The Omlet Blog

Date Archives: July 2020

Best Dog Breeds for First Time Owners

When choosing a dog – especially if it’s your first one – the key is to find a breed that complements your lifestyle. Like us, some dogs are happy to spend most of their time relaxing indoors, while others want to run half marathons every day.

So, think about your lifestyle, and then find the dog to match. Here are some helpful lifestyle and dog breed matches to help you narrow down the field.

Dogs for Sofa Lovers

Being an evening couch potato doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lazy – it probably means you’ve had a busy day at work, and need some downtime. Plenty of dog breeds fit this ‘couch canine’ lifestyle, including:

  • Dachshund – these loveable ‘Sausage Dogs’ can actually damage their spines if they’re forced to take too much exercise. They will still need a morning walk, though!
  • Greyhound – this one surprises people who don’t know the breed well. “Greyhounds?”, they say, “Surely all they want to do is chase hares at breakneck speed all day?” Well, yes, they can run fast; but their preferred lifestyle is actually long, lazy days, with a couple of short runs in the park.
  • French Bulldog – they’ll be hyperactive for 20 minutes on a walk, and then they’ll be worn out. Lacking endurance, this makes them perfect for anyone who lacks time for long walks every day.

The popular lapdog breeds fall into this category too, including Chihuahua, Pug, King Charles Spaniel, Pekingese, Shih Tzu and Yorkie.

Dogs for Busy Outdoor Lifestyles

If you do lots of hiking or running, there are plenty of high-endurance dog breeds that will just love keeping up with you every step of the way.

  • Dalmatian – these loveable hounds will find 101 reasons to run and play all day. Whatever you’re doing outdoors, they’ll be with you every step of the way.
  • Border Collie – possibly the dogs with the busiest work ethic, they will happily be hyperactive from dawn to dusk. If there’s no work on offer, they’ll find it for themselves. That ball game isn’t just a game, it’s a job, and the Border Collie will make sure it’s done properly – all day long, if needs be!
  • Husky – a breed that was developed to pull heavy sledges for hundreds of miles is not going to be content with anything but a busy lifestyle. These dogs need lots of exercise – as many miles a day as you can give them. Not for the faint-hearted!

Many other larger breeds suit active lifestyles, including German Shepherd, Pointer, Boxer and Labrador Retriever. Some smaller dogs pack an energy punch, too, and the Boston Terrier and Jack Russell, for example, will be able to keep up with you no matter how long the journey home is.

Child’s Play – Best Dogs for Kids

Although children should not be given full responsibility for a pet dog, there are plenty of breeds that are very child friendly.

  • Labrador retriever and Golden retriever – these are probably the perfect family dogs. Retrievers are gentle and loving, and treat children with a mixture of respect and parental care. They’re incredibly soft and good natured.
  • Irish (or Red) Setter – this breed seems to have been developed to play with children! Playful, but gentle, children often form very tight bonds with this wonderfully handsome dog.
  • Old English Sheepdog – these dogs love nothing better than chilling with the kids. They’re gentle giants.

There are plenty more dogs in this category. The Newfoundland, for example, is even more giant than the Old English, and just as gentle. Boxers and Beagles are good with the kids too – as long as they’re well trained from an early age.

Dogs for People Allergic to Dogs!

Don’t despair! Your pet-induced sneezing and asthma doesn’t mean you can never be a dog owner. The thing you’re allergic to is a protein found on animals’ skin, and/or shed hairs. Although no breed is officially hypoallergenic, the commonest ones in families where allergies are a problem are:

  • Poodle (both full size and Toy)
  • Schnauzer
  • Basenji
  • Bichon Frise
  • Samojed
  • Shih Tzu

This is not a precise science, and some people are definitely more “allergic” than others. Many people who sneeze and wheeze at most dogs find that they are okay with Yorkies and Westies, even though these have longer hair than the average hound. At the same time, the short-haired Boxer can cause strong allergic reactions in many sufferers.

The key here is to spend some time with the breed before making the decision to bring one home.

The takeaway message is clear – there are many dog breeds out there, with many different personalities and requirements. Matching those traits to your own lifestyle and circumstances is the sure path to finding the perfect pet.

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This entry was posted in Dogs on July 31st, 2020 by linnearask


Dogs and Swimming Pools

While it’s true that most dogs can swim, not all of them actually enjoy it. Some dogs’ idea of swimming involves paddling for dry land as quickly as possible, while some take to the water as if they were otters in a previous life.

With some breeds, the clue is in the name. The Irish Water Spaniel and the Portuguese Water Dog, for example, love taking the plunge, as do Poodles, Newfoundlands, Setters, Retrievers and many more. Some dogs, however, are simply not built for swimming. Dachshunds, with their short legs, and Pugs and English Bulldogs, with their short necks and poor breathing, struggle in water.

When confronted with lakes and rivers on a walk, the dog will decide for itself whether or not it wants to take a quick dip. In a garden pool, however, you need to be aware of the various safety and hygiene issues, because at some point your pet is bound to take to the water.

Mastering the Doggy Paddle

If the pool is a public one, dogs will simply not be allowed, so safety issues don’t arise. Pools in people’s backyards, however, become just as much a part of the dog’s playground as the humans’. Rule number one for pool owners – or for owners who visit friends with dog-friendly pools – is to make sure your dog is safe in the water.

A weak swimmer will tire very quickly and can soon get into trouble if unsupervised. Training your dog to swim to safety is therefore very important. Using your usual “Come!” command will usually work well. For smaller dogs, or if the pool is high-sided, a ramp should be attached to the side to allow the dog to clamber out. If the pool has steps, make sure the dog knows where they are. If the pool is large, make your dog jump in from different points, and guide them to the exit each time, to make sure they have a clear mental map of how to get out.

Another popular option is a dog life-jacket, which will allow your pet to swim while preventing it from sinking fast if things go wrong. If you never leave the dog unsupervised, these shouldn’t really be necessary; but if you are having a busy afternoon, your eye might not always be on your pet, so a dog flotation vest is great for ensuring peace of mind.

Some dogs really take to floats and inflatables (claw-proof ones made specifically for dogs, ideally). They can use them to take a break from paddling, or can simply lie on them like a human on a sun lounger.

If a dog gets itself into serious difficulties and needs rescuing, knowing how to administer CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can save the pet’s life. There are tutorials available for this online, or you could ask your vet for advice.

Don’t Drink the Water

Dogs can quickly overheat if the sun is beating down, and they may naturally take to water to cool down. Swimming is hot business, though, and it’s far better for your pet to cool down in the shade with some fresh water to drink.

And that’s another hazard – a hot, thirsty dog in a pool will do what come naturally and drink some of the pool water. If they lap up too much of the chlorinated water, they may become sick. Again, providing some fresh water somewhere cool and shaded will prevent them drinking from the pool.

Just like a human, a dog who has spent time in the pool will need rinsing off, to remove the potentially irritating chlorine and other chemicals from its fur, eyes and skin.

Your Dog Loves the Pool, But Does the Pool Love Your Dog?

There are three major issues for a swimming pool used by dogs: bacteria, hair, and wear & tear.

The bacteria is associated with poop and pee. The dog doesn’t need to actually relieve itself in the pool for these contaminants to be released into the water. However, as long as your pool is properly maintained and chemically treated, the bacteria will be killed, so this should not be an issue.

The hair factor is more of a problem. Dog hair will accumulate in the pool filter surprisingly quickly if your pet sheds a lot. A good brushing before swimming will help, but you will still need to clean the filter and other pool machinery more often than you would with human-only swimmers.

Wear and tear is an issue with doggy paddlers because of their claws. They will scrabble at the sides of a pool, and at the bottom of a shallow area. A pool lined with plaster, pebbles or tile will withstand the clawing, while plastic or vinyl-lined pool may spring a leak. You should also bear in mind that dog claws and children swimming in the same pool may be asking for trouble, too.

Follow these simple guidelines and precautions, and pools can be enjoyed by dogs and owners alike. But don’t force the issue – some dogs love the wet stuff, while others prefer to keep their feet on dry land.

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This entry was posted in Dogs on July 29th, 2020 by linnearask


20 Signs That You’re Spoiling Your Dog

  
  

Whether it’s homemade treats, new toys or a long game of fetch that makes you late for work, there are many ways to show your dog how much you love them. But are you spoiling them? Probably. Does it matter? Probably not.

These are 20 tell-tale signs that suggest you’re spoiling your furry friend.

1.

There’s nothing in the snack cupboard except dog treats. That’s good, as it means you’re not feeding all the treats at once; but it’s not so good if you were looking for a crafty snack of your own…

2.

You’ve gone to the pet shop with your dog, and you’re letting them ‘choose’ the toys and chews they want. So far, you have a very full basket!

3.

You buy a bigger, better sprinkler for the garden just because your dog had such fun with the old one. The lawn doesn’t actually need the extra water at the moment, but your dog does!

4.

You buy a new squeaky toy to play tug-of-war with, even though the old ones are still in good shape. After all, this is the first time your pet has had a toy shaped like a lobster…

5.

You realise you’re looking forward to your dog’s day at the Puppy Spa next week as much as you’re looking forward to your romantic stay in a spa hotel the following weekend.

6.

Your bags of dog treats have healthier ingredients than your own treats – all organic, sustainably sourced, and packed with vitamins and minerals.

7.

Your afternoon dedicated to DIY has disappeared, dedicated instead to giving belly rubs, playing with sticks and balls, and going for a long, leisurely walk in the park to say hello to the ducks.

8.

The freezer has lots of yummy frozen doggy treats, but no ice creams or popsicles for you and the kids.

9.

You’ve spent two hours in the kitchen baking. The result? Several trays of dog biscuits for your pet and all his doggy friends in the neighbourhood.

10.

You’re sitting on the not-very-comfy chair, because your dog is curled up on the comfier one.

11.

You’re not particularly enjoying the show on TV, but you keep it on because it’s your dog’s favourite.

12.

You buy toys and treats for your dog’s birthday or for their Christmas stocking – and hide them away on a high shelf to keep them secret until the big day.

13.

You phone home on a business trip, and your first question is “How’s the dog?”

14.

You’re an expert in dog massage and essential oils for dogs, but don’t know much about massage and essential oils for humans.

15.

You give your dog its dinner slightly early so that you can both sit down and watch the new Scooby Doo or Lassie film together later.

16.

Your dog’s annual hairdresser bill is bigger than yours.

17.

You have a list of all the local dog-friendly restaurants in your neighborhood, and compile one for all the places you visit with your pet.

18.

Your dog’s ‘room’ under the stairs was planned and decorated with more care than your living room.

19.

You decide not to offload your bad day on the dog, because you don’t want them to worry.

20.

You’ve taken a trip to the seaside with your dog yet again. You hadn’t intended coming back so soon, but the dog insisted…

As long as it doesn’t involve overeating, over-fussing or over-exercising, there are all kinds of ways to spoil your dog. And the great thing is, the dog won’t feel spoilt at all, just loved.

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This entry was posted in Dogs on July 28th, 2020 by linnearask


How Our Pets Saved Us in Lockdown

2020 has certainly been an unusual year for most of us so far. Here at Omlet we’ve been working from home since the end of March, and many of us have spent more time than normal with our chickens, dogs, cats and other pets. To get an idea of how pet ownership has affected lockdown, we decided to ask our followers how their pets had helped them cope with these strange times. Here is a summary of the results:

88% of people agreed that staying at home has been easier with a pet! It’s no news that pets are great emotional support during difficult times, and apart from that they keep you busy. If you keep chickens you have to go out in the garden a few times a day to refill food and water or check on your girls, and if you have a dog they must be walked. Having routines is a great way of keeping structure when things are uncertain, and will benefit both physical and mental health, so it’s no wonder that 88% of people are thankful for having a pet throughout lockdown! 

Nearly 2 out of 3 people thought that their pets had enjoyed seeing more of their owners, which shows how little they actually require from us. It doesn’t have to be long hikes or elaborate playtime setups, just having you around is enough for most pets. Only 0.5% said that their pets seemed annoyed or tired by the additional human interaction – can we guess that these people own independent cats by any chance?

1 in 4 people said they spent more time teaching their pets tricks during lockdown. 

Many of us have been working from home and tried to master all the challenges that come with setting up a home office. For people with pets this challenge might have been even bigger. Whether by squeaking guinea pigs, clucking hens or barking dogs, 75% of people said that they had been easily distracted from work by their furry or feathery friend. 50% had also had a video called interrupted by their pet.

76% of everyone who took the survey said they would like to work from home more often in the future so they can spend more time with their pets. As we have already established, our pets have also seemed happy to have us at home more, so it’s certainly a setup that would benefit both pets and owners. 

Not as many people would like to bring their pets into work with them; only a third said they’d like to let their pet meet their colleagues. We’re guessing this might have to do partly with what animals people have got, and how convenient it would be to take them to work. Sure, we’ve heard of office dogs, but is an office chicken taking things a bit too far? 

Out of the people who would like to take their pet to work with them in the future, nearly two thirds believed that their boss would not allow it. If you reckon your boss would say no, let them know that studies done with office dogs show that having a four legged friend running between the desks proved to boost morale, increase job satisfaction and reduce stress within companies and organisations.

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This entry was posted in Pets on July 28th, 2020 by linnearask


How Should Chicken Eggs Be Stored?

We are all used to the idea of fresh food being clean and chilled, so surely the best method of storing eggs is to wash and refrigerate them?

The answer is ‘no’. With a bit of ‘yes’ thrown in. Although the collective knowledge of chicken keepers is vast, there is still debate about the best way to store eggs.

We’ve gathered the various ends of the argument and summarized them below. Welcome to the debate!

Washed eggs?

Unless the eggs are soiled – which is the result of mud or chicken poo in the hen house, rather than dirt deposited during the actual laying – they do not need washing. A freshly laid egg has a shell covered in a protective ‘bloom’, called the cuticle, and this acts as an antibacterial defence system. If it’s washed off, the protection is washed off too. However, if the eggs are then stored in clean boxes, this won’t be a huge issue.

Eggs with dirty shells should be wiped clean, and it’s a good idea to use these soiled ones first – mainly to keep the egg box or egg-skelter looking pretty!

Chilled eggs?

Some chicken keepers keep their eggs in the fridge, while others believe this is unnecessary. So what’s the best advice?

There are two rules of thumb – keep them below 70°F, and keep them away from strong odours, as these may affect the flavor. Other than that, it’s really up to you.

A study was carried out in 2013 by Food Test Laboratories in England, comparing the fate of two batches of supermarket eggs. The eggs were kept for two weeks, half of them in the fridge, and the other half at room temperature. In England, supermarket eggs are not washed before being sold, so the eggs still has the supportive cuticle on the shell.

The eggs were tested for ‘usual suspect’ bacteria such as salmonella and listeria, at the beginning of the experiment and two weeks later. The results demonstrated why there is such divided opinion on the issue, as neither sets of eggs showed any signs of bacterial nasties, inside or out.

It’s the cuticle ‘bloom’ that keeps the eggs fresh and bacteria-free. If you’ve had to wash them, it’s probably a good idea to refrigerate them, as the shells will not be protected. Keep them in boxes on the fridge shelves, rather than in a fitted plastic egg tray in the fridge door (formerly a regular feature in new refrigerators).

Eggs don’t like being shaken, as it causes the egg whites to deteriorate and turn slightly watery. An egg that’s shaken by the constant opening of the fridge door is likely to lose its binding qualities in baking, and will look very sad, flat and watery in the poaching or frying pan. Fridge doors are the warmest part of the appliance too, and the area of the fridge where temperature fluctuates the most, which isn’t ideal for egg storage.

Egg basket or box?

Eggs kept outside the fridge can be stacked in boxes, with the oldest ones in the topmost boxes. This age factor is less easy to sort out if you keep the eggs in a wire basket, although these look great on display. Some chicken owners use color coding dots, or even dates, to sort the young from the old. If you’re unsure about relative age, you can always use the traditional ageing method: place the eggs in a bowl of water, and watch how they sit. Very fresh ones will lie flat on the bottom, while older ones will have their pointed ends raised. Ones that are way past their use-by date will float.

Another advantage of egg boxes is that you can store the eggs with their rounded ends at the top. This keeps the yolks centred, which makes them look their best if you’re hard- or soft-boiling. However, if most of your eggs end up in cakes and quiches, this isn’t going to be an issue.

An egg skelter is another attractive way of storing the fruits of your hens’ labours. These keep the eggs in age-order, and they look great too.

Storing shelled eggs?

Any leftover raw egg can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. It should be used within three days. Stored yolks should be covered in water to prevent them drying out. The water can be poured away before use.

Uneaten cooked eggs (i.e. hard-boiled) will always leave an ‘eggy’ smell in the fridge. This is caused by hydrogen sulphide, a gas that forms when eggs are cooked (you’ll notice it’s never present in raw eggs). Although not exactly pleasant, the gas is harmless. Eggs stored in this way should be eaten within one week.

So, the main takeaway here is that eggs can be stored wherever you want them to be stored. As long as you keep them away from heat, strong odours and too much shaking, you’ve got the storage conundrum cracked!

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This entry was posted in Chickens on July 16th, 2020 by linnearask


10 Cat Hacks All Cat Owners Should Know

1.

If you have problems with your cat eating their food too quickly, try changing their food bowl to a larger, shallow plate. This will slow them down significantly as they have to take smaller mouthfuls, which minimizes the risk of the food coming back up again. 

2.

If you’re worried your cat doesn’t drink enough water, try putting the water bowl in a different spot to where they get fed. In the wild, cats will not drink at the same place as they eat to avoid the meat contaminating the water, and this behaviour lives on with some pet cats.

3.

Does your cat rub against your laptop or try to sit on the keyboard as you’re trying to work from home? Bring out the best cat toy of all time, the cardboard box! Place a box on your desk and most cats will forget about you and happily play or curl up in the box.

4.

Try freezing some of the treats you give to your cat. The unusual texture and temperature of the treat will stimulate several of the cat’s senses and encourage explorative play. This is especially good in summer when the cat will love the cooling effect even more.

5.

If you want to keep your cat off the kitchen counter, a new sofa or an expensive side table, put some double sided tape over the surface where the cat’s sharp claws would cause damage. Cats hate the feeling of the sticky tape, and will quickly learn to avoid these spots. At that point you can remove the tape. 

6.

The best way to avoid cat hair all over the house is to get on top of grooming and brush your cat regularly, preferably daily. It doesn’t only decrease unwanted shedding, it also helps the cat groom itself and prevents matted fur and hairballs. Get a brush that suits your cat’s type of hair and make it a lovely time of the day together with your cat. 

7.

For fur that has gathered on carpets and upholstery, put on a rubber glove and run your hand over the surface to gather up pet hair. Shower squeegees can also be useful for this task!

8.

Potted plants sometimes become alternative litter boxes, which is neither nice nor very good for the plant. To stop your cat from going in the pot, cover the soil with a layer of pine cones. These blend in nicely, but will put your feline friend off. 

9.

One of the best ways of stimulating an indoor cat is to give them a place to climb. If you haven’t got enough space for a large climbing station, put up some shelves that the cat can explore. 

10.

No matter how much you groom your cat and make sure the house is nice and clean, the cat’s bed will still be exposed to a lot of hair and dirt. Make sure you get a cat bed with a machine washable cover that can be cleaned over and over again without fading or weakening.

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This entry was posted in Cats on July 10th, 2020 by linnearask


10 Things Not to Do in Summer if You’re a Chicken Keeper

1. Don’t leave the coop and run in the sun

If possible, move the coop into a shaded spot of the backyard, maybe under a tree or in the north-facing side of your house that doesn’t get as much sun. This means that it will be nice and cool when the girls want to go to bed in the evening, or if one of them wants to go in to lay during the day. The Eglu chicken coops are so easy to move that you, on a really hot day, could effortlessly move it around the garden as the sun moves.

2. Don’t leave the water for too long

Your chickens will drink more in summer. To minimize the risk of algae in the water, as well as dust and dirt from the chickens, change the water at least once a day in hot weather. Place the drinker in a shaded spot on the run and make sure it’s really cold when you put it out. 

3. Don’t overfeed your birds

Dried corn and grains take longer to digest than pellets or fresh food, which wastes energy and heats the body unnecessarily. The chickens will not need to eat as much in hot weather, and if they were to get hungry during the day, your backyard will be full of bugs and fresh green material at this time of year.

4. Don’t leave your chickens alone for too long

When it’s really hot outside it’s important that chicken owners keep an eye on their flock to look for signs of overheating. An open beak, panting and wings held away from the body are signs the chicken is hot. If you think one of your hens is really struggling, try dipping her bottom in a bucket of cold water. This will cool her down for a bit and allow the body to reset.

5. Don’t depend on water

You can leave a small paddling pool or shallow containers out for your chickens to cool down in, but it’s unfortunately not very likely your hens will use them. It might be better to create a mud bath in a corner of the run; chickens are much more likely to approach mud and sand to cool down than water.

6. Don’t play with your chickens

Interaction with the chickens might lead to more movement for them, which increases their body temperature. If you want to spend time with your chickens, or need to pick them up for health checks, do so early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler.

7. Don’t cover the run completely

Covering your chicken run with a lot of covers might seem like a good idea to create a shady spot, but if you don’t let air circulate, it’s likely to become a boiling tunnel of warm air. It’s extremely important to have ventilation, so that fresh air can move around. This goes for your coop as well. The Eglu’s cleverly designed ventilation system allows air to circulate in the coop at all times, keeping it nice, cool and fresh even on the hottest of days. Choose a few darker covers to give your pets shade on the run as well.

8. Don’t leave the eggs

You’re probably getting fewer eggs than normal during the warmest weeks of the year. That’s completely normal, chickens don’t lay as much when they are hot, and some go broody and stop laying completely. Although the eggs won’t go bad if you leave them in the nest box of an Eglu for a day, eggs in the nest can encourage broodiness and result in egg eating, so it’s good to collect all as soon as you discover them.

9. Don’t put off cleaning

It’s always important to keep the coop nice and clean for your girls, but maybe even more so in summer. Parasites and pests are stronger when it’s warmer, including red mite, so make sure to use a bird safe disinfectant and cover roosting bars and perches in mite powder to prevent problems at least once a week.

10. Don’t treat all chickens the same

If you have a flock with mixed breeds or have had chickens in the past but now own a different breed, remember that different chickens need different care. Some breeds are much better than others at handling heat, and some really struggle. Read up on the breeds you’ve got here, and take extra care of vulnerable birds.

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This entry was posted in Chickens on July 10th, 2020 by linnearask


Choose The Right Cover For Your Run

We often get asked which is the best cover for an Eglu run to keep pets comfortable all year round. Read our simple guide below so you know how to help your pets in all weathers!

Summer Shades

These shades are a thinner cover material which offers protection from the sun, without creating a tunnel where heat can build up inside the run. These are smaller than the winter covers to allow better airflow through the run for ventilation. Move the summer shade around the run to suit the time of day and your hens’ routine. You may wish to change this for a Clear or Combi Cover in summer when there’s rain on the way!

Clear Covers

The Clear Covers allow for sunlight to flood your pet’s run, while also offering protection from rain. This makes them ideal for spring and autumn, so the run is light and warm with sun, but also protected from unpredictable wind and rain. 

Combi Covers

Get the best of both worlds, with shade from the sun on one side and light coming in the other, as well as full wind and rain protection on both sides. The Combi Covers are half dark green, heavy duty cover for extreme wind and rain protection, and half clear cover to let in sunlight and warmth and to let your pets see when you are bringing them treats!

Heavy Duty Covers

For strong, hard-wearing protection against the worst of winter choose heavy duty covers. Even when the temperature drops, the rain and wind batters your pets home, or a deluge of snow covers your garden, the dark green, impenetrable heavy duty covers offer sturdy weather protection. Your chickens or rabbits will be able to hop around the Eglu run in complete peace, without getting cold, damp or wind-swept!

Extreme Temperature Covers

Chickens and rabbits are very efficient at keeping themselves warm in cold weather, and the Eglu’s twin wall insulation will assist them by keeping cool air out and warm air in, but when temperatures plummet for multiple days in a row, they may appreciate a little extra support. The Extreme Temperature Blankets and Jackets add another insulating layer, like your favourite wooly sweater, without compromising the ventilation points around the coop. 

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This entry was posted in Chickens on July 7th, 2020 by linnearask


A Pets’ Guide to Surviving Fireworks

Some pets hardly seem to notice fireworks. Others hide quietly until it’s all over. But some are genuinely traumatised by the noisy, flashing skies of Independence Day.

For a pet who’s afraid of the bangs, whizzes and flashes, the fireworks season is bad news. There are, however, a few things you can do to minimise the stress.

The Big Bang

When talking about pets hating fireworks, we’re usually talking about dogs. Some dog charities estimates that 45% of dogs are afraid of fireworks to some degree.

Cats will find a quiet space away from all the fuss (although some individuals certainly get stressed by all the noise). Keep your cats indoors when the fireworks are going on. They can quickly panic if fireworks go off suddenly nearby, or if sparkler-waving children come running down the street.

Small animals such as gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs will either ignore the explosions or sit it out in their hidey holes.

Most caged birds don’t enjoy the sudden rupturing of the night skies – they like their nights to be dark and their days to be light, not a crazy mixture of the two. If your parakeet, parrot, canary or pet finch is in a room affected by the flashing lights, you might want to cover the cage. But some birds don’t seem to ruffle a feather, in spite of the fireworks.

What you should never do is allow the pets to be trapped in their outdoor runs or aviaries with no bolt hole. As long as outdoor pets have a covered area to escape to, they should be fine.

Dogs Hate Fireworks

If your dog isn’t too fazed by the noise and lights, simply keep him indoors while the party rages outside. For more skittish dogs, there are a few extra precautions to take.

  • Stay indoors with the curtains and windows closed. A scared dog caught outside is very likely to run away.
  • Use a crate or other safe space. If there’s somewhere the dog associates with safety – a Fido Crate, perhaps, or a quiet room with a dog bed – make use of it. If there’s a room facing away from the main area of firework activity, put the dog in there. A bathroom often works well for this purpose. Gentle music can help keep out the noise too. Put familiar objects in the safe room – the dog’s bed and blanket, and some favourite toys. And stay with him, unless he’s happy to curl up and sleep through the storm.
  • For very nervous dogs, vets recommend a wrap or dog vest, tight enough to apply gentle, constant pressure. This soothes and calms your poor pet.
  • Stay calm yourself, and stay with your dog. That will help enormously.
  • Don’t be tempted to let your dog go outside for any reason, and make sure he’s had his walk before the celebrations begin. Even a dog who takes it all in his stride indoors might suddenly panic outdoors when the fireworks start to fizz.

Prepare In Advance

You can desensitise dogs to the sound of fireworks to a certain extent, by getting them used to loud noises. The best way to do this is to play thunderstorm or fireworks sounds at a low volume, giving the dog treats and lots of fuss and play in the meantime. If you then increase the volume while keeping up the treats and play, it will, in most cases, make your dog associate the noise with good times.

This doesn’t work with all dogs, but it’s definitely worth a try if you want to have a stress-free 4th July. There’s not long to go, so better start now!

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This entry was posted in Pets on July 1st, 2020 by linnearask


6 Ways Keeping Chickens Will Benefit Your Garden

1. Fertilizer

Chicken manure is one of the best things you can use to improve the soil in your garden. Once composted, chicken droppings are full of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other important nutrients, and increases the soil’s ability to hold water. This means more beautiful flowers, and bigger and more delicious vegetables!Collect your chickens’ droppings and compost for up to a year before using the manure. 

2. Pest Control

Chickens spend their days scratching around the garden in search of yummy treats. They love finding beetles, grubs, caterpillars and ticks. Sometimes they even go for those pesky slugs! This is an extremely environmentally friendly way of getting rid of pests, with the added benefit of happy and content hens!

3. Rotation

Want to create a new bed in the garden? No problem, get the chickens in to do the job for you. If there’s one thing they do well it’s tilling and turning. Spread some chicken feed where you want the soil to be moved and aerated, or leave a pile of leaves that you would like spread over a resting bed, and you can be sure that the chickens will have sorted it in half the time it would take you to source a rotavator. 

4. Free Weeding

In a similar way, if you want to clear a bed of weeds or grass, get your chickens on it. They will munch on weeds and dead matter you haven’t already removed, leaving the fun bits of gardening to you!

Although clever, chickens are however not able to differentiate weeds from the plants and seeds you actually want to keep, so it’s best to keep them off flower beds and veg patches where you are growing things you actually want. Use a good fencing to limit the chickens to certain parts of the garden. 

5. Added Calcium

One of the best things about keeping chickens is the delicious eggs they provide you with. But did you know that eggshells can be highly beneficial to your garden? Eggshells are made of calcium carbonate, and are a perfect way to introduce minerals to your soil. Calcium is essential for building cell walls, making sure the plants stay strong and healthy. 

Grind up your shells with a mortar and pestle and spread on your compost, or straight in your bed.  

6. Great Company

With chickens around you will have even more reason to spend time in the garden. It’s so much fun seeing them scratch around and hear their friendly chatter, and they are great company for any keen gardener. People even claim that being around chickens relieves stress and leads to better mental health.

So what’s stopping you? Chickens are the perfect pet you and your garden needs.

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This entry was posted in Chickens on July 1st, 2020 by linnearask