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The Omlet Blog Category Archives: Winter

Does My Dog Need a Blanket?

Brown dog lying on the grey Omlet Luxury Super Soft Dog Blanket

The Omlet Super Soft Luxury Dog Blanket guarantees a deep, cozy sleep for dogs!

Winter is here, and the chilly weather means that our pets could all benefit from a bit of our help to try and keep snug. As a dog owner, you may be wondering what exactly you can do to keep your dog warm this season. How about investing in an extra cozy dog bed? Or maybe you’ve considered buying them a jacket for them to wear on walks? But have you ever thought about getting your dog their own blanket?

Will All Dogs Benefit from a Blanket?

Some dogs struggle to regulate their body temperature more than others, which means they need extra warmth from a blanket, especially in the colder weather. Older dogs, in particular, have a weaker immune system and are more likely to develop joint pain such as arthritis as they get older. As a result, they have a harder time trying to stay warm, which is why they’d often rather stay out of the cold weather and relax inside under a blanket to keep toasty.

Smaller dogs, especially toy breeds such as Toy Poodles and Yorkshire Terriers, can also have a hard time over winter. This is because bigger dogs have a smaller skin surface area to body weight ratio in comparison to smaller breeds. Put simply, this means that small dogs lose heat at a quicker rate. Furthermore, finely boned dogs that weigh less like Greyhounds and Whippets also feel the cold more, as they have less fat to keep them insulated.

When it comes to the cold, the general rule of thumb is that if it’s too cold for you, then it’s too cold for your dog to go outside. Most dogs are happy to be outside for long periods of time until the temperature drops below 7°C but with vulnerable dogs, it’s important to be even more cautious with taking them outside during the winter. You can read more about this on our previous blog Is My Dog Too Cold?.

All dogs, however, can benefit from having a warm blanket, even if they don’t fall into the vulnerable category of being susceptible to finding the cold weather particularly difficult. The Omlet Luxury Super Soft Dog Blanket is a great option to go for if you’re looking for a suitable blanket to meet your pup’s needs, regardless of size or age. The throw is available in three different sizes for you to choose from, making it the ideal pet blanket for any dog.

If a Dog’s Fur Keeps Them Warm, Then Why Do They Need a Blanket?

While it’s true that one of the main purposes of dogs’ fur is to keep them protected from the outside elements such as the weather, this doesn’t entirely stop them from feeling the cold altogether. A good way to think about this is how we also need the help of a few added layers of warmer clothing in colder weather. It’s also important as dog owners to remember that some dogs’ fur makes them more equipped to handle the cold than others, just as age or body weight can have an impact. For example, dog breeds such as Huskies and Saint Bernards have particularly thick coats, which provide them with an extra layer of warmth, making them the best dogs for tolerating cold temperatures and snow. Some breeds have shorter, thinner coats, so will benefit more from the warmth of a blanket.

Husky outside, flowers in background

Are Dog Blankets Only for Winter?

Just like us, dogs still need a comfortable place to rest all year round and a blanket offers more than just warmth over winter for our furry friends. Did you know that it’s a natural instinct for dogs to ‘nest’, or create their own den, which they can seek shelter under, the same way in which they use a blanket? However, we’ll look more closely into the other benefits of dog blankets below.

What Are the Benefits of Dog Blankets?

A Great Night’s Sleep for Your Dog

Dogs love to snooze, and having a comfortable spot to rest their heads is key to a great night’s sleep. Providing your pup with a cozy blanket for their bed or on top of where your dog sleeps will guarantee the deep, dreamy sleep they deserve, particularly on cold nights!

Can Help Relieve Your Dog’s Anxiety

Dog blankets can be taken anywhere, meaning that they can be a useful tool for reducing your dog’s anxiety. Giving your dog an item that they associate with their home from the smell and feel of the blanket will provide them with a sense of security in new environments when they feel nervous.

Protects Your Furniture

As well as dog blankets benefitting your dogs, they can benefit owners, too! Pet blankets can be placed on furniture around the home where your dog usually relaxes, meaning that your sofa or bed can be protected from muddy paws and fur.

Keeps Your Home Looking Stylish

Dog blankets can also add a stylish look to your home! The Omlet Luxury Super Soft Dog Blanket is dual-sided, with a luxury cream sherpa on one side, and a choice of charcoal grey or poinsettia red quilted plush on the reverse – perfect for complementing any home decor!

Black Labrador lying on Omlet Luxury Super Soft Dog Blanket in Poinsettia Red

Choose between a charcoal grey or poinsettia red for the quilted reverse of your Omlet Luxury Super Soft Dog Blanket.

Comfort is key for our beloved dogs, and we only want the best for our pets. So now we know why dog blankets are so important to our furry friends, who wouldn’t want one?

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Winter Chicken Keeping FAQs

Will my chickens get too cold over winter?

Chickens acclimatize themselves very well to the cold weather and are actually able to adapt better to the cold than they are to the heat! As long as they have an insulated coop like the Eglu to keep them snug, you won’t need to worry about them becoming too chilly over winter. You might notice your chickens fluffing up their feathers or huddling together to share body heat through the winter to keep warm. Like many other birds, chickens also often adopt the ‘one leg’ look, tucking one of their limbs up into the warmth of their bellies. This reduces overall heat loss and stops feet and toes from freezing on the icy ground.

A boy sitting in an Eglu chicken enclosure in the snow

Eglu chicken coops offer protection from all types of weather extremes.

Can chickens get frostbite?

As it’s unlikely that your chickens will ever become too cold, frostbite and hypothermia are usually the result of excess moisture in their coop as opposed to low temperatures. Make sure to opt for a coop with draft free ventilation to help with this. Particularly breeds with large combs and wattles run the risk of frostbite on these sensitive body parts during winter, so to prevent this from happening you will need to gently rub Vaseline on their combs and wattles.

Do I need to insulate my chicken coop?

Well-insulated coops like the Eglus will keep your chickens warm in winter by capturing the heat from the chickens’ bodies while not letting any cold air travel through the walls. They are also designed to let air flow through the coop to prevent a buildup of moisture, without any nasty drafts. You can increase the level of protection against the most extreme temperatures with the Omlet range of insulating blankets and jackets. If you do not have a cozy Eglu, a wooden coop can be insulated with bubble-wrap, cardboard or old carpets or blankets.

Should I heat my chicken coop?

Did you know that heating your coop can prevent your chickens wanting to go outside?

This is because they may struggle to adapt to the cold after staying inside their heated coop, making them less likely to get that exercise, fresh air, and entertainment that they require to stay happy and healthy! Furthermore, your chickens also run the risk of getting a shock at a sudden drop in temperature if the power was to go off for some reason, as well as heaters in the coop being a potential fire hazard.

What should I feed my chickens in winter?

Over winter, it’s a good idea to continue to feed your chickens a diet of high-quality layers pellets to keep them healthy. They usually eat more during cold weather to fuel their metabolism and stay warm, so you’ll want to add in a little extra to their usual feed. Providing your chickens with additional vitamins and minerals will help to keep their immune systems up to scratch over the winter. Additionally, make sure to watch your chickens’ water. Be prepared to break the ice, and have some spare water dispensers ready in case things freeze up entirely.

Will my chickens become unwell over winter?

Just like us, some chickens with a weak immune system can be more vulnerable to illness in winter time. Look out for coughs, sneezes, lethargy, or other signs of illness in your chickens. For a bit more advice, you can read the Omlet guide on how to look after your chickens’ general health.

Hens on their Omlet perch protected from the elements in their Omlet run

The Omlet Chicken Perch fits any Eglu Chicken Coop, Walk in Run or a DIY coop!

Do chickens roost for longer in winter?

Chickens love to roost, and during winter, they’ll be doing a lot more of it. You’ll find that they huddle together into one feathery ball, which is what helps them to keep each other warm, especially at night. The perches need to be wide enough so that they can cover their toes with their feathers. To prevent their feet from getting too cold, you’ll need to give your chickens a place to perch in both their coop and run.

How can I keep my chickens entertained during winter?

Winter is the time of year when backyard chickens might need a little bit more entertaining. Fortunately, you keep your chickens happy with a few boredom busters such as peck toys, perches, and chicken swings. Alternatively, a pile of leaves will provide your chickens with hours of fun and keep them out of mischief over winter when there’s fewer bugs to feast on and no grass or weeds to munch on.

Will my hens still lay eggs in winter?

The time of year can actually have an impact on how many eggs your chickens are producing! This is due to a hen’s hormonal response to how much light they are exposed to. They’ll typically need between 12-14 hours of daylight each day to produce eggs, and 16 hours for optimum production. Therefore, for most breeds, hens tend to either stop, or drastically reduce their egg laying output in the colder months when there is less daylight.

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This entry was posted in Chickens


How to Keep Your Chickens Fit and Healthy this Winter

healthy hens in winter pecking outside an eglu cube

For any animal living outdoors, winter is likely to be the most challenging time of year, and chickens are no exception. The days are short, there aren’t as many bugs and plants to peck at, and the humans they like following around the garden tend to spend less time outside. The days can get a bit repetitive, and even more so in years with avian flu outbreaks, when hens are not allowed to roam free in the garden.

Chickens will do their best to find ways to entertain themselves, but there is only so much excitement they can invent before they turn to pecking their friends or eating feathers and eggs. That’s why it’s important for you as an owner to step in and make sure your flock has enough stimulation and entertainment in their run to make it through to warmer weather and longer days.

Here are some suggestions on how you can keep your chickens fit, healthy and entertained this winter:

Perches

One of the best things you can do to enrich your hen’s environment is to invest in a range of perches. Perching is an extremely relaxing and stimulating activity for chickens and having perches at different heights in the run will make their day much more exciting.

Omlet’s Chicken Perch is perfect for this. You can accessorize with as many perches as you want to keep your feathery friends entertained.

Make sure there is enough space for the whole flock to perch and customize the position of the perches to make sure they fit the age and ability of your pets. 

Bigger run

Having more space to move around on will, unsurprisingly, encourage chickens to exercise and explore. As you might not be able to let your flock free range at the moment, providing them with a bigger run is a good solution. The Omlet Walk In Run can be customized to fit the space you’ve got and will hinder all types of predators from getting to your hens. You can also accessorize it with covers to stop rain, and visits from wild birds.

If you already have a Walk In Run, remember that you can extend it at any time with easy to add panels. Use the handy extension configurator on our website to see what opportunities you have to make your run bigger!

chickens perching to stay happy in winter

Straw or hay bales

You might have seen your hens absolutely demolish a pile of leaves as you were raking the lawn this fall. They hate piles and mounds and will do their very best to level anything they can to the ground, while also looking for yummy bugs and seeds.

Place an appropriately sized bale in the run, and your chickens will immediately jump on top and peck away!

(Please note that to limit the spread of avian flu, it’s important that you get your bales from a place where they have not been in contact with wild birds or other poultry.)

Toys

Like with dogs and small children, the right toys will keep your hens occupied for hours! Peck Toys, like Omlet’s Poppy or Pendant, are slow release treat toys that randomly scatter treats, corn or grit as the chickens peck them. The Poppy is pressed into the ground and sways as it’s pecked, whereas Pendant is hung from the run or any other structure.

Give your flock a couple of peck toys to play with to minimize the risk of the dominant members of the flock having all the fun!

Extra treats

Of course, you don’t want your chickens to overeat at a time when they are not as active as they might be during the warmer months and providing hens with a balanced diet is the best thing you can do to keep them fit and healthy. With that being said, occasionally giving them high quality goodies can help them stay warm, while also activating their mind and bodies.

Some seasonal fruits or veggies fit perfectly into the Caddi Treat Holders, which can be hung from the roof of your run, or a high perch. As the chickens peck the tasty balls, the Caddi will swing and create a rewarding challenge for your flock – it will keep them going for hours!

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This entry was posted in Chickens


Help Your Pet Beat the Winter Blues

Girl stroking a brown dog on the Topology dog bed microfiber topper

A luxury dog bed with a super snug topper is perfect for dogs over winter.

With the holiday season winding down, it’s always a struggle to get back into a routine and avoid the winter blues. This also applies to pets as well as their owners.

By spending quality time with our pets and making the most of our friendship with them, we can all find the joy and energy to beat the blues.

Healthy food for pets

Animals often need more food in the winter months. This is because they spend a lot of energy on keeping warm, and they need the fuel to feed that energy (just like a boiler that needs to work harder to heat the house during cold snaps). Always give them the correct, high-energy foods to get them through the cold spell.

Pet exercise

Keeping moving is important all year round, but for dogs the winter walks may be shorter or less frequent than in the warmer months. Bear in mind that for a dog the need to exercise doesn’t change with the seasons – they’ll love sniffing through the snow every bit as much as they love chasing the scents of summer. If they have a space outside to run around in, this can help them let off steam before the next walk. You could try keeping a shorter walk interesting by taking it in a new location, or one you haven’t visited for a long time.

Exercise is important for all other pets, too. If you keep rabbits or guinea pigs outside, adding some excitement to their runs with a tunnel system adds hours of fun and exercise to those short winter days. Zippi runs for rabbits and guinea pigs are an ideal way of keeping these small pets content. You can add shelters and all kinds of twists and turns to keep them stimulated and happy.

Keep your pet’s brain active

By spending time with your pets, you can keep their minds active in various ways, depending on the pet. Talk to your pet birds; play with your dogs and cats; and give your hamsters, gerbils or other small mammals some stimulating new toys. Budgies, finches, canaries and parrots will enjoy getting to grips with a new bird toy, too. Nothing like a new cerebral challenge to beat the winter blues!

The toys will also help your pet entertain itself once everyone is back into their routines and the house falls quiet again after the holiday season.

Pet socializing

It’s possible that your pet dog has been missing those trips to the park during the holidays and the cold weather. If you have a sociable dog, a trip to the park for a sniff around and perhaps a meet-up with some old friends will give an added boost to the day. A doggy play date is another great way of combining socializing, fresh air and lots of moving around.

Keep your pets warm

In the average home in winter, some parts of the house or flat are warmer than others. Make sure your pet bird, hamster or gerbil isn’t in a cold or draughty corner, as a drop in temperature takes its toll on a small animal’s health and its ability to keep warm.

A cat being stroked on the Maya Donut cat bed

A sophisticated, cozy cat bed that fluffy friends can’t resist!

Extra bedding does the trick for rabbits and rodents. With cage birds, you need to keep a regular room temperature. You’ll notice when they’re cold, as they’ll fluff out their feathers and will be less active than usual to conserve energy. Covering the cages at night helps to retain heat.

A dog or cat is spoiled for choice when it comes to comfy corners and snug blankets. You can give your pet a real treat by ensuring maximum comfort with a Topology dog bed or Maya donut cat bed. Cats and dogs that really feel the cold can be dressed in winter coats.

Rabbits and guinea pigs that live outdoors will need an insulated hutch to keep them snug during the winter. The Eglu rabbit hutch and the Eglu guinea pig hutch are the perfect choices here, as they keep your pets warm in the winter with a twin-walled insulation system, (and these hutches keep them cool in the summer too). 

Keeping the indoor environment safe

When the winter winds and horizontal snow restricts you to the great indoors, you’ll need to keep the room warm, but not too dry. Spending all day in dry air can dry out an animal’s skin (and yours too). An open fire should always have a fireguard on it, and hot radiators and wood burning stoves need shielding from pets, too. Dogs and cats can easily scorch themselves by getting too close to the hot spot.

Keeping old dogs comfy

Cold weather has a tendency to make common conditions such as arthritis worse than usual. An older dog may need to take it easy for longer than usual after a run around in the park. Again, a super-comfy dog bed is what you need here, and some nice soft dog blankets.

Keeping yourself and your pets warm, active and healthy in the winter months is a surefire way to beat the winter blues!

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This entry was posted in Pets


11 Ways to Make Dog Walks More Exciting

 

A dog running on the beachParticularly over winter, at some point, most dog owners will relate to not being able to find the motivation to get out of the house for a daily dog walk. The colder and shorter days can restrict us as to where and when we can go out, which can make for walks feel rather monotonous. Of course, circumstances such as extreme weather conditions can mean having to take a break from your walks. Have a look at our previous post on what weather is too cold to take your dog out in, which you might find helpful to read over this period. Generally speaking, however, it is highly important to keep on top of your pet’s exercise regime as a dog owner. Rest assured though, walking your dog doesn’t have to be a chore. Here are our top tips on how to make dog walks more exciting for both you and your dog.

Encourage Sniffing

Allowing for a few dog sniff breaks is a fantastic way to make your walk a lot more exciting for your furry friend. Did you know that scientists estimate that a dog’s sense of smell is anywhere between 10,000 to 100,000 times more accurate than ours?! So, while it might be slightly frustrating for owners to feel like they’re continuously stopping for their dog to sniff everything, it’s crucial not to forget that this is how our dogs navigate the world. So next time you’re on a walk, give your pup some extra time to use their nose, and you’ll probably have a much calmer dog when you return home too!

Snap Some Insta Worthy Pics

Could your dog be the next big pet influencer?! Why not have some fun and get your pup posing for a few pics while you’re out walking. Find a nice setting and get your dog’s attention to have them sit nicely, whilst you snap away!

Play Games with Them While You Walk

Dog games don’t have to be restricted to within the home. Most dogs love to play fetch, so this is always a good place to start. You can even substitute your dog’s regular ball with a treat toy for dogs, which you can hide some of their favorite snacks in, to make their usual game of fetch a bit more mentally stimulating.

Earlier in this blog, we learned about how much dogs rely on their sense of smell to explore their surroundings. This is why nose work games are also a great idea to incorporate into your dog’s walk, providing them with plenty of mental stimulation. Teach your pup the “find it” command and throw some treats into the grass to have them sniff out where you’ve placed them.

Do Some Training

Dogs need training throughout their lives and doing so outside whilst on walks is certainly one way to make your regular stroll a bit more fun for the pair of you. Training outside means that there will inevitably be plenty of distractions, so keeping your pup stay engaged will require a lot of concentration. There are various ways to train your furry friend outside, from practicing loose leash walking, obedience training, or maybe even agility. Whichever you choose to do so, any training exercise will get your dog’s brain working and tire them out!

Stop at a Dog-Friendly Pub

How about taking your pup along to a country pub while on your walk? Your dog might even appreciate a little break from their trek, and it means you’ll have a bit of company should you sit down for a drink – a win-win situation! While plenty of pubs accommodate dogs, it goes without saying to just be sure to check before your arrival!

Let Your Dog Go for a Swim

Brown spaniel lying on a Topology bed with microfibre topper

Dogs can get plenty of well-deserved nap time on the Topology bed with microfiber topper.

While not the case for all, many dogs can swim. Weather permitting, take your dog out for a swim in a dog-friendly lake for a splash around during their walk. If your dog is not familiar with swimming though, it’s important to gently ease them in and never force them to do anything they’re not comfortable with.

After returning home, your pup will need a cozy and warm bed to relax on. The Topology is a fantastic choice, with a range of mattress toppers including a machine washable, absorbent dog bed Microfiber Topper that will simply soak up any mud and dampness from their swim. Taking your dog swimming on walks is even better in the summertime to help them cool down. Be sure to also take a cooling mat for dogs if you plan on heading out for a long walk to the lake when the weather does heat up.

Have a Dog Playdate

If your dog gets along well with other dogs, invite a friend to join you on your next walk to make it feel like less of a task. Not only will you be able to have a nice catch up with a friend, but your dog will also appreciate meeting up with theirs too.

Go to Dog Meetups

If you don’t already know anyone else with dogs, dog meetups are another opportunity for you and your pup to socialize with other people and dogs. Dog meetups are usually held in parks and involve meeting and then walking with other friendly dogs from around the local area. Alternatively, breed-specific dog meetups have soared in popularity in recent years, with a large number of dogs of the same breed all gathering in the same space for one big walkie!

Dog in a Fido crate in the boot of a car

Dogs can safely travel in the car with a Fido crate.

Go Somewhere Different

Just like us, dogs enjoy a change of scenery. Doing the same thing, in the same place, every single day will eventually lead to you and your dog becoming very bored, so it’s a good idea to every so often change your route on walks. If your dog doesn’t mind getting in the car, you can even head out slightly further out on an adventure to give your dog a whole new experience, such as travelling to a beach. Should you be making a longer journey, Omlet’s range of  secure crates like the Fido Classic will help to make for a much smoother ride.

Change The Pace

Another way you can make the daily walk more exciting is to change the pace. Speeding up and slowing down at some points of the walk will get your dog’s mind ticking by keeping them engaged with you as they have to focus on what your next move will be.

Alternatively, for a particularly high energy dog, why not change your walk into a jog! This way you’ll be able to get your workout in alongside taking the dog out! Before doing so, however, just make sure that your dog’s age and breed is suitable for running long distances.

Let Them Guide You

It’s often said that your dog should never be leading the way on walks. However, it can work out as a fun activity to occasionally see where your dog really wants to go on their walk! Simply take them out on their leash and hand directional control over to them! Although, if you’ve got a bigger dog who pulls on the leash a lot, this might not be the best idea…

Walking the dog doesn’t have to be boring! Hopefully, now you’re feeling a lot more inspired to try out some fun new activities with your furry friend and you can bring the excitement back to the daily walk.

 

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Eggnog Layer Cake

Izy Hossack is a London based chef and baker, food stylist and food photographer, as well as author of the books Top with Cinnamon and The Savvy Cook. Izy has created two deliciously festive recipes for the Omlet Advent Calendar, you can find her Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake here.

This layer cake is the perfect Christmassy bake to impress. Inspired by the flavors of eggnog, the cake and frosting are flavored with vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and rum for a slightly boozy, warmly spiced dessert.

The frosting is an interesting one to try – if you usually find standard buttercream too sweet, you’ll love this version (and it doesn’t require icing sugar!). The base is a cooked custard, thickened with corn flour and egg until very viscous. This is then whisked into softened butter until fluffy and creamy. It can seem a bit dense if the butter or custard are too cold so you may need to add a little bit of boiling water to help it fluff up properly. It’s definitely worth the extra effort over a standard buttercream as the texture is so smooth and light with the perfect level of sweetness.

For decoration, I like to keep the frosting simple with a thin layer around the outside and a slightly swoopy texture on top. For the toppings, I look for edible bits to give the cake a festive look; Woody herbs like rosemary, thyme or sage (as I’ve used here) are lovely as are chopped/flaked nuts. A sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg are a finishing touch and boost that eggnog flavor.

Ingredients:

Cake:

300g granulated sugar
140g unsalted butter, softened
60ml vegetable oil
4 medium eggs
150ml natural yogurt
150ml milk
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
330g self-rising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp fine table salt
¼ tsp baking soda

Frosting:

150ml milk
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
80g granulated sugar
20g corn flour
1 egg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch salt
200g unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp dark rum

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease, line and flour three 18-cm cake tins.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Beat in the oil then eggs, one at a time.
  3. In a jug, combine the yoghurt, milk and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, place the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and bicarbonate of soda and stir to combine.
  5. Add 1/3 of the yogurt mixture to the butter mixture and stir to combine. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir to combine. Repeat in this alternating fashion until you’ve mixed in all of the yoghurt and flour mixtures and have a smooth cake batter.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  7. Run a butter knife around the inside edges of the cake tins and then leave them to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

  1. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small pot and place over a medium-low heat on the stove until gently steaming.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, corn flour, egg, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until smooth.
  3. Pour a little of the hot milk into the egg mixture and quickly stir with a whisk until smooth. Stream in the remaining hot milk whilst stirring to combine. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the pot and return to the heat.
  4. Cook over a medium-low heat, stirring with a whisk, until the mixture becomes lumpy and thick. Keep stirring until it looks smooth and glossy, about 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
  5. Spread the mixture out in a shallow bowl and pop into the freezer for 5-10 minutes until cooled. Alternatively, chill the mixture in the fridge for around 1 hour.
  6. Beat the softened butter in a large bowl with an electric whisk (or in a stand mixer) until smooth then gradually add the cooled egg mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally.
  7. Add the rum and keep whisking until the frosting looks aerated and light. If it seems too dense still, add 1-2 tbsp of boiling water to help soften the butter which should help the frosting to achieve the correct texture.

To assemble:

  1. Cut off any domed tops from the cooled cake layers using a serrated knife and peel away the baking paper from the bottoms.
  2. Place one cake layer onto a serving plate and spread a few heaped tablespoons of frosting over the top of the cake. Top with a second cake layer and repeat.
  3. When you’ve placed on the final cake layer, place ½ of the remaining frosting onto the cake and spread it thinly over the top and sides of the cake. Using a warm palette knife can be useful here (warm it up by placing into a jug of boiling water and wipe clean as needed).
  4. Place the cake into the fridge for 10 minutes to harden this initial layer of frosting.
  5. Remove the cake from the fridge and add the remaining frosting to the cake, using it to decoratively frost the top and sides as you like.
  6. Decorate the cake with any toppings you want – I’ve used grated nutmeg, ground cinnamon, sage leaves and flaked almonds here for a festive feel.

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This entry was posted in Food


Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Izy Hossack is a London based chef and baker, food stylist and food photographer, as well as author of the books Top with Cinnamon and The Savvy Cook. Izy has created two deliciously festive recipes for the Omlet Advent Calendar, starting with this Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake, perfect for the Christmas party!

chocolate-gingerbread-bundt-cake
christmas-baking-gingerbread-bundt-cake

Ginger and chocolate make the perfect combination in this festive Bundt cake. The batter is very easy to make as it’s a melt-and-mix situation, so no electric mixer is required! The golden syrup and treacle bring a soft, squidgy texture and boost the warming flavors of the spices. The ganache is best made with a bitter chocolate as this helps to tame the sweetness of the cake. For a pretty (and delicious) decoration, a simple sprinkle of crystallized ginger chunks is the perfect touch – you can find them in the baking aisle of most large supermarkets.

Ingredients:

175g unsalted butter, plus a couple of tablespoons for the tin
150g golden syrup
120g treacle
120g light brown sugar
3 medium eggs
200g natural yogurt
250g plain white flour
60g cocoa powder, plus more for the tin
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp fine table salt

Ganache:

100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa content)
100ml double cream
3 tbsp crystallized ginger chunks

To prepare the tin:

  1. Place a standard Bundt tin into the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a medium pot (we’ll use this pot later for the batter too) over a low heat.
  2. Generously brush the inside of the Bundt tin with the melted butter, making sure you get into all of the crevices.
  3. Dust the tin with cocoa powder, tapping it around the tin to coat all over then tip out any excess (if you collect it on a plate, you can use the excess cocoa powder in the cake batter).

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Take the same pot you were using earlier and add the 175g of butter, the golden syrup, treacle and light brown sugar. Place over a low heat on the stove and cook, stirring often, until the butter has fully melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  3. To the cooled butter mixture, stir in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the yoghurt.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before tipping out onto a cooling rack.

For the ganache:

  1. Place the chocolate into a small, heatproof bowl. Pour cream into a small pot and place over a medium-low heat. Once the cream is gently steaming, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate in the bowl.
  2. Allow to sit for 10 minutes then stir to get a smooth ganache.
  3. Drizzle the ganache over the cake (which can still be warm when you do this) allowing it to drip down the sides. Decorate with crystallized ginger while the ganache is still warm.

chocolate-bundt-cake-with-slice-taken-out

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This entry was posted in Food


Is My Dog too Cold?

A dog stood outside surrounded by snowy trees

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Some dogs love rolling in the snow, while others are happy to sit out the cold weather in the comfort of a centrally heated house. For the snow-lovers, thick fur is definitely an asset. Breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, bred for life and hard work in cold climates, will have no problems at all with the average Winter temperatures.

Hardy breeds with thick coats, such as German shepherds, Poodles and Golden retrievers, will love their cold weather walks, too. Thin coated breeds such as Greyhounds and Whippets, and small dogs such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies need to be protected from the cold. Puppies, older dogs, and ill dogs may need extra care in the Winter, too.

Whatever the breed, never leave it outside in very cold weather, as even a hardy dog can succumb to the chill if its body temperature gets too low.

How do you know if it’s too cold for your dog?

You will soon be able to tell if your dog is feeling the cold, as it will simply tell you! Dogs will be reluctant to go on a walk or will not be as active as usual during the walk, sitting down in a sheltered spot or walking much more slowly than usual. Cold dogs may become anxious, whining and walking by your side, looking at you pleadingly. Smaller dogs will begin to shiver very quickly in the cold, and even larger breeds may shiver after a while. If there is snow underfoot, a dog may limp if it feels uncomfortable with the ice in its toes.

It will not often come to this, though – certainly not in healthy dogs. They will do so much running that they will not feel the cold unless the snow itself becomes a problem in their fur or between their toes.

How cold is too cold for a dog?

Generally, 45°F is a minimum temperature, at or above which all dogs will be comfortable. As the temperature dips towards 32°F, less hardy dogs will need to wear a dog sweater or coat. In extreme cold, all breeds other than those super-hardy Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds and Newfoundlands are in danger of becoming too cold.

How do you know if your dog needs a coat?

The question of whether it is too cold for your dog is largely down to breed and is also influenced by the age and health of your pet.

Dogs with fine hair and/or thin body types (e.g. Greyhounds) will need to wear a coat outside when the temperature dips. If there is snow on the ground, small dogs and puppies will need a coat during walks or playtime in the park. Being small, they become cold quicker than larger dogs, and their undersides get cold quickly too, simply because their bellies are closer to the ground.

Older dogs and young puppies have relatively weak immune systems and can become ill if they get too cold. Old dogs with arthritis suffer in cold weather, too, and may even require a coat indoors during the winter to ease their sore joints.

Lighter-furred dogs may benefit from a dark coat to soak up a bit of Winter sun heat. If the wind is strong and icy, a coat can make things much more comfortable for any breed (with the exception of the dogs bred for harsh conditions).

Even a hardy dog can become very uncomfortable in the snow, as their fur may accumulate the frozen stuff. Dogs will instinctively try to clear their snowed-up muzzles and heads by rubbing them on the ground – thus gathering even more snow! A dog’s toes can get iced up to, which is clearly uncomfortable for them.

The snow can be removed periodically during the walk (although it will sometimes form ice and cannot be immediately removed). A good thaw-out back home will cure the problem, though.

How to keep your dog warm throughout the Winter

Knowing your own dog’s needs is key to knowing if the dog is too cold. Dogs do not need to be cozy/warm at all times, and you may have noticed how they will sometimes seek out a cool part of the floor to lie down on, especially when the central heating is switched on in the Winter. It is a fact that overheating is, in general, more of an issue than feeling the cold.

Dark-furred breeds benefit from Winter sun, being able to absorb what little heat there might be in the sun. Lighter colors reflect the light, and the heat too.

If your dog needs a coat in the cold, that’s a simple remedy against the Winter chills. A cozy bed is important, too, to keep your dog warm at night.

Avoiding severe doggie haircuts in the Winter is a good idea, as a drastic trim is not going to help in the battle against the cold!

How do I know if my dog is too cold at night?

As long as your dog has a soft bed to lie on, and as long as the room temperature remains above freezing, dogs are unlikely to get too cold. The dog will curl up and snuggle down, its own body heat sufficient for a good night’s sleep.

Making sure you have a dog bed that’s fit for every season is important. It doesn’t get much better for dog when they have a cozy bed to relax in after a long Winter Day. A bed that can be raised off the ground, to improve ventilation and prevent the bed from becoming too hot on a warm floor or too cold on a chilly one will benefit your dogA spaniel sat inside on a Topology bed with a sheepskin topper.

A high-quality dog blanket can help, too – especially if your dog has a kennel or crate outside. Your dog will snuggle under it, or push it aside, just as you might do with a quilt, helping to keep the perfect temperature throughout the night.

Note: only very hardy breeds can cope with an outdoor crate or kennel in the Winter, even if it is fully weatherproofed.

 

What happens if dogs get too cold?

The main signs that your dog is too cold are shivering and whimpering. A dog who is shivering should be wrapped in a blanket and taken somewhere warm as soon as possible. That will usually do the trick.

If a frail or small dog is too cold, it can become ill. The cold lowers their immunity, giving diseases the chance to gain a foothold. If, during cold weather, your dog is constantly sneezing or has discharge from the eyes and/or nose, it could be a sign of dog cold or dog flu, canine influenza or other illnesses.

Dogs with hypothermia

Although highly unusual, it is possible for a dog to suffer hypothermia. This is when its body temperature has fallen from the normal range of around 101°F to 102.5°F to (99°F) or lower. Such a plummet in temperature can prove fatal, even if you manage to get your dog quickly back to a warm spot.

You can tell if your dog has hypothermia, or is in danger of succumbing, by watching how it behaves. The symptoms include lethargy or sleepiness, clumsy movements, stiff limbs or breathing difficulties.

Prevention is the only remedy here. Know your dog, know their physical limitations, and use your judgement to prevent putting the dog in an environment that might mean your dog is too cold and could thus lead to hypothermia.

Dogs with frost bite

Frostbite is another cold weather risk. In extreme cold, a warm-blooded animal’s body protects its vital organs, redirecting blood flow there. This means that extremities such as ears, noses, tails and paws are at risk of freezing. If any of those parts of the body is bright red or black, your dog could be suffering from frostbite and should be warmed up immediately.

If your dog’s ears or tail feel ‘like ice’ when you hold them, it’s probably time to cut the walk short and head indoors.

In general, if you feel cold outside, in spite of your coat, hat and gloves, your dog will be feeling the cold pinch too. Common sense plays a big part when trying to tell if your dog is too cold in the Winter, and an animal as intelligent as a dog will certainly let you know if the cold weather is making it feel uncomfortable.

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This entry was posted in Dogs


Are My Chickens Cold?

a boy sitting in an eglu chicken enclosure in the snow

Chickens are hardy birds, and are very good at adapting to the climate, whether it’s midsummer or deep into Winter. Unless the Winter in your area is very harsh, your chickens will be able to keep warm by snuggling up in the coop, and the cold weather will not prevent them from going about their usual business of scratching and pecking through the run or backyard.

How do chickens keep warm in the Winter?

The chicken’s secret is natural insulation. Their feathers help them retain body heat and warm the air trapped beneath their downy under-feathers. When she’s at rest, a hen’s body temperature is 104–107F, and her heart rate is around 400 beats per minute – evidence of a high metabolism that sets up the birds very well for Winter weather.

Watching chickens scratch at the frozen ground or strut through the snow, you might wonder how they manage to keep their feet and legs warm. After all, this is one part of their body with no feathers to keep it cozy (unless you happen to have a feathery-legged breed such as the Cochin, Brahma or Silkie). The answer lies in the chicken’s leg scales, which retain heat to a certain extent. The average chicken will always be on the move, not keeping all its toes on the ground for too long.

How can you tell if chickens are too cold?

You can tell if a hen is feeling cold by simply looking at her. She will have her feathers ruffled up and will be perched off the ground, probably with one leg tucked up. Her wattles and comb may look paler than usual. These are not signs of distress, and as long as the chicken is only having a brief rest, rather than staying hunkered up for the whole day, you don’t have to worry.

Chickens should not be allowed to remain soaking wet. This is more dangerous than the outdoor temperature or the falling snow, and in extreme cases will result in hypothermia. An affected hen will be stiff and cold to the touch, with her eyes wider and unblinking, or closed. If you find one of your chickens in this state, take her indoors and wrap her in a warm towel. When she recovers, put her in a bedding-lined box in a warm spot for a few hours.

Does perching keep chickens warm?

Like many other birds, chickens often adopt the ‘one leg’ pose in the Winter, tucking one of their limbs up into the warmth of their bellies. This reduces overall heat loss and stops feet and toes from freezing on the icy ground. Like all birds, chickens are warm-blooded, and their own body heat soon works its magic.

four chickens sat together on a perchPerching is the most effective way for a chicken to retain body heat. A hen hunkers down when roosting, with her feathers fluffed up and her legs tucked into her warm body. If space allows, install a flat perch in your coop or run. This will enable the hens to roost without having to curl their toes around the roosting bar, which in really cold weather will prevent their toes freezing. An upturned pot, a log, pallet or other slightly elevated space will give the birds a flat surface to perch on, to escape the ice and snow.

How cold is too cold for chickens?

Chickens will regulate their temperature and behavior accordingly, so wherever humans can live, chickens can thrive too. It is the combination of cold and wet that can prove fatal, so ensuring a dry coop is vital, and any bird who becomes soaked should be toweled dry. Applying Vaseline to their combs will prevent frost bite.

Can chickens freeze to death?

Cold conditions will not usually kill chickens, as long as they have a warm coop to retire too when the weather become extreme. Cold hens may be more susceptible than usual to illness and parasites, though, and their egg production will fall. The chickens will simply hunker down on perches and in nesting boxes, with their feathers fluffed out.

What’s the best chicken coop for cold weather?

The type of coop you have makes a big difference. In really cold winters, a wooden coop with a drafty coop door can soon become damp and semi-frozen – not to mention very drafty – while a more robust state-of-the-art structure such as the Eglu will keep out the cold and damp and enable chickens to defrost after a busy day in the run. The temperature in the Eglu will remain relatively high when all the hens are tucked in at night.

You can help your backyard chickens keep warm in the frost and snow by making sure the coop is clean and dry. Clear out any snow dragged in on the birds’ feet and keep an insulating layer of straw on the floor. You can give the birds extra protection by insulating the run – although there should still be some ventilation, to allow the gases released from the birds’ droppings to escape.

An automatic door will help keep the living quarters snug, too. If installing a heater, it must be one designed specifically for hen houses, and it’s best to use it only if the temperature dips below 23°F, otherwise hens may get used to being cozy all the time, and that could be disastrous if the heater fails, and the birds are suddenly exposed. Heat-pampered poultry can die of cold shock.

What happens if a chick gets too cold?

Chicks and young hens are more susceptible to the cold than adult chickens. If a young chicken has its full coat of feathers, it will be as hardy as the older birds. Chicks, however, will need protection from the cold, and should be kept under an appropriate heat lamp. Any chick left to fend for itself in cold weather will die.

Cold Weather Tips

Chickens are usually fine at adapting to cooler climates, but how can you tell when your flock needs a bit of help keeping warm? The following precautions will help ensure happy chickens in Winter:

  • Protect combs and wattles from frostbite with petroleum jelly or an equivalent product.
  • Prevent water from freezing. Check it at least twice a day to keep it clear of ice. If a freeze is forecast, bring the containers indoors at night, or, if possible, buy a water heater designed for the job of preventing freezing. Ping pong balls in the waterer can also prevent freezing.
  • Chickens usually return to the coop at dusk, but in the winter, you may find your birds trying to get more pecking time from the short days. If your hens tend to wander in the dark, a high visibility hen coat will help you locate them, and will ensure they’re visible to anyone else, should they stray from the property or backyard. The coats also keep the birds cozy, so it’s a double blessing in the Winter.
  • Heat lamps or oil filled radiators can provide extra warmth in sheds and outbuildings but are generally only needed for frail birds or ones with lots of feathers missing (such as ex-battery hens). The space should be made slightly less chilly rather than actually warm.
  • If you do not have a cozy Eglu, a wooden coop can be insulated with bubble-wrap, cardboard or old carpets or blankets.
  • Extra bedding on the floor of the coop will help keep the chickens warm, too.
  • Providing weather-proof shelter in the chicken run will give the hens some respite.
  • Some extra corn offered as a treat before the hen’s bedtime will act as an internal heater as the chickens digest it overnight. In general, hens will eat more food in the cold months, as more of their energy is spent keeping warm.
  • Some owners like to supplement their chickens’ diets with extra protein or a little suet, to increase their fat levels for the Winter. Fat retains heat, and the whole bird benefits – not just the legs.

So, the answer to the question ‘Are my chickens suffering from the cold?’ is usually ‘no’. Make sure the hens’ environment – specifically the coop and run – is prepared for all types of weather, and your hens will be too.

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This entry was posted in Chickens


Competition Winners

In December, Santa Barbara and her team of Elves helped us say a big thank you to our pets and all they have helped us through in the past year. We’ve been in touch with some of the lucky winners from around the world to see how their pets are enjoying their special prizes…


Santa sent 11 year old Bobo a Luxury Super Soft Blanket to help him stay cozy and comfortable this Winter.

Bella had a super comfy Christmas in her new Bolster Bed – the perfect place to wind down from all the excitement and festivities!

Maple and Pecan had a nice, cozy Christmas with their new Extreme Temperature Blanket from Santa Barbara.


Hati has already been out in the snow with her new Joules Olive Bee Water Resistant Coat from the Omlet Grotto.

Rescue cat, Mr Pickles now enjoys the finer things in life, and he love his Luxury Super Soft Blanket from the Omlet elves.

Princess Penny, Lady Henney and Madame Francis D’Borah have given their new Eglu holiday home the stamp of approval!


Boris the Bunny is over the moon with his new Caddi Treat Holder from the Omlet Grotto!

Boris the cat is very happy about his new Sofa and grey Bolster Bed from Santa Barbara. Cats love memory foam too!

These 5 wyandottes moved from a wooden coop to the Cube in Summer, and now have the luxury of an Autodoor thanks to Santa!


Tommy also recieved a memory foam Bolster Bed in peach from Santa Barbara. So comfy!

Miny and Résy are very pleased with their brand new Autodoor from the Omlet Grotto. No more waiting to be let out to play!

Clare now has a second Qute Gerbil Cage from the Omlet Grotto, so she can expand her clan of gerbils!


Since receiving the Eglu Cube from Santa, Cinnamon has been gifted three new hen friends to play with!

Skye is super happy with her new Geo Bird Cage from the Omlet Grotto and can’t wait to have a new friend in February!

Lady, Stephanie and Freya are loving the new Autodoor for their Eglu Go UP in sunny Sydney!


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This entry was posted in Competitions


Omlet’s Holiday Animal Quiz: Are you an Expert?

Photo by Jasmin Schuler on Unsplash

Holiday Animal Quiz: Can you Identify the roles of these animals in these holiday movie favorites?

1.What does the Grinch tie to Max’s head in the movie?

A. A twig

B. Holly

C. A bell

D. Mistletoe

2.What does the Grinch steal from a mouse when he is stealing from the Who’s in Whoville?

A. A piece of cheese

B. A cookie

C. A candy cane

D. A crumb

3. Who provides the voice of Rebecca the Hen in the 2017 holiday movie “The Star”?

A. Mariah Carey

B. Keegan Michael Key

C. Aidy Bryant

D. Gina Rodriguez

4. In “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, why is Snoopy decorating his dog house?

A. For Charlie Brown

B. For a holiday contest

C. For Santa

D. For Woodstock

5. In the movie “Annie”, what is the name of her beloved Dog?

A. Goldie

B. Molasses

C. Sandy

D. Butterscotch

 Photo by Woodson’s Mom on Unsplash

6. In the movie “The Holiday” what is the name of Kate Winslet’s Dog?

A. Charlie

B. Chip

C. Jackson

D. Pip

7. What animal says the line “Bye Buddy, I hope you find your dad!” in the movie “Elf”?                                                                                                                

A. A whale

B. A seal

C. A narwhal

D. A polar bear

8. What is the name of Snoopy’s bird sidekick in “A Charlie Brown Christmas?”

A. Tweetie

B. Sunny

C. Pebbles

D. Woodstock

9. What is the name of the famous red-nosed reindeer?

A. Rudolph

B. Prancer

C. Dancer

D. Comet

10. How does Rudolph help Santa on Christmas Eve?

A. His nose helps detect rain or snow

B. His nose detects which houses are on the naughty or nice list

C. He flashes his nose to the airplanes to make way for Santa

D. He guides his sleigh

Answers: 1.A, 2. D, 3. A, 4. B, 5. C, 6. A, 7. C, 8. D, 9. A, 10. D

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This entry was posted in Christmas


10 Tips to Help Your Pet Have an Amazing Holiday Break

Holidays offer a great opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends – and that includes pets! It’s important to remember, however, that the kind of fun humans enjoy at Christmas and New Year might not be so much fun for the pet you live with.

With a bit of care and consideration, though, you can make sure the holidays are great fun for your pets too. These ten top tips for keeping pets happy at Christmas will set you on the right track.

  1. Keep the noise down

Christmas and New Year are noisy, with people, music and games all adding to the decibels. For cats and dogs, it may simply be a case of looking for a quiet spot, and many dogs will be perfectly happy at the centre of the party. Caged animals such as budgies, finches, parrots and small mammals don’t find it so easy to escape the noise, though.

If possible, cages should be placed in a quieter part of the house if there is a party taking place in the main room. If the cage can’t be moved – if it’s built in, for example, or simply too large to relocate – you’ll have to take that into consideration, making sure the noise isn’t too excessive for your pet.

  1. Ban the fireworks!

The biggest bang comes from fireworks. No pet enjoys explosions, and some simply head for a safe corner and sit it out. Many cats and dogs, however, become genuinely terrified by the noise, and in extreme cases they may need to be sedated. Unless your pet is a new one, you will know how they react to fireworks, and will be able to take appropriate precautions. If you are the owner of a very nervous cat or dog, or if you have chickens or other pet animals in the garden, don’t turn your garden into a firework and bonfire display site!

  1. Go easy on the treats

There’s lots of food around at Christmas. Your dog will probably be happy to eat leftovers and treats all day, given the chance, but this does not make it a good idea. As far as your dog is concerned, it’s best to treat Christmas Day and other festive times like any other day, perhaps with a simple treat such as some turkey skin with the evening meal.

The same applies to other pets; and you need to make sure that everyone knows the rules. A well-meaning guest might try to feed pretzels and salted peanuts to the hamsters and gerbils, or pieces of Christmas cake to the pet birds. These human snacks will bring no benefit to your pet, and some items are highly toxic. Dogs, for example, cannot eat chocolate or raisins. 

The rule of thumb is simple here and is one familiar to anyone who has ever visited a zoo – Do Not Feed the Animals!

  1. Hang on to some routine

During the holiday season it’s easy to lose your routine. You’ll probably be in bed late, up late, and preoccupied with children, guests, or people in the community who need a bit of extra Christmas cheer. With all that other stuff going on, there’s a danger that you might forget to refill the pets’ food bowls, close the hen house door, skip the dog walk, or lose all track of where the cat’s got to. 

It’s simple to add a reminder to your Christmas and New Year to-do list – Feed the Pets, Walk the Dog, etc. Perhaps you could get someone else to do the dog walk, if you’re too busy?

You also need to remember that cage birds like to have lights-out in the evening, so make sure your late party doesn’t turn into an all-nighter for the budgies, finches and parrots, too. If the room isn’t too noisy, a cage cover might suffice; otherwise, relocating the pet cage will be the best option. 

  1. Minimising stress caused by visitors 

Unless you have the type of dog that loves big crowds and new people, chances are that your pet will not want lots of fuss from your visitors over the holiday season. Cage-rattling and pet chasing are things your young visitors may need to be warned against.

  1. Don’t take the pets with you

If you’re travelling away for Christmas, arrange for someone to look after your house and garden pets. For cats and dogs, the cattery or local kennels is a good alternative, although you’ll need to book well in advance as they are usually busy at this time of year. 

The only pet you should consider taking away with you for Christmas is your dog – and you should only do so if your dog is happy away from home with other people (and possibly their pets). Some dogs just enjoy being with you and meeting people, others treat familiar places as a second home, while some dogs will be traumatised by the whole process. You’re the one who know your dog best, so you need to act appropriately.

  1. Watch the temperature

If pets are being placed in rooms away from the Christmas party, or are being left outside, make sure it’s not too cold for them. Even a hardy cat or dog will need a snug bolt hole in a shed or other sheltered space if they are going to spend the day comfortably in the great outdoors. For birds, you need to make sure the room you put them in is neither too hot nor too cold.

  1. Tidy the mess

The Christmas season tends to involve lots of pet hazards, such as wrapping paper, bows, ribbon, tinsel, and various bits of plastic. To avoid these items ending up in your pet’s mouth or wrapped around their heads and legs, get everything tidied away once the presents have been opened.

  1. Protect the Christmas tree!

A Christmas tree can sometimes be bashed by wagging dog tails, and an adventurous cat may try to climb to the top. It’s a good idea not to have heavy decorations high up in the Christmas tree, as these could easily fall and break, and nothing fragile (or valuable) should be kept within reach of that excited tail!

  1. Be careful with new pets

If a new pet is part of your Christmas plans, make sure they have been introduced to any other free-roaming pets you may have. This will avoid confrontations and potential chaos. The house should be made pet-proof, too, and you should make sure you have all the food and equipment you need for the newcomer. 

A new pet can enjoy Christmas and New Year, as long as you don’t neglect them or put them in situations that could make them uncomfortable. Stick to these basic rules, and pets and pet owners will all be having happy holidays together.

Photo by Nathan McDine on Unsplash

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This entry was posted in Christmas


Black Friday Sale!

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:

Eglu Cube

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!

Geo Bird Cage

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!

Outdoor Pet Run

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.

Qute Hamster and Gerbil Cage

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!

Zippi

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.

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This entry was posted in Offers and Promotions


Gift Guide: Rabbits

Zippi Tunnels, Play Pens & Runs

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 the Zippi 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!

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This entry was posted in Gift Guides


Gift Guide: Dogs

 

Fido Studio & Nook

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?!

 

 

 

 

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Gift Guide: Chickens

Eglu Cube / Eglu Go / Eglu Go UP

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!

Chicken Accessories

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.

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How Long Can I Leave My Chickens For?

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. 

Entertainment

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.

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What Can I Treat My Chickens to in Winter Months?

Introduction:

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!

Blog Summary:

  1. How often should I feed my chickens during Winter?
  2. What is the most comforting treat?
  3. What are the easiest treats to prepare?
  4. What are the most nutritious treats for your flock?
  5. Conclusions 

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!

5. Conclusions

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!

Psssst… Read More About Fun Pet Tips and Tricks Here: https://blog.omlet.us/ 

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This entry was posted in Chickens


Will My Rabbits Be Ok Outside in the Winter?

We often get questions from new rabbit owners about how to care for rabbits in the winter and asking if their pet rabbits will be happier inside during winter. We’ve put together the advice we normally give in this blog, so that everyone can make their own decision about whether bringing the rabbit into the house or keeping your pet outside is the best option for you.

  1. Can rabbits live outside during the winter months?
  2. But will they be happier inside?
  3. How cold is too cold for rabbits?
  4. What can I do to help my rabbits in winter?

rabbits snuggling together in winterCan rabbits live outside during the winter months?

Yes, as long as your pet rabbits are healthy and have a hutch that will keep them warm and dry, letting your bunnies stay outdoors for the winter months shouldn’t be a problem.

Both wild and pet rabbits cope relatively well with colder temperatures (they actually struggle a lot more with heat), as long as they have a dry and sheltered area where they can hide in cold weather. For wild rabbits, this is their underground warrens, and for your pet bunny it will be a well designed hutch and run.

It’s important that you make sure that your rabbits’ home has got everything they need to keep warm and dry while it is still nice and warm outside. If the hutch is damaged in any way you will want to have time to fix it, or to get a completely new house for your bunnies, before it gets too cold.

The Eglu Go Rabbit Hutch with insulated walls will protect your rabbits from the wind and rain, and keep them warm even when the weather gets really bad. The draft free ventilation makes sure fresh air moves around the hutch, without making it damp or cold.

But will they be happier inside?

Not necessarily. Indoor rabbits will need to adjust to their new home, and if it’s the first time they are taken indoors, this can be a bit distressing to start with. You will need to provide them with a safe area where the temperature won’t fluctuate massively they will get enough exercise and mental stimulation throughout winter.

The important thing when it comes to keeping rabbits in winter, whether you decide to stick with the outdoor hutch or let them come inside the house, is to make a decision and stick to it.

When summer is over and the temperatures start dropping, the rabbits will grow a thicker winter coat and fur pads on their feet. This will gradually get thicker as the months go by. The coat is great at keeping the rabbit warm outdoors, but once the rabbit is fully prepared for winter, you will have lost your window of opportunity to move them indoors.

A rabbit with winter fur should not be taken indoors unless absolutely necessary. Rabbits can’t sweat, and the sudden heat will quickly raise the rabbit’s body temperature to dangerous levels. In serious cases, this temperature shock can be fatal, so make sure you make a decision about where the rabbits live, and keep them there permanently.

will my rabbits be okay outside in winterHow cold is too cold for rabbits?

It’s difficult to say a specific temperature at which you should start worrying about the wellbeing of your bunnies. If it has gradually got colder over a longer period of time, your pets will have thickened their coat, and will be fine in temperatures as cold as -10. It’s more problematic if the temperature suddenly drops, as the rabbit will not have had enough time to get used to the cold.

If you’re worried, consider the option of moving the hutch into a shed or garage. Rather than moving the bunnies indoors straight away, you can keep them covered and sheltered for a bit before you decide if they can go back out into the garden, or if they need to move inside permanently.

If you let the rabbit live in a warmer area, he or she will within a few days start shedding its thick fur, and after about a week you will not be able to move them out into freezing temperatures again. This is another reason it’s important to choose a course of action and stick to it.

Any animal in distress should be taken straight to the vet to get help and advice. The main worry for a pet rabbit living outside in cold weather conditions is hypothermia and pneumonia. To prevent these owners must check on their pet regularly and make sure their home is safe, warm enough and free from damp areas.

What can I do to help my rabbits in winter?

This advice applies if you keep rabbits in an outdoor rabbit hutch and run. If you’re moving your pets inside you won’t have to worry too much about protecting them from bad weather.

• Exercise

The rabbits still need to run and exercise as much as they do in summer, but make sure you’re also giving them the opportunity to go inside the hutch and rest if they need. The Eglu Go Hutch with run connected to a Zippi tunnel with additional runs and play pens lets the animals run between different areas as and when they like. Moving about will help your rabbit stay warm, and will keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Provide a few extra toys, tunnels and hidey-holes that they can run between.

• Position and cover

Move your outdoor rabbit hutch to a sheltered area of the garden, facing away from the prevailing wind and rain.

During the day, cover the roof of the run with a clear cover that will prevent your rabbits getting wet and damp, while still letting the light in.

Bedding

Provide plenty of extra bedding in the hutch, and put an extra layer of newspaper and straw at the base of the hutch if you’re worried moisture and cold air will get into the hutch that way.

Regularly check the hutch and make sure your pets have plenty of dry, warming bedding. Blankets or hot water bottles are not a good idea as the rabbits are likely to chew them, but you can put a microwavable heat pad in with the hay that will provide extra warmth to your pet.

• Food, water and treats

If they are living outside, your pet rabbits need to eat more in the winter to stay well. Digesting food will heat their bodies and help them keep warm.

We advise giving your rabbits more food gradually as the weather gets colder. Check if anything has been left at the end of the day, then you are giving them too much. Give them plenty of treats, both healthy vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, and shop bought chew treats that will wear down their teeth. Always make sure they have a good amount of hay in the hutch, as hay should make up a high percentage of your bunny’s diet.

Check your rabbit’s water bottle regularly to make sure the water is fresh and hasn’t frozen. It may be good to have two bottles, so you can swap them every time you go outside to see your animals.

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This entry was posted in Rabbits


Why Do Chickens’ Legs Not Get Cold in Winter?

A pair of chicken feetWatching chickens scratch at the frozen ground or strut through the snow, you might wonder how they manage to keep their feet and legs warm. After all, this is one part of their body with no feathers to keep it cozy (unless you happen to have a feathery-legged breed such as the Cochin, Brahma or Silkie).

Surprisingly, the simple answer to ‘How do they keep their leg warm?’ is ‘They don’t!’ Those skinny, bare legs have scales, which retain heat to a certain extent, but they will still get very cold if the bird stands still for too long.

And that’s the important detail. A chicken keeps its legs warm by moving, and by not keeping all its toes on the ground for too long. These parts of their body lose heat rapidly; but the solution is quite simple.

Perching is the most effective way of retaining heat. A hen hunkers down when roosting, and her legs are tucked into her warm body. If space allows, install a flat perch too. A piece of wood with a 10 cm width will enable the hens to roost without having to grip the perch, which in really cold weather will prevent their toes freezing. (The lucky ones will simply snuggle down in a nesting box, which is the chicken equivalent of a thick quilt!)

But of course, a hungry hen doesn’t want to waste the whole day perching, so even in the coldest spells she will make a lot of contact with the ground.


Chickens outside in the snow with their Eglu Go

One-Legged Hens

Like many other birds, chickens often adopt the ‘one leg’ look, tucking one of their limbs up into the warmth of their bellies. This reduces overall heat loss and stops feet and toes from freezing on the icy ground.

An upturned pot, a log, pallet or other slightly elevated space – cleared of snow or ice – will help the hens get the circulation going again, without having to catch their breath on the frozen ground. Like all birds, chickens are warm-blooded, just like us, and their own body heat soon works its magic. Indeed, with an average body temperature of around 41°C, chickens can remain active in the coldest weather.

The leg-warming process is helped by other tricks, too. Fluffing up the feathers retains body heat, by trapping small pockets of air which are then heated up by the bird’s warm body.

Some owners give their hens a supper of corn and grains, which take longer to digest than a standard pellet or other chicken food. Part of the digestion process involves producing heat – a kind of internal hot water bottle!

In general, hens will eat more food in the cold months, as more of their energy is spent keeping warm. Some owners like to supplement the birds’ diets with extra protein or a little suet, to increase their fat levels for the winter. Fat retains heat, and the whole bird benefits – not just the legs (which will remain as thin as ever!)

Help With the Heating

You can help your hens keep their toes cosy by making sure the coop is clean and dry. Clear out any snow dragged in on the birds’ feet and keep an insulating layer of straw on the floor. You can give the birds extra protection by insulating the coop – although there should still be some ventilation, to allow the gases released from the birds’ droppings to escape.

You can install an automatic door to help keep the living quarters snug. Heaters are also available – but never use anything other than a heater designed specifically for hen houses. It’s also best to use these only if the temperature gets below 40°F, otherwise hens may get used to being cosy all the time, and that could be disastrous if the heater fails, and the birds are suddenly exposed. Heat-pampered poultry can die of cold shock.

A coop should be draft-free, but not completely sealed, as ventilation is important for healthy hens. During the day, a sheltered spot in the run or garden will help them take a breather and warm those long-suffering legs.

Chickens are amazingly hardy, and although not exactly warm, their legs will be able to cope with anything the average winter throws at them. As long as they can toast their toes on a nice perch every now and then…

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This entry was posted in Chickens