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Why Chickens Make the Best Pets for Kids

Keeping chickens is a wonderful way to educate children about the lifecycle of animals and show them the many benefits of keeping any farm animal. It’s not just the never-ending supply of eggs on toast that children will enjoy – keeping chickens is a rewarding experience that will teach children of all ages the value of animal life and companionship. 

Learning to handle your chickens

If you choose to buy your chickens when they are still chicks, there’s a better chance of children forming bonds with them. Handling chicks regularly is easy and great fun for children, a surefire way to make them feel comfortable and confident around the hens. Some chicken breeds – the Silkie and Sussex, for example – actually enjoy being occasionally petted, not unlike cats! Always remind your kids to be gentle with the birds, though, whether chicks or adults. Even a ‘tame’ hen should be approached slowly and with caution and respect – sudden moves trigger a chicken’s instinct to flap, squawk and panic!

It’s important that children learn to wash their hands whenever they’ve been touching the chickens, or after washing and cleaning the coop or feeding the hens. Chickens, just like us, have all kinds of bacteria which are healthy for them, but not necessarily for us! 

Daily chicken activities

Chickens need tending every day, but they are very undemanding as pets. This is a great combination for kids, as it teaches them about routine and allows them to enjoy time with the chickens without feeling it’s too much of a chore.

Getting kids involved in the daily activities that keep chickens happy and healthy is fun and beneficial in giving children a sense of responsibility. The first job of the day is opening up the coop. Children love getting out into the garden after breakfast, and once they’ve refilled the feed and water bowls, it’s time to open the coop and let the chickens into the run. Again, these are simple but meaningful tasks that children will enjoy. 

Healthy chickens eat and drink lots in a day, so ask your children to check out our guide on Feeding and Watering Your Chickens to turn them into instant experts! 

Mucking out the chickens is probably a job for children of 11+, but consider asking a young child to help out too. They can certainly assist with putting new bedding and toys into the coop once the mucking out is completed. It can be fun setting up your chickens’ coop in new and different ways, and you can really tell when they love their homes! 

Children love going into the chicken coop to find freshly laid eggs, and if it’s in time for breakfast, that’s even better! You could teach your child to collect and (if necessary) gently clean the egg, and if they are yet to learn any cooking skills, a boiled egg is a great place to start! Perhaps soon you’ll be getting breakfast in bed… 

Teaching your children responsibility

Owning chickens is a great way to teach children responsibility. By looking after hens, a child can learn that a little hard work and reliability put food on the table – literally, in this case!

Having a pet is sometimes people’s only reason to go outside first thing in the morning, and any pet owner would tell you that this improves their lives in countless ways. Just like walking a dog, going out into the garden to feed the chickens can be a fun way to introduce routine, responsibility and regular fresh air into your kids’ lives. 

Get your kids involved in choosing the chicken breed

If you want a friendly hen for your kids, Silkies are an excellent choice, as they are known for their affectionate nature. Other child-friendly breeds include Australorp, Cochin, Orpington, Plymouth Rock, Sussex and Wyandotte.

For more information on how to get children involved with chicken-keeping, including which breeds to choose, check out our article Children Love Keeping Chickens.

Tameness isn’t guaranteed in any hen, though, and the most important thing is ‘socialising’ them from – i.e. handling them – from a young age. If children spend time with the hens as soon as they arrive in the coop, they’ll be well on the way to making a feathered friend for life.

Whichever breed you choose, getting your children involved in the decision will help them feel responsible and connected with their chickens from day one. And then there’s all the fun of choosing names for the hens!

Having fun with your chickens at Easter

There are many Easter traditions that involve chicken eggs, the ever-popular egg hunt being the most obvious example. Try hiding eggs that your chickens have laid themselves – it’s lots of fun and a good way of working up an appetite before an egg-based breakfast!

Another Easter tradition is the painting of boiled eggs, which is a great way to introduce children to the weirder world of traditional art. And why not go a step further and go egg-rolling – another fine old British tradition! Find a hill and roll your painted eggs down the hill – the last one to crack and release its hard-boiled yolk wins! You’ll sometimes find an egg that seems unbreakable, no matter how many times it’s rolled – the challenge then becomes trying to break it, by throwing it as high as possible!

So, whether it’s using eggs for cakes or quiches, rolling hard-boiled eggs down a hill, or just spending meaningful social time with the chickens, there are loads of reasons why hens make great pets for children!

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This entry was posted in Chickens


6 Mistakes To Avoid When Raising Chicks

Chickens pretty much take care of themselves from an early age. However, there are certain things you need to avoid if you want your baby chickens to get the very best start in life.

In this article, we present six easily preventable pitfalls.

1. Not Having The Brooder Ready Before The Chicks Arrive

You need to sort out the chicks’ housing – known as a brooder – before the birds arrive. Otherwise, there will be nowhere to put them, and that would be disastrous.

You can buy brooder boxes made specifically to keep chicks in, or you can make a DIY brooder using a cardboard box or plastic bin with holes in the side. Only choose the DIY avenue if you’re 100% confident you know what you’re doing.

The important thing is to keep the birds in a warm and well-ventilated space, but protected from drafts. As a rule of thumb, allow two square feet per chick – this is more than enough space for fluffy newcomers, but remember you will also need to make sure they have enough room when they get bigger – which they will do very quickly!

A chicken wire covering for the top of the brooder is advisable. Chicks can easily ‘fly the nest’ if the sides of the brooder are less than 45cm high. Older chicks need roosting poles for perching when they sleep, and will appreciate the inclusion of these in the brooder.

2. Not Getting The Temperature Right

Too much or too little heat can kill chicks, so this is another life-or-death issue. The chicks need to be kept in a temperature of 35 °C (95 °F) in their first week. The heat should then be reduced slightly every five days or so until you’ve reached room temperature. 

The source of heat is an important detail too. A heater designed explicitly for coops and aviaries is the best option, or a red heat bulb. You should not use a white heat bulb, as these produce glare that keeps chicks awake at night. This will make them irritable, as a result of which they may start pecking each other. Standard light bulbs are not suitable either.

Even the correct type of heater or bulb will need some adjusting in terms of where it hangs, and how high it is from the ground. Watch how the chicks behave in relation to the heat source. If they crowd together directly under the bulb or in front of the heater, it means they’re too cold. Lower the heat source or add an additional one, depending on the situation.

If the chicks cluster away from the heat source, they’re probably too hot. In this case, the heater or bulb will need to be moved further away, or its temperature reduced slightly. The chicks’ behaviour may change as they grow larger and the space becomes more crowded, so watch them carefully each day.

3. Using The Wrong Type Of Bedding

With chicks, it’s not a case of “any old bedding will do”. Use wood shavings or other non-toxic, absorbent material recommended for baby chickens. Avoid newspaper or shredded magazines, and don’t use aromatic, oily woods such as cedar. A 2.5cm layer of this bedding will be enough. If you omit the bedding, the chicks are in danger of slipping and sliding on the surface, which can lead to an injury called “splayed leg”, which is a life-threatening condition. The bedding should be changed at least once a week to prevent sticky droppings from accumulating.

4. Getting The Wrong Type Of Feed

Starter feed – in the form of either ‘crumble’ or ‘mash’ – is the essential basis of a chick’s diet. If your chicks have been vaccinated against coccidiosis, you will need to buy an unmedicated feed. The starter feed will double as a ‘grower’ feed, intended for chicks for up to 16 weeks. Some varieties, however, are for the first four weeks only, after which you can switch to a ‘grower’ feed.

Chicks will also enjoy a bit of fresh food as a treat, either vegetables or worms and bugs. These should never replace the starter feed mix, however. Chicks only eat as much as they need, and there’s no danger of them over-eating. So all you have to do is make sure the feeders are topped up at all times.

Like adult birds, chicks require grit to grind up their food. It needs to be sand grain-sized rather than the small pebbles and shell fragments that grown birds require.

The chicks will need food and water dispensers. Buy custom-made ones rather than improvising with dishes and trays: these inevitably end up fouled and/or spilt. Very young chicks will need to have their water changed at least twice a day, as they very quickly dirty it.

5. Forgetting To Perform Daily Health Checks

A chick health check is a simple case of looking at the young birds and making sure they look as lively and alert as usual. A chick that sits alone and looks lethargic or fluffed-up when the others are active may be unwell. An ill chick will deteriorate very quickly and die.

The most frequent health issue encountered in young chicks is ‘pasting up’. This is when their droppings become encrusted on their bodies, preventing them from pooping. An affected bird can be cured by wetting the pasted-up area with warm water and wiping it clean. You may occasionally have to use tweezers to remove a plug of poo from the vent. The chick will need holding securely during this rather delicate and undignified procedure. If left blocked, a pasted-up chick could quickly die.

Note: if there is a thin dark strand hanging from a chick’s rear end, this is NOT pasting up. It’s the dried up umbilical cord that attaches the bird to its yolk inside the egg. It will fall off in a few days.

6. Moving Chicks Outdoors Too Quickly

Chicks can spend up to three hours a day outdoors once they’ve reached two weeks, as long as there is someone to supervise them. A large wire cage or portable run will do the job. The birds should only be placed outside if it’s at least 18 °C (65 °F), dry and not too windy. They will need food, water and shade.

Note: If you take the chicks outdoors before two weeks old, or if you leave them for more than three hours, they may catch a chill or sunstroke (depending on the prevailing weather). These shocks to the system can kill a small bird.

By 12 weeks, the young hens are old enough to move into an Eglu coop and run. They will still be too small to negotiate the roosting bars, so these should be removed until the chicks are big enough to perch and walk across them safely. If you have an Eglu Cube, the chicks may have to be lifted in and out of the roosting and laying area, as they often struggle with the ladder. This can be converted into a ramp during these early weeks, to make things easier for the hens.

The roosting area of the Eglu – or any other walk-in coop and run set up – should have lots of bedding to ensure the hens stay warm at night. The bedding should also be replaced at least twice a week.

Chicks soon pick up the dos and don’ts of life from your other birds. A lot of their behaviour, remember, is based on instinct, so as long as you give them the right environment, nature will take care of the rest.

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This entry was posted in Chickens


Pride of Omlet: Ten Amazing Stories

Pride of Omlet series is a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

We have been lucky enough to collect some wonderful stories of your extraordinary pets and share them with you for 10 weeks! Here is a summary of the stories that you can read again and find directly on our Blog.

Pride of Omlet: Stand Up for Disabled Animals

Jerry’s a cheeky, playful and boisterous rescue dog from Romania who can do a handstand! He landed on his feet when Shena gave him a home and inspired her to start a rescue centre specialising in disabled animals. Read the story here!

Pride of Omlet: The Constant Companion

Martha’s humans Nicola and Ben bought chickens to bring joy to Julia, their mother who they cared for at home. The family could never have imagined that a chicken would become a caring companion to Julia in the advanced stages of dementia. Read the story here!

 

Pride of Omlet: Free Support

Once caged battery hens, Hennifer Marge and Sybil now work free-range with their human Jonathan, transforming lives for offenders at the Rosemead Project. Jonathan (support worker and chicken champion) believes the hens have the power to unscramble tricky social situations. Read the story here!

Pride of Omlet: A Perfect Match

On paper, Kipper wasn’t exactly what Angela wanted. After years of behavioural challenges, he’s become the best-behaved blood donor and saved over forty dog’s lives. Kipper’s turned out to be Angela’s perfect match. Read the story here!

Pride of Omlet: Teachers Pet

Henni Hen is a teaching assistant by trade. A cute and cuddly chicken who loves children. She follows in the footsteps of her bubbly humans, Hamish and Verity. Read the story here!

Pride of Omlet: Mipit Makes Sense

Mipit is a Mental Health Assistance Dog for his human, Henley. Mipit keeps Henly alive and independent. Who wouldn’t love a dog that can put out your recycling, answer your phone, and be your best friend, come rain or shine? Read the story here!

Pride of Omlet: Perfect Peaky

At the tender age of one, Peaky is already a retired filmstar. He had lived in a cage his whole life, released only to perform. When Joana and Fergus took him home, he was a fluffy, yellow bundle of nerves. But they are determined to help Peaky, their cute little canary companion, to come out of his shell. Read the story here!

Pride of Omlet: Saving Sophia’s Life

When you’ve grown up with animals, home isn’t home without a pet. Bringing Harry home was lifesaving for both him and his humans, Sarah and daughter Sophia. Harry has a special gift. He’s a unique epilepsy monitor, and he’s saved Sophia’s life countless times. Read the story here!

Pride of Omlet: Buster’s Beard

Buster was destined to chase balls on the beaches of Barry Island. He’s a lovable labradoodle with big brown eyes and a long beard. A thinker with a playful nature, he’s co-authored a children’s book with his human Natalie to bring Autism Awareness to all. Read the story here!

Pride of Omlet: Brave Bunnies

It’s hard to describe how frightened Pixie the rabbit was when the RSPCA rehomed her with an experienced rabbit owner. Eighteen months on, cheeky little Pixie lives in the lap of luxury and is learning to be loved by her adoring human, Wendy. Read the story here!

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This entry was posted in Budgies


10 Ways to Bond With Your Rabbit

Evidence suggests that rabbits who bond with their owners live longer and happier lives. Sometimes it can feel like our furry friends are in a world of their own – but it only takes time and patience to start bonding with your bunny.

This article looks at ten fun and exciting ways to deepen your connection to your pet, whether the rabbit is already part of the family or you’ve just brought a new bunny home. 

1. Learn Your Pet’s Personality

Like people, all rabbits have distinctive personalities and unique habits. If you have decided to buy a baby rabbit, you may find that they’re very shy at first, but over time they will come out of their shell and begin to reveal their personality. We have a very useful article about Learning to Read your Rabbit’s Body Language, a great resource for identifying what makes rabbit tick. The article outlines the many different sounds your rabbit can make, as well as how its posture can give you clues to what your pet is thinking.

2. Create A Shared Space

It’s natural for your rabbit to feel nervous or even defensive if you interact with them by reaching into their hutch – after all, this space is their home, and all of their instincts tell them to protect it from potential predators. If you want to spend time bonding with your rabbit, try setting up a play area or run large enough for you to sit inside with the rabbit. This way, you can start interacting with your pet on neutral ground.

Rabbits feel comfortable when they have something over their heads, so don’t feel bad if the first few times they hide under any covered area you have set up. 

3. Fill Your Shared Space With Toys

There are many fun things you can place around your rabbit’s play area or run, including Zippi tubes and tunnels, chew treats, a covered area, hanging toys and a hay basket.

Once you have a shared space set up with toys and other gear, try sitting in there with your rabbit for half an hour every day without reaching out to touch your pet. This way, your rabbit will learn to feel comfortable in your company and begin to trust you. It is likely that after a few days of this close contact, your rabbit will approach you without fear and begin to show some curiosity. It’s natural for your rabbit to have a gentle nibble when you first meet – don’t worry, it’s not a bite!

4. Give Your Rabbit New Experiences

Although rabbits are creatures of habit, it’s still good for them if new things are introduced into their lives now and then. Your rabbit will learn to associate you with these new fun experiences, which will deepen your bond. Try occasionally changing the layout of their hutch or investing in a fun new toy for them to play with – you could even make toys for them out of simple household objects like empty kitchen rolls. 

5. Offer Healthy Treats

Rabbits can teach us a lot when it comes to healthy treats. They don’t like sweet things or junk food, and the most unhealthy thing you can give them is actually carrot or apple (as these are relatively high in sugar)! It helps you bond with your pet if you offer tempting greens, celery sticks or other yummy things. The rabbit will cautiously approach and take a nibble, and you’re a step closer to breaking down those barriers and properly bonding.

6. Pet your Rabbit

Once your rabbit is comfortable around you, and doesn’t run away when you approach with your hand extended, it’s time to start stroking them. Physical contact with your pet is one of the most natural ways to form a bond, and although you may find at first that the rabbit doesn’t seem too keen to be stroked, this is totally normal, and nothing to worry about. It may take a few weeks before you have your rabbit sitting comfortably in your lap.

The most considerate way to approach your rabbit is to reach with your hand low down, just to the side of their head. This way, they can see that it’s you who is petting them. Rabbits are naturally terrified of birds attacking from above and often run away when approached from a height (and a human standing on two legs is, as far as the rabbit is concerned, a height!). Rabbits also have a blind spot right in front of their noses – something common to most plant-eating animals – so you should also avoid approaching nervous rabbits directly from the front. 

7. Teaching Rabbit Tricks

Once your rabbit is playing with you regularly, you can start teaching them some simple tricks! This can begin with reinforcing natural behaviour such as walking through a tunnel, with a treat waiting for them at the far end. Or, it could be something more complex such as teaching your rabbit to spin or do a roll. We have an article all about teaching your rabbit tricks if you want to go deeper down this fascinating rabbit hole! 

8. Copying Your Rabbit

One slightly more unusual way of bonding with your rabbit is to behave in ways they would expect to see in other rabbits. This could include pretending to clean yourself the way a rabbit does, or having a little bit of your own food when you see them nibbling at theirs. Just make sure your rabbit sees you doing this, as the whole point is to make them see you as more rabbit-like! This may not be necessary if you already have a trusting relationship with your rabbit. 

9. Choosing The Right Time To Play With Your Rabbit

As you begin to get to know your rabbit well, you will see that they have certain times of day when they are more or less active. It is natural for your rabbit to spend large amounts of time sleeping, and they are very habit-forming animals. Try taking note of when they are most active so that you can choose that as the optimum time to play – this avoids frustrating your rabbit by interrupting their nap with a trip to the playpen!

10. Learning To Hold Your Rabbit Safely

When your rabbit is fully bonded with you, they might let you pick them up and carry them around. If you are lucky enough to have a docile rabbit that lets you do this, always remember to hold them in the way that is most comfortable for them. Support your rabbit’s hindquarters in the same way you would support a human baby’s head. Hold them only firmly enough to keep them in your grasp – there is no need to hold them tight, as they are unlikely to jump to the floor. 

Rabbits are gentle souls, so you need to be gentle in return. Be patient, give them time, and they’ll soon come to look on you as a true friend and companion.

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This entry was posted in Pets


5 Ways To Figure Out What Dog Breed Is for You

David is a long time lover of dogs since he was young. He loves most dogs but his favorite are golden retrievers. He also runs his own blog at dogdesires.co.uk where he helps other dog owners with advice and dog product reviews. In this article David gives 5 considerations for finding the right dog breed for you.

There are several things you need to consider in order to choose the right dog breed for you. Depending on your lifestyle, certain breeds are more suited for you because of their size, maintenance, activity level, and more. 

Read on for more detail and by the end of this article, you will have the insight needed in order to choose the ideal dog breed for you. 

Size

Some people already have their hearts set on whether they would like a huge dog or a tiny one. Those who aren’t sure or that bothered about it tend to go for medium-sized dogs. 

One thing that is an important deciding factor regarding what size breed is best for you is your living conditions. Naturally, large dogs need a lot of space so if you’re living in a relatively small and cozy apartment you would not want to get a Great Dane. They especially need more room because of their tails, so that they can wag without injuring anyone or damaging anything. 

That being said, living in an apartment does not automatically mean you must get a toy dog. Some dog breeds are known for being adaptable to living in apartments, such as the Sheepadoodle. If you’d like to read more about this breed, you should check out this breed guide here – Sheepadoodle.

Keep in mind that small dogs are more vulnerable, in the sense that you need to get used to always looking down to not step on them. Smaller dogs also tend to be more sensitive to the cold so they need a little help staying warm. 

Maintenance

With maintenance comes many things. Firstly, some breeds have fur that needs a lot of maintenance to stay healthy. Dogs with short fur are easy to take care of, such as Springadors, as they just need brushing every now and then. But dogs with longer fur, curly or otherwise, need to be brushed more frequently as well as trimmed and more. So, you will need to dedicate more time to these dogs. 

Another factor is the expense. The larger the dog, the more food you need to buy and larger dog beds, etc. 

Lastly, there’s training. This is very important, as some dog breeds are known for being more well-behaved and thus easier to train. Smaller dogs tend to have something that is referred to as ‘small dog syndrome’, which is when a small dog thinks that they are bigger than they actually are and therefore have more of an attitude. This can cause them to be more stubborn when it comes to training. For example, pugs are known for being naughty and for being stubborn. 

Another good thing to remember is that if you let a large dog breed behave as a lap dog from a young age, they will continue to try and walk all over you when they become adults – and I mean that literally, not figuratively. 

Also, dogs with long and floppy ears need frequent and thorough cleaning as they are more prone to ear infections. Moreover, certain dogs are more likely to drool than others such as Bloodhounds and Mastiffs. 

Activity Level

If you get a hunting dog breed, such as a Labrador, Beagle, Foxhound, etc., then you can expect this dog to have a high activity level. Even crossbreeds with a hunting dog parent tend to inherit the genes and have a lot of energy. 

Most dogs do not destroy things and dig up holes in your yard without a reason; energetic dogs, in particular, need much more exercise and become bored and destructive without it. Mental exercise, as well as physical, is a must too. 

No matter the breed or size though, all dogs need routine exercise. You will need to commit to going for walks twice a day and if you’re looking for a dog that you can jog with then a Weimaraner or German Shepherd are great choices. 

Personality

This one goes without saying for some people, but seeing as certain breeds are known for having certain personalities, we can use this to our advantage. For those of you who are looking for a cuddly and loving dog, Retrievers, Greyhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Old English Sheepdogs, Pitbull Terrier, and King Charles Spaniels are known to be some of the most affectionate dog breeds. 

Restrictions

Unfortunately, depending on the country and state you’re in, some breeds may be banned. 

To give an example I would like to name Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. Both of these dog breeds are sadly banned in many states, the reason being that they face stigmas as ‘dangerous’ and ‘aggressive’. 

Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are banned in the following states respectively:

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Personally, I would like to note that I have had several dogs of both of these breeds and none of them ever showed any signs of being aggressive or dangerous in any way. They were sweet, kind, and several of the Rottweilers were protective over me. 

I do not believe for a second that aggression can be inherited in genes, but rather it comes about when a dog is being raised wrongly. 

 

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Pride of Omlet: Brave Bunnies

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

It’s hard to describe how frightened Pixie the rabbit was when the RSPCA rehomed her with an experienced rabbit owner. Eighteen months on, cheeky little Pixie lives in the lap of luxury and is learning to be loved by her adoring human, Wendy.

Wendy had two beautiful rabbits, which she adored. A jet black male Rex rabbit called Jensen and his chocolate brown partner, Havana. But in 2019, Havana died suddenly of pneumonia, and Jensen grieved so severely that he wouldn’t leave his bed. He was the most miserable, unhappy rabbit.

Wendy wanted him to bond with another rabbit, so she went to the RSPCA Canterbury and found Pixie, who had been severely neglected. Pixie was rescued with her partner, but sadly, this rabbit didn’t survive. Pixie was close to starvation, she was skin and bones and had to be fattened up before she was ready to be rehomed. Wendy wanted to give her the loving home she deserved.

Thinking she would be a perfect match for Jensen, Wendy took Pixie home. She had divided the rabbit house so that she could slowly introduce them. After about a month, they were lying next to each other, separated only by the wire, so Wendy decided it was time. But Pixie was traumatised and her fear presented in aggressive behaviour. She couldn’t handle it and bit Jensen. She was agitated and frightened of everything. For a while, even putting food down for her was tricky. She would lunge at the hands that fed her. It was a terribly sad time for Wendy to see Pixie so distressed.

Wendy kept Pixie on her own, and slowly slowly, Pixie began to trust her. Now, 18 months on, she puts her nose up to be stroked, and she’ll hop alongside Jensen. Their Omlet runs, run parallel, so she’s got her space, and he’s got his. They also have a shed divided in two with three levels, windows, balconies, and a flap to their outside Omlet runs, which are connected with tunnels to the conservatory. The gate system on the Omlet runs means Wendy can let them both have time in the house. What was once Wendy’s dining room is now a rabbit playroom with a box, some steps and tunnels so they can just mess around and do bunny stuff.  They take turns to come in, and Wendy leaves the door open, so they don’t get too warm.

Before she starts work in the morning, she makes the rabbits a little salad. Kale, Cavalo Nero or Spring Greens are the staples, mixed with herbs like parsley, mint and basil. And in the summer, she’ll pick fresh leaves and rose petals. They have 3 or 4 different kinds of hay to choose from in their runs, and for a treat, Wendy likes to give them bunny biscuits, or strawberries which they absolutely love.

From her sad beginnings, Pixie has blossomed with a loving owner who understands her past, builds up her confidence and feeds her a delicious diet. And Jensen has a new partner, Tinkerbell, a blue-eyed white mini Rex. Wendy simply adores all three of her beautiful rabbits, but especially Pixie. She’s a survivor.

“Almost every day, she could reduce me to tears. She’s so loving and responsive. I’m just absolutely amazed that this little rabbit found it in her heart to actually forgive humans.”

 

       

 

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This entry was posted in Pride of Omlet


Happy National Rescue Dog Day!

20.05. – National Rescue Dog Day! We would like to use this special date to address animal welfare, shelters, the hard work they have to face every day and of course everything about the topic of adoption. 

Every year, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter animal shelters nationwide in the US and are in dire need of being adopted. With this warning number, it’s important we consider our local pet shelters when welcoming a new family member. We’ve interviewed an animal shelter which has a tough job to do. Let’s find out more about this work and the process!

The “Einfach Tierschutz e.V.” is a German non-profit animal welfare association founded in 2016 with the aim of helping street dogs where the need is greatest. This is particularly the case in Eastern and Southern European countries, where especially street dogs have no rights and face harsh times. Einfach Tierschutz stands up for those animals in need, in areas such as Romania.

 

“Everyone has a purpose in its life, a reason for being in the world. My purpose is to save dogs.”

Jens Waldinger, Head of Einfach Tierschutz 

 

1. Omlet: Can you please tell us a bit about the company: how many pets do you care for? What does the work at an animal shelter involve and what does a typical day at your shelter look like? 

Einfach Tierschutz: Einfach Tierschutz e.V. is the owner and operator of two animal shelters in Braila, Romania. In our “Phoenix Shelter”, where we take care of about 400 street dogs, just recently also cats, and try to find them a new home. They get medically treated and socialised every day in an area of 10,000 m².

Since spring 2020, we have been running our second shelter especially for puppies, the “Phoenix Puppy Shelter”, where up to 50 puppies and young dogs are fostered, cared for and prepared for placement in a family on an area of 2,000 m². In addition, we were able to realise a long-cherished wish in 2020 with the construction of the cat house on our premises and thus also provide our cats with safe and species-appropriate accommodation.

We have employed an average of 6 staff members in the shelters of Romania, who work in shifts so that someone is present at all times. Additionally, we have a driver and an office worker as well as the shelter manager on site. The tasks of the staff are mainly the support and maintenance of the dogs as well as night watch and administrative activities. 

Our team consists of trained and certified dog trainers, professionals and experienced foster homes, and we are in contact with vets/veterinary assistants. We also work closely with the veterinary office, registering both our transports and our foster homes there, and can provide proof of the correct written documentation on transports, dogs and adopters at any time. 

Our office is located in Germany, from where we coordinate all of the association’s activities. Various volunteer teams work under our guidance in the areas of social media, pre- and post-inspections, placements, adoptions, flea market and planning of the shelter travels.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A primary goal of our work is to rehome as many dogs as possible and place them into loving and safe homes. We also provide a licensed transporter in order to transport our dogs and cats in our own equipped vehicles from Romania to their future families in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. 

We provide dogs, which are not suitable for a life as a family dog or for any other owner, a permanent safe refuge in our shelter. Here, they will have a better life without hunger and diseases, and are not exposed to the bad and cold weather conditions in Romania, especially during the winter season – just a stable and stress-free life with their conspecifics. 

Another goal for us is to make an important contribution by helping to control the reproduction of street dogs and cats through regular castration campaigns at our expense, and to bring about a change in the way the local population thinks about handling this issue. Due to the uncontrolled multiplication of street as well as house and yard dogs of the inhabitants, thousands of unwanted puppies end up on the streets or in the municipal animal shelters every year, which are allowed to euthanise these dogs after a period of two weeks if they are overcrowded. We also intervene here and are happy if we can take some of these dogs with us.

2. Omlet: What differs Einfach Tierschutz from other animal rescue organisations?

Einfach Tierschutz: First of all, the Einfach Tierschutz is a German association which is not only active abroad, but also runs its own animal shelter abroad. We do not solely rehome our dogs in Germany, but also in Switzerland and Austria. But mostly, we stand out because of our size: since we have started this organisation, we now have over 8,000 members who support us. We have succeeded in convincing many people of our projects and know-how in just a few years, and with their support through donations, memberships, sponsorships, etc. we have been able to invest wisely. 

We also offer our members the experience of travelling to our Phoenix Shelter in Romania to actively support us there and to see for themselves, what our team’s workload is and what we have achieved in this short period of time so far with all the donations and membership fees we receive from them.

     

 

“There is a before and an after in my life: Before the trip to the Phoenix Shelter and after the trip, because since then I know what it is worth living and fighting for every day: “my” dogs there in the shelter. I may be back in Germany, but my heart has stayed there with the dogs.”
– Association member a few weeks after returning from a shelter trip

We offer our members the opportunity to follow our work on a daily basis via our Facebook members’ group, provide pictures and video material from our shelter and thus allow every member to participate in current events. We also offer the opportunity to network with other members at more than 40 regulars’ tables and to plan joint activities such as information booths or fundraising campaigns. 

We recently had our first big tombola where our members purchased lots from us in order to have the chance to win many great prizes from generous donors. The proceeds went directly to the shelter. 

We are constantly working to improve our standards and ourselves professionally, in line with our ideas of good, sustainable animal welfare so that we can continue to grow and help as many animals as possible. In this way, we are always trying to maintain a balance between possible improvements and new projects or extension of our activities. We are very motivated and hungry to go further, to achieve even more.

 

3. Omlet: What do you like about your work? What is most rewarding?

Interviewee: Every little success reminds us why we do all this. Whether it is rescued dogs that we are able to bring into the safety of our shelter, whether it is animals that are brought back to life after serious illness or injury, whether it is once fearful and shy dogs that we have been able to socialise to such an extent that they can now enjoy their lives in a family and happily romp across green meadows… all these individual fates that are given a chance for a better life through our work is what makes the work worthwhile for us!

 

 4. Omlet: Adoption vs. Purchase – what is the biggest challenge?

Einfach Tierschutz: From our point of view, the biggest problems are the mass breeding of pedigree dogs, while thousands of dogs are waiting for a loving home in the animal shelters. In particular, the illegal breeding and illegal transfer of puppies from abroad, which are then sold cheaply via various online portals by professional traffickers posing as private individuals, is a thorn in the flesh. As humans, we have a responsibility towards our fellow creatures and as long as the streets are full of unwanted animals that reproduce uncontrollably, suffering from hunger and diseases, we believe it is irresponsible to continue with breeding dogs.

Unfortunately, many people lack a sense of responsibility and foresight. Many hardly think about what it means to give an animal a home for the next 10 to 20 years and also give up far too quickly when the animal becomes “uncomfortable” for whatever reason. The decision to give up an animal is taken ever more quickly and lightly these days…

 

5. Omlet: Speaking of adoption – What is important to you when looking for the right adopters, what should a potential adopter fulfil? What challenges or difficulties can you face when a shelter dog moves into its new home?

Einfach Tierschutz: It is very important to us that the family and the dog are well matched, which is why we work with the dogs on site to get to know them better and assess them as well as possible. Our employees in Romania also help with socialising the dogs when we are not around. Nevertheless, though we try our best here, we cannot predict what the dogs’ behaviour will be like when they arrive at their new homes. Several factors will play a role. With the new environment, new people and maybe other companions it is hard to make a  binding statement about it but so far, we mostly received positive feedback from the adopters. 

A dog from another country is always a bit of a “surprise package”.  They are not familiar with our everyday lives and need time to get used to it. Through plenty of interaction with volunteers, outdoor runs and play sessions as well as walks, we try to keep the dogs as busy as possible and introduce them to new things, but there is no comparison with the life they will experience with their future families. Some of them have never seen a leash or worn a collar or harness before, they are often unfamiliar with stairs, cars, bicycles, pedestrians etc.  Some dogs are already house-trained when they move in, others need days, weeks or even months to train. Domestic or human smells and noises are often unfamiliar to them, and while one dog may be happy and react inquisitively, another may still feel    anxious and need more time to realise that everything is just about to change for the better.

The sensory overload, especially whilst settling in, can lead to dogs initially acting differently – often more timidly – than in the familiar environment of our shelter. This is why it is very important to us that we educate and prepare our adopters well and that we offer them thorough advice about dogs that are suited to their circumstances and lifestyle. We carry out pre-checks (and post-checks) and we discuss general aspects of adopting a dog from another country with the prospective adopters.

We have useful tips for them on how to deal with newly arrived dogs, with common behaviour patterns during the settling in period and safeguarding during walks, we talk about illnesses that cannot be ruled out based on incubation times, etc. This information is constantly updated and further refined. 

However, in those cases where, for whatever reason, things do not work out in the new home, we take care of finding a new place for the dog, and even provide emergency foster homes. Under no circumstances will we allow a dog that was placed by us to end up in another shelter. 

Up to now, we have been able to offer a swift solution in each of the few individual cases, where contrary to expectations, the adopters had to return a dog. Thus, we have been able to make the best of the situation in the interest of the dog. 

In case of problems, we assist our adopters with help and advice and we are always available after an adoption and happy to help! On our Facebook pageyou can find some stories and photos of “happy endings”  posted by the homeadopters themselves.   

                                                                              

6. Omlet: As an NGO, how do you raise money for your animals, shelters, sterilisation projects, etc.? And how are you remunerated?

Einfach Tierschutz: In order to be able to cover the high project costs, we had to invest a lot of time in advertising and generating new supporting members to bring in enough donations. As an association that is mainly active via the fast-moving social media channels and also promotes the dogs through them, we depend on a well-functioning technical infrastructure.

The commitment of our local board is particularly important too, as it generates a lot of attention. Our local experts also have to regularly assess the socialisation of the dogs, as we place them very responsibly to ensure that dog and family get on well together later on. We invest in our social media presence, promotion via billboards, newspaper advertisements, flyers, info sheets, stickers, etc. and have thereby been able to maintain our high level of popularity and success, – which of course goes hand in hand with a further increase in administrative expenses. 

 

7. Omlet: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership?

Einfach Tierschutz: We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the interview and the interest in our association and invite everyone to get an idea of our work and visit our homepage or follow our social media activities. We – and especially the animals – would be very happy about a small donation, which we would like to invest in food, vet visits/surgeries/medications, castrations or in the shelter itself, e.g. for the expansion or the cat enclosure. 

We would also more than welcome new fellow members who would like to get involved in our activities (e.g. shelter travels), gladly from anywhere. You can find all information on our homepage: www.einfachtierschutz.de 

Phoenix-Shelter: https://phoenix-shelter.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/einfachtierschutzvermittlungen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/einfachtierschutz/ 

(You can also set up the pages in your desired language.)

 

Yours,

Omlet would like to thank Einfach Tierschutz e.V. for the interview and wishes them all the best for the future and that all dogs will find a great and safe new home.

 

Happy National Rescue Dog Day!

 

 

 Note: this interview has been translated from German to English.

 

 

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Can you feed pets a vegan diet? 

Some pets, including rabbits and guinea pigs, are naturally vegan. Hamsters and gerbils, although omnivorous, can thrive on a vegan diet in which the protein content is supplied by plants and vegetables. Others, including omnivorous dogs and out-and-out carnivore cats, cannot be easily pleased on meat-free diets.

All animals need to have their nutritional needs satisfied. But this does not mean you can’t have a vegan dog. Vegan cats, though, are a lot trickier.

Can my dog have a vegan diet?

If you were to meet a species of animal for the first time and had to make an accurate guess about its diet, you would get lots of clues by looking at its teeth. The teeth of a dog, like the teeth of a bear, proclaim loud and clear that this animal is an omnivore – that is, one that eats both meat and vegetables. If you think of your dog as a domesticated wolf, you get a good idea of its natural diet.

However, as the panda proves, a supposed meat-eater can sometimes get by perfectly well on a vegan diet. A panda’s teeth are similar to any other bear’s – long canines for meat-eating and molars for grinding vegetation. And yet pandas don’t eat anything other than bamboo. So, if a bear can be vegan, does that mean you can have a vegan dog?

The answer is yes – but it’s a yes with lots of small print! A dog requires a diet that contains the fats and proteins it would get from meat. It is dangerous to ignore this basic need and simply feed your pet with whatever you please. Some dogs have delicate stomachs at the best of times, and a low-fat, high-fibre diet can cause potentially life-threatening problems. A diet that excludes meat should never be fed to a dog without the advice of a professional pet dietician.

The collagen, elastin and keratin found in meat diets are not easily replaced by vegi equivalents. Your dog will also need the ‘long chain’ omega-3 fats found in animal products such as egg, fish and some meats. Vegan omega-3 fats are not the same as animal-derived ones.

All of which presents a headache for the vegan dog owner. There are, however, products available that claim to let your dog live a healthy, meat-free life. Before you take the plunge, it is essential to seek professional, scientific advice and guidance. Compromise is usually the best choice here – a vegan diet supplemented by some of the animal-derived essentials. Crickets, for example, can provide lots of the amino acids and keratin a vegan diet lacks, and they’re 65% protein.

Can my cat have a vegan diet?

The compromise approach is even more important for cats. These are amongst the planet’s true carnivores, obtaining all their dietary requirements from other animals. 

The main challenge with minimising the meat in a cat’s diet is that, unlike many mammals (including dogs), cats cannot produce certain proteins. They have to absorb these from the meat and fish in their diet. Amino acids are another issue – cats deficient in the animal-derived amino acid taurine, for example, usually succumb to a specific type of heart problem.

Even a fortified vegan cat food cannot be confidently recommended. Turn the situation on its head, and try to imagine weaning a rabbit onto a meat-only diet, and you get some idea of the challenge – and the ethics – involved.

There are some lab-grown ‘meat’ products in development, with vegan and vegetarian cat owners in mind. However, whether these will arrive – and remain – on the market any time soon is hard to guess.

For many vegan pet owners, there is a huge ethical issue involved in feeding the animals they share a space with. Ethics, however, include the animal’s needs too, and it’s an almost impossible issue to resolve when it comes to cats. If you are able to reduce but not eliminate the meat in your cat’s diet, that’s the safer option.

Top 10 pets for vegan households

There are, of course, plenty of other pets that don’t eat meat, or that eat some meat but can still thrive on a meat-free diet. Here are our ten favourites.

1. Rabbits. No problems here – rabbits are happy vegans, with diets based on hay and vegetables. You could argue that the soft pellets they eject and then eat are animal products of a sort, but they are simply semi-digested vegetation.

2. Guinea pigs. Like rabbits, these wonderful little characters thrive on a 100% vegan diet.

3. Hamsters. As most hamster owners feed their pets with shop-bought hamster food, they may not be able to say exactly what the ingredients of that food are. However, vegetarian and vegan hamster foods are readily available.

4. Gerbils. Like hamsters, gerbils are omnivores that can live happily on a vegan diet. They tend to have rather delicate stomachs, so feeding them with a high-quality pellet mix is essential. Too much fresh stuff can cause problems.

5. Mice. Although they will eat pretty much anything in the wild, mice can thrive on vegan diets; but it is still best to use a food mix prepared specifically for them. This ensures that they will not be deficient in any of the vitamins and minerals they need. 

6. Rats. These are the most omnivorous of rodents, but as long as you feed them a vegan mix that has been fortified with all the nutrients they need, they will thrive. Indeed, rats who eat too much animal fat tend to become fat and die prematurely.

7. Chickens. If you watch a free-range hen, it soon becomes clear that she will eat anything – grass, beetles, worms, and everything in your veg patch if you’re not careful! Most chicken feed emulates this mix of plant and animal products. However, it is possible to buy vegan chicken feed, and circumstantial evidence suggests that hens can thrive on it. However, they are likely to produce fewer eggs, and you will not be able to stop them scratching for worms and bugs, no matter how vegan the layers pellets are!

8. Budgies and parrots. Vegans will have no obstacles to face with budgies and parrots, unless the birds are being bred. Egg-brooding female birds need a protein boost, normally delivered via an egg-based food or cooked meat. Vegan alternatives are available, though.

9. Finches. Many finch species enjoy bugs and mealworms as treats, but these are not an essential part of an adult finch’s diet. These birds thrive on a mixture of seeds and fresh vegetables.

10. One for reptile fans. When you think of pet snakes and lizards, you probably have an image of dead mice or doomed crickets. However, there are a few commonly kept pet reptiles that eat a 100% vegan diet, the most popular being the Green iguana. Getting the balance of vegetables just right is very important for the animal’s health, but meat is certainly something you won’t have to worry about.

There is no shortage of choice when it comes to vegan pets. Keeping a vegan cat or dog is a much trickier proposition, though. And with all these animals, a balanced diet that matches the pet’s nutritional requirements should be your primary goal.

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This entry was posted in Budgies


Pride of Omlet: Buster’s Beard

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

Buster was destined to chase balls on the beaches of Barry Island. He’s a lovable labradoodle with big brown eyes and a long beard. A thinker with a playful nature, he’s co-authored a children’s book with his human Natalie to bring Autism Awareness to all.

Buster 1Ethan, Natalie’s son, was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD aged four. Natalie gave up her job as a teacher to become Ethan’s full-time carer. She always had dogs as a child and, naturally, wanted Ethan to experience the same positive companionship. They went to a local farm and had the pick of three puppies. One was fast and furious, one was quiet and sleepy, and one was in-between. They picked the inbetweener and called him Buster.

After a few weeks at home, it was clear that Ethan wasn’t taking to Buster. He just wasn’t interested in him. So he became Natalie’s companion instead, being a full-time carer isn’t easy and Buster’s a great source of comfort on difficult days. He motivates Natalie to keep going and gives her much-needed respite, with long walks on the beach. 

A couple of years after Ethan’s diagnosis, baby Isobelle was born. Isobelle’s afraid of the dark, so Buster sleeps in her room and helps her feel safe. And in the daytime, Buster is Isobelle’s playmate. They love playing dress-up together, and at the end of the day, she’ll read him a story and brush his hair.

As Buster grew, the hair on his chin got longer and longer and longer! Until he developed a fully grown, 7-inch beard. It’s not a thing you see every day, a dog with a beard. People started staring. Natalie’s used to people staring, sadly many people don’t understand Autism, and when Ethan has meltdowns, Natalie and her family have experienced staring and unkind remarks, which have been devastating. 

She realised that staring at Buster was something different. When walking on the beach, Natalie was approached by people asking, “Is it real? Have you stuck it on?!” It was curious and fun and got people talking in a good way. So what does a positive ex-primary school teacher do with that? She writes a children’s book, of course! Natalie wrote a story starring Buster called ‘That Dog Has Got a Beard’

It’s a story about being special and unique. Natalie and Buster have toured schools and libraries all over Wales and even appeared on ITV Wales, opening conversations that celebrate differences and spreading Autism Awareness through the story of Buster’s Beard.

“A lot of children don’t see disabled children, and there’s a lot of negativity around it. You want people to be accepting, and a lovable labradoodle is an excellent way to open a conversation. He looks different. He’s got a beard. But that’s wonderful, you know? “

       Buster 3

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This entry was posted in Dogs


93% of Cat Owners Struggle To Choose When It Comes to Their Cat’s 1s and 2s

Whether you’re a new cat owner or a long time litter user, the world of cat litter can be confusing and selecting the right litter to suit your needs and your cat’s preferences isn’t always an easy task. 

Kittens are adorable, playful balls of fluff but they’ll also start producing 1s and 2s from the get go, so you need to get your potty training sorted from the start. But with a range of litter materials from wood to paper, clay to silica and even tofu on offer, which is going to be best now and when they are a bit older?

With so many types of litter on offer, it’s no surprise that in a study of cat owners, we discovered that a massive 93% of them have tried different types of cat litter before their current choice. Does this sound like you? 

In the survey, we discovered 54% of the respondents reported that they think their cats might be fussy about the litter they put down for them. As well as feline fussiness, cat owners are also disappointed with litters they are trialing and as a result have to spend more time and money on finding the perfect match for them and their cat. 

Now, to tackle this difficult decision, we are launching a collection of 5 easy to understand, high performance cat litters. Simply named 1, 2, 3, 4,5, the colourful collection offers 5 proven materials for you to choose from: Silica, Tofu, Pine, Clay and Paper. But don’t worry about figuring out the differences to make your choice, this handy Cat Litter Generator will deliver two expert recommendations for you to narrow down the decision making process. 

Omlet’s Head of Marketing, Johannes Paul, says: At Omlet, we’re striving to make choosing cat litter as easy as 1, 2, 3! This new collection really takes the guesswork out of a major choice for so many cat owners, and we hope it will save our customers from lots of disappointment and wasted time. 

Learn more about the cat litters in the Omlet collection…

 

Ultra Hygienic & Absorbent

No. 1 Silica Cat Litter is made from small sand particles that are extremely absorbent to reduce moisture and odour, keeping it fresh and hygienic for longer. Not only do these small grains absorb and dry faster than other litters, their fine nature also means the litter doesn’t stick to paws and get tracked around your home. The clumping cat litter is also easy to spot clean to improve longevity. 

 

Clumping & Compostable

No. 2 Tofu Cat Litter is made from crushed tofu, and is very effective at neutralising odours thanks to an active carbon composition that traps bad smells. The clumping cat litter is also highly absorbent, reducing waste and keeping the litter tray fresher for longer! Crushed tofu is biodegradable and can be composted, for easy and planet friendly disposal.

 

Fresh Scent & 100% Biodegradable

No. 3 Pine Cat Litter will transform the litter tray with the sweet scent of fresh wood, plus it’s 100% biodegradable and compostable, making it a friendly option for both your cat and the environment! The large wood pellets are highly absorbent, offering long lasting freshness with outstanding odour control, and also minimising waste and cleaning time. 

 

Long Lasting & Low Waste

No. 4 Clay Cat Litter is made of highly absorbent bentonite clay balls with active carbon particles for extreme odour control. The supreme power of this clumping cat litter makes spot cleaning after use extremely quick and easy. This not only improves the general hygiene and freshness of cat litter trays, but also minimises wastage and improves longevity. 

 

Non-Clumping & Perfect for Kittens

No. 5 Paper Cat Litter is made from recycled newspaper pellets with natural odour and moisture absorbing properties. Not only is paper environmentally friendly and biodegradable, it also stays fresher for longer and minimises wastage. The lightweight bag is super easy to handle, and it’s non-clumping nature makes it a perfect option for younger cats, as it’s softer on paws and safer on tummies. 

 

Omlet Cat Litter is now available exclusively from Omlet.co.uk, priced between £13.49 and £14.99 with FREE delivery. 

 

Video here:

 

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This entry was posted in Cats


How To Prevent Dog Theft & What To Do if Your Dog Is Stolen

Dogtor Adem, founder and owner of Dog-Ease, is a dog behaviourist and trainer with over 15 years experience working with dog owners and their canine best friends. In this blog post, Adem provides us with helpful tips on preventing dog theft, and what to do if you experience dog theft yourself. 

With dog theft on the rise, it’s only natural that we might feel worried about taking our furry family members out and about at the moment. I think most of us can agree that if anything should happen to them, we would feel devastated. So, I have put together my top tips for keeping your dog safe from theft when both at home and out and about. Following on from this, I’ve also put together some tips on what to do should you find yourself in the awful position of your dog having been stolen. I hope you never have to refer to them, but they might just help you be reunited should you find yourself in this unfortunate position.

 

MY TOP TIPS FOR PREVENTING YOUR DOG THEFT

 

START AT HOME

By this I mean you should review your current security measures at home. Start by ensuring gates and fences are secure and avoid leaving your dog in the garden unattended. You may also want to ensure your dog cannot be seen by people passing by when you are out of the home. You can do this by making them a base in a room away from any windows that can be easily looked into or even by closing the curtains on these windows when you are out.

 

MAKE SURE YOUR DOG IS MICROCHIPPED

It is not only law to have your dog microchipped, but it is also best practice. If your dog is ever separated from you a simple scan of their chip in their neck area should reunite you pretty quickly. Keep your dog’s microchip details up to date. It’s usually really easy to do this over the phone or online.

 

ADD AN ID TAG TO YOUR DOG’S COLLAR AND CONSIDER A GPS TAG ALSO

By law, your dog should have an identification tag attached to their collar when outside of your home. This makes it really easy for you both to be reunited without needing your dog’s microchip to be scanned. You could also consider attaching a trackable GPS tag to your dog’s collar. There are many on the market to choose from and these can be purchased online, if not from your local pet shop. Some also have fun features to use on a daily basis such as tracking your dog’s activity levels.

 

TEACH YOUR DOG THE RECALL COMMAND

Teach your dog the recall command and make coming back to you a fun game that you can play throughout your walks together. Offer a tasty treat or engagement in a game such as fetch each time they return to you. This makes them more likely to want to return to you, seeing the recall as a fun part of your walk. Head over to the Blog page of my website www.dog-ease.co.uk/blog/ to watch a tutorial on how to begin this training if you haven’t already had a chance to.

 

KEEP YOUR DOG’S ATTENTION

Make it fun for your dog to stay close to you on your walk if you are letting them off lead. For example, you could practise off lead heel work as you walk, offering a tasty treat as a reward for their focus, or play recall games. Taking a special toy such as a ball can also help to keep your dog’s attention and focus with them chasing and retrieving during your walk.

 

KEEP YOUR DOG IN SIGHT

Following on from keeping your dog’s attention, avoid letting your dog go out of your sight on a walk or leaving them unattended outside a shop, school, or even in your car. The less opportunity for them to come into contact with strangers without you also present, the better.

WALK WITH OTHERS

If possible, walk with a family member or socially distanced with a friend. You could also try to walk in public areas where other people are walking and present too. Pick times of the day where other people are likely to be around and walk in daylight if possible. If this is not possible, try to walk in well-lit areas. Safety is often found in numbers and the more people that are around the less likely you may be to be targeted. 

 

CONSIDER TAKING ANTI THEFT DEVICES WITH YOU

Consider taking an anti-theft alarm or another similar device on your walk with you, even a whistle is better than nothing to be able to attract attention with. You could also try to keep your mobile phone handy to use if necessary, although it’s best to not allow your mobile phone to distract you from what is going on around you as you walk. See the next tip!

 

STAY ALERT

Following on from the tip above, stay alert and be vigilant on your walks. Watch out for any unusual activity or people in the areas you might typically walk. It is best to limit your use of any electronic devices such as your mobile, even to listen to music. The more aware of your surroundings you are, the more likely you will be to spot anything not quite right.

 

AVOID CLOSE CONTACT WITH STRANGERS

Avoid letting people you don’t know pet your dog or telling people you don’t know any details about you and your dog. It’s nice to be friendly but be vigilant about the information you share.

 

BE LESS PREDICTABLE

If you’re particularly concerned, change up your routine frequently. This makes it harder for anyone ‘watching and waiting’ to predict and plan to ‘bump into you’ on a walk. 

 

PREP OTHERS WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WALKING YOUR DOG

If you use a dog walker, ensure you ask them what steps they are taking to avoid your dog from being stolen. You can also ask that they remain vigilant in securing your property when returning your dog to your home and ask that they look out for and alert you to any unusual activity.

 

USE SOCIAL MEDIA AND LOCAL NEWS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Check local social media pages and local news for up-to-date information on what is going on in your area. Often any worrying incidents are reported by residents with details of suspicious people and even sometimes vehicles too look out for. 

 

BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU SHARE ONLINE

Sharing your location and details of your pet on non-private forums such as on non-private  social media pages can alert potential thieves to your where abouts. Make sure you are mindful of what you share and where you ‘check in’, with or without your dog.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR DOG IS STOLEN?

In the awful event that your dog is stolen, here are some tips to help you find and be reunited with them.

 

REPORT THE THEFT IMMEDIATELY

Report the theft immediately to the police and ensure it is recorded as a crime rather than as a lost pet. You should receive a crime reference number for your records.

 

CHECK CCTV

Check all available CCTV footage in the area your dog was stolen from to gain evidence of any people needing to be identified or vehicles that may have been involved. You might also want to check in with neighbours and those in the local area to see if anyone has any footage from their own security systems – from Ring Doorbell footage to Dash Cam footage. Anything is worth a shot and could lead to identifying something or someone.

 

CONTACT YOUR MICROCHIP COMPANY

Contact the company your dog’s microchip is recorded with and register your dog as stolen. If your dog is scanned by a vet elsewhere, they should then be alerted to this and your dog returned to you.

 

CONTACT LOCAL VETS

Contact all vets in the local area to let them know of the theft. Provide a photo of your dog if possible and include details of any markings or particular features that they have so they can identify them more easily.

 

MAKE THE PUBLIC AWARE

Make other people aware of the theft by putting up posters stating your dog has been stolen, with your contact details on them. You should also post a copy of such posters, or an equivalent, on social media sites. If you ensure that the settings of your post are set to ‘public’ you can ask others to share your post and reach a much wider community. The further your dog’s details are shared, the more chance you have of your dog being identified and returned to you!

 

DON’T GIVE UP

Don’t give up hope! Keep sharing your dog’s details far and wide. Someone somewhere might know something and help you to be reunited.

 

I hope you found the above tips useful. Stay alert and keep safe!

 

Dogtor™ Adem 

Owner of Dog-ease Training & Behaviour 

www.dog-ease.co.uk

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Pride of Omlet: Perfect Peaky

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

At the tender age of one, Peaky is already a retired filmstar. He had lived in a cage his whole life, released only to perform. When Joana and Fergus took him home, he was a fluffy, yellow bundle of nerves. But they are determined to help Peaky, their cute little canary companion, to come out of his shell.

When Joana met Fergus, she didn’t know she was falling in love with a human and his pet cockatiel. It had been his companion for 22 years. Together they grew the flock with a cheeky budgie. “He was like a dog; he wanted to sleep with us. You could hold him and kiss him!” But tragically, within a short space of time, the cockatiel died of old age, and then the budgie became terminally ill. The house fell silent.

Lockdown 1 without birds was quiet and sad for Joana and Fergus. To cheer themselves up, they decided to get their home ready for another bird and after plenty of research, they agreed on the Omlet Geo as the beautiful new bird home. All they needed now was a bird to live with them.

Fergus works in TV, and if anyone offered an animal, Fergus was known to take it. One day a ray of sunshine arrived on set—a bright little canary owned by a person who supplies animals for TV shows.  Fergus struck up a conversation with the owner and learned that this little bird had a feisty character and had to be separated from the other birds, which meant he lived alone, probably in a smaller cage. Seeing Fergus’s enthusiasm, the owner asked, “Do you want this one?”

Ecstatic, Fergus called Joana, “We can get a canary!” When the clapper board shut, Fergus drove Peaky home to Edinburgh. But they got stranded en route in a massive snow blizzard and were stuck in the car for hours before being rescued by locals who took them in for the night. The next day, Peaky and Fergus continued their journey home, and when they finally arrived, the house instantly came alive.

Peaky sings beautifully and chirps up when he hears a running tap, the kettle, the hairdryer, and he even provides backing vocals to Joana’s zoom calls. However, unlike their previous birds, he’s a scared soul that feels safer inside his Omlet Geo. 

He doesn’t want to come out. Joana understood it would take time to get to know him.

She has a deep empathy with birds and is slowly, patiently, gently, working with Peaky to get him to trust his new human family. When she was younger, she made magazines written from a birds point of view called The Birds Club. And Joana is now a professional writer, currently working on a series of children’s novels where birds play the main characters. Peaky even has a little cameo.

He’s getting braver, occasionally eating treats from Joana’s hand, enjoying honey seeds, millet and spinach. Joana makes sure he has space to escape if he’s not comfortable. She doesn’t want him to perform, she just wants to prove to Peaky that he can trust her.

 

“I’m doing a lot of research to work on rewriting his ideas about us. He came into our lives after being birdless for a year. He has no idea how happy he makes me.”

   

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This entry was posted in Budgies


Amazing Health Benefits of Eggs: Why Eggs Are Good For You

Eggs can be consumed in lots of different ways, and are used in lots of wonderful, delicious recipes we all know and love. But do you know fact from fiction when it comes to the health benefits of eggs? Read on to crack the case…

Let’s break down the myths first

“Eating eggs causes bad cholesterol and can lead to cardiovascular problems…” – A prejudice from the 1980s, before scientists demonstrated the benefits of eggs. 

Eggs do not cause bad cholesterol in your body. The egg yolk contains about 200mg of cholesterol, making it one of the foods with the highest amount of cholesterol. However, once ingested, this cholesterol does not remain in the body. About 25% of the cholesterol in the food we eat is absorbed by the intestine. 

About 75% of the cholesterol in the blood, as shown on your blood test, is produced by the liver. Cholesterol is the result of an unbalanced diet, made up of foods rich in saturated fats (butter, cheese, cold cuts, etc.), which will cause your body to over-produce “bad cholesterol”. Once again, the egg is not responsible for this. Your body is simply out of balance, notably by an inadequate diet, and ends up producing more cholesterol than it needs. However, avoid eating fried eggs or eggs with toast and butter every morning. If you combine eggs with fatty acids, you are likely to increase your “bad cholesterol” levels. 

Eggs are not responsible for clogged arteries or cardiovascular problems. It’s all a question of balance. A healthy person can eat up to 6 eggs a week. 

Eggs: a fabulous source of micro and macro nutrients

First of all, it’s interesting to know that an egg contains only 90 calories! 

Whether it’s the yolk or the white, eggs are full of nutrients and vitamins that are useful for your body to function properly. Eggs contain carotenoids, antioxidants that help to fight against age-related diseases, especially eyesight. But not only that! 

Eggs are rich in protein (2 eggs are equivalent to 100g of meat), vitamins A, D, E, K, B2 and N12, as well as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and minerals, all of which keep your body in perfect working order. Two eggs at 90 calories each and you can make an omelette! Its appetite-suppressant effect makes it a food to include in your meals if you want to feel fuller for longer. Proteins are also involved in the proper functioning and maintenance of muscle tissues.

The vitamin B present in eggs helps your brain to function properly: memory and concentration.  

Eggs can be consumed by pregnant women, as the nutrients present in eggs, including vitamin B9, help the growth and proper development of the foetus. 

Eggs contain Zinc (for hormone regulation) and with the proteins and vitamins they provide, eggs are a real ally for your hair! There are many recipes on the internet for caring for your hair with the eggs you have on hand. 

Top tip: one egg, a few drops of sweet almond oil (no more than 4) and a spoonful of honey and your hair will thank you! Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly. 

And don’t forget the joy of delicious eggs, after all it’s good for your health but it’s also tasty! Eggs can be used in many different ways, allowing us to vary our meals, to vary our recipes, to vary between sweet and salty. Whether you like eggs fried, boiled, scrambled, in quiche, in cake or in pancakes, there is something for everyone. 

You can find our latest cake recipes here or do you want to try out a delicious banana bread? For the perfect pancake recipe click here.

How to choose your eggs

The nutrient content may vary slightly depending on the origin of the eggs you consume. The Omega 3 content may be lower if you buy your eggs from a cage farm than from an organic farm. 

What does the marking on the eggs mean? 

0 = organic farming

1 = free range

2 = free range, indoor

3 = cage farming, with nest and perch

 

Have you considered keeping chickens yourself to benefit from the joy of collecting fresh eggs in the morning? As you have seen, eggs are useful for your body and delicious! Having them on hand, without worrying about going shopping, is a real pleasure. 

Omlet’s egg skelter and Egg Ramp keep your eggs neatly arranged and stored in order of laying. This ensures that you always use the oldest eggs first, so there is no waste. 

Top tip: to tell if an egg is still fresh, take a glass of water and put the egg inside. If it sinks, the egg is still good, if it floats, the egg is no longer fresh and should not be eaten. 

Eggs have many virtues and benefits and it is good to eat them every week. The rule of balance on the plate is essential to have a balanced and healthy diet while enjoying delicious recipes.

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This entry was posted in Chickens


Pride of Omlet: Mipit Makes Sense

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

Mipit is a Mental Health Assistance Dog for his human, Henley. Mipit keeps Henly alive and independent. Who wouldn’t love a dog that can put out your recycling, answer your phone, and be your best friend, come rain or shine? 

Six years ago, homeless and experiencing mental health crisis, Henley was given a glimmer of hope when she was offered a flat. She reconnected with her mum and dad, and slowly, life started to improve with their help. But something was missing. Henley needed a companion.

Henley’s autistic and always wanted an autism assistance dog, but by now, Henley was too old to apply. One day, Henley and her mum went to get their hair cut. The hairdresser suggested they go to the nearby pet shop to ask if they knew of any puppies; the pet shop gave her two phone numbers. As Henley was leaving the shop, she spotted a leaflet on the window about Mental Health Assistance Dog training.

Henley rang the breeder’s numbers and soon after brought home her first puppy. A jug (Jack Russel cross Pug) she named Lottie. First, she began training with the Kennel Club good citizen dog scheme and then assistance dog training with Darwin Dogs. But at six months old, Lottie was attacked by a pack of six dogs, and Henley decided to stop her training to give her time to recover. With Lottie better, Henley felt it would be good for her to have a friend. So she called Lottie’s breeder to see if any more pups were on the way. Luckily Lottie’s grandmother was pregnant, and when the puppies were born, Henley went to visit and brought home Mipit.

  Mipit’s a Jug like Lottie, who Henley chose for his rebellious nature, but despite wayward first appearances, he’s proven to be intelligent, loving and loyal. Within a few weeks, Mipit was doing things that Lottie had taken months to learn, and Henley decided to focus her assistance dog training with Mipit.

He flew through both bronze and silver Kennel Club assessments by the age of one. He was too young to start gold, so Henley started assistance dog training. In under two years, he’d completed all three levels. Lottie had taken the same time to complete only one. Mipit’s instinctive with training. “He can see into the future,” says Henley. “It’s like he already knows before you’ve trained him.”

Henley uses a wheelchair and Mipit is always beside her, ready to help. He opens doors, picks up the phone and takes out the recycling. He does things to make Henley laugh, like playing hide and seek under the duvet. He never turns off. Mipit’s training with Darwin Dogs is unlike any other assistance dog training. Henley has developed a partnership with him to train him in three special skills that are unique to her needs. 

Mipits first special skill is to lay flat on Henley’s knee, giving deep pressure therapy to help with the pain she has in her legs. Secondly, he’ll fetch and retrieve anything up to his own body weight. His third skill is a showstopper. If Henley’s been upset anywhere, Mippit will sing to her to help her recover. He often sings Henley out of Sainsbury’s to get her ready for the journey home, and Mipit has become known for his singing in their home town. Sometimes Henley is stopped by people asking, “Are you the one with the singing dog”, and Mipit will gladly give a little performance.  

Last year Henley lost her mum. This was devastating for Henley’s mental health. Both Henley and her Dad, Chris, credit Mipit with keeping them a team, working through difficult times and keeping their bond strong. “He forces us to be together in a lovely way. He’ll cuddle Dad and bring him to me. He dives up and gives me kisses when he knows I’m poorly.”

Mipits unconditional and constant devotion to putting a smile on Henley’s face gets her ready for the day, every day. With the help of Mipit and Lottie, Henley hasn’t self-harmed in six years and now lives in a bungalow with a garden with six chickens for company. Soon two rabbits will be joining their extra special support bubble.  

Henley’s dad Chris says, “I watch Mipit because he picks up on Henley’s mood. When she’s not feeling good, he moves closer. It gives me comfort to know Mipit is looking after her. He’s a cracking little chap.”

 

 

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This entry was posted in Uncategorised


Dog collar vs. harness – which is better for your dog?

It can be tricky to decide whether or not your dog should wear a collar or a harness for walks. A lot of it depends on your dog himself, from the breed to his age and activity level.No matter what type of breed you have, one thing’s for sure, they all need to go out on walks! The main two types of leash attachments that you can use for your dog are harnesses or collars. 

Whether you just got a new dog and aren’t sure which to use or you are looking to switch things up, it’s important to know the pros and cons for both dog harnesses and collars before making a decision. 

Collars

Pros

Dog collars are the best when it comes to controlling aggressive dogs, puppies or dogs who are in training. It gives confidence to the owners where they can let their dog walk without any fear. It comes with many direct benefits while providing better control to the handler. Dog training is one of the most important reasons for buying a dog training collar. It is one of the first dog training tools that an owner would need. It helps your dog to successfully overcome obstacles. It also helps to guide your dog and secure his attention if it has a short attention span.

Your dog may get a bit rowdy during the walking session. It’s the dog collar that can correct its behaviour when it is misbehaving. Dogs can go on jumping fences, playing in woods, or getting into mischief; so, you should consider durable dog collars with breakaway fasteners.

A dog collar is more convenient than a harness: The main benefit of collar

s is that they can be left on at all times as opposed to a harness, which should only be worn during walks and it’s much easier to snap a collar on and off than a harness.

Another great benefit of wearing collars comes with the metal ring where you can attach your pet’s ID ta

g or name plates with your address, your phone number, veterinarian office phone number or the tag of the dog registration organisation where your dog is registered for identification in case he or she gets lost. 

Are you a fashionista or do you love to express individuality? You can even use a bow tie or bandana/scarf as an attachment for the collar.

  

Cons

What can go wrong when you lead a dog by the neck? Quite a lot, it turns out.

The safety of your dog’s neck plays a vital role here. If dogs constantly pulls against their collar, they can injure themselves or reduce the airflow they are getting. Some smaller breeds, like miniature dachshund or poodle, are prone to collapsing tracheas, and a rough tug on the collar can quickly turn into an emergency situation.

Other dogs’ necks are as thick as their heads, e.g. pugs and whippets, so slipping out of a collar is effortless. Even if you have a tough mutt or working dog, repeated pulling on the neck can lead to thyroid damage or spinal injuries over time. Please avoid using collars to walk dogs with medical issues such as glaucoma, a history of proptosed eye, neck injuries, or spinal malformations.

Collars should also not be used on toy breeds and brachycephalic breeds, such as Chihuahuas, Chinese Crested, Italian Greyhound, Maltese, Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs and Boxers.

 

Harnesses

Pros

The main benefit for using a dog harness instead of a dog collar is the control you have over overly excited dogs, as you have more control over them. If it comes to safety and security harnesses are generally better at preventing accidents because they fasten more securely around your dog’s body and are simply the most secure, and most comfortable way to hook your dog up to his leash. It covers your dog’s chest, shoulders, and upper back, which disperses pressure over a larger surface area whereas collars give you better control over your dog. While dogs can easily slip out of their collars and potentially run into traffic or another person’s yard, harnesses offer much more security and safety.

A good harness will reduce pulling, increase your control over your pup, and decrease stress on his neck and joints. Bonus points: because it secures closer to the dog’s center of gravity, a harness gets tangled in the leash less and helps prevent jumping.

Also here, for the individualists among us, there are different kinds of harnesses, starting from cool, cute or practical, such as bags where you can put some treats or eco-friendly waste bags.

 

 

 

 

When it comes to specific breeds or diseases, a harness has a better function for your dog:

  • Brachycephalic breed: These breed dogs typically have flatter faces, “shortened head” and refers to the short nose and flat face of dogs like Pugs, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, Chow Chows, Pekingese, French Bulldogs or Bulldogs. Respiratory issues may be better managed with a harness.
  • Tracheal collapse: This is a medical condition where the trachea will fold in on itself causing trouble breathing and a cough. Please avoid using a collar because it applies further pressure and can even worsen the condition.
  • Risk factors for spinal problems: A condition called intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) makes long-bodied breeds such as dachshunds very prone to slipped disks. By using a harness you can take pressure off the neck and back and help prevent further damage.
  • Orthopedic disease: Dogs with orthopedic disease can have a hard time getting up to walk so a harness can help you get them up and move around more easily.

 

Cons

Harnesses are just less convenient than collars for hoomans. A collar can just slip on, but harnesses take more time to fasten. 

Harnesses can be uncomfortable: Harnesses are bulkier than collars, so they can be more uncomfortable for your dog. Some dogs really don’t like wearing harnesses, so it can take some time for them to get used to it.

Harnesses may not have a place for carrying an ID tag. It’s best to get a harness with a ring for a tag—or use both a collar with a tag and a harness when out walking. 

If your dog wears weather protection or due to some illness needs to wear clothes, a harness might be a bit more of a disadvantage than a collar. The clothes might cover the harness ring(s), so that you’re unable to put a leash on. Alternatively you can attach the harness over the clothes but make sure -in general- it’s neither too tight nor too loose. 

 

Summarising

So, collar or harness – which one is now the better option for your dog? There is no general answer to this question as it always depends on the breed and health of your pooch and the use of the item. But please, always keep in mind:

  • Collars are less restrictive on movement, which is good for working dogs who are running around all day. Collars are also better for dogs that don’t pull and can calmly walk by your side.
  • Harnesses are better for overly excited dogs as you have more control over them.
  • Smaller dogs and brachycephalic breeds should avoid wearing a collar.
  • It is absolutely advisable to get your puppy used to both, collar and harness.
  • If you want to transition an older dog or even a pup from collar to harness be patient – the adjustment phase may take some time. Bring some treats along on your first few harness walks to distract your dog from that unfamiliar feeling, as well as associate the change with positive rewards.
  • It also depends on the use of the item. If you want to have a walk with your buddy or take a ride with him in your car (to fasten the seatbelt), it is recommendable to use a harness. If you just let him out in the garden or take him to your friends’ house, a collar is totally fine – same goes with dog kennels.

To sum up, harnesses are usually the best choice for walking dogs because they don’t put pressure on the neck. But collars are generally more comfortable and have a place to hold an ID tag. At best, let your buddy wear both: If you can’t attach a tag or name plate to the harness, use a collar for the ID tag and a harness for the leash.

If you’re looking for the perfect fit for your pooch, you can visit our page about collars or harnesses. Leashes and sets you can find here.

 

 

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Pride of Omlet: Teacher’s Pet

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

Henni Hen is a teaching assistant by trade. A cute and cuddly chicken who loves children. She follows in the footsteps of her bubbly humans, Hamish and Verity.

       

Verity hatches chicks in an incubator every year at the primary school in Kent, where she works as a reception teacher. It’s a highlight for the children in spring, with lots of learning opportunities and fluffy little chicks make Easter even more special

It was natural for Henni to become a teaching assistant at an early age. She was, after all, born in a school. Henni helped the children with topic work and became the subject of many good literacy and science lessons. 

But Henni’s talent lies in her ability to help children read. Henni can’t read herself, but children who wouldn’t usually read to an adult began taking Henni to beanbag in a quiet corner where they could get cosy. Henni cuddles up and listens patiently to her young reader, giving the odd encouraging cluck. 

When Henni and her sisters became too big for the classroom’s hutch, Verity and Hamish moved into a house with a garden. Instead of rehoming the chicks with local farmers (like they usually did), they decided to take Henni and her sisters home. They’d been talking about getting a dog, but both working full-time, the chickens seemed like a good option.

Most of the time, Henni is outside, like an ordinary chicken, scratching in the garden or getting up as high as she can. But Verity and Hamish potty trained her because she loves coming into the house for a cuddle, and of course,  she needs to work. 

         

During the lockdown, the children missed holding Henni. So, Henni sprang into action and delivered both live and recorded lessons from the study that she shares with Verity. Verity read children stories, and Henni sat on her shoulder, making sure the children were listening. The deputy head called Verity regularly to make sure Henni’s doing ok. 

Being a caring soul, Henni also gave to the community over lockdown. Together, Henni and her sisters lay six eggs a day, so Henni and Verity decided to do a doorstep delivery service for their neighbours. At 10 am, Henni would lay an egg and make a lot of noise about it, so all the neighbours knew when their eggs are ready. Then, Henni would hop onto Verity’s shoulder, and together they delivered eggs to all the houses on their close.

When she returned home, she’d often hop onto her favourite perch (the top of the garage), and the children from the neighbourhood would come over to Verity and Hamish’s to see “the one on the roof!”

Henni and her sisters Megg, Gertie, Margot, Ginger, Rona and Nora used to live in a wooden coop in the garden and come into the garage in winter when it was cold, but Verity and Hamish wanted the best for them. So last year, they got a new home, an Omlet Eglu Cube, and now they’re cosy outside all year round. 

But Henni still likes to come inside for a cuddle and can often be found sitting on the sofa between Verity and Hamish for a family film night after a hard week at work. 

   

She’s just an ordinary brown chicken, and she’s low in the pecking order, but she’s got high hopes for the world. She’s very special to the children she teaches and the community she lives in, and of course, to her humans Verity and Hamish. She’s worthy of a gold star for an outstanding effort.

     

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This entry was posted in Chickens


How To Remove Pet Hair From Your Home

Everyone loves to stroke, cuddle and pamper their pet. Their fur is soft and warm, and stroking a dog or cat can help humans relax and destress. But despite these positives, your pet’s loose hair can invade your living space, settling on carpets, sofas, beds and furniture. It can be difficult to get rid of. So how can you avoid spending hours cleaning up after your pet? 

Spring is finally here and the winter fur is starting to fall out. Avoid being overcome with pet hair and make life easier for yourself in the days to come, with the Omlet tips below…

Removing fur to help pet allergies

Do you often have red, swollen eyes, a runny nose and experience persistent sneezing? If so, it could be because of your pet’s fur. Di dyou know, 40% of European cats are carriers of a bacterium: Bartonella henselae? Researchers thought that this bacteria could only be transmitted through your pet’s scratch, but numerous studies have shown that the bacteria can be transmitted through fur and fleas. This is why it is important to treat your pet and wash your hands after petting it.

Pets affect the quality of the indoor air we breathe. Hair and saliva carry allergens and can cause nose, throat and eye irritation, asthma and breathing difficulties. 

So how do you deal with pet hair? 

Useful techniques to get rid of hair 

Removing pet hair from your home doesn’t have to be a time consuming task. Here’s a few tips and tricks to try…

Brush your pet’s hair regularly, preferably outside, but if that’s not possible, an easy clean area such as the bathroom may be just right. By brushing your pet, you allow it to shed any hair that may have otherwise fallen onto your sofa or other surface in your home.  You can gather the hair in one place and you clean it up much more easily and quickly. 

Protect furniture and areas where your pet likes to lounge. Your furry friend is bound to have a special place where he likes to spend time napping and grooming, and these areas can become loose fur hotspots! Try covering your pet’s favourite patch with a towel or blanket.

The ultimate appliance: the hoover. Cleaning your home is essential in normal times, and even more so when you have furry pets. This solution seems obvious and yet it is radically effective. Choose a hoover over a broom. A broom tends to make the hair fly around and instead of getting rid of it, you move it around to other surfaces. You can also vary the end caps to suit all surfaces. 

Use dishwashing gloves! An original but effective tip. Use a pair of washing-up gloves to pick up your pet’s hair in a circular motion from the desired spot. The hair will stick to the glove and can be rinsed away.

Use moisture to quickly gather the hair into small balls. Take a damp sponge or flannel and wipe the desired area. Some of the hairs will cling to the sponge while others will clump together. This method should be combined with other techniques to effectively remove your pet’s hair.  

The well-known method: the adhesive roller. Using an adhesive roller is particularly effective on your clothes, especially if you do not want to wet them with a sponge. The hair will stick to the tape and lift from the material. This technique is super effective on small surfaces. However, the roller soon becomes full of hairs and it is necessary to change the roller regularly if attempting larger surfaces in your home. 

Use specific brushes: velvet brushes, electrostatic brushes, etc. There are all kinds of useful brushes on the market. With a simple movement of the hand, they attract the hair to the brush and lift off your soft furnishings. 

Static electricity with tights! Don’t just throw away your frayed tights, they can be reused to pick up your pet’s hair. The friction creates static electricity and attracts the hair to the nylon material.

Ventilation: renewing the air to reduce the concentration of hair in one place. Whether you have pets or not, airing your home is essential to prevent the accumulation of dust and bacteria. You will eliminate bad odours and allow for fresh air to circulate the home.

If you really need to keep an area hair-free, the most effective method will be to restrict access to your pet. It may be drastic, but you won’t have to worry about hair in your bedroom causing irritation while you try to sleep, for example. 

Adapted furniture that makes life easier 

Are you tired of your pet’s accessories collecting dust and fur? Invest in the right equipment and think long term. 

As well as keeping your pet comfortable, consider buying a functional dog bed that will make life much easier for you too. Omlet’s Topology bed provides your pet with optimal comfort thanks to its memory foam mattress, and also provides the ultimate solution for hygiene, by making cleaning your dog’s bed easier than ever. A variety of mattress toppers allow you to change the style as often as you like, and they are also easy to unzip to put in the washing machine, guaranteeing impeccable hygiene. Now you can easily refresh your dog’s bed to eliminate a build up of fur.

     

The Maya Donut Cat Bed also has a washable cover, and provides ultimate comfort for your pet. This bed is a neat, cosy size and can even be placed on your sofa if your cat likes to lounge around next to you. When you notice a build up of loose fur, just unzip the cover and put in the washing machine!

Omlet beds (Topology, Bolster and Maya) are designed from the ground up to be functional, practical and easy to clean. Omlet has designed feet to raise your pet’s bed, not only for aesthetic and decorative purposes but also for hygienic benefits. By raising your dog’s bed, you allow air to circulate, which prevents the accumulation of dust and hair. This brand new concept offers you and your pet a healthy and comfortable environment. 

       

Your pet’s fur will always be present, and impossible to eliminate entirely, however, these little tricks will help you to considerably reduce the accumulation of hair in your home and allow you and your pet to live in a healthy, comfortable and hygienic environment. 

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This entry was posted in Pets


Pride of Omlet: A Perfect Match

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

On paper, Kipper wasn’t exactly what Angela wanted. After years of behavioural challenges, he’s become the best-behaved blood donor and saved over forty dog’s lives. Kipper’s turned out to be Angela’s perfect match.

When Angela’s house was burgled, the first thing the police said was, “Get a dog.” Because a dog barks, and people are less likely to enter your home uninvited. But working as a teacher, Angela felt she couldn’t look after a dog, especially not an active breed like a collie. 

With fond memories of the collie she grew up with, she spent a long time talking to the Border Collie Trust, and they helped her find Kipper. He was an eighteen-month-old Irish stray and had been rehomed multiple times. Being a collie, Kipper had a lot of energy. On paper, he didn’t look right for Angela. 

But the Border Collie Trust thought he was the perfect match and persuaded her to meet him. So, she went to the rescue centre to get to know him. Angela could tell he was fantastic with humans, which was really important. So she took him for a walk and fell in love with him. A few weeks later, she brought him home to start their new adventure. 

Angela had prepared a lovely kennel and run in the garden for Kipper to spend half the day in. The plan was at lunchtime; he would be walked by a professional dog walker and then left in the house in the afternoon until she got home from school.

Kipper turned out to be hard work, boisterous and disruptive. He destroyed the house and was what Angela describes as ‘over the top’. In the evening, after a long day at work, Angela would go to tie up her shoes for a walk, and he would bite her hair, not in an aggressive way, just incredibly overexcited. It used to take them twenty minutes just to get to the front gate. It was exhausting.

But Angela had experience with Border Collies, she knew he had incredible intelligence, and he just needed things to do. Her teaching instincts kicked in, and with support from the Border Collie Trust, she began what would turn out to be life-changing behaviour training for both her and Kipper.

At first, it was simply stopping and waiting for him to calm down whenever he did something that was ‘over the top’. Then Angela needed to tackle the chewing at home. She started by leaving him for five minutes, going to the front gate, standing across the road, then coming back in and praising him for being good. Angela worked out Kipper’s motivations (toys and food) so that she could effectively train him.  

“He is so clever,” says Angela “, That he will work out. What am I being asked to do? What is the reward on offer, and is it worth it? And if it isn’t worth it, he won’t do it.”

Over time he made progress, and his behaviour slowly improved. Angela worked hard with him, and as his obedience improved, their bond grew, so did the trust between them.

Kipper lives on the edge of the countryside and occasionally chases livestock, so he has to wear a muzzle on long walks.  But incredibly, Angela can leave him alone, unmuzzled with the chickens in her garden. His behaviour at home has transformed so dramatically that Angela is confident Kipper will do whatever she asks him to. Angela has even watched a big bolshy chicken trying to steal Kipper’s bone!

“The chicken was getting closer and closer and closer, trying to peck at his bone. All Kipper did was pick up the bone and walk away.”

     

With good obedience at home, they started to have fun together. Kipper achieved Gold in the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme and got to the Kennel Club Starters Cup Final in 2017, an agility competition for beginners. The activity and the mental work was fantastic for him, and they both made new friends, travelled to new places and shared memorable experiences.

But when Kipper had to have his dew claws removed, he couldn’t do his agility work, and the lack of exercise led to frustration.  Angela, always on the lookout for ways to develop Kipper’s potential, discovered CaniCross. Cani sports are a whole range of sports to nurture the bond between dogs and their owners and are particularly beneficial for dogs with behavioural issues. 

Taking part in cross country runs and triathlons, Angela and Kipper were getting fit together and making strong friendships with a whole community of like-minded dog lovers.

One of their friends introduced them to the pet blood bank. Angela was keen to give back to the dog community, but he was under the 25kg minimum weight. However, as he matured, his muscle development changed. As soon as he’d gained enough weight, Angela registered Kipper as a donor and proudly took him along to his first session. 

But Kipper was terrified. He had to have a little piece of fur shaved and couldn’t stand the sound of the clippers. Once again, Angela turned to training. The blood bank advised using an electric toothbrush to get him used to the vibrating sound. Over time, using his favourite soft cheese as a treat to reward good behaviour, Angela gently got him used to sound until she was sure he knew it wasn’t going to harm him. 

 

Finally, Kipper was ready to give blood, perfectly behaved. He’s now on his tenth donation, and with a rare negative blood type, his blood is a perfect match for any dog. With every donation providing blood for up to four other dogs survival, Kipper has helped save forty dog’s lives.

 

Kipper and Angela have experienced so much together. Pushing each other to do better,  they’re a winning team. Motivating each other to get on with life and do something good, to make friends together. As Angela says,

 

“Not every dog would suit me, and not every owner would suit him, but the Border Collie Trust got it right. We were meant to be.” 

 

   

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This entry was posted in Dogs


5 Easter Games to make the Holiday extra Hoppy

Photo by Freestocks on Unsplash

Are you eggcited about Easter? Easter is the second biggest family gathering of the year, so let’s celebrate it with some extra “hoppy” Easter games! This year, Easter will be celebrated in a small circle, but this doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the great fun. Here are 5 festive Easter games that will keep the whole family entertained!

 

1- Easter Tic-Tac-Toe 

This is mostly played by young children but makes a great strategy game for adults too! To make this game extra “hoppy” for Easter, you could paint real or plastic eggs in different colours or decorate them to distinguish each player.

Players then take it in turns placing their egg on the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The player who succeeds in placing three of their eggs in a diagonal, horizontal, or vertical row is the winner!

 

 

 

 

Photo by Ulleo from Pixabay               

 

2- Hula Hoop Aim 

This is a great game for families or groups, where everyone will be entertained – and it’s super easy. Set up five hula hoops on the floor and assign a point value to each (example: the closest hoop is 10 points, the second closest 20,…, and the furthest hoop is 50 points). Give each player five plastic eggs. Have them toss the eggs into the hoops to see who can rack up the most points!

You can decorate the eggs together with your children by painting them in individual colours, so that each player has their own coloured egg. Let the fun begin!

 

 

Photo by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash

 

3- Bunny Hop Sack Race 

Old but gold: the hoppiest game in our top picks! Since bunnies hop, having a good old-fashioned sack race is a great fit for Easter, your children will love racing you!

Set up each player with a burlap sack — decked out with a bunny tail — and have them race to the finish line. Make sure you’re on a soft ground. Just don’t forget to whip up some yummy Easter treats for the grand prize winner!

 

 

 

Photo by Michael Schmid on Unsplash                       

 

4- Pin Rabbit Tails

This game is for the whole family! Get pom poms and attach double-sided sticky tape to each of them. The players then have to stick the rabbit tails (pom poms) to one another…whoever ends up with most tails on them after 5 minutes of playing loses the game!

Once the game is finished, your children can get creative and do some Easter crafts. The possibilities are endless!

 

 

 

 

Photo by Eliza Diamond on Unsplash             

                                                

5- Easter Egg Piñata

Piñatas are great for any celebration but they’re also fun to make! Kids will have a blast making these as much as they will enjoy tearing them down.

You’ll need the following suppliers:
balloons (small, middle and/or big)

  • craft glue
  • 2 cups water
  • tissue paper and/or crepe paper streamers
  • 1 cup flour
  • decoration
  • newspaper                                                                                                                           Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels
  • craft knife
  • wire, string, ribbon or rope (to hang the piñata)
  • piñata bat (e.g. baseball bat)

 

Step 1: Blow up the balloon, tie it closed and tear or cut newspaper into strips. 

Step 2: Mix water with flour to create paste. Dip the newspaper strips in the paste and apply the moistened strips to the balloon. Repeat this until the balloon is completely covered – three layers will help make the piñata strong. Make sure not to cover the knot. This is where you’re going to put the treats later. This part is messy but the kids will love getting their hands dirty. To hold the balloon in place while applying the newspaper strips, place it on top of a plastic container that will act as a stable base.

Step 3: Let the piñata dry for at least 24 hours, making sure to rotate it so all sides dry. 

Step 4: After it’s completely dry, cut different colored tissue papers in strips and give the kids freedom to choose their colors and start adding stripes with craft glue to cover the base layer. Decorate as you wish. Now pop the knot with a craft knife and pull out the balloon. Punch two small holes around the main hole. Tie a string or ribbon to the holes to create a loop. 

Step 5: Now fill your piñata with some delicious treats, like mini chocolate eggs, jelly beans, marshmallows or any other sweets… whatever you prefer!

Step 6: Glue down some crepe paper on top of the hole, or use masking tape. The goal is to prevent the filling of the pinata from falling out before you’ve actually hit it. Tie another piece of string, ribbon, or rope to the loop you’ve already made and use this to attach the pinata to whatever you’d like to hang it from.

 Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                Photo by Eismannhans from Pixabay                                                                   

Here is a video about how to make a piñata and who explains it better than kids itself?

 

BONUS

Here comes an eggstra game! Everything’s a bit more fun with a little mystery. Check out this super cool secret Easter egg hunt! 

Let the children – and adults – hunt for the eggs but this time, write a letter on each egg. In the end, when all eggs are collected together, they have to decode the message and they’ll get the clue where the Easter gift is actually hidden. Example: if you hide the gift in the garage, place the letters “G”, “A”, “R”, “A”, “G”, “E” individually on each egg. If they put the letters together, they know where to go for a successful egg hunt! – You can also use Kinder eggs and put individual messages inside.

 

Omlet wishes you Happy Easter &
a successful Egg Hunt!

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

 

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Pride of Omlet: The Constant Companion

This article is a part of our Pride of Omlet series, a collection of amazing stories which shine the spotlight on extraordinary pets and share their selflessness, bravery, talent and compassion with the world.

-Written by Anneliese Paul

                            

Martha’s humans Nicola and Ben bought chickens to bring joy to Julia, their mother who they cared for at home. The family could never have imagined that a chicken would become a caring companion to Julia in the advanced stages of dementia. 

Julia used to have chickens as a child. She fondly told Nicola stories about dressing up the chickens and wheeling them around the garden, like babies in her toy pram.  But it wasn’t until her 90th birthday that Julia owned chickens again. It was a dream come true.

Nicola and Ben always thought they didn’t have enough space in their bungalow garden, but whilst visiting relatives in Ireland, Ben saw an Omlet ad and brought it home to show Nicola. “That’s just what we need,” she said. Their Eglu arrived soon after, and then their two hybrid chickens moved in. Julia named them Martha and Mary.

Whilst Mary was always shy and kept her distance. From day one Martha ran to Julia, Nicola’s mum. “She was mums best friend from the beginning,” says Nicola.

Unfortunately, Mary died and then there was a near miss for Martha. Like most people, the family like to let their hens roam free in the garden for a bit, but one day a fox came into the garden and attacked Martha. Nicola and Ben heard her squawking and went to the window. The fox saw them and ran, leaving poor Martha very shaken and suffering from a broken wing. But Matha was brave, and luckily the wing has completely healed. Now Ben and Nicola have extended the run so the chickens only come out when they’re in the garden.

When it was sunny, Julia liked to sit outside in the sun watching Martha. Julia had to use a wheelchair, and Martha would jump (in a very ladylike way) onto the footrest to warm her feet. Last summer when Julia could no longer speak in sentences, she’d make gentle noises and Martha would answer back. She’d sit for hours by the wheelchair with Julia, having quiet conversations. 

Nicola couldn’t deny Martha had a human quality. She didn’t just come for crumbs because she was there when there weren’t any. Martha cared. 

“She went from a chicken, running around the garden then in those moments with mum, it was like she knew. It was beautiful.”

Nicola began to trust Martha to squawk loudly if something was wrong. When she went into the house to make a cup of tea, she’d leave Julia in the garden with Martha. 

 “It was weird,” says Nicola “ Martha would squawk, and I’d go out to find Mum had dropped something, or something had fallen off the table, or Mum was confused because she didn’t remember where I was.”

 

Martha was the thing that made Julia smile every time, and her eggs brought so much joy to Julia in the advanced stages of dementia. Boiled was her favourite, and Martha would let them all know when it was ready to be collected. When Martha lays an egg, she stands at the edge of the run and squawks and squawks as if to say, “Come and get my egg!” 

Julia loved holding Martha’s warm eggs. Once, when Julia was having a lie-in, Nicola took her the freshly laid egg. She’d just woken up, and a big smile spread across her face, then she fell asleep again holding it. A couple of hours later, Nicola went to wake her up. Julia sat up. All of a sudden, the egg rolled out from behind her as if she’d laid it on the bed. Incredibly it was completely intact. “Are you laying eggs now?”  asked Nicola. Julia understood, and that made them all laugh. It was the happiest occasion, just an egg rolling along the sheet. Julia kept the egg in her hand for the rest of the day. Moments like that are precious memories to Nicola and Ben. 

Sadly, Julia died in September. When Julia was alive, it was Mum and Martha, Nicola says. She never thought she’d take to chickens. But having seen how Martha cared, chickens have become constant companions. 

I think we’ll probably always have chickens because they get under your skin. Well, no, that’s a bad expression. They become part of you. They’re like a little family.”

     

 

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This entry was posted in Chickens