The Omlet Blog Category Archives: Interview

Omlet meets: Kat, hen hotelier extraordinaire

“they’re all characters. I’ve had some shy ones, I’ve had some you really need to kick out the bar at the end of the evening!”

We love to see our designs out in the world, being enjoyed by chickens and people alike, so we were thrilled – and more than a little intrigued – when we saw an article featuring hen hotelier Kat. We caught up with her for a chat on all things chicken. 

Omlet meets: Kat hen hotelier extraordinaire with chicken and an eglu cube

We loved the piece on your hen hotel in the papers. How did your story get picked up by the national press?

Actually it was my local paper that picked it up and it just snowballed. I’ve even been on ITV. I think it shows that people are getting more interested and aware of chickens as pets – they’re so underrated. Now I can help spread the word. 

Where I live in Kent, I get a lot of walkers past our garden, who buy the eggs and they often stop and talk and ask questions. It’s almost a chicken viewing point! I’ve got an Omlet Freestanding Perch there that the bantams LOVE. I honestly think they love posing and showing off to passersby, which is hilarious. But it’s great because I want to educate people – if you don’t have chickens you probably don’t know just how full of character and interesting they are. Mine are my pets, my girls, and I’d never be without them.

Have your chickens changed since finding fame? Who are the primadonnas?

In my flock, I’ve got 5 at the moment, all rescued or rehomed. They’ve all got their own characters, but there’s one in particular who is the most confident chicken you could ever meet, a real queen bee. She’s called Sally – I named her after the lady I got her from. She gets involved in everything. She’ll jump on my shoulder when I’m cleaning. She was in the shoot with the photographer for the newspaper and she totally played up to it and did everything he wanted. A born performer. 

How about the others? Any other big characters?

They’re all so different. Some are shy, some are happy to be picked up. Edwina, she’s always behind me, pottering. She’s very gentle, happy to be cuddled, unflappable. Edwina comes to nurseries with me.

Nurseries? As in children’s nurseries? 

Well, I do educational workshops – always free, I don’t charge. We’ll go into local schools and talk about topics like free range hens, what happy eggs look like. I want to spread the word and the love. Edwina has a little mesh carrier suitcase with wheels on that she sits in and peeps out of and she travels in that.  

That is so nice, such an important thing for children to understand. And great that Edwina has the right temperament. What about other chickens though – do your girls ever come into contact with your guests?

So for boarding, I keep hotel customers – I call them the hen parties – quite far away, because birds are sensitive and territorial, so it’s important to not stress or disrupt them. So on arrival they go straight down to boarding, where I do some simple health checks to make sure they’re mite and lice free. 

We’re lucky, we have 2 acres, so our holiday hens are far enough away that they can stay apart and still have plenty of space. It’s more relaxing, no squawking. I put a lot of thought into the design when I set it all up.

That’s interesting you mention design; at Omlet we are always asking how we can invent better, to make caring for chickens more instinctive and enjoyable. As a loyal Omlet customer, did that affinity for design attract you to our products?  

I think within the chicken community, Omlet is a household name. When I went into chicken keeping myself, there was no other option. It had to be Omlet. Because my mentality is, if I’m going to do this, I’m doing it properly. With wood, things harbour. You just don’t know what’s lurking in the cracks. When I set up the hen hotel, I knew I wouldn’t use something for my boarders that I wouldn’t want for my own chickens. So it’s all Omlet: the coops, the perches, the swing, the tarps. The lot!

It sounds lovely! What room service do you provide – how do you keep the place clean? 

I think keeping the standard of cleanliness you need can be time consuming, because you have to make sure there’s no risk of bad hygiene or disease. But again, if you enjoy what you do it doesn’t feel like work. I have got to say it’s the ease of the Omlet design – it is so easy to take apart and jet wash – that really does make a difference. The products I use make it much easier. 

Do you ever get any rowdy customers?

Haha, yes. Like I said, they’re all characters. I’ve had some shy ones, I’ve had some you really need to kick out the bar at the end of the evening. Some are louder than others, so yes, definitely a few rowdy ones. They’re like women – some are just louder than others!

What’s the most rewarding part of running a hen hotel?

That’s so hard. I sound so sad but I just love chickens. I think it’s a privilege to have pets. And I really do think chickens are so underrated – I feel so lucky I get to have them, that there are so many rescue opportunities. They are little souls, beings. You can see it in their eyes. I want to gain them the respect as a pet that I think they truly deserve. So to the question, it’s all rewarding. 

And does the rest of the family get involved?

I have a 5 year old. He loves going to see the holiday hens because they’re different to ours, so he likes me to take him down to see them. So yeah he does get involved, but unsurprisingly the cleaning’s all left to me! My partner just wants to know how many eggs we’ve got. 

Ha! Well that’s one good reason to have chickens. In fact, my last question was, why chickens? What would you say to anyone thinking about starting their chicken keeping journey?

Well, I mean my initial answer would be, do it – it’s the best thing you’ll ever do. But like any animal they need care, they need love, they need attention. But they really do return it. So, yes, do it. And do it properly. Open up your heart and rehome some chickens! 

Omlet meets: Kat hen hotelier extraordinaire with chicken and a pink eglu cube for hen hotel

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This entry was posted in Chickens

Omlet meets: Shell, Bagel & Brioche

“We do a running commentary of what we think they’re saying – we have a laugh as a family.”

Ready to make room for rabbits? Shell Mills takes us through a day caring for these adorable yet naturally anxious animals. 

Omlet meets Shell Mills and her children caring for their pet rabbit

In a cat and dog world, what made you pick rabbits as pets?

Well, we have got a dog actually, but my first pets were rabbits and I always loved them. My husband and I had a dwarf lop together too, before we had kids. Then from about the age of five, our daughter, Valli began asking for one. We knew it was only a matter of time before we agreed. We thought she was too young – we said she had to be able to be responsible first. We said seven, then the years flew by and suddenly she was seven, so we had to say yes!

I bet she was thrilled! How did you go about getting them?

We made it a surprise – we’d been trying frantically to find some that would be old enough at the right time to tie in with her birthday. We’d researched reputable breeders and sources and we knew our local garden center had some coming, but they arrived when we were on holiday, so we had to get in touch from abroad to reserve ours. 

The next step was buying a hutch – but I already knew we would get an Eglu Go. Our local primary school had an Omlet coop for their chickens – and I loved it. I looked online and once I knew Omlet made rabbit hutches, my decision was made. We managed to set them up in their Eglu for her birthday. It’s fantastic. We move their whole set up around and they save us from mowing the lawn! We often talk about chickens too – we might get some down the line!  

What did she name them?

Bagel & brioche – after her favorite bread products!

Brilliant. And how does she get on with caring for them? There’s a misconception that rabbits are low maintenance – actually, they need a fair bit of looking after and are very sociable.

Yes, that’s true. Well, we definitely didn’t jump into it – it had been ten years since our dwarf lop and we did a lot of research. It’s better understood now that you shouldn’t have one rabbit – you need to have two, ideally from a young age to help them bond. They need daily attention too – they thrive on contact and are so playful and sociable. 

There were other factors we hadn’t considered initially too – yearly vaccines, pet insurance, neutering or spaying – people might think it’s just a rabbit, but they come with responsibility and costs. There are so many extras. Then there’s what to do when you go away – we’re lucky, we have my parents nearby and they help us out. 

What advice would you give to prospective rabbit owners?  

Well, to do your research and understand their needs. You need to clean them out frequently – the Eglu is a real game changer in that sense. But also, consider all the costs and time you’ll need carefully before you commit. 

What are the best bits about having rabbits? 

I asked Valli these questions, as I wanted her input and her answer was, they are so cute, and they give the best cuddles! I do think it’s great to teach kids responsibility – how to care for something every day, when it’s sunny and when it’s raining. Vali is great with them and has a routine. She even brings in their water bottle to clean it with a little brush. 

I think something you might not think of beforehand is the pleasure of just observing them – we love watching the two of them together. They’re so clever and the way they play together is just lovely. It’ll be wet and chilly, but they love being outside anyway, and they’ll be all cozied up under their run cover, sniffing the air, watching the rain. We do a running commentary of what we think they’re saying – we have a laugh as a family. 

Whenever we go out, they come running over. Valli gets inside their run with them – it’s great for that. Not all rabbits enjoy being handled, but ours always have been and they’re so relaxed with it and will sit and cuddle peacefully on your lap. Our dog, Percy was a bit excited when we first got them, but he’s so unbothered now; he’ll potter over and they hop up and then they touch noses through the run!

Ha! That is very sweet. So, what does a typical day caring for the buns look like?

Bagel and Brioche start their day with Valli or Daddy going out to feed them, which means a small amount of pellets, topping up their hay, and giving them fresh water.

They have an attached Omlet run with an extension, so we see them running around throughout the day in the different sections. We just love watching them and seeing their movements, going through the tunnels and jumping on top of things – they love doing that.

Valli and our other children will go out and see them after school, and we go out again later to feed them and top up hay and water, but we don’t shut them in at night. It’s the great thing with the Omlet set up. With the underfloor mesh it’s fox proof, so they can come in and out as they please. 

We refresh their bedding regularly and at weekends they come out into their open playpen and the kids go in there with them. That’s when we give their hutch a full, deep clean out. Sometimes they come into the house and explore while we’re doing that. 

A few times a week Valli might take them treats from our vegetable garden. This time of year we only have broccoli and kale left, which they love. Then a couple of times a week we move them around the garden for a change of scenery! It’s a nice routine. Valli loves it all and does it happily – apart from sometimes, when it’s absolutely tipping it down! Then I step in and help out. They are her rabbits, but having pets is always a family activity really.

Omlet meets Shell Mills and her children caring for rabbits in Omlet Zippi tunnels and playpens


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This entry was posted in Interview