Parakeets make wonderful pets. Not only will their beautiful plumage brighten up any room, they are also very intelligent and sociable, and will develop strong bonds with their owners. Like with all pets however, they come with responsibilities, and it is now your job to make sure they stay healthy and happy. Here are the most important things to think about if you’re new to parakeet keeping:
FOOD AND WATER
Try giving your parakeets the nutritional equivalent of what they would eat in the wild. The basis of their diet should be a good quality seed mix, and they should always have access to water and a cuttlefish bone. Leafy greens and herbs provide vitamins and minerals, and can be given a few times a week. Only feed your parakeet fruits once a week, as they are high in sugar. Food and water containers must be refilled every day, and washed a few times a week.
Twice a year your parakeets will moult, and their plumage will gradually fall out and grow back. To help them keep healthy during this time it’s important that the birds get extra moulting vitamins in their water.
Like most pets, parakeet prefer clear routines in their lives. Try feeding and letting them out of the cage around the same time every day, and if you want to put a cover over the cage at night time, it’s best to do this every day. This way the parakeets will know what’s happening around them and feel comfortable in your presence, which will minimise stress and anxiety.
Parakeets are very sociable creatures, and it’s always best to keep them as a pair, preferably two siblings of the same sex who are used to living together. If you just want one parakeet, you will need to act as its friend and companion, and spend a lot of time together with your pet.
Most parakeets like to bathe. In the wild the main purpose of the bath would be to clear dust and sand from their feathers and to cool off, and even if your parakeets probably won’t have these daily requirements, they will enjoy splashing around in the water. You don’t have to have a bath in the cage, instead you can put a bowl of water somewhere in the room where the budgies are flying, but if you do it’s important to change the water as soon as it gets dirty. If your pet doesn’t seem interested, an alternative to bath time is a parakeet shower. Hang some wet leaves (lettuce, basil and parsley are favourites) in the cage, and watch your parakeet run through them.
The parakeets should be offered the opportunity to fly freely (but supervised) outside the cage every day, at least 45 minutes, but ideally a few hours. Make sure the room is parakeet proofed before your let your pets out. Close windows and doors, block off fireplaces, turn off fans and air conditioners and keep other pets out of the room. Parakeets are intelligent, very sociable and active birds who will enjoy spending time with you and the rest of the family.
Check the cage weekly to see that everything is in place and nothing has broken. Perches must be kept clean and fully functioning. Toys are great for mental stimulation, they encourage physical exercise and wear the beak down. Change the toys every now and then to keep your parakeet interested. You don’t have to buy new toys all the time, but rotate the ones you’ve got regularly and throw in a new one every now and again.
Parakeets’ beaks and nails grow constantly throughout their lives, so it is important that they have access to toys to grind them down. In most cases you will have to trim the nails when they get too long, so make sure to purchase a pair of clippers suited for the task.
Parakeets, like other pack animals, are very good at hiding pain and illness, so it’s important to give your pet regular health checks. When you get to know your parakeet, it’ll be easier to spot irregular behaviours.
Normal signs of illness include changes in weight, discoloured feathers, reduced interaction with humans and toys, scabby nostrils and missing feathers around the eyes. Another way of spotting early signs of illness is to regularly check your parakeet’s droppings. The disposable paper liners in the Geo bird cage makes it easy to monitor your pet’s health. When you do your weekly clean, check the amount, colour and texture of the droppings. They can vary somewhat depending on what your parakeet has been eating, but all faeces should be firm, and the urine part transparent and clear. If you notice clear changes, or have other reasons to suspect that your parakeet might be ill or in pain, contact your vet as soon as possible. Make sure to find a vet that specialises in small animals, ideally as soon as you take the parakeet home, so you know who to contact if something goes wrong.
If you need more information, check out the section on budgie illnesses inour guide.
Many of us know what it’s like. You start with a few chickens, thinking you’re just going to try it out, but once you realise what amazing pets they are and what delicious eggs they lay you will probably soon think it’s time to expand the flock and get some more hens for your garden.
But adding new chickens to an existing flock is easier said than done, and it’s important to know what you’re doing to avoid bickering and bullying, or even worse. The key to introducing chickens is time. Be patient, it might take a while before your new individuals are living happily with your current flock, but it will be worth it in the end. Each breed of chicken is different, and all chickens have different personalities, so how well your attempts will go depends on many different factors. Here are some useful things to think about:
Make the right choices
Some people say sticking to the same breed is a good idea, but it’s definitely possible to have several different breeds living side by side. If possible, add chickens that are of similar age and size as your existing ones. Smaller, younger hens will easily become a target if added to a group of larger chickens, and new younger, fitter chickens might cause stress for the older members of your current flock. Never add chicks to a group until they are old and strong enough to fight back if someone decides to bully them.
Also never introduce a chicken on her own; she is bound to become bullied in an already established pecking order. The more chickens you add, the more the pecking order will have to change, and it will be easier for the group to decide who is actually the most dominant. If possible, adding more chickens than you already have will often minimise problems with bullying, but it’s a risky game if you plan on expanding your flock more than once!
The first step in the process is to quarantine the new chickens somewhere away from your flock to make sure they don’t carry any diseases or parasites. Do regular health checks on the new chickens while you’re keeping them separate, and treat any illness you might come across. It might be worth doing a worming treatment and to dust them in Diatomaceous Earth a few times to be extra sure they are not bringing in any parasites into your coop.
Quarantine the new birds for at least a week, preferably longer, or until you’re certain they are happy and healthy.
Unfortunately you can’t just plonk the new chickens down with the old ones as soon as you’re sure they are healthy. Instead you must allow them to get used to each other. Ideally this is done by placing the two groups close enough to each other that they can see and smell each other, but not close enough that they can touch. They will hopefully be curious of the other group, but not feel that their home is being invaded. The partitions for the Omlet Walk in run is perfect for this stage, as it means you can divide the run and slowly introduce the two groups.
Keep this setup for at least a week. It may seem like they have gotten used to each other after a few days, but for chickens there’s a big difference between seeing some hens over the fence and actually sharing a coop and run with them. Be patient, then you’re more likely to succeed.
The big meet
When you think it’s time for the two groups to meet for real, it is best done in a new, neutral area that no chicken has claimed as her own, even if it’s just a small fenced off area in the garden.
It’s always best to let the old flock come to the new, so put them down before you let your existing flock approach. This is especially important if you’re carrying out the introduction in the flock’s current run: don’t let them out of the coop until the new chickens are comfortable on the run.
Try putting up some entertaining distractions that might avert their attention somewhat. Fill a Peck Toy or a Caddi with your chickens’ favourite treat, and they will hopefully be more interested in that than the newcomers.
Another thing worth trying is introducing chickens in the night when they are quietly roosting in their coop. Open the door of the Eglu and put the new chickens in with your existing ones. This allows them to get used to the presence and the smell of the new chickens while they are sleepy and not likely to attack. This seems to work really well for some, whereas it leads to a few problems for others, so it’s up to you if you want to risk it. Make sure you are there in the morning when the chickens wake up to see how they are reacting to their new friends.
As we said, it might take a while before the flock goes back to its harmonious self. You must prepare yourself for some disagreement and a bit of bullying, this is part of establishing the pecking order. It should however have calmed down after a few days, maybe a week. If you notice that chickens are getting seriously hurt or are drawing blood it’s time to step in. Identify the main bully and isolate her somewhere else for a few days on her own. It might seem harsh, but it’s the best thing you can do for your flock. When you put her back with the group she will be too busy trying to figure out the new order that she won’t have time to bully.
Giving Your Parakeets and Finches the Best Possible Living Space
What do you need from a bird cage?
The main thing is to give your parakeets and finches a space in which they can happily do what a bird has to do – eat, sleep, fly, perch, and chill out.
So, your check list might read something like this:
Full flying access to the entire cage
Fantastic feeding station
Lots of perches and usable ‘corners’ for taking time out
Easy access to and from the cage
Fantastic design that makes it a standout feature in the room.
And that pretty much summarises the new Geo – the first great leap forward in cage design for 100 years.
The Geo Bird Cage for Parakeets, Finches and Canaries
Until the arrival of the Geo, bird cages hadn’t changed much since the early 20th century.
But why did we need another innovation in cage design, you may ask? For the simple reason that when keeping a pet, its welfare and happiness are the top priorities.
So, with this in mind, could the old, rectangular-type standard bird cage be improved upon?
The answer is yes – and then some!
The unique geodesic-dome shape of the Geo, and its central feeding station, are the stand-out features. To explain how we got there, let’s take a brief sprint through previous approaches to cage design.
Bird Cages – from Small Cells to Big Sales
Bird cages have a long history, and their basic shape and function has evolved over the years.
In the beginning a cage was simply a cell in which the feathered inmate – usually a finch, bunting or starling – was expected to sing its little heart out. These small cages were made from wicker or other light, pliable wood. By the 1830s cages were being made from metal and wire. The basic design remained bell-shaped (the kind of thing seen in Tweety Pie cartoons).
This design lingered into the later 19th century when keeping birds as pets underwent a huge surge in popularity, with parakeets becoming the pet bird of choice for many. The cages were often ornate, but the emphasis was on decoration, rather than keeping the birds happy. These cages were all height and no width, usually.
By the early 20th century, rectangular, wider bird cages were mass produced – the kinds of things still sold as the standard finch or parakeets cage in most pet shops. Design was, at last, part of the overall concept – seed trays that slot into the cage sides, water bottles that attach via clips, better, wider doors, removable bases for easy cleaning.
With a wide range of cage sizes, it meant you could ensure that the dimensions were right for the number of birds you owned. So what was left improve – why do we need the Geo?
Why the Geo Cage is Better for Pet Birds
The geodesic dome shape of the Geo cage provides the ideal dimensions for birds to move around in. When flapping and flying in a rectangular cage, birds don’t have much front-to-back space – the flying area is limited to the length of the cage. Also, birds cannot negotiate 90 degree corners: these are dead space when it comes to flying.
So, if you were to map the total usable flying area, you might be surprised to find that in a standard rectangular cage of 90x60x40cm (220,000 cubic centimetres) a parakeet or finch can only make use of one tenth of the area for flying.
In contrast, the Geo’s 62x60x60cm (223,200 cubic centimetres) is nearly ALL flying space. There are no front-to-back limited space issues, and no right-angled corners to prevent a bird stretching its wings.
Birds are happier if they can fly outside the cage
In any indoor cage, a bird is only able to fly in a limited space. All pet birds should be allowed to free-fly in the room in a safe manner.
The Geo makes free-flying a breeze – it has two wide doors allowing your birds easy access to and from the cage.
Do birds need corners to hide in if they’re startled or afraid of something?
Yes and no. It’s more about the position of the cage. If the birds are in the middle of a room completely surrounded by activity they will have nowhere to hide if they’re feeling nervous. That’s why a cage – including the Geo – should be close to a wall or a corner of the room if possible.
Also, the Geo does have corners – lots and lots of them, just not the right-angled corners of a standard cage. You’ll still find your birds using these multiple corners to rest and take stock.
Looking good, feeling good
The Geo’s marriage of great looks and ultimate bird-friendly design set it apart from anything else available.
One of the most eye-catching features is its central feeding station. It’s a joy to watch birds gather together and feed, and the Geo has an extra bonus in that most of the discarded husks and dropped seeds fall into the feeding station’s hopper for easy cleaning.
The rounded shape of the Geo – not circular, but a collection of many flat sides – makes it a striking feature in the room. But, most importantly, it’s a striking feature that doubles as the perfect environment for your pet parakeets and inches.
🔹 The main purpose of the tail is communication, and to spread personal information in the form of pheromones. Dogs have anal glands right under the tail which release scents that can be detected by other canines. When the dog wags its tail, the muscles around the dog’s bum tense and press on the glands, sending out lots of information. The sweeping motions from the tail can also help spread the scent even further.
🔹 In a situation where the dog wants to be more low-key and not get noticed, maybe if they are feeling scared or hesitant, the dog will tuck its tail between the legs to minimise the spread of their scent.
🔹 Dogs that have very small tails, or no tails at all, have a limited ability to use this body part to communicate, and will have to use other modes of communication. Ears can for example be very useful to show other dogs who you are and how you are feeling.
🔹 Different types of tail movement signify different emotions. A slight wag when meeting someone new can be seen as a tentative greeting, whereas a wider more sweeping movement is very friendly and non-competitive. A dog that makes short back-and-forth movements with the tail held high is possibly showing signs of uncertainty, assessing potential threats.
🔹 Puppies don’t wag their tails when they are born. The first month and a half is spent mainly eating and sleeping, and they have no real interest in their surroundings. However, as soon as they start socialising, around 49 days old, they will start wagging.
🔹 The tail can be seen as an extension of the spine. Just like the backbone, tails are made up of 5-20 vertebrae, separated by soft discs that enable movement and flexibility. The vertebrae are wider at the base of the tail and get smaller toward the tip.
🔹 The shape and form of the tail of specific dogs has been determined through selective breeding. The Dachshund’s long, sturdy tail is for example believed to have worked as a handle to pull them out of badger burrows, whereas a Beagle’s tail has a white tip to make it easier for the hunters to locate it in the distance, and labradors have a so called “otter tail” that is thick and round and can act as a kind of rudder when the dog is swimming.
🔹 Dogs do not only use their tails for communication, it is also useful for keeping balance. If you watch a really fast dog run, like a Greyhound or a Whippet, you can see that the tail sticks out straight behind them. It works as a counterweight and helps the dog to accelerate, break and turn at high speeds.
🔹 According to studies made on dog tails, there is evidence that the direction a dog wags its tail can tell you something about their feelings. Positive stimuli (food, or seeing their owner) made the dogs start moving their tail to the right, whereas negative stimuli (e.g. a threat in form of an aggressive looking dog) causes the tail to start wagging to the left.
We are getting lots of questions at the moment from people who are ready to start their chicken keeping journey. They know where they will be able to source their new coop, run, feed and accessories (hint!), but not how to get their new pets. As in most cases these days, the internet will be the place to start looking!
One of the best ways of finding people selling chickens is to google ”buying chickens + your state or area”. There are several websites online that allow people to post adverts for chickens, or you will be able to find websites and contact information for farms or smallholdings that are selling chicks or hens. Lots of these will not be hatching chicks at the moment, so you might have to call a few before you find someone that is still taking orders.
You will also be able to find Poultry Forums and Facebook groups where enthusiastic chicken owners discuss all things chicken, and you often see people wanting to sell or rehome chickens in these groups.
Normally it is always best to contact the person you are planning to buy the chickens from, and ideally pay them a visit to see what their setup is and under what conditions the chickens are living. This will help you pick a good breeder that treats their animals well, so that you can be sure that your chickens arrive happy and healthy. During the current circumstances this is however not something we recommend, but you can still ask questions over email and telephone that can give you an idea about the level of expertise of the person.
If you go ahead with your purchase, make sure to arrange something that feels appropriate given the restrictions, and safe for both you and the person you’re buying your chickens from.
Here are some good terms to search to use:
Chickens for sale
Simple, but effective. If you just want chickens and don’t really care about how old they are, what breed they are or how many eggs they will provide you with, just google chickens for sale and the state or area you’re in.
Point of lay chickens for sale
A point of lay chicken is a chicken that has just begun laying eggs. This is a good time to get hens, as they are old enough to take care of themselves, but happy to be moved and introduced to a new home. When point of lay occurs varies somewhat between breeds and other external circumstances, but it generally happens when the chickens are approximately six months old. It’s worth noting that it will normally be another 6 months before the hen is fully grown and laying to her full capacity.
People selling larger amounts of hens often hatch chicks in batches, and they might not always have hens that are ready to leave the same week you contact them. It is best to get in contact now if you want to collect your hens in May, June, or even July.
Rare/pure breed chickens for sale
These chickens are bred from show birds, and the breeders are often affiliated with a Poultry Club. The chickens will have been well taken care of, and the breeder will be knowledgeable about the breed and chicken keeping in general, so you will be able to ask them lots of questions about the birds.
These chickens are often a bit more expensive than hybrid hens, but you will know what you are getting. This is especially useful if you have a clear idea of what type of chicken you would like. Read up on some chicken breeds here and choose one that you think will suit you, your requirements and your garden. Breed clubs might be able to help you find someone in your area that will sell you hens.
Again, it’s important to plan ahead, probably even more so when it comes to rarer breeds of chickens. You might have to book several weeks or even months in advance depending on what breed you are choosing.
If you’re struggling to find someone that will sell you hens, you can always take matters into your own hands and start rearing chickens from scratch.
If you’re up for the challenge and can source a good incubator, hatching eggs is a really exciting experience, and can be a great education for children in the house. It should be said though that it does require more time, effort and equipment than getting fully grown hens, and you must be aware of the fact that approximately 50% of the eggs will be hatched as cockerels that will not be happy living together. Do you have a plan for what to do with these?
If you think hatching in an incubator might be for you, you will be able to find fertilized eggs on sites like Ebay or in chicken keeping forums. You might also want to read our step by step guide to incubation – you’ll find it here.
Finally there is a parakeet cage as good looking as the parakeets
The revolutionary NEW Geo Bird Cage from Omlet is a breathtaking, contemporary design that redefines what a pet bird’s habitat can and should be. The geodesic shape defines a light and spacious habitat for your birds, creating the perfect environment to reveal their natural beauty.
Rigorous design and testing have refined the Geo Bird Cage into a final form that has nothing superfluous but leaves nothing out.
Simon Nicholls, Omlet’s Head of Design said “The inspiration for the Geo Bird Cage came from a really amazing polymath called Buckminster Fuller, who pioneered geodesic domes in the 50’s. Once we had the form we developed over 60 prototypes to ensure that every aspect was optimised for both the bird and the owner. I couldn’t be prouder of the finished product.”
A good example of the care and attention to detail throughout the Geo is the central feeder. A delight for both owner and parakeet to use, it’s also a remarkable piece of engineering. It intelligently catches any dropped husks and seeds in a hopper making this the cleanest bird cage of its kind.
Pet birds are the 4th most popular pet in US households according to recent reports. Parakeets have long been a favourite with children, parents and grandparents as they enjoy human company and can be easily trained to land on your hand and can even learn to speak. With Omlet’s latest innovation, keeping parakeets is easier, cleaner and better looking than ever before!
Available in a choice of teal and cream base colours, and black, white or gold mesh, the Geo Bird Cage can be further customised with or without the stand. Made from solid bamboo, the stand elevates your Geo Bird Cage and makes it easier for you to interact with your pets. No other small bird cage creates such a captivating centrepiece for your home.
The Constellation Geo Bird Cage Cover is typical of the kind of thoughtful touches pet owners have come to expect from Omlet. Decorated on the inside with a map of the stars, when it’s placed over the Geo at night, the birds cantry to spot Orion, Ursa Major and maybe even a shooting star before they nod off to sleep!
The Geo Bird Cage is available exclusively at Omlet, from $107!
The parakeet is the world’s most popular pet bird. When the first specimens were brought to Europe from Australia in the 1840s they were an instant hit. The reasons for their popularity are clear to anyone who has spent time in the company of these wonderful little birds. They are pocket-sized parrots, with all the personality of their bigger cousins – clever, colourful, and with the seemingly magical ability to learn human words… sometimes!
1. Parakeets don’t require much
Budgerigars are also easy to look after, and being small birds they have modest appetites, so they’re an inexpensive addition to the home. Their diet is based on seed, and as long as you source a good mix, without added colours or chemicals, the birds will thrive. They will also enjoy some fresh greens and other vegetables, but only in small quantities.
This reflects the birds diet in the wilds of Australia. They gather in large feeding flocks and seek out grass seeds. Most of these are fresh, of course, and in captivity the seed should be as fresh as possible too.
In terms of equipment, a good cage and basic accessories are all you need. You can give them simple things to play with, too, like ping-pong balls and bells. All very cheap, and incredibly cheerful.
2. Parkeets Have Fantastic Personalities
Beautiful as a pet canary or finch may be, you can’t train them beyond the basic perching-on-a-finger level. Parakeets, however, can take on board an amazing variety of skills, from coming to your hand when you call, to negotiating tunnels, skateboarding, and manoeuvring a ball around obstacles.
The key to these skills lies in bonding with your bird. It’s more than simply taming – it’s a human and bird friendship, the kind of connection you can only form with an intelligent animal. Parakeets are not alone in this, of course – the whole parrot family is renowned for its grey matter. But in a bird as small as a parakeet, intelligence appears even more remarkable.
3. Parakeets Can Talk To You!
Parakeets talk, pretty much all day, with various moods that you soon come to recognise. Not all the ‘talking’ consists of recognisable words – in fact many, if not most birds, never master human words. But it doesn’t really matter. It’s great fun if your bird takes on board a few words and phrases, but even without them parakeet sounds are a source of great pleasure.
Female parakeets are less inclined to speak than males. Of these, around half may pick up human words. They have more chance of learning if you start teaching them in their first nine months. Some require lots of time and effort, while others seem to soak up words with relative ease. Talk-time tends to be after a good feed or a spot of exercise. The parakeet will settle on his favourite perch and begin to chatter. The bubbling, clicking, whistling babble of speech sounds voice-like even when there are no human words in the mix. It’s a lovely, soothing backdrop to the day.
4. Parakeets Don’t Like Vets!
In other words, budgerigars are generally very healthy and robust birds. As long as they have a super-healthy diet and a clean environment (cages should be spruced-up once a fortnight), they will be strangers to the vet.
Parakeets also let you know on those rare occasions when they’re not feeling well. They will stop chattering non-stop, will sleep during the day, and will look sad and ‘droopy’ on their perch. Because, of course, there are potential illnesses, as there are with any animal. Give them a daily visual check – if they’re looking as happy and chirpy as usual, all is well. If you have any doubts, run through our checklist of possible problems, and have a word with a vet. Chances are they will never have met your bird before!
5. Parakeets Come in Endless Colour Patterns
Although there are just three basic colour combinations – green and yellow, blue and white, or a mixture of these – the variety of patterns within this mix is incredible. In some birds the white dominates, with other colours bursting through like flowers in a snowy meadow. Some birds have striking primary colours, while others have pastels, sometimes fading to just a hint of translucent colour. There are all-yellow parakeets, all-white ones, birds patterned in just greys and blacks, and, of course, classic green and yellow parakeets looking exactly like their Australian wild cousins.
Whichever variety of parakeet you bring home, you are guaranteed a bird packed with enough personality to fill a dozen birds twice its size. And this will be a long-lasting friendship, as a healthy and well fed parakeet can live up to 15 years. Enjoy your time together!
9 Things You Might Not Know About Hamster Cheek Pouches
All hamsters have cheek pouches. These expandable parts of the oral mucosa resemble small deflated balloons that can be filled with food, sometimes all the way back to the hip bone.
The main purpose of the pouches is to carry food from the source back to the burrow. This doesn’t only mean that the hamster can eat their food in peace, but also that they limit the number of times they have to leave the safety of their home. Hamsters in the wild are prey animals that have to eat every two hours, and if they had to return to the nest every time they found a seed or nut, they would potentially expose the position of the nest to predators. Instead they go out to collect food in the evening, and thanks to their pouches they only need to go once or maybe twice.
Hamsters can both eat and run with their cheeks full. They can stuff the cheeks with up to 20% of their body weight, but as the cheeks are extremely elastic and stay in place along the shoulders, they don’t noticeably affect the speed of the hamster or how far they can travel.
To keep the food fresh and dry during foraging trips, the hamster’s mouth doesn’t release any saliva into the pouches.
Female hamsters in the wild occasionally carry or hide their babies in the cheek pouches if the nest has to be evacuated for some reason. This is however probably not something you will see among pet hamsters.
In the wild hamsters will regularly sort through their stash and throw away food that has gone off. Again, you will probably not see this behaviour with a pet hamster, as they don’t have to forage for their food in the same way. If you give your hamster fresh fruit and veg, it is therefore important that you check if they have been storing these somewhere in the cage, and remove them before they go mouldy.
Hamsters do not only carry food in their pouches, they can also bring bedding or building material back to the burrow for nesting or decorating.
Some hamsters have a favorite cheek pouch that they will fill before the other one, whereas others always go for equal amounts in both.
Pet hamsters can sometimes experience problems with their cheek pouches, including abscesses, infections and tumours, so it’s important that owners keep an eye out and carry out regular health checks. The only thing you as an owner can do to avoid these problems is to stay away from sharp or sticky food that might get stuck in the cheeks or cause cuts, as well as contact your vet if you do notice something that doesn’t seem right.
We are giving away 5 Caddi Treat Holders, an entertaining and stimulating feed toy for chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs, on our Twitter Page! All you need to do to enter is follow Omlet on Twitter and comment on the competition tweet with whether you have a 🐰, 🐹 or 🐓.
Terms and Conditions The competition closes at midnight on the 20th April 2020. To enter please comment on the Caddi competition tweet on the Omlet Twitter page – you must also be following the page. Five winners will receive a Caddi Treat Holder for Chickens, Rabbits or Guinea Pigs. The winners will be randomly selected from all entries worldwide and notified within 7 days of the competition closing. If the winners do not respond to claim the prize within 7 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize and pick replacement winners. Omlet reserve the right to withdraw or amend the competition at any point. Prize cannot be transferred to cash. This competition is not open to Omlet employees or members of their immediate families. All entries must be made on the relevant competition post. The winner agrees to the use of their name and any reasonable requests by Omlet relating to any post-winning publicity.
Our chickens provide us with entertainment, company and fresh eggs – and lots and lots of poo! While cleaning out the Eglu might not be the most fun part of chicken keeping, those droppings can be turned into what gardeners sometimes refer to as “black gold”, one of the most desired fertilizers out there – and you can get it for free! There are however a few things to think about when it comes to getting chicken manure right. Keep reading to find out more!
It can all be used
Unlike some other types of manure, chicken manure is too strong to use straight on your flower beds or vegetable patches. It will burn the roots or other parts of your flowers and crops, and can also contain harmful bacteria that can cause illness if ingested. This is why it needs to be composted!
While you can put the chicken droppings straight on a bed in autumn and cover it with dry leaves that will moult through the winter, your best shot is probably to be patient and let it mature in a separate place. Whether you do a weekly clean or pick up droppings in your Eglu every day, everything in the coop can be put straight onto your compost, including the bedding. Adding the bedding helps create the correct ratio or carbon (bedding) and nitrogen (droppings) needed to break down plant matter and waste. As chicken droppings are extremely high in nitrogen, you will probably want to add a larger ratio of other plant matter than you would in a normal compost. Dried leaves from the garden will make a great addition.
We recommend having a sealed container for your compost rather than a heap in a corner, as the latter can attract rodents and pets that should not be ingesting chicken poo.
Composting chicken droppings
Apart from carbon and nitrogen, your compost will need air, moisture and heat. This is easily done, all you need to do is to water your mixture thoroughly and turn the heap every few weeks to get air flowing through. This will automatically heat the compost, breaking down the plant matter and burning off unwanted bacteria.
If you want to speed up the process and become a composting champion, you can purchase a compost thermometer at a local garden center and keep an eye on the temperature in the middle of the heap. The ideal temperature is 130-150 degrees Fahrenheit, and this should be maintained for about 3 days, after which you will need to turn the matter completely and start over.
This is however not necessary, you can just leave the compost to do its magic, just turning it regularly. How long it will take depends on the conditions, but to be sure everything is properly composted you should leave it for 9 months to a year.
Adding black gold to your garden
Once composted, chicken manure adds organic matter to your soil and increases the soil’s capacity to hold water, as well as returning nutrients to the soil. It’s also an amazing fertilizer that provides your plants with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in much higher levels than other types of manure. Chicken manure can be spread on top of your vegetable patch or flower bed, or worked into existing soil. You can also put a handful of manure in a watering can and let it mix for a while before giving your flowers a very nutritious shower.
If you have composted the manure properly all the harmful bacteria will have been burned, and there is very little risk of you getting ill. However, if you’re on the worried side of things, make sure you clean your veg properly before eating them, or use the chicken manure on crops that are not touching the ground, like sweetcorn, peas or tomatoes.
All hamster owners know that they make great pets! They are cute and cuddly, but also very independent and clever. Whether you’re a beginner or a long term hamster fan there is always more to learn about these amazing critters! That’s why we’ve put together this Best of Hamsters, a few blog blogs with more information and advice, perfect for teaching your children about their pet, as well as some DIY fun you can do together!
12 Interesting Facts About Hamsters
Hamsters are rodents from the subfamily Cricetinae. They were brought to the United States from Syria in 1936. There are approximately… Read more
Hamsters make excellent pets – they’re fun, cute, and relatively easy to care for. Their cuddly credentials have made them popular pets all over the world. Hamsters bring a lot of joy to a lot of people, but how can… Read more
Want to Teach your Hamster Tricks? Here are our Best Tips!
Someone once said that you can train anything that has a brain that connects to a stomach, and that goes for hamsters as well. They are actually very clever little creatures and probably capable of more than you think – like learning tricks for example! Training your hamster is a… Read more
Hamsters love to play and explore! There are many toys and treats available to buy for your furry friend, but wouldn’t it be great to design and construct an exciting maze for them? They are… Read more
Spring might be the best time of year for rabbits! The sun is returning, the grass is fresh and luscious, and they can finally spend most of their time outdoors without you having to worry about rain storms and cold spells.
That wonderful time of year is nearly here, so now is the perfect time to look over your pets current set up and make sure they have enough space to play on and that it’s safe and stimulating enough to keep them entertained and relaxed.
If you already have a run, go over it and make sure it’s holding up and will keep your bunnies safe. You might need to replace some run clips, grease some locks or possibly change a panel. If you’re new to keeping rabbits or looking to extend, it’s important to find a safe and spacious solution that suits your garden. The Omlet Outdoor Rabbit Run is a great alternative if you want to create a large, secure area where rabbits can spend their days. It can easily be connected to your Eglu Go Hutch, so that your rabbits can nip into their cosy home for a nap or a snack. The generous height of the run also allows you to go in and spend time with your pets.
The Zippi Runs are also a great solution for rabbit owners. These secure runs give your pets more exercise space, and they can be customised for your needs with two heights and optional roof panels and underfloor mesh.
You will most likely be spending more time in the garden as the weather gets warmer, and if you have kids they will want to join in and play with the rabbits. The Zippi Playpens are super easy to move around the garden and allow you to spend quality time with your rabbits.
If you have a hutch and a run but are tired of having to carry your pets between the two, the Zippi Tunnel System might be the perfect solution for you. By connecting the tunnels to the different areas you allow the rabbits to move between their different habitats at their own pace. They can be locked at the end of the day to secure your pets in their hutch. You can adjust your Zippi Tunnel System to fit your garden by adding connectors, corners, hay racks and lookout towers. It is also super easy to add extra tunnels at a later date if you want to make your pets’ playground bigger!
You can make sure your rabbits stay dry from those inevitable April showers by adding covers to the roof of your run. We have got plenty of different kinds of covers to suit your setup and protect your pets from the elements. The clear covers are perfect for early spring days as they let in light on the run even in rain, whereas the heavy duty versions will provide your pets with a shady spot in warmer weather.
Next step in creating the perfect run is to add some entertainment for your pets. Designed to mimic an underground rabbit warren in the wild, the Omlet Play Tunnels are the perfect accessory for your run. The rabbits will love chasing each other through the tunnels or stretching their long legs and jumping over their toys.
Another way of providing your rabbits with entertainment and stimulation is to make snack time slightly more challenging. The Caddi Treat Holder can easily be filled with nutritious veg or hay and then hung from the top of the run. It will slowly swing as the rabbits nibble away at their tasty greens, adding an interactive element that is also more hygienic than putting the food straight on the ground.
If you want to make sure you have everything sorted for the outdoor months ahead you can print screen the list below and tick off all rabbit run essentials!
Eggs are truly amazing things, and sometimes we might take them for granted. For something that only takes the hen about 24 hours to make, they are eggstremely well engineered and cleverly constructed, as well as really delicious! Here are some cracking egg blogs that will hopefully make you appreciate the humble egg a bit more!
Why are chicken eggs different colours?
The ancestor of all chickens is the Red Junglefowl, Gallus gallus, a native of South-east Asia. All Junglefowl eggs have shells of a creamy white colour. And yet, as any chicken keeper knows, the eggs of domestic… Read more
As long as your chickens are laying and there’s a cockerel in your flock, you can hatch and incubate chicks all year round. However, traditionally the most popular time to breed your own chickens is in the spring. Hatching and rearing your own chicks from eggs… Read more
Why chickens hide their eggs and how to stop them doing it?
If you’re keeping chickens in your garden, you’ve probably become accustomed to your morning routine: wake up, drink a cup of tea or coffee and collect fresh eggs from your flock. Of course it’s an unpleasant… Read more
Make Easter more colourful with this super fun craft for the whole family – marbled eggs! Watch the video or follow the instructions below.
You will need:
Take an egg and gently poke a hole at one end. Poke a hole at the other end of the egg which is slightly larger than the first.
Empty the egg by carefully blowing through the smaller of the holes, pushing the inside of the egg out into a bowl.
Set aside the egg mixture.
Add a tablespoon of food colouring to a bowl and mix with a splash of hot water and a tablespoon of vinegar.
Put the empty eggs in the bowls and let them sit there for a while, regularly turning them to get an even coating.
When the eggs has got some colour to them, drain and put on the side to dry.
Add a few drops of a different food colouring to a plate and mix with some water and a drop of vegetable oil. Roll the eggs on the plate to cover them in the second colour. They don’t need to be fully covered.
Repeat with a few different colours, adding more layers.
Let the eggs dry on a piece of kitchen roll.
You will now have some beautiful and truly unique marbled Easter eggs! Wash your hands thoroughly and scramble the eggs you put aside earlier for a delicious lunch!
While an Eggscalator for lazy hens is not available (yet,) you can still bring your chicken coop into the 21st century with the amazing Automatic Chicken Coop Door from Omlet.
Here’s 7 reasons why the Autodoor is the best of its kind…
The Autodoor can be installed on all wooden chicken coops, the MK1 and MK2 Eglu Cube, plus all Eglu runs and chicken wires.
You can set your Autodoor to open and close at a specific time or light percentage to suit your chickens’ routine. No need to get up at the crack of dawn in summer to let your chickens out – the Autodoor will do it for you!
Don’t worry about keeping your chicken coop close to a power source, the Autodoor is battery-powered by 4 AA batteries which can last up to 6 months.
Reliable in all weather conditions, this is a gadget that will take you from winter to summer, and back again with no problem.
The Autodoor’s built in safety sensors ensure no chicken is harmed or trapped in the door when investigating their new gadget.
Improved coop security! The horizontal Autodoor is far safer than it’s vertical, guillotine style competitors, which can be easily lifted by predators.
Low maintenance and easy to install, the Autoodor includes everything you need to get started in one box!
You can now connect a coop light to your Autodoor to encourage your chickens to return in the evening. It also makes checking on your pets in the evening much easier!