific to chickens and poultry, and in theory any bird, wild or domestic, can be infected. The disease is always been at large somewhere in the world, and the safety risk for UK wild birds and bird keepers is currently quite high.
Bird flu – good news and bad news
In theory, any species of wild bird can catch the flu. Waterfowl such as geese, swans and ducks are thought to be major carriers of the disease, sometimes displaying no symptoms themselves. Chickens that come into contact with avian influenza are likely to catch it.
But let’s look at the good news first. The risk to human health from wild bird diseases, including avian influenza, are extremely low. In 99.9% of cases, humans affected by the highly virulent H5N1 strain of the bird flu have caught it from intensively reared poultry. The disease is not easily transmitted from human to human, and there have been no cases of avian influenza in humans in the UK, in spite of the safety risk for UK birds currently classed as high.
Similarly, chickens that are kept in runs and subject to common sense precautions are unlikely to catch the disease. Unless you live in an area suffering a major avian influenza outbreak, the visitors to your bird table are unlikely to be carriers of the disease.
Now for the bad news… If only one wild bird in a thousand is a carrier of avian influenza, that’s still one too many. Like it or not, backyard chickens are at risk. This is why new rules and new housing measures were introduced in December 2020.
What are the new rules for keeping chickens due to bird flu?
On 14 December 2020 it became a legal requirement for all poultry keepers, regardless of the size of the flock, to keep their birds indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures to combat the spread of avian influenza. A joint statement from the three Chief Veterinary Officers announced:
“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, from 14 December onwards you will be legally required to keep your birds indoors or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds. We have not taken this decision lightly, but it is the best way to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”
All poultry keepers must implement these new housing measures and precautions until further notice:
House all poultry and captive birds, or keep them in a run or fenced-off area outdoors
Cover the runs or pens with a solid top to minimise wild bird droppings entering the enclosure
Do not allow people other than the owners to enter the run or enclosure
Implement effective vermin control (rats, etc) as these animals can spread disease
Disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and other items used for cleaning the chicken coop and run, along with the feeders, drinkers, etc.
Use the same pair of boots when entering the run or enclosure, and do not use this footwear for any other purpose (walking, shopping, etc)
Make sure the chickens’ feed and water is separate from wild birds
Keep weed wild bird tables and feeding stations away from the chicken run
Avian flu in wild birds
The chances of a human catching avian influenza directly from birds that visit the garden are practically nil. This is no reason to avoid basic precautions, however, especially if you keep chickens. Keeping bird feeding stations clean is important, to avoid droppings and moulds accumulating. These can impact the health of wild birds and lower their immune systems. You should always wash your hands after restocking or cleaning a feeding station, or after any situation that brings you into contact with bird droppings (feeding the ducks in the local park, for example).
Sick or dead wild birds should not be touched. In general, you do not need to report the discovery of a dead bird. However, if dead ducks, geese, swans, gulls or birds of prey should be reported, as should the discovery of five or more dead birds of any species in one place. In these situations, contact the Defra helpline (03459 335577; 0300 200 7840 in Northern Ireland).
How do I know if my chicken has bird flu?
Chickens with avian influenza will display various symptoms. They may be less active than usual, and will lose their appetite and show signs of nervousness. Their egg production will drop, and eventually their combs and wattles will look swollen, with a blue discoloration. Other avian influenza symptoms in poultry include coughs, sneezes and diarrhoea. Unfortunately, many of these avian influenza symptoms are associated with other ailments, too, so a vet will need to make the diagnosis.
It can take 14 days for an avian influenza outbreak to spread throughout a flock. Some infected birds may exhibit no signs, even though they are still potential virus carriers. Others may sicken and die very quickly.
How to treat avian flu in chickens
You can reduce the risk of avian influenza in your poultry by following the latest guidelines issued by Defra and the government. The NFU has a very useful page containing guidance and the latest news regarding bird flu.
Vaccination of a flock at risk from the avian influenza virus is the only method of prevention. If avian influenza affects a flock, the flock has to be put down.
“All bird keepers (whether you have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times. If you have any concerns about the health of your birds, seek prompt advice from your vet.”
The main takeaway messages
The new rules about housing chickens apply to everyone
Feeding wild birds in the garden is still safe
Simple precautions and good cleaning regimes minimise the dangers
There are days that matter. Days we don’t want to forget and days we want to celebrate. There are dates that we want to mark: Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving… And dates that we would like to know. While certain symbolic days are easy to remember, sometimes we need to refresh our memories. Our pets also have the right to their glory days! Here are the key dates to know in 2021!
The list below is not exhaustive and takes into account the days established in some countries and not in others. However, we love any excuse to celebrate our pets so thought you’d love to here of these special days too!
The month of January is already almost over but nothing prevents us from taking a retrospective of past events.
Throughout January, two actions were put forward:
Adopt a rescued bird. Birds were therefore honored in this month of January. Many cats and dogs are asking to be rescued every day, but it was important to put the birds in the spotlight! Thousands of them are looking for a home and a family to care for them. Birds are awesome, they are fun, social, and smart creatures. There are many owners who underestimate the workload around these little animals. Birds require a lot of attention and love. This is why the abandonments are numerous and the shelters overwhelmed.
National Train Your Dog Month (US): A movement started by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers many years ago. This month is your chance to teach your dog new tricks. During the month of January, social networks become a real source of information for dog owners with tips and advice. Feel free to browse Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest. This is the time when trainers, canine experts, and dog owners come together to celebrate their love for their pets. Remember three essential things for your dog to learn in good conditions: loyalty, love, fidelity.
Specific Days in January for pets:
Jan. 24: Change a Pet’s Life Day: a day especially created to encourage people to adopt pets from shelters. And if you are not ready to adopt, you can sponsor a pet. This system is done through shelters, do not hesitate to inquire directly with them! You can also think of volunteering. Associations always need help.
Jan. 25: National Fun At Work Day
February is only 28 days but they are busy days. The month of February is particularly placed under the sign of health. Don’t forget to take your pet regularly to the vet. The all-important task is to spay our pets.
Throughout this February, two actions are put forward:
Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month: Rabbits make great pets too. Often forgotten like birds, the month of February allows these small animals to be honored. For people who have allergies to dogs and cats, adopting a rabbit may be an ideal solution! Allergies are actually less frequent. Rabbits bring joy and happiness, they are just waiting to join a loving family.
National Cat Health Month (US): This month we are focusing on the well-being of our cats! Parents of cats, this is the time to take into consideration not only the physical well-being of your pet, but also the occasion to take into account its emotional well-being. It’s time to celebrate our furry friends. This month we take our cat to the vet, we flood it with love and why not buy our lovely cat a new toy… It’s a secret but…Many surprises are arriving this spring at Omlet for cat owners! Stay connected…
Specific Days in February for pets:
Feb. 3: National Golden Retriever Day
Feb. 3: Annual Doggy Date Night: dogs are an integral part of a family. It is essential to give them quality time. Take advantage of an evening with your dogs to show them all your love: pet them, share a movie with them, give them a gift and above all tell your dogs that you love them. This day reminds us how much our dogs bring us daily joy.
Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day: Valentine’s day is not just for humans!
Feb. 14: Pet Theft Awareness Day: This day reminds us how much a pet brings happiness to a family but it also reminds us of the responsibilities that go with it. This day emphasizes the importance of pet identification and encourages owners to take steps to ensure the safety of the animal.
Feb. 20: Love Your Pet Day 💚💚💚
Feb. 22: National Walk Your Dog Day
Feb. 23: World Spay Day: This day is an opportunity for shelters to highlight their spay program. World Spay Day shining a spotlight on the power of affordable, accessible spay/neuter to save the lives of pets and street dogs who might otherwise be put down in shelters or killed on the street.
Feb. 27: Polar Bear Day: We leave the world of pets for a moment to highlight the importance of polar bear conservation who are an endangered species.
Throughout March, two actions are put forward:
Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month: Just like birds and rabbits, there are many guinea pigs in shelters! They are charming companions who will know how to bring joy at home. Guinea pigs are wonderful animals for your children. In addition to being excellent friends, they can also teach them empathy and responsibility.
Poison Prevention Awareness Month: Think you don’t have poison in your house? This day allows us to become aware of the products which surround us and which could be dangerous for our animals. Remember to store your products in your cupboards and not leave them lying around. Your animals are like children and they could easily swallow or inhale a substance dangerous to their health which could even lead to death. This period was established in the United States but it is important for any person in possession of a pet in the whole world to take note of it.
Specific Days in March for pets:
March 3: If Pets Had Thumbs Day: Yes this day exists and it’s a funny one! It comes straight from the United States and allows us to imagine the life of our dog with thumbs.
March 20: World Sparrow Day
March 23: National Puppy Day (US): this day celebrates all the love that puppies bring us. You might see a lot of social media posts emerging on this day! This day makes us aware that puppies are a big responsibility. This day also exists to educate people about the horrors of puppy mills across the world.
March 23: Cuddly Kitten Day
March 28: Respect Your Cat Day: give them the attention they deserve!
March 30: Take a Walk in the Park Day
Some important aspects of pet care are highlighted in April.
Throughout April, two actions are put forward:
National Pet Month (UK): This month is a time to educate pet owners about the responsibility of having a pet at home. Through numerous campaigns and an educational approach, associations hope to raise awareness.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month:This month is also the time to speak out and take action! Do not hesitate to condemn any behavior that could endanger an animal. The month of March is an opportunity to help associations by giving or volunteering. Your actions may be able to save lives.
April 4: Easter: Easter emblems: a rabbit, a chicken and a bell
April 8: National Dog Fighting Awareness Day
April 11: National Pet Day
April 11: Celebrate Shelter Pets Day
April 11: Dog Therapy Appreciation Day
April 12: World Hamster Day: hamsters also have the right to their glory day!
April 23: National Lost Dog Awareness Day
April 24: World Veterinary Day: This annual celebration aims to highlight a profession: veterinarians. This day underlines the vital role of this profession in also ensuring animal welfare, safe world trade in animals and animal products as well as protecting public health.
April 25: National Pet Parents Day
April 26: National Kids and Pets Day (US): This day is mainly celebrated in the United States however it can easily be highlighted in other countries by offering activities bringing together your children and pets! Why not do a family outing on April 26? Play hide and seek all together in the garden? So much activity exists!
April 28: International Guide Dog Day: It is important to pay tribute to these dogs who allow their owner to socialize with the outside world. These dogs are very supportive and do an amazing job. They bring love, comfort and help.
April 30: Adopt a Shelter Pet Day
April 30: National Therapy Animal Day
April 30: Hairball Awareness Day
In May, we celebrate the different breeds of dogs. We also do not forget the importance of microchipping your pets!
Throughout May, two actions are put forward:
Chip Your Pet Month: This month the focus is on the microchip. It’s a perfect time to spread knowledge about microchips. The American Humane Association evaluates that one in three animals will be lost or stolen in their lifetime. The microchip is like your pet’s identity card. If lost, your pet has a better chance of finding you if they are microchipped.
Pet Cancer Awareness Month: Did you know that cancer is a leading cause of disease-related death in cats and dogs? This month emphasizes the importance of a good medical follow-up of your animal.
Specific Days in May for pets:
May 1: National Purebred Dog Day
May 3: National Specially-abled Pets Day (US): Disabled animals are highlighted on this day. These animals have an immense need for love. Know that they will know how to return it to you.
May 8: Vet Nurse Day
May 8: National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day
May 8: National Dog Mom’s Day
May 14: International Chihuahua Appreciation Day: And yes, chihuahuas have the right to have their own day! In addition, this day is international! They are the kings.
May 20: National Rescue Dog Day
In June, shelters see an abundance of kittens arriving.
Throughout June, an action is put forward:
Adopt-A-Cat Month / Adopt a Shelter Cat Month:
As stated in this article, adoption is a laudable alternative. By welcoming an abandoned cat, you are giving it a second chance to live the life it deserves. Cats need to be loved, and while shelters do an amazing job, nothing beats a family to take care of them.
Specific Days in June for pets:
June 4: Hug Your Cat Day: Hugs day is normally everyday for your cat. But we like to remind you that there is a specific day for that so this day make sure to give twice as much hug for your lovely cat!
June 8: Best Friends Day: If we celebrate best friends, it’s not just human beings. Who is more loyal than your dog? Who is more fun than your bunny or even your little chickens?
June 8: World Pet Memorial Day: It is a day dedicated to all our pets gone to paradise.
June 21: Take Your Cat to Work Day: Try asking your boss first though in case they’re allergic…
June 24: Cat World Domination Day: Oops it’s a secret…
June 25: Take Your Dog to Work Day
In July we take care of our pets. It’s summer, it’s hot, we try to be vigilant. We think of hydration!
Throughout July, an action is put forward:
National Pet Hydration Awareness Month (US): It is a month dedicated in United States but it should also be for every country in the world that happens to be in the summer at this time of the year. Your pets need to drink. Don’t forget them!
Specific Days in July for pets:
July 5: Pet Remembrance Day
July 16: Guinea Pig Appreciation Day
July 21: National Craft for Your Local Shelters Day: This is the perfect day to make something for the pets in shelters. It is also a perfect activity to offer to your children!
July 21: No Pet Store Puppies Day
July 30: International Friendship Day: Here again we celebrate our friendship with our lovely animals!
In August, we take advantage of our pets. Many activities are to be discovered with your furry friend!
Specific Days in August for pets:
Aug. 1: DOGust Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs
Aug. 4: Assistance Dog Day
Aug. 6: Fresh Breath Day
Aug. 8: International Cat Day
Aug. 10: Spoil Your Dog Day: On this special day, spoil your dog with little treats, participate in activities and above all spend time giving him lots of love.
Aug. 21: International Homeless Animals Day: This particular day symbolizes the fight for better legal and physical protections for our pets.
Specific Days in September for pets:
Sept. 1: Ginger Cat Appreciation Day
Sept. 8: National Dog Walker Appreciation Day
Sept. 13: Pet Birth Defect Awareness Day: This day was established by David Rogers in order to bring awareness to the “interactive role humans play in our pets’ physical birth defects as well as their mental health”
Sept. 17: National Pet Bird Day
Sept. 25: International Rabbit Day: This day is dedicated to our little rabbits. Take out its favorite toys, carrots and a nice obstacle course so he can let off steam!
Sept. 25: World’s Largest Pet Walk (US): This day is organized by an association Pet Partners and allows fundraising. It is about promoting the physical activity shared with his pets.
In October, we pay attention to what our pets eat! Obesity is a problem that our furry pets can face.
Image by LorysCats from Pixabay
Throughout October, an action is put forward:
Adopt-A-Dog Month/Adopt a Shelter Dog Month: Like cats, dogs have one month dedicated for adoption. So we can never repeat it enough but if you want to adopt, think above all about shelters!
Specific Days in October for pets:
Oct. 4: World Animal/Pet Day
Oct. 13: Pet Obesity Awareness Day: Obesity in our animals is not to be taken lightly. A obist problem in your pet can lead to other health problems and affect the quality of life of your companion. It also interferes in all the activities that he is called upon to do: walking, running after a ball. These activities are nevertheless so dear to his heart.
Oct. 27: National Black Cat Day (UK): We did a recent article about black cats, read it here!
Oct. 28: Plush Animal Lovers’ Day: Ideal day to buy your pet a new toy
Oct. 30: National Pit Bull Awareness Day
Oct. 31: Halloween: We are careful not to leave chocolate lying around! It’s not good for our furry pets.
Throughout November, an action is put forward:
Adopt a Senior Pet Month: The whole month of November highlights the adoption of a senior pet. A month dedicated to older pets to find a lovely home. Dogs and cats of advanced age have higher euthanasia rates. There are many advantages to adopting an older pet: they are calmer, it is easier to teach them new tricks, they require less attention than a puppy.
Specific Days in November for pets:
Nov. 1: National Cook for Your Pets Day (US): It’s an excellent idea to test new recipes and share them with your furry friends.
Nov. 17: Take a Hike Day
Nov. 25: Thanksgiving (U.S.)
Nov. 28: Hanukkah Begins
December, it’s gifts month!
Specific Days in December for pets:
Dec. 5: International Volunteer Day: the opportunity to volunteer with an animal association
Dec. 9: International Day of Veterinary Medicine
Dec. 24: Christmas Eve
Dec. 25: Christmas: Gifts are also for our animals!
Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve
There are many, many dates that celebrate animals around the world. If you are not celebrating a particular date, that’s okay, the most important thing is to give lots of love every day to these pets who bring you joy and happiness all year round!
Some dogs love rolling in the snow, while others are happy to sit out the cold weather in the comfort of a centrally heated house. For the snow-lovers, thick fur is definitely an asset. Breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, bred for life and hard work in cold climates, will have no problems at all with the average British winter.
Hardy breeds with thick coats, such as German shepherds, Poodles and Golden retrievers, will love their cold weather walks, too. Thin coated breeds such as Greyhounds and Whippets, and small dogs such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies need to be protected from the cold. Puppies, older dogs and ill dogs may need extra care in the winter, too.
Whatever the breed, never leave it outside in very cold weather, as even a hardy dog can succumb to the chill if its body temperature gets too low.
How do you know if it’s too cold for your dog?
You will soon be able to tell if your dog is feeling the cold, as it will simply tell you! Dogs will be reluctant to go on a walk, or will not be as active as usual during the walk, sitting down in a sheltered spot or walking much more slowly than usual. Cold dogs may become anxious, whining and walking by your side, looking at you pleadingly. Smaller dogs will begin to shiver very quickly in the cold, and even larger breeds may shiver after a while. If there is snow underfoot, a dog may limp if it feels uncomfortable with the ice in its toes.
It will not often come to this, though – certainly not in healthy dogs. They will do so much running that they will not feel the cold unless the snow itself becomes a problem in their fur or between their toes.
How cold is too cold for a dog?
Generally, 7°C (45°F) is a minimum temperature, at or above which all dogs will be comfortable. As the temperature dips towards 0°c (32°F), less hardy dogs will need to wear a dog sweater or coat. In extreme cold, all breeds other than those super-hardy Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds and Newfoundlands are in danger of becoming too cold.
How do you know if your dog needs a coat?
The question of whether it is too cold for your dog is largely down to breed, and is also influenced by the age and health of your pet.
Dogs with fine hair and/or thin body types (e.g. Greyhounds) will need to wear a coat outside when the temperature dips. If there is snow on the ground, small dogs and puppies will need a coat during walks or playtime in the park. Being small, they become cold quicker than larger dogs, and their undersides get cold quickly too, simply because their bellies are closer to the ground.
Older dogs and young puppies have relatively weak immune systems and can become ill if they get too cold. Old dogs with arthritis suffer in cold weather, too, and may even require a coat indoors during the winter to ease their sore joints.
Lighter-furred dogs may benefit from a dark coat to soak up a bit of winter sun heat. If the wind is strong and icy, a coat can make things much more comfortable for any breed (with the exception of the dogs bred for harsh conditions).
Even a hardy dog can become very uncomfortable in the snow, as their fur may accumulate the frozen stuff. Dogs will instinctively try to clear their snowed-up muzzles and heads by rubbing them on the ground – thus gathering even more snow! A dog’s toes can get iced up to, which is clearly uncomfortable for them.
The snow can be removed periodically during the walk (although it will sometimes form ice and cannot be immediately removed). A good thaw-out back home will cure the problem, though.
How to keep your dog warm throughout the winter
Knowing your own dog’s needs is key to knowing if the dog is too cold. Dogs do not need to be cosy-warm at all times, and you may have noticed how they will sometimes seek out a cool part of the floor to lie down on, especially when the central heating is switched on in the winter. It is a fact that overheating is, in general, more of an issue than feeling the cold.
Dark-furred breeds benefit from winter sun, being able to absorb what little heat there might be in the sun. Lighter colours reflect the light, and the heat too.
If your dog needs a coat in the cold, that’s a simple remedy against the winter chills. A cosy bed is important, too, to keep your dog warm at night.
Avoiding severe doggie haircuts in the winter is a good idea, as a drastic trim is not going to help in the battle against the cold!
How do I know if my dog is too cold at night?
As long as your dog has a soft bed to lie on, and as long as the room temperature remains above freezing, dogs are unlikely to get too cold. The dog will curl up and snuggle down, its own body heat sufficient for a good night’s sleep.
Making sure you have a dog bed that’s fit for purpose is important. It doesn’t come much cosier than a Topology bed – these can be raised off the ground, to improve ventilation and prevent the bed becoming too hot on a warm floor or too cold on a chilly one. They also have zip-on covers than can be changed easily if a defrosting dog soaks them.
A high quality dog blanket can help, too – especially if your dog has a kennel or crate outside. Your dog will snuggle under it, or push it aside, just as you might do with a quilt, helping to keep the perfect temperature throughout the night.
Note: only very hardy breeds can cope with an outdoor crate or kennel in the winter, even if it is fully weatherproofed.
What happens if dogs get too cold?
The main signs that your dog is too cold are shivering and whimpering. A dog who is shivering should be wrapped in a blanket and taken somewhere warm as soon as possible. That will usually do the trick.
If a frail or small dog is too cold, it can become ill. The cold lowers their immunity, giving diseases the chance to gain a foothold. If, during cold weather, your dog is constantly sneezing or has discharge from the eyes and/or nose, it could be a sign of dog cold or dog flu, canine influenza or other illnesses.
Dogs with hypothermia
Although highly unusual, it is possible for a dog to suffer hypothermia. This is when its body temperature has fallen from the normal range of around 38°C to 39°C (101°F to 102.5°F) to 37°C (99°F) or lower. Such a plummet in temperature can prove fatal, even if you manage to get your dog quickly back to a warm spot.
You can tell if your dog has hypothermia, or is in danger of succumbing, by watching how it behaves. The symptoms include lethargy or sleepiness, clumsy movements, stiff limbs or breathing difficulties.
Prevention is the only remedy here. Know your dog, know their physical limitations, and use your judgement to prevent putting the dog in an environment that might mean your dog is too cold and could thus lead to hypothermia.
Dogs with frost bite
Frostbite is another cold weather risk. In extreme cold, a warm-blooded animal’s body protects its vital organs, redirecting blood flow there. This means that extremities such as ears, noses, tails and paws are at risk of freezing. If any of those parts of the body is bright red or black, your dog could be suffering from frostbite and should be warmed up immediately.
If your dog’s ears, tail or tail feel ‘like ice’ when you hold them, it’s probably time to cut the walk short and head indoors.
In general, if you feel cold outside, in spite of your coat, hat and gloves, your dog will be feeling the cold pinch too. Common sense plays a big part when trying to tell if your dog is too cold in the winter, and an animal as intelligent as a dog will certainly let you know if the cold weather is making it feel uncomfortable.
Like humans, rabbits and guinea pigs need exercise! If your doctor recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day, know that the same goes for your small pets. So rabbits and guinea pigs, get your little paws ready, it is high time to get back to sport! First, let’s take a look at why exercise is so important for rabbits and guinea pigs.
Physical and mental well-being
Exercise is necessary to keep your rabbit and/or guinea pig healthy. Movement contributes to your animal’s mental and psychological balance. It is therefore essential, in addition to the balanced food you provide, to devote time to physical exercise.
The muscles of your rabbit or guinea pig need to be trained. Your pet should be able to test their abilities, their limits, practice, have fun, and jump around. A stimulating environment will offer your animal dynamic days, without monotony, allowing it to flourish. Why not personalise your rabbits’ play area; add toys, create several spaces for it on raised platforms? They will thank you for it!
When your pet starts to play and run, it is a sign they’re happy and having fun. Get involved and engage with them in play to stimulate their senses and reflexes.
Prevent the risk of injury and obesity
Unlike a life in the wild, full of twists and turns, life for our domestic pets is a little different, with less movement and activity, rabbits and guinea pigs are at risk of becoming ill. Obesity is a common example of this. In the wild, they tend to run, to flee dangers, to fight against bad weather and to test their reflexes. They have to work hard to get food, dig a shelter, watch out for predators that are both high up (raptors and other birds) and on land. Their metabolism is used to such conditions, so they naturally have less weight problems.
Domestic rabbits and guinea pigs sometimes live in small places. As well as their daily feed, pets are also given extra treats throughout the day. Without exercise, they can easily gain weight. They must therefore be stimulated, otherwise a vicious circle sets in. By not exercising, your pets gain weight and the more weight they have, the harder it will be for them to engage in play and movement. Exercise is therefore recommended as soon as your rabbit or guinea pig arrives in your home.
A little tip to find out if your rabbit or guinea pig is the ideal weight: you should lightly feel your animal’s ribs by pressing on its belly.
In addition to obesity, a lack of exercise could lead to urinary problems, osteoporosis or even fractures. Rabbits and guinea pigs are therefore more fragile when raised in apartments and homes. By training your rabbit or guinea pig you are helping to strengthen its heart and to reduce the risk of injury from lack of movement. It’s not about overtraining, but allowing it to let off steam and move their bodies! Like humans, rabbits and guinea pigs experience problems relating to old age: strained muscle, wear and tear of the skeleton. The solution to try to get around your problems: exercise!
How do I keep my rabbit and my guinea pig occupied? What exercises are recommended to keep my pet in good health?
Platforms: a multitude of possibilities
Platforms are the ideal solution for keeping your pet healthy. They allow you to create different levels and customise your pet’s play environment as you see fit. By jumping up and down on organised level platforms, your rabbit or guinea pig will keep their bones and muscles in good shape. The platforms allow adaptation to the natural behavior of rabbits and guinea pigs.
The levels allow your rabbits and guinea pigs to exercise their muscles, jumping up and down the ramp. By reproducing natural climbs and descents, just like in the wild, your animal can, in complete safety, strengthen their core muscles and stimulate their minds.
The creation of a platform on several levels, allows you to vary the daily exercise of your pets, keep them in good health and in addition to that, it allows you to optimise the space. Completely modular and customisable, the Zippi Platforms from Omlet offer your pets new sensations and allow them to experience new adventures.
Vets and animal experts also recommend the use of different levels to stimulate small pets. Your rabbit or guinea pig may need some encouragement to begin with, but if you choose a sturdy and safe structure, your pet will soon realise taking their playtime to new heights is a lot of fun!
Zippi Platforms from Omlet are non-slip and allow your beloved pet to hop without fear of slipping. Always be sure to choose platforms that ensure your pet’s safety.
This multi-functional play area is suitable for all breeds of rabbits and all breeds of guinea pigs. It’s up to you to organize the space and platforms as you see fit according to your pet’s preferences.
Here are some ideas for setting up the platforms in the Zippi runs.
Nothing prevents you from adding many accessories to further personalize your pet’s play area: tunnel, shelters … You have endless possibilities! Your rabbit or guinea pig will feel comfortable to indulge in their favorite activities: jumping, running, skipping over obstacles and hopping around!
Perching high up, your animals can see the world around them from a new perspective. Curious by nature, they can finally enjoy their environment.
Platforms: an easy way to have fun together
What could be more important than enjoying this new play environment together? Your animals love to be admired and encouraged, and will love to spend time with you!
The height of the platforms will allow you to enjoy your animals from a new angle. Platforms allow you to sit down and be at their eye level, making interaction much easier. Comfortable for your back, of course, but also a new way to spend time and have fun with your rabbit or guinea pig. The possibilities to stimulate your pets will be diverse and you will be able to teach them how to use their new platforms.
Your children will be able to enjoy their pet in complete safety. This will make it much easier for them to play together. Interaction will be easier thanks to a height that will suit your pet as well as your children.
Exercise is essential for your pets. Don’t neglect this aspect of their lives: making an exciting playground they will love, can be great fun for you too!
Discover the new Topology Dog Bed from Omlet, with customisable toppers to suit your dog’s personality. Not sure which topper your dog will love best? Take the quiz below!
What kind of walk does your dog enjoy the most?
Run, doggie, run! The further the better
A gentle stroll around the park will be fine, thanks
I’m only small. A short walk followed by snuggles please.
A simple stroll around the neighbourhood for us!
The muddier the better. A cold swim would be a bonus!
Which breed is your dog most like in personality?
A dashing dalmatian
A pampered poodle
A snuggly pug
A sleek saluki
A water-loving spaniel
What would you find most useful in a bed?
A bed that gives them a lot of support and allows them to rest fully
A luxury material but that’s also easy to clean
Something that creates a den-like environment
A sleek and stylish bed that matches your home
A practical bed that helps to clean and dry after dirty walks
Where is your dog’s favourite place to sleep?
Somewhere squishy they can really bury into
Only the softest of blankets, preferably by the fire
In a cosy corner somewhere away from the noise
Somewhere they can really stretch out and relax
Anywhere they can dry themselves off and snuggle in
On a scale of 1 to fox poo, how clean is your dog?
As long as there’s a big walk with a nap at the end, they don’t mind mud!
Very clean, wouldn’t put a paw near a puddle
I think they would rather stay fresh and clean in their den
Clean, but loves a dash about in the park
They LOVE mud. They LOVE swimming. Bring on the dirt!
What is your favorite colour palette within your home?
I love a mustard yellow. The brighter the better.
Creams and whites please.
Cool, soft greys are perfect for my home
Stylish mints and subtle greens really suit me
Brown is great to cover muddy pawprints
Mostly A’s: Beanbag topper!
This super squishy beanbag moulds around your dog’s body for a sublime night’s sleep. The extra support is great for relaxing after a long walk, and the bright pop of mustard yellow looks stylish in any home! Plus, the beans inside can be easily removed to wash the cover.
Mostly B’s: Sheepskin topper!
The luxurious, super soft sheepskin topper in sophisticated white offers premium comfort to pampered pooches who desire the very best for bedtime. Don’t worry about fur and dirt, the sheepskin topper can be unzipped from the mattress and thrown in the washing machine!
Mostly C’s: Bolster topper!
The cushioned bolster topper is deep filled around the sides and designed to support your pet’s head, just like a pillow. This bolster shape also helps create a secure feeling of protection around your dog. The Bolster cushion can be removed from the cover for washing too!
Mostly D’s: Quilted topper!
Simple and sleek, the quilted topper is a great choice for dog’s who love to stretch out after a long day. The stylish, blue-grey hue fits nicely in all homes, and the super soft material on the memory foam mattress provides ultimate comfort. Easily unzip and clean in the washing machine.
Mostly E’s: Microfibre topper!
The microfibre topper is perfect for dogs who love long, muddy walks. Puddles aren’t a problem for your dog, and they’re not a problem for this topper either. The brown tassel design absorbs moisture from your dog’s fur and camouflages muddy paw prints. Simply unzip and throw in the washing machine ready for your next adventure!
Chickens are hardy birds, and are fantastically good at adapting to the climate, whether it’s midsummer or deepest winter. Unless the winter in your area is very harsh, your chickens will be able to keep warm by snuggling up in the coop, and the cold weather will not prevent them from going about their usual business of scratching and pecking through the run or garden.
How do chickens keep warm in the winter?
The chicken’s secret is natural insulation. Their feathers help them retain body heat and warm the air trapped beneath their downy under-feathers. When she’s at rest, a hen’s body temperature is 40–43C, and her heart rate is around 400 beats per minute – evidence of a high metabolism that sets up the birds very well for winter weather.
Watching chickens scratch at the frozen ground or strut through the snow, you might wonder how they manage to keep their feet and legs warm. After all, this is one part of their body with no feathers to keep it cosy (unless you happen to have a feathery-legged breed such as the Cochin, Brahma or Silkie). The answer lies in the chicken’s leg scales, which retain heat to a certain extent. The average chicken will always be on the move, not keeping all its toes on the ground for too long.
How can you tell if chickens are too cold?
You can tell if a hen is feeling cold by simply looking at her. She will have her feathers ruffled up and will be perched off the ground, probably with one leg tucked up. Her wattles and comb may look paler than usual. These are not signs of distress, and as long as the chicken is only having a brief rest, rather than staying hunkered up for the whole day, you don’t have to worry.
Chickens are should not be allowed to remain soaking wet. This is more dangerous than the outdoor temperature or the falling snow, and in extreme cases will result in hypothermia. An affected hen will be stiff and cold to the touch, with her eyes wider and unblinking, or closed. If you find one of your chickens in this state, take her indoors and wrap her in a warm towel. When she recovers, put her in a bedding-lined box in a warm spot for a few hours.
Does perching keep chickens warm?
Like many other birds, chickens often adopt the ‘one leg’ pose in the winter, tucking one of their limbs up into the warmth of their bellies. This reduces overall heat loss and stops feet and toes from freezing on the icy ground. Like all birds, chickens are warm-blooded, and their own body heat soon works its magic.
Perching is the most effective way for a chicken to retain body heat. A hen hunkers down when roosting, with her feathers fluffed up and her legs tucked into her warm body. If space allows, install a flat perch in your coop or run. This will enable the hens to roost without having to curl their toes around the roosting bar, which in really cold weather will prevent their toes freezing. An upturned pot, a log, pallet or other slightly elevated space will give the birds a flat surface to perch on, to escape the ice and snow.
How cold is too cold for chickens?
Chickens will regulate their temperature and behaviour accordingly, so wherever humans can live, chickens can thrive too. It is the combination of cold and wet that can prove fatal, so ensuring a dry coop is vital, and any bird who becomes soaked should be towelled dry. Applying Vaseline to their combs will prevent frost bite.
Can chickens freeze to death?
Cold conditions will not usually kill chickens, as long as they have a warm coop to retire too when the weather become extreme. Cold hens may be more susceptible than usual to illness and parasites, though, and their egg production will fall. The chickens will simply hunker down on perches and in nesting boxes, with their feathers fluffed out.
What’s the best chicken coop for cold weather?
The type of coop you have makes a big difference. In really cold winters, a wooden coop with a draughty coop door can soon become damp and semi-frozen – not to mention very draughty – while a more robust state-of-the-art structure such as the Eglu will keep out the cold and damp and enable chickens to defrost after a busy day in the run. The temperature in the Eglu will remain relatively high when all the hens are tucked in at night.
You can help your backyard chickens keep warm in the frost and snow by making sure the coop is clean and dry. Clear out any snow dragged in on the birds’ feet, and keep an insulating layer of straw on the floor. You can give the birds extra protection by insulating the run – although there should still be some ventilation, to allow the gases released from the birds’ droppings to escape.
An automatic door will help keep the living quarters snug, too. If installing a heater, it must be one designed specifically for hen houses, and it’s best to use it only if the temperature dips below -5°C, otherwise hens may get used to being cosy all the time, and that could be disastrous if the heater fails and the birds are suddenly exposed. Heat-pampered poultry can die of cold shock.
What happens if a chick gets too cold?
Chicks and young hens are more susceptible to the cold than adult chickens. If a young chicken has its full coat of feathers, it will be as hardy as the older birds. Chicks, however, will need protection from the cold, and should be kept under an appropriate heat lamp. Any chick left to fend for itself in cold weather will die.
Cold Weather Tips
The following precautions will help ensure happy chickens in winter:
Protect combs and wattles from frostbite with petroleum jelly or an equivalent product.
Prevent water from freezing. Check it at least twice a day to keep it clear of ice. If a freeze is forecast, bring the containers indoors at night, or, if possible, buy a water heater designed for the job of preventing freezing.
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 tend to wander in the dark, a high visibility hen coat will help you locate them, and will 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.
Heat lamps or oil filled radiators can provide extra warmth in sheds and outbuildings, but are generally only needed for frail birds or ones with lots of feathers missing (such as ex-battery hens). The space should be made slightly less chilly rather than actually warm.
If you do not have a cosy Eglu, a wooden coop can be insulated with bubble-wrap, cardboard or old carpets or blankets.
Extra bedding on the floor of the coop will help keep the chickens warm, too.
Providing weather-proof shelter in the chicken run will give the hens some respite.
Some extra corn offered as a treat before the hen’s bedtime will act as an internal heater as the chickens digest it overnight. In general, hens will eat more food in the cold months, as more of their energy is spent keeping warm.
Some owners like to supplement their chickens’ diets with extra protein or a little suet, to increase their fat levels for the winter. Fat retains heat, and the whole bird benefits – not just the legs.
So, the answer to the question ‘Are my chickens suffering from the cold?’ is usually ‘no’. Make sure the hens’ environment – specifically the coop and run – is fit for all weathers, and your hens will be too.
Note: from 14/12/2020 all chickens in the UK should be kept indoors to prevent the spread of avian flu. For more information, please see this article: https://blog.omlet.co.uk/2020/11/26/
In December, Santa Barbara and her team of Elves helped us say a big thank you to our pets and all they have helped us through in the past year. We’ve been in touch with some of the lucky winners from around the world to see how their pets are enjoying their special prizes…
Many dog owners believe their dogs enjoy a good laugh. Check out YouTube, where there is no shortage of smiling and laughing dogs!
However, can a dog laugh in the same way as a human laughs? It’s very easy to anthropomorphise animal behaviour – i.e. judge everything they do from a human emotional and moral perspective – and the real question, perhaps, should by why would a dog laugh? What does it mean, and what advantage would it have given the dog’s wolf ancestors in the wild? Or is it perhaps something they have only learnt to do since they were domesticated by humans?
There is no definite answer to that last question, but we do know a bit about animal laughter.
Do other animals laugh?
From a hard-nosed science point of view, the only animals that are definitely confirmed as laughing are the great apes, dolphins and lab rats. Chimpanzee laughter sounds to our ears more like a shriek, and in the wild it is linked to reassurance and the release of pressure rather than pleasure. However, a tickled chimp definitely laughs, just like a human child does.
Gorillas have been known to laugh at slapstick human behaviour, suggesting that they would make a great audience at a pantomime! Orangutans are a bit more inscrutable, and their signs of laughter may be more akin to simple copying than genuine amusement. They laugh when tickled, though.
A 2004 study of dolphins found that the animals produced a sonar pulse followed by a whistle when playing. The researchers concluded that these sounds meant that the dolphins were feeling happy and relaxed in a fun, non-threatening setting, and that the ‘laugh’ prevented the rough and tumble play from escalating into violence. This is fascinating, as many psychologists believe that human laughter evolved for these exact reasons, and it ties in with those wild chimpanzee ‘laughs’ too.
The fact that lab rats laugh when tickled suggests that, given the chance, many other mammals would chuckle when tickled too. They just haven’t been given the chance in a scientific setting. Dogs, however, seem to relax rather than burst out laughing when tickled.
The fact that you can’t make your dog laugh by tickling it doesn’t mean it can’t laugh, though.
What does a dog laugh sound like?
Dog laughter – if that’s what it is – is a kind of rapid panting – a play-pant which they use to invite humans and other dogs to play. It is a hhuh sound followed by a hhah sound, and humans can impersonate it by making breathy ‘hoo-haa’ sounds. The panting will often be combined with head bows, and the dog may reach out with one of its paws too, or make little teasing jumps in your direction. This is an invitation to play rather than an expression of amusement in the human sense of laughter, though.
If you laugh at your dog using the hhuh hhah panting sound, drawing your lips back in a cheesy grin during the ‘aaa’ part, you may make your dog laugh back. It’s a great way of bonding with your furry friend!
Do dogs smile?
When a dog is relaxed it often pulls back its lips, lets its tongue droop and narrows its eyes, it can sometimes – depending on the
breed – look like a smile. The fact that they pull these faces when happy and relaxed makes it an easy associated with smiling. The fact that human smiles seem to have their origins in tension-reducing body language suggests that the same might apply to dogs. The wild wolves, close cousins of the domestic dog, does indeed have a tongue-wagging facial expression linked to relaxation and submissiveness.
Intriguingly, smiles appear to be contagious among dogs, just as they are in human to human interactions. If you can’t make your dog laugh, you can certainly make it smile! Smile at your dog, and your dog may well smile back!
Do scientists believe that dogs can laugh?
Science is on the side of the laughing dog. In a 2005 study titled ‘Dog-laughter: Recorded playback reduces stress related behavior in shelter dogs’, it was discovered that a dog sometimes pants in a way that sounds like a laugh. When recordings of these ‘laughs’ were played to other dogs, the dogs became playful and de-stressed, as measured in stress-related behaviour such as tail wagging, doggie ‘play-faces’, happy body language and lip-licking.
However, being happy, relaxed and playful is not exactly the same as laughing. There is no evidence that a dog ever finds things amusing in the same way as humans – or gorillas – do. On the contrary, slapstick behaviour is more likely to startle or scare a dog.
Laughter is all about fun, though, and you can certainly have plenty of that with your dog. They readily show their emotions through sounds and body language. Take the panting and playful body language as a sign of deep friendship. And that means there’s plenty to laugh about!
When a guinea pig is happy and excited, it will often ‘popcorn’. This describes the sudden jumps performed by guinea pigs, sometimes from a standing position, sometimes in mid-stride, and often involving a change in direction and an endearing squeak!
Not all guinea pigs entertain their owners with popcorning, but most of them do. The usual reason for guinea pigs popcorning is happiness. They’re simply having a good time, they become excited, and pop! They are literally jumping for joy. Well, most of the time…
Do guinea pigs popcorn when scared?
Popcorning in guinea pigs is certainly not abnormal, although guinea pigs may occasionally popcorn out of fear. You can easily tell when this is the case – was there a sudden noise, for example, or did the guinea pig spot a cat or dog or some other potential danger? If fear is the trigger, the guinea pig will run for cover after landing, and will often make some alarm calls too.
In most cases, however, a guinea pig will ‘freeze’ rather than popcorn if it perceives danger. This is a behaviour common to all rodents (and rabbits too).
Popcorning can be seen in many young mammals (although it is only called popcorning if a guinea pig is involved). Young lambs are a classic example. The behaviour is often part of a running and jumping combination, actions known to guinea pig lovers as zoomies.
Encouraging a Guinea Pig to Popcorn
Although guinea pig popcorning can’t be taught to a guinea pig as such, your pet can be encouraged in various ways. Offering a favourite treat often inspires the behaviour, and in a keen guinea pig popcorner, the very sight of the treat might, in time, produce the behaviour. At this point, it crosses over into training territory, and if you use a command word (such as ‘Popcorn!’) each time a treat is offered, you are in with a chance of making your pet associate the word with the treat. This means, in theory, that simply saying ‘Popcorn!’ will cause the guinea pig to jump for joy!
Guinea pigs love exploring new toys, and these will often produce a spell of guinea pig popcorning, too. The excitement often lasts, too, and a new hay station, ball, ramp or section of tunnel will often produce a popcorn jump several weeks after the item was first introduced.
Regular play sessions with your guinea pig will be a source of pleasure for your pet, too. If they feel safe with you in their run, guinea pigs will sometimes popcorn their way into double figures. If you pick them up, and cuddle them, it will often inspire popcorning when the guinea pigs are back on the ground.
If you have a secure space outside the cage, this can provide great stimulation for inquisitive guinea pigs. Supervise your furry friends as they nose through the space, and count how many times they perform a popcorn! This should only be allowed outdoors if the space is completely secure and safe for guinea pigs (i.e. no gaps in the fence, no other pets, no toxic plants), and if the outdoor temperature is warm (a minimum of 18C).
Why do guinea pigs do Zoomies?
It’s a little odd that the guinea pig, a short-legged animal that lacks the ability to climb very well and is usually unable to jump over an obstacle, should be able to perform these vertical take-off manoeuvres. Younger guinea pigs tend to jump highest, and more portly specimens will seldom attempt to perform zoomies and popcorns. Younger guinea pigs, in general, will do most of the running and jumping, letting off all the excess energy associated with youth and vigour!
Novice guinea pig keepers have been known to mistake guinea pig popcorning for a seizure. Once you take time to watch your guinea pig you will soon spot the difference, however, as the guinea pig popcorning will become a very familiar sight, and there is no confusing the two. A guinea pig that is having a seizure will fall on its side and wave its legs around, often with jerky motions to the head. The attack will last several seconds too, unlike a swift popcorn. If, after jumping or falling, a guinea pig fails to get back to its feet immediately, it’s time to consult the vet.
What does it mean when guinea pigs popcorn?
Guinea pigs, being naturally portly, need all the exercise they can get in order to stay trim. It is thought that when guinea pigs popcorn it is part of their natural workout. It may also be a behaviour that causes predators to stop in their tracks, out of sheer surprise, giving the guinea pig an increased chance of escaping unscathed.
Guinea pig popcorning and guinea pig zoomies are two of the things that make guinea pig keeping such great fun. These little furry characters are so full of fun, it’s contagious!
Compared to a one-level play area, having an additional floor height in your rabbits’ enclosure boosts exercise opportunities, helping your rabbit activate muscles that they would use in their natural environment to climb up and down underground warrens. Jumping on and off a platform helps to keep muscles and bones strong, which is why platforms are recommended as an essential rabbit accessory by vets and pet charities.
Providing rabbits with a fun environment
As a rabbit owner, it is your responsibility to provide your rabbits with everything they need, and that includes a safe enclosure, where they can play, exercise, eat, and clean themselves. Providing a range of toys for play and exercise will help keep your rabbit happy and healthy, and Zippi Platforms are a great way to give your rabbits a playground they will love.
How can I give my rabbits more space?
Platforms are also an easy way of giving your rabbits more space to move around and explore. By positioning a platform in your rabbit’s enclosure you can make better use of the height to give an even bigger area for toys and exercise. The platform gives a look out for rabbits to examine their environment from a height, plus a more exhilarating way to exercise. While the area beneath feels safe for rabbits to relax and graze on hay or if they need to shelter from bad weather.
What are the Zippi Platforms from Omlet?
The Zippi Rabbit Runs and Platforms from Omlet are designed to offer a modular system that you can adapt at any time. The platforms fit securely to the Zippi rabbit enclosure so they feel safe underfoot, and are waterproof so they are easy to clean with just a garden hose and pet-safe disinfectant. Start small, and add more extensions and platforms at any time to build an amazing play area for your rabbits
5 Ways to Use the Zippi Rabbit Platforms
Need some inspiration on how you can use platforms with your pet? Take a look at our ideas below to create a fun and safe area for your rabbits to exercise.
Take shelter to new heights!
The Zippi Platforms offer shelter below for bad weather days, but your rabbits can still make the most of the second level in their enclosure during wind and rain, with the Zippi Shelters and Play Tunnels.
With a 3 panel wide rabbit platform, you can even position a Zippi Shelter at either end and connect them together with a Play Tunnel. Or position one rabbit Shelter on the platform and one below. Don’t forget to pop some hay inside the Shelter on the platform so your rabbits can nibble away on a snack while they wait for the storm to pass!
The Corner Platform for rabbits with a multi panel platform pack can be used to create an L shape mezzanine area with 2 ramps. Depending on the length and width of your Zippi enclosure you can either position both ramps in the same direction, or create a slight spiral effect like in the image below.
In a longer Zippi run, around 4 or 5 panels in length, you can position Zippi Platforms opposite each other so your rabbits can run straight down one ramp, and back up another for a loop-the-loop circuit! Don’t forget the Zippi Platforms are strong and sturdy so your rabbit will feel safe to jump and hop up and down the ramp.
Lunch on the balcony, sir?
Position Caddi Treat Holders to hang over the platforms so your rabbits can enjoy their lunch with a garden view. Mix up the ingredients in the slow release feeder to keep rabbits excited, and ensure a 5 star rating for your new bunny bar! These feed toys can also be used as a hay rack to keep the floor of your rabbits’ house or play area clean.
Zippi Tunnel to the first floor!
Combine the Zippi Platforms with our popular Zippi Rabbit Tunnel System by positioning your Zippi Tunnel entrance up on the platform level. This means your rabbits can hop up and down the Zippi Tunnel to get from one enclosure to their platforms, down the ramp and into another Zippi Run.
Like most kids, as a child I had a budgie I, nor my parents, knew nothing about. At the age of 17 I hadn’t had birds since that time in kindergarten but my boyfriend (and soon to be husband) did. It kind of forced me into a world I didn’t understand but wanted to.
What does a typical day look like for your budgie?
I half-wish there was such a thing as a “typical day” in my life at all! Because there’s a lot of different areas of my life, it keeps things interesting for my birds based on the fact that I travel so much. My budgie has been to a lot of states and hotel rooms
already, and one of her favorite things is actually road trips because she enjoys being in the car with us!
When we are home, she owns the house and we even screened in an outdoor porch area for her to fly around in as well. The cutest part of the day is when she wakes up and flies herself into the main living area of our home to greet everyone, and when you notice in the early evening she is nowhere to be found because she went off to find the quietest room in the house to sleep (we keep foraging trees in each one – and her open Omlet cage in my daughters room.)
How can you tell your budgie is happy?
All animals make happy noises – cats purr and birds sing. Our budgie is no exception and has her own set of content and happy noises we’ve grown to love to hear. She also flies laps daily around our home which is always fun for us to watch!
What is your budgie’s favorite treat?
Like a typical budgie, she loves herself some spray millet.
What would be your best advice for someone thinking about keeping budgies?
Ask yourself “why” you want a budgie. Make a list of the reasons why and ensure you’re committed because budgies can be really discouraging pets – they spook easily, they’re flighty and they can become hand and human shy if not interacted with and instead left to their own devices inside a cage. A lot of the typical things humans interpret as “budgie loves” like mirrors, will work against you creating a meaningful relationship with your bird.
What is it that you like about the Geo bird cage?
The first thing that attracted me to the Geo cage is its unique design and how well it looks in the home. The footprint is also nice, and it fits easily in any room and looks great in it too. Of course, my main concern with any budgie cage is design and materials and once those both checked out for safety, I was hooked!
It’s nice to have chickens in your garden but they need to stay there! Seeing them fly away and attempting to catch them again is not necessarily the easiest of tasks. It’s stressful for everyone and sometimes even dangerous for your chickens! So what is the solution? Cut off their wings? Obviously not, but here are a number of flap busting techniques that may help to keep your feathery friends on the ground.
Why does my chicken want to fly away?
If you are dealing with a runaway chicken it could be for several reasons. Each chicken’s character is different from one bird to another. While some like to lounge under a tree or in their chicken run, others prefer to frolic in search of freedom. This traveling and sometimes adventurous spirit can be associated with certain breeds of chickens. So, it’s not uncommon to find breeds such as the Leghorn or the Gauloise, for example, perched on a branch to rest. This is mainly due to their lighter weight in comparison to other breeds. Evolved with a fairly developed herd instinct, it only takes one chicken to take flight for the rest to follow suit.
However, sometimes your chickens may fly away, or even jump, not to rest but to escape a situation. A sudden or unusual situation can induce panic. A visit from a dog, the presence of a wild predator such as a fox, or the triggering of an unexpected high pitched noise can stress your hens and cause them to flee. They then have two options: run or try to fly. Under stress, fear and panic they can easily surprise you and fly higher than you think. They may even injure themselves in a panic to get away. So how do you avoid this kind of situation?
There are three main precautions that can be taken when you have a flight-happy chicken:
Choose a quiet but well placed area in your garden to set up your chicken coop. If you have space, keep the chicken coop away from potential dangers: roads, parking areas, children’s toys. Here, your chickens should feel safe. Their chicken coop is their home, they need to be able to eat, peck and sleep in peace.
Invest in a fairly large enclosure. Having a high enough fence can deter them from trying to fly and protect them from potential animal attacks and external dangers. An enclosed space, like the Walk in Chicken Run, is ideal for giving chickens a safe area to exercise and stretch their wings, without escape.
The third precaution is often known to chicken owners, but it is not often applied. However, this is an elementary precaution when bringing a bird into a chicken coop. It regards cutting the feathers of a single wing in order to unbalance your chicken and stop them from being able to take flight
. But how to do it? Take a pair of clippers and cut the flight feathers, that is, the larger feathers. You can also cut the primary and secondary flight feathers. The feathers must be cut halfway for it to be effective. Rest assured, we only cut Keratin (what our hair and nails are made of). It’s like going to the hairdressers!
Find the tutorial video “How to Clip your Chickens Wings (Safe and painless) (Easy to do)” by here.
Providing a comfortable living space, and large, safe enclosure will keep your hens happy and healthy in their home. And if necessary, wing clipping can be an effective solution for particularly determined escapees.