Anxiety is an issue that affects many dogs. Some breeds are prone to nervousness, and some individual dogs may have had a tough puppyhood that results in anxiety as an adult.Others may have issues such as joint pain that require extra comfort and a cozy corner.
The symptoms of anxiety in a dog or pup may include hiding, ‘burrowing’ under blankets, cushions or on a bed (the dog bed or the owner’s bed!), or ‘cringing’ (with the tail between the legs). Some dogs will express anxiety by whining and whimpering, panting when there has been no energetic activity, shivering. Jumping – even nipping and snapping – can also be a sign of dog anxiety.
Treating dog anxiety is not a straightforward issue, neither in humans nor dogs. While humans can talk to someone about the issue and receive good advice, the options for a dog are more limited. Positive training can go a long way towards reducing dog anxiety and boosting confidence, and a calm environment can have a very positive impact, too. The dog bed can make a big difference here.
What can calm an anxious dog?
Dog anxiety often stems from puppyhood stress. With rescue dogs, the events in the early months of your pet’s life are often unknown. Dog anxiety is usually linked to separation, though. Out and out abuse manifests as fear and lack of confidence in dogs, but anxiety is something slightly different. A high quality calming pet bed can help dogs with a mild form of separation anxiety – that is, if your dog frets when left alone, or is particularly ‘clingy’ with one member of the family.
Dog anxiety can also be brought on by discomfort. Many dogs suffer from joint pains, notably in the hips as they grow older. Lying on a blanket or a thin dog bed or a pet bed that’s too small will not give these dogs the comfort they need for a good night’s sleep, leading to a vicious circle of anxiety-inducing poor sleep and stress.
A comfortable pet bed provides the anxious dog with that all-important sense of security. Such dog beds may feature orthopedic padding, blankets or quilts for really snuggling down, extra-soft cushions and raised sides for resting a lazy head on.
Even the best dog beds alone will not ‘cure’ a dog’s anxiety, and they need to be part of a general dog-friendly environment, combined with a consistent behavioral dog training program, a healthy diet, supplements, and – if absolutely necessary –medication. Dog beds, then, are where dog owners should start when addressing anxiety issues, but they are only part of the wider solution.
Best dog beds for anxious dogs
The central part of a calm environment for dogs is the dog bed. The location of the pet bed is important. It needs to be somewhere relatively quiet, where the dog can feel safe and in control. The design of a bed for dogs is equally important, and a comfortable mattress is the beginning, rather than the end of the story.
So, what type of bed does a dog prefer? For many dogs, a bed is simply the place where they lie down and sleep. It doesn’t even have to be the same spot each night – some dogs like to spend one night on their allocated bed, the next night in a cool spot on the kitchen floor, and the next night camped at the foot of your bed. But with anxious dogs, consistency is important, and the right bed in the right place is the key.
An anti-anxiety dog bed can actively reduce stress and anxiety, and when combined with anti-stress training, the dog bed can go a long way towards eliminating the issue. Calming supplements can also help, and in extreme cases a vet will recommend anti-stress medication, too.
Do anxiety beds work for dogs?
An anti-anxiety dog bed is all about giving dogs and puppies a sense of security, reinforced by sheer comfort. The key is in the design, and there are many models to choose from. The best options include dog beds that go the extra mile to enhance your dog’s comfort, including features such as a removable cover, orthopedic foam, memory foam, a washable cover (machine washable, ideally), and a generally easy to clean design. Dogs love their comfort, and a consistently good night’s sleep, after all, is one of the best ways to tackle and reduce dog’s anxiety.
A top class calming dog bed won’t cure dog or pup anxiety on its own. But a good night’s sleep is half the battle, providing the dog with the comfortable start and end to each day, making the rest of the anti-anxiety routine a little bit easier.
Are you planning on finally giving up on your rotting chicken coop and getting an Eglu? Do you want to give your rabbits more space to play? Are you getting a parakeet or a hamster in 2021? Or would you just like to treat your pets to something special for the holidays?
This is the time to do it! Take the opportunity to save up to 15% on some amazing Omlet products until the 30th of November. Here are some of our staff picks:
Our bestselling chicken coop Eglu Cube in green is now 10% cheaper! This revolutionary chicken coop is super quick to clean, extremely secure and really easy to adapt to your flock and your backyard. This is an offer you don’t want to miss out on!
The inventive geodesic design of this cage makes it a striking feature of any home, while also providing pet birds with a practical and comfortable home. It can also be customized with different base and mesh colors, stands and a beautifully designed night cover. Get 15% off your Geo in the Omlet Black Friday Sale!
Some of our very popular Outdoor Pet Runs are now discounted by 10%; perfect if you want to connect your Eglu to a Walk in run to make it easier to spend time with your chickens, or if you want to give your guinea pigs a bit more secure space to run around on in the backyard. At the moment you get 10% off all 2×2 runs, in both full and lower height.
If your son or daughter has finally convinced you it’s a great idea to get a hamster or a gerbil you will not want to miss out on this chance to get 15% off this amazing cage. This multi-level hamster habitat lets your pets live out their natural instincts, like burrowing and tunneling, and allows you to keep your pets’ home clean and hygienic with absolutely minimal effort. The pull out bedding tray does not only mean the cage is super easy to clean, it also makes it much more convenient for your child to spend time with their furry friend!
The Zippi range is a fantastic way of giving your rabbit or guinea pig a bigger and more stimulating home. The Zippi Tunnels makes it super easy to connect your hutch to a run or playpen, so that your pets can run through and explore the burrow-like system whenever they like. You can extend and expand your system whenever you want, but Zippi Tunnels are now 15% off, and you get 15% off the Zippi Runs and Playpens!
Terms and Conditions The promotion runs from 11/27/20 – midnight 11/30/20. No promo code required. Subject to availability. 15% discount applies to Eglu Go Chicken Coop & Hutch, Zippi Tunnels and Runs, Peck Toys & Caddi, Geo Bird Cage, and Super Soft Blankets. 10% applies to Eglu Cube Chicken Coop, Walk In Run 2 x 2, & Fencing, Fido Nook & Studio, Maya Nook, Perch and Swing. Offer excludes Go UP, Walk in Run extensions and runs bigger than 2 x 2, Autodoor, Run Covers & Extreme Temp Jackets, Feeders/Drinkers, Geo Paper liners, perches & covers and Run Handles. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer is only valid on full priced items and cannot be used on delivery, already discounted products or in conjunction with any other offer.
Zippi is the perfect way to enhance your pets’ life. The amazing tunnel system allows you to create a burrow-like path in your backyard that your rabbits and guinea pigs will love exploring. Expand with corners and T-junctions, and add intrigue with hayracks and lookout towers!
The Zippi Tunnel System also makes it super easy for your pets to independently move between their hutch and a remote run or playpen, so that they can come and go as they want throughout the day.
This is the perfect opportunity to extend an existing system, or to start a completely new one with theZippi Run and Playpens.
Caddi Treat Holder
The Caddi is the perfect stocking filler for any small animal lover. This interactive treat holder can be hung from the roof of any hutch or run, and can be filled with fresh vegetables or hay for rabbits and guinea pigs to enjoy.
It’s super easy to refill, will keep the pets’ snacks fresher for longer, and they will love the challenge of the swinging Caddi as they go in for a bite!
Is someone in your family getting a new puppy that they are planning to crate train? Or have your parents got a nervous rescue dog that feels most secure when they have their own space away from all the hustle and bustle? Then we have the perfect gift for them, human or canine.
The amazing Fido Studio is a dog crate that looks like piece of modern furniture, so that it doesn’t have to be hidden in a corner somewhere. The Fido Studio is also available with an optional and extremely practical wardrobe where all the dog’s things can be stored!
In addition, the Fido Nook offers a stylish, sensible space for your pet to call their own
Super Soft Blankets
Upgrade your dog’s bed for Christmas to make sure it’s ready for the year ahead. Omlet’s super soft blankets will make the bed extremely warm and cozy for your pet after long Winter walks, and is perfect for putting on sofas or car seats to keep them free from hair and mud.
New Bolt Bite and Triangle Tug
From Wild One, Omlet brings you these versatile and durable dog toys that are functional and stylish in any home. They are simple, classic, and minimalist. The bolt bite is great for storing treats or peanut butter in each end that is open. You can also put it in your dishwasher for easy cleaning! It also comes in this festive red color that is perfect for the season.
The Triangle tug boasts two shapes, two textures, and is perfect for tug-of-war. If you’re in a household with multiple dogs or if you’re at the other end of your pups tug-match, the Triangle Tug is made for you.
The triangle is 100% natural rubber with a reinforced core for added strength. The rope is 100% natural cotton with a 7x looped seam and reinforced stitching throughout. Both of those toys will be a hit with your canine companion for the holidays!
Any of these toys would make an amazing gift for your pet at the end of the day. The question is which one is the best choice for you and your furry friend?!
This is the ideal time to treat yourself to that chicken coop you have been dreaming about! If would like to start keeping chickens in the new year, the Eglu Go or Eglu Go UP are brilliant starter coops for 3-4 hens. If you currently have a smaller Eglu, or keep chickens in a coop that is starting to look a bit worse for ware, you might want to consider investing in an Eglu Cube, our largest chicken coop with space for up to 10 small bantam hens.
All Eglus are super safe, very easy to clean and can be moved around the backyard as often as you like. This makes life easier and more relaxing for both you and your pets!
Omlet’s amazing range of Chicken Toys and Accessories make great holiday gifts for chicken keepers of all ages. Interactive food toys like the Poppy and Pendant Peck Toys and the Caddi Treat Holder that can be filled with fresh produce and hung from the roof of the run will entertain chickens during the cold Winter months, as will the super fun Chicken Swing and the more traditional Chicken Perch.
Like most kids, as a child I had a budgie I, nor my parents, knew nothing about. At the age of 17 I hadn’t had birds since that time in kindergarten but my boyfriend (and soon to be husband) did. It kind of forced me into a world I didn’t understand but wanted
What does a typical day look like for your budgie?
I half-wish there was such a thing as a “typical day” in my life at all! Because there’s a lot of different areas of my life, it keeps things interesting for my birds based on the fact that I travel so much. My budgie has been to a lot of states and hotel rooms
already, and one of her favorite things is actually road trips because she enjoys being in the car with us!
When we are home, she owns the house and we even screened in an outdoor porch area for her to fly around in as well. The cutest part of the day is when she wakes up and flies herself into the main living area of our home to greet everyone, and when you notice in the early evening she is nowhere to be found because she went off to find the quietest room in the house to sleep (we keep foraging trees in each one – and her open Omelet cage in my daughters room.)
How can you tell your budgie is happy?
All animals make happy noises – cats purr and birds sing. Our budgie is no exception and has her own set of content and happy noises we’ve grown to love to hear. She also flies laps daily around our home which is always fun for us to watch!
What is your budgie’s favorite treat?
Like a typical budgie, she loves herself some spray millet.
What would be your best advice for someone thinking about keeping budgies?
Ask yourself “why” you want a budgie. Make a list of the reasons why and ensure you’re committed because budgies can be really discouraging pets – they spook easily, they’re flighty and they can become hand and human shy if not interacted with and instead left to their own devices inside a cage. A lot of the typical things humans interpret as “budgie loves” like mirrors, will work against you creating a meaningful relationship with your bird.
What is it that you like about the Geo bird cage?
The first thing that attracted me to the Geo cage is its unique design and how well it looks in the home. The footprint is also nice, and it fits easily in any room and looks great in it too. Of course, my main concern with any budgie cage is design and materials and once those both checked out for safety, I was hooked!
Only very tame pet hens enjoy being picked up. Most chickens find the whole procedure stressful, so you should only catch or handle them if you have to.
There are a few reasons why you might need to know how to catch a chicken. Your hens might be in danger, might require a clean-up after coming into contact with something oily or sticky, or you might need to carry out a chicken health check.
There are various ways to catch a chicken. If the hen is in danger as a result of escaping onto a road or into a backyard with a dog in it, you can usually manage things by ‘herding’ the chicken rather than trying to lift it. If a dog is the problem, controlling or confining the dog is the first thing to figure out. If the hen has escaped and you need to catch her, guiding her back to safety by standing with your arms stretched out to the sides and encouraging her to return to the chicken coop is the best option. In these situations, the chicken will desperately want to find her fellow hens, so ‘steer’ her towards the hole in the fence or the open gate, or whichever escape route she took.
If the hen has flapped over a wall, however, you may have to resort to old fashioned hunting techniques for catching chickens.
How Do You Catch a Stray Chicken?
If your hens are very tame, you can simply offer some treats, bend down and pick them up. If only it were that easy with every chicken! Some are about as easy to catch as a fast-moving bar of wet soap – they can sprint at speeds of around 9 miles (14.5 km) per hour – and you will usually have to corner them first if you want to catch them.
If a hen has escaped or you spot her running away, or simply hidden somewhere in a large backyard or meadow where you can find to trace of her, the best approach is to be patient and rely on the chicken’s homing instinct. As dusk begins to fall, the hen will instinctively head back to the coop. This is one of the handy things about keeping poultry!
The Best Way to Catch a Chicken
Do chickens like being picked up? In general, the answer is no. But if you’re trying to catch a chicken for whatever reason there are various ways of doing so. Not all of them can be recommended for the non-expert chicken keeper.
Using a pole with a hook or noose for catching a chicken. Let’s get the dangerous one out of the way first. A pole, hook or noose should only be used by experts when trying to catch a chicken. This is a dangerous tool, and in the wrong hands the poultry hook or noose can break a chicken’s leg or neck as you try to grab it, so our advice is to avoid it.
Using a net to catch chickens. Nets can be dangerous tools, as a chicken’s claws can snag in the netting, causing injury. If you opt for this method, the chickens should be netted as quickly as possible to minimize stress – although forever afterwards the sight of that net will send the poor hen into a panic! You should always use as large a net as possible for catching your chickens. A blanket may offer a safer way to catch them.
Using crate traps for catching chickens. Putting irresistible treats into a crate, and then slyly closing the door with a pole or long stick is an effective method. The main drawback is that all the other chickens will be tempted to take a look inside too!
Boxes for catching chickens. A large box can be placed over a cornered bird in the coop or run, and the flaps can be tucked in to secure the chicken. This technique can be useful if you need to capture chickens in daylight (although it works at night, too) and if they tend to be aggressive.
Flashlights makes chickens easier to catch. This is the simplest and most effective method when you need to trap a roosting chicken. When chickens are with the rest of the flock in the coop or run on their roosting bars or perches or in their nesting boxes at night, they instinctively stay put. If you open the top of the coop and shine a flashlight (head-mounted ones are perfect), you’ll be able to pinpoint the hen you need to examine, and grab her up with minimal fuss.
Picking Up the Chicken
When picking up the hen, try to be firm but not rough. Getting a good grip and preventing the wings from flapping is the key. The correct method is to hold the chicken by placing your hand over its back, confining the wings, and then bring it close to your body. If the bird is very nervous, you may have to cover her with a towel to calm her down.
A tame hen is the easiest type of chicken to capture. Simply lure the hen in with a few treats, and grab her, stroking her back to reassure her. Once the cleaning or the examination is over, put the chicken on the ground and step back. She will do the rest, scuttling back to the safety of the flock.
So, there are several ways to catch a chicken, but you should only put them into practice when you definitely need to catch one. Try to avoid the poultry hook or net if you can, and use the method that suits both the chicken and the circumstances.
For delivery in time for Christmas, please ensure you have placed your order by Tuesday 15th December. Please be advised problems with couriers cannot be avoided, and if you want to be sure your order will make it to you in time for Christmas, we highly recommend ordering well before that date. Alternatively, please call or email our customer services team for advice on the best courier to use at this busy time of year.
Moving house is stressful for everyone involved – and that includes pets and chickens. As far as your hens are concerned, the secret to a successful relocation is to have everything ready at the other end. In the same way as you might unpack a kettle and two mugs before opening any of the big boxes, the chicken shed and run should be ready in the backyard before the first kettle boils!
Hens are prone to stress, and at the very least you can expect the egg count to plummet for a few days following a move. Weak or very nervous chickens are in particular danger, as panic can make them flap blindly and break legs, or even kill themselves. Minimizing stress is therefore the key to a successful move.
The most stress-free way to get your hens ready for the move is to collect and crate/box them from the coop, rather than later in the day when they are out and about and need chasing and cornering. That is not a good way to minimize stress!
Your hen-carriers need to be covered, well-ventilated boxes or pet crates. They should have enough space for the birds to turn around in (to prevent them from panicking at the confined space), while being dark enough to make their instincts kick in and help them snuggle down for the duration of the trip. On longer journeys, however, you will need to have enough light in the boxes to enable the hens to feed, and pet crates will make this easier.
You’ll need one box per chicken, generally, so make sure you have enough boxes for the big day. Hens with similar, placid temperaments can be transported in a single box. Each box or crate should be lined with straw to soak up the droppings, and the boxes should be stacked securely, not more than three boxes high.
It is important that the birds do not get too hot on the journey, so ventilation is an issue. If you only have two or three hens, they could travel on the back seat of a well-ventilated car, secured with quilts or blankets – or even seat belts – to prevent the boxes from sliding around.
The journey itself should be taken using as many straight, non-bumpy roads as possible, combined with the need to make the trip as brief as you can. If your new home is a short stretch of highway and a couple of roads away, that’s all very straightforward. Rural locations with lots of windy-road options will need more planning. If all the roads are roads with lots of bends, the quickest route is the best option.
In the two weeks before the move, make sure your hens’ diet is rich in all the required vitamins and minerals. Some owners recommend adding probiotics or extra vitamins to the feed, and this is something you should discuss with your vet.
For short journeys, you will not have to worry about chicken feed. On longer trips, though, food will need to be provided. Make sure you take a long break at least every three hours, to allow the confined birds to settle down and feed. If you are transporting the hens in crates, you can attach a water dispenser to the side.
A Portable Chicken Coop?
Old fashioned chicken coops can be tricky to transport, and many hen keepers prefer to erect a new run and chicken shed at their new property. This sometimes involves housing the birds in temporary accommodation while the new coop and run are being sorted out.
There are ways of avoiding the inconvenience, though. A portable coop and run can be packed away and then installed in the new backyard in a few minutes, and they have the advantage of familiarity. Hens introduced into a coop that they already know inside out will reduce the stress of the move enormously.
Coops and runs such as the Eglu are ideal in this respect. Placing the coop in your new backyard as soon as you arrive will enable the chickens to feel at home before you’ve even managed to open any of your boxes. Humans will inevitably feel the stress of the moving-in process, but the hens don’t have to!
The process isn’t quite over when your hens are safely cooped up in the new backyard. Stress can cause any underlying diseases to bloom, so you need to carry out daily health checks on your birds as the flock settles down in its new surroundings. This is yet another reason to consider a pack-and-go portable coop and run.
Rabbits make great family pets, and there are many different breeds to choose from. Some are suitable for first-time owners, while others require a little more expertise. The following list includes rabbits that can be kept by families or individuals with no previous experience of rabbits.
There is one golden rule that covers all rabbits – they are not suitable for young children. Most rabbits do not like being constantly picked up, they are naturally nervous, and they need gentle but confident handling. They are also quite fragile animals, and can easily break limbs, or even their backs, if they fall from your arms.
So, as long as you handle them with care and give them plenty of space to run around in, these seven widely available breeds will soon be family favorites.
If they have not become accustomed to people in their first few months, Dutch Rabbits can be very jumpy, and may bite and claw. When buying from a pet shop, always ask how old the rabbit is, as animals more than 12 weeks old may be tricky to tame.
This comes back to that central point – most rabbits don’t like being picked up. If your pets are going to be spending their time in a run, though, without being handled all the time, age is not an issue.
Being small, these rabbits used to be popular gifts for children. However, small does not mean easier to handle or easier to look after – in rabbits or any other type of pet. Dwarf Lops are fine for children who are able to learn how to handle rabbits correctly, and who are happy to groom their pet regularly to prevent the long fur from tangling. They are not suitable for small children, though.
The English Spot is a black and white beauty, instantly recognisable due to its Dalmatian-like spots. They are placid rabbits, and if they are stroked and petted from a young age, they become very happy in human company. Children should still be supervised when interacting with these rabbits, though, as even a chilled breed like the English Spot can become skittish if there is too much noise or inexpert handling.
Netherlands Dwarf Rabbits
One of the great things about the Flemish Giant – and it really is huge – is its chilled-out temperament. If socialized while they are still very young, they can be taught to use a litter tray, and can live in a house like a pet dog. However, they still need to be treated with respect and handled correctly, to prevent them panicking and using those big teeth.
Netherlands Dwarf Rabbits
This breed is increasingly popular, and a lot of that popularity is based on the rabbit’s super-cute looks. No matter how old it gets, it always looks like a baby. As a result, it is often bought for children, but this sometimes results in a very nervous and skittish pet that never properly settles down. This is because the rabbit is naturally timid, and unintentionally rough, noisy, excited handling can turn it into a nervous wreck.
The Netherlands Dwarf is an intelligent breed, though, and responds well to gentle handling. It is therefore essential that children should handle the rabbit gently, and an adult should be present during handling sessions. The patience pays off in the end, as this clever little rabbit can be litter trained, and can even be taught to respond to simple commands.
There are several different types of Rex, all with a genetic quirk that makes their short fur stand up rather than lie flat. This makes them very ‘strokable’, and fortunately, the rex is a rabbit breed that really doesn’t mind being stroked a lot. Their placid nature makes them popular family pets – although, once again, younger children will still need supervising when making friends with these bunnies.
The key takeaways here are that rabbits are not the easiest pets to look after, but with patience and appropriate handling they can become very attached to their human friends. It’s also worth remembering that, unlike smaller pets such as gerbils and hamsters, rabbits can live for eight to 14 years, so being an owner is a big commitment.
In many ways dogs age in similar ways to humans. Older dogs have less energy, lose some of their senses, experience changes in sleeping and eating patterns, go grey and can have trouble remembering the most ordinary things.
Additionally, muscles and bones become weaker, and the immune system is not as good at fighting off infections. Internal organs also get more tired, so the dog is more prone to liver, heart and kidney disease.
This may seem rather gloomy and depressing, but it is just a part of nature we have to accept, and as long as you as an owner continue to care for your dog in an appropriate way as they get older, you can really enjoy the last golden years together.
What counts as a senior dog?
Not all dogs reach old age at the same time. Just as with humans, some dogs seem a lot younger or older than their actual age, and genetics play a part in the risk of developing diseases and problems with hearing and sight.
But the most important thing when figuring out when your dog will be a senior is size. Toy dogs, terriers and other small breeds are seen as old when they are 10-11 years, medium-sized breeds like retrievers are considered seniors when they are 8-10 years, and large and giant breeds reach old age at 5 or 6.
What can I do to help my dog in old age?
Your dog will still need regular exercise, even if it might look a bit different from when they were young and bouncy. Accept that the dog won’t be able to come on the long walks they used to love, and try exercising for shorter periods of time more often. Remember to also stimulate your elderly dog mentally. Food toys and puzzles will be great for keeping your dog’s brain sharp.
Older dogs that do not move around as they once did run the risk of excessive weight gain, and their diet will need to be adjusted to fit their new energy levels. Ask your vet for advice on what to feed your senior dog, but in general it is good to choose a low fat feed and limit the amount of treats.
Make sure you take your dog to the vet for more regular check ups as he or she gets older. That way you will be able to spot potential problems early on. Dental hygiene is more important than ever, and it is common that the skin gets drier and the coat less shiny, so it might be a good idea to do a bit more grooming.
Changing sleeping habits
Long gone are the puppy days when your dog passed out anywhere and slept for hours. Comfort is super important for older dogs, and their tired muscles and bones will need support.
Choose a dog bed that is designed to look after the dog’s body, ideally with a firm but supportive mattress and a soft cover.
It is also important to be aware that senior dogs often are much more sensitive to temperature changes. Place the dog’s bed somewhere that stays warm in Winter and cool in Summer, and provide them with an extra blanket in Winter and maybe use a cooling mat in Summer.
Making the right decisions at the end of life
There might come a time when you as an owner will have to make unpleasant decisions regarding your dog’s health and potentially whether or not your pet’s life is worth living.
If your dog develops an illness that can be treated, you will need to consider what the interventions will be like for the dog, what their quality of life will be after the treatment, and how long it may extend their life. If you have insurance, money hopefully does not have to be a factor to consider, but many operations and treatments are extremely pricey and far from risk free.
Remember to try and put your own feelings to one side and concentrate on what is best for your dog. Although you might be able to get another few months together with your pet, he or she might be in constant pain, and will not be able to do all the things they used to love, and will not enjoy themselves.
Older pets can easily struggle with anxiety. Their body and mind are changing, and they cannot figure out why. Even if your dog might not be able to see or hear you as well as they used to, they can sense your presence, and that will make them calm and happy, so try to spend as much time together as possible. The last few years of your dog’s life can be a wonderful time for both of you, so do not dwell on aging but take them for a walk, snuggle up with them on the sofa, and play with them – just like you have always done!
As with all pets, you as the owner have the main responsibility for making sure the animals are safe and happy. That means that before you go away overnight, whether it is for work or on holiday, you will need to make sure you have a plan for the chickens, ensuring they will be alright while you are not around.
Chickens are much more self-sufficient than some other popular pets; they do not need human interaction every day, will sort out their own exercise, and will not overeat even if there is more food than needed available. That being said though, there are lots of things to think about before you leave them alone.
How long can I leave my chickens alone for?
This is not an easy question to answer, as it depends heavily on your chickens, where you live, and what your setup looks like. Even leaving your flock of chickens for a day requires some preparation.
Hens need constant access to food and water, and enough space to move around on. This is relatively easy to organize if you are going away for 2-3 days. The more important, and probably the trickier, thing to ensure is that the chickens are safe from predators when you are not there to keep an eye on them. Letting your chickens free range without any supervision is very risky, so you will need to have a safe enclosure that is big enough for your chickens to move around in while you are gone.
An Eglu Cube connected to a Walk in run is a perfect setup for all chicken keeping situations, but maybe particularly when you are not able to keep a constant eye on your hens. The Walk in run can be extended to suit the number of chickens you have, and you can be sure that they will not have to fend off any foxes, raccoons, or wild birds.
If you are confident your enclosure is safe and spacious enough, and that there is no risk that the chickens will run out of food and water, most flocks will be alright by themselves for a weekend.
Should I get a chicken sitter?
If you are going away for anything longer than three days, you will need to organize for someone to help you come and check on and take care of your chickens on a daily basis. Even if you are just gone for one night, we would recommend asking a friendly neighbor to poke their head over the fence to make sure the hens are well.
Accidents happen: one of your chickens could have had a fall and seems to be in pain, or a water container may have fallen over. Your friend or neighbor will then hopefully be able to refill the water or give you a call to let you know what has happened.
You might be surprised at how many of your friends and family will be happy to go and check on your chickens once a day if they get to keep the delicious fresh eggs. If you have an automatic door that lets your chickens out in the morning and shuts behind them at night, your helpers can decide for themselves at what time of the day they would like to go.
If you are getting someone to look after your chickens for you, it is nice to make it as easy as possible for them before you leave home.
What do my chickens need while I’m away?
If you have decided you feel confident that your chickens will be okay by themselves for a few days you will probably already have thought about these things, but they are still worth mentioning:
Food and water
You probably have quite a good idea of how much your chickens eat and drink in a day, it all depends on breed, age and size. It is always better to leave a bit too much food than too little, and make sure you have more than one feeder to choose from in case something were to happen to one of them.
Prep for different weathers
Do not trust the weather forecast completely. Make sure the chickens can return to the coop and that they have sheltered spots on the run in case of all day rain or a particularly scorching sunny day.
If your chickens are used to you coming to hang out with them after work every day they might miss the fun. Try to make up for this by giving them some fun toys to play with on the run. Some chickens absolutely love perching on the Chicken Swing, whereas others will go crazy for food dispensing toys, like the Caddi Treat Holder or Peck Toys.
Humans stress about work, running late for a brunch, money issues or that something is going to happen to our loved ones. In times of stress and worry, our cats are always there for us to calm us down and make us focus on something else for a moment – they know exactly how to reduce our stress. But do we as owners ever think about what might potentially make them stressed?
Stress is not an uncommon problem with cats. They are naturally anxious animals that don’t deal well with change, so there are lots of factors that might make your pet stressed. It is not always easy to spot signs of stress, or to combat them, but it is important to try, as chronic stress can lead to health and behavioral problems in felines.
What causes stress in cats?
Stress for cats is, easily explained, the perception of threat, rather than something actually harmful or risky. Often this is triggered by something changing in the cat’s daily life, as even positive change will be seen as a threat to the cat.
It is important that you manage to identify what might be the cause of your cat’s stress. We have divided the most common causes into four categories:
An illness or physical trauma that requires treatment or medication will very likely make your cat feel worried. Apart from the potential pain or discomfort, the cat might also have to take pills or wear a cone, which limits their agility and freedom. Being in heat, or being pregnant, will unsurprisingly make most female cats feel on edge, and it is very difficult to tell them what’s happening to their bodies. Apart from more medical conditions, grooming related changes like having a bath or getting a haircut can sometimes cause stress in your cat.
The big ones here are moving to a new house, or spending time away from the home, like in a kennel or on holiday. Cats prefer the safety of what they know, and will most likely not enjoy traveling anywhere.
Extreme weather and seasonal changes can make cats worried and stressed, as can a lack of stimulation in their current living space. Outdoor cats who for some reason have been limited to the house will for example often develop stress related symptoms. Another common environmental stress factor for cats is the presence of other pets, including another cat.
Anyone unfamiliar to the cat coming into the household will be seen as a threat, and can make your pet anxious, whether they are guests who are just over for dinner, or new housemates moving into the spare bedroom. A new baby in the house is also a nightmare for some cats.
Often the problem is a change in the amount of attention the cat gets. Excessive petting and playing will be just as stressful as the sudden lack of attention a newborn baby can cause.
Litter tray and diet factors
Changing brand or type of litter or food will likely make your cat stressed, unless done gradually over a longer period of time. A new litter box can also be anxiety-inducing, as can an unusually dirty tray or lack of food and water.
What can stress do to a cat?
All living things are affected by stress, cats included. Bursts of stress, fear or anxiety are normal and harmless, but prolonged, chronic stress can be dangerous. Like in humans, longer periods of stress are associated with depression and a weakened immune system. In cats, stress is also believed to cause or trigger things like asthma, allergies, liver disease and stomach problems.
Stress can also cause many behavioral problems like aggression and litter tray avoidance.
How can I tell if my cat is stressed?
First of all, it is worth pointing out that a cat that seems worried by a barking dog outside the window or the sudden noise of something dropped on the floor is completely normal. You only need to help your cat if you think they may be stressed than normal, or if they are constantly on high alert.
Physical symptoms of stress include, but are not limited to:
Vomiting and diarrhea
Excessive shedding and/or grooming
Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
And in terms of behavioral symptoms you should look out for:
Any big changes in routines or behavior
Urinating outside the litter tray and spraying on furniture
Unexpected aggression towards humans or other pets
A disinterest in things going on around them
Hiding for long periods of time
If you notice a change in your cat’s behavior or physical appearance, the first thing you should do is take them to the vet to rule out any possible medical condition that could be causing the symptoms. Stress can in itself be a symptom of some diseases and illnesses, but the vet will be able to give you some advice.
What can I do to help my cat?
The most important thing to do is to try and find the source of the stress. Have a look at the things we have listed above and try to observe your cat’s behavior in different situations to try and see if there are any triggers.
Once you think you have located the reason or the reasons your cat feels stressed, try to solve the problem. Some are easier to deal with than others, and in some cases, as with moving or introducing a baby to the family, you will just have to give it time.
Make sure your cat has a safe space they can retreat to when they feel stressed or anxious. It can be a room where you rarely go, or a cat den like the Maya Nook. It is important that everyone in the family knows not to disturb the cat when they are in their safe space, so that the cat can fully relax.
Spending time with your cat is a good way for you to keep an eye on him or her to make sure they are not struggling, and it gives the cat stimulation and social interaction, which are both great ways of dealing with stress. It can be chasing after a catnip toy or just relaxing on the sofa, let your cat decide.
Another thing to think about is that our pets are highly affected by our wellbeing. If you feel stressed your cat is more likely to feel stressed, and if you are relaxed they are more likely to not see everything around them as a threat. It is obviously easier said than done to stop feeling stressed and anxious, but maybe the knowledge that you are affecting your pets’ mental health can make you find ways of making your life less stressful.
As November and December start to roll in, the cold weather will come with it. You may have already purchased the Omlet Eglu Cube or Go-UP to keep your chickens cozy during these cold nights. However, who said you do not want to spoil your chickens even more over the holiday season?! It is the season of giving after all! Below is some information on feeding your chickens in colder months and some “egg-cellent” treats that you can surprise your hens with on a cold, blustery day that they will absolutely love!
1. How often should I feed my chickens during Winter?
During the colder months it is normal that other animals hibernate and usually stock up on food for the Winter. With your chickens it may be helpful to feed them a little more than their usual ration, especially if you are planning to have your chickens continue to lay eggs throughout the colder season. A good rule of thumb is if you feed them 1 time a day, give them half of an extra ration in the Winter.
2. What is the Most Comforting Treat?
If you have already bought some pumpkins to paint or to decorate your doorstep with in the Fall Season and are wondering what to do with them here is a solution, Pumpkin Puree! This is a great treat for your hens that you can easily whip up in minutes.
All you have to do is scoop out the seeds and cut the pumpkin into small enough pieces that they can be put in a food processor or a blender. Then, just blend it up until it is a nice, smooth consistency for your chickens. After you have pureed the pumpkin, take it straight out to your chickens and add some chicken feed and they will go crazy!
Another option is also to warm up the Pumpkin Puree for a warm treat on a colder day! Make sure that the puree has cooled down to a comfortable temperature before you feed it to your hens.
3. What are the easiest treats to prepare?
Sometimes simpler is better and these treats will definitely keep your hens happy and maybe give you a little laugh in the process.
One easy treat to give your hens is leftover pasta! Who knew that chickens like to load up on carbs in the Winter as well! If you have some leftover spaghetti or penne toss it into the chicken pen and you will get a good laugh watching the chicken have noodles hanging from their beaks.
Another easy treat is warm oatmeal! Just add hot water and stir. You can also add some chicken feed or any nuts and seeds that your chickens prefer. You will be amused watching your chickens try to slurp up the warm oatmeal. Again, make sure the oatmeal is at a comfortable temperature to serve to your hens.
4. What Winter Foods Are Healthy for my Flock?
For those of you that like to keep your flock in tip top shape here are some ideas for healthy treats. One food that helps with egg production and is very nutritious is scrambled eggs! I know it sounds crazy, but it provides your chicken with needed protein and vitamins during the Winter months.
Also, egg shells believe it or not will provide your chickens with extra calcium and nutrients that they will need even more during the colder months. After you have used one of your chicken’s eggs just break up the shells into small pieces and feed it to them. They will love it!
All of these recipes can be found from this great website: https://morningchores.com/chicken-treats/. Go check out her page for more ideas on treats for your chickens and help your chickens stay warm and cozy this season!