The Omlet Blog Category Archives: Winter

Is My Dog too Cold?

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 dog.

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?

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.

Perching 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

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

Photo by Jasmin Schuler on Unsplash

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 loads of fun for your pets too. These ten top tips for keeping pets happy during the holidays 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 center 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 backyard, don’t turn your backyard into a firework and bonfire display site!

  1. Go easy on the treats

There’s lots of food around the holidays. 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 holiday 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. Minimizing 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 the holidays, arrange for someone to look after your house and backyard pets. For cats and dogs, the 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 traumatized 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 cleaned up 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 holiday 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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This entry was posted in Dogs


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: http://blog.omlet.us/ 

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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 have 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?

Can 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 tunnels or mazes, and for your pet bunny it will be a well designed hutch and run. 

It is 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 is 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 will not fluctuate massively and where 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 cannot 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. 

How cold is too cold for rabbits?

It is 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 are 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 backyard, 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 is 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 ailments, owners must check on their pet regularly and make sure their home is safe, warm, 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 are moving your pets inside you will not 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 are 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 they please. Moving around will help your rabbit stay warm, and will keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Provide a few extra toys, tunnels, and hideaways that they can run between.

• Position and cover

Move your outdoor rabbit hutch to a sheltered area of the backyard, 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 are 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 store 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 has not frozen. It may be good to have two bottles, so you can swap them every time you go outside to see your animals. 


Photos by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash

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Why Do Chickens’ Legs Not Get Cold in Winter?

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 cosy (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.

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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Are Your Chickens Happy in Their Wooden Coop? Take the test.

Are your chickens happy in their wooden coop?
Is your chicken’s coop strong enough to survive the winter?
Is it time I upgraded my wooden coop?

These are all questions many chicken keepers ask themselves when facing the reality that their wooden coop may not be up to another winter. 

Take this short test to see whether your wooden coop is suitable for the winter.

Wood absorbs water, does it seem heavier to move in the winter? 

A = Yes, either I’m getting weaker or my coop is definitely heavier in the winter

B=  Yes, but I solved it by getting someone else to move the coop for me. 

C = I’ve given up trying to move it. 

D = Nope, I spent the summer sanding and varnishing my chicken coop and now it’s more waterproof than a Norwegian fisherman’s beard.

Have you had to pour boiling water onto locks to get them to open?

A = Yes, my coop deicer kit is more comprehensive than the one I use for my car.

B = Boiling water would have been a better idea than the brick I used to hit the sliding bolt which slipped and went straight through the greenhouse. 

C = I religiously grease all hinges and bolts every few weeks to keep things moving. 

D = I have very carefully aligned my coop to the morning sun so that the bolts and hinges have defrosted by the time I get out. On cloudy days I resort to the kettle. 

Has your wooden coop grown over winter?

A = It’s funny you should mention that, yes the doors all seem too big for the frames and nothing opens or shuts properly any more. 

B = Yes, all the panels seem to have swollen a bit and I’m a bit worried about what will happen when they all shrink again because I filled all that extra space with another couple of chickens. 

C = Mostly seems fine, but the bottom sections are looking a bit soggy. 

D = Thanks to my painstaking varnishing and siting of the coop on some free draining pea shingle it’s in tip top condition. 

Is the roof leaking? 

A = I’ve already fixed the roof a few times this year, and it’s leaking again.

B = Yes, but this is the first time and I think it’s easy to fix. 

C = At the moment I don’t have any troubles with the roof. 

D = My wooden coop is brand new and I don’t expect to have any problems this winter. 

Is it cold and damp inside?

A = Yes, it does feel cold inside and the bedding gets damp quickly. 

B = It is a little chilly in there, but my chickens huddle together for warmth. 

C = I have no problems with dampness, and I have a lot of chickens to keep each other warm.

D = The coop keeps warm well overnight once I have shut the door, and my chickens are outside during the day. 

Did you have difficulties with red mites in summer?

A = Yes, I had to clean and treat the coop and my chickens regularly and I am dreading this summer. 

B = No more than usual, I’m used to it and tackled the problem as best I could.

C = I did have some mite issues over summer but I have a solid cleaning strategy in place.

D = The red mites didn’t cause a problem in my coop this year. 

How long does it take to clean?

A = It’s an all day task which I dread doing so it doesn’t get cleaned regularly in winter.

B = It does take quite a long time, so it’s not fun in winter but I know my chickens appreciate it. 

C = It takes a few hours to do but the whole family helps. 

D = It doesn’t take me long at all and I have a good system in place.


The results…

Mostly A’s = If you experience repeated issues with your wooden coop, like red mite, a leaking roof, or poor ventilation, then these problems are unlikely to disappear overnight, and will only get worse in poor weather conditions. Consider upgrading to a plastic chicken coop for faster cleaning and red mite removal, better insulation without compromising ventilation, and happy chickens all-year round. 

Mostly B’s = You’ve done well to keep going with your wooden coop this far, and seem to be willing to overcome the problems involved in owning a wooden chicken coop. The coop itself may be able to survive another winter, but are you and your chickens happy about it? The most important thing for you to do here is keep an eye on any dampness inside the coop and ensure that the coop has plenty of ventilation to keep the water particles moving through without making your chickens super cold. 

Mostly C’s = Sounds like you’re a veteran wooden chicken coop owner and know exactly what you’re doing! Keep an eye on the typical problems areas throughout winter, and make sure you’re keeping up with the cleaning, especially if you have lots of chickens sharing the coop. In spring, reevaluate how your coop held up during the colder months, if some damage is done, or some of your chickens got ill, consider why this might be and look to other housing options. 

Mostly D’s = Your wooden coop is likely in its early days, or you have spent lots of time and effort in preserving it as best you can. It’s still worth checking around all the problem areas before the worst of winter hits, and looking at potential accessories which could improve your chickens’ home. For example, an Automatic Chicken Coop Door can be placed on the wooden coop door so that it can be shut earlier in the evening once all your chickens have gone to bed, even when you’re not yet home. This way your chickens can begin to roost in the warm with no blowy drafts, and they will also be safe from predators once they’ve gone to bed. 

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How the Weather Forecast Can Help Chicken Keepers

While most people check the weather forecast to help them plan their week activities or outfits, chicken keepers can also be using it to predict what accessories their coop needs to ensure their girls are as comfortable as possible. 

From sun to snow, wind to wet, the breakfast time weather reports and the handy app on your phone are all giving you helpful hints that you might be ignoring.

🌡 TEMPERATURE 🌡

Firstly, the most obvious indicator: the predicted temperature for the coming 10 days. Depending on what time of year we are in, this can be super helpful or utterly confusing if it is varying drastically. But let’s think about what we can act upon.

In winter, if the predicted temperature is at below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 5 days in a row or the temperature is near freezing and you have very few chickens in your coop, you may want to consider attaching the Extreme Temperature Blanket to your Eglu to give your chickens some extra help with keeping warm, without limiting the coop ventilation. 

During hot summer months, when temperatures can be above and beyond 85 degrees Fahrenheit daily in some countries, it is wise to move your chicken coop into an area that is in the shade for as much of the day as possible. For your chickens, daily health checks are essential to ensure they are not suffering with the high temperatures. If your coop is attached to or inside a secure run, you can leave your coop door open to increase airflow at nighttime without your girls being exposed to predators.

☀️ SUN ☀️

When the sun is shining, it is tempting to cover your chickens’ run with shades so that it is completely protected from the sun inside. However, this can have the opposite effect on what you intended. Instead of shading and cooling the area, lots of shades create a tunnel which traps the heat, like a greenhouse. 

It is best to keep them in a shaded area, and protect one side of the run from the sun. If your chickens are out free ranging most of the day, make sure that they have access to shady patches in the garden, and that their food and water is also in shade. 

❄️ SNOW ❄️

Exciting for some, but for others a weather warning for snow can be very disappointing. You may want to consider sheltering your coop’s run with clear covers to prevent as much snow getting on the ground inside the run as possible. If snow is predicted for the foreseeable future, you may want to prepare for long term icy conditions and bring your coop closer to the house so it is easier to check on your chickens, and they can benefit from some of the shelter your house might provide. During the snow, be sure to dry off damp feathers and remove any chunks of ice from claws. Increase the amount of bedding and food you are giving your chickens too as this will help them stay warm. 

If you have time, it might be wise to consider how effective your chicken coop will be against the bitter cold. If you have a wooden coop, check if it is water-tight and well insulated. If you are not confident in your wooden coop, consider upgrading to a sturdy plastic alternative, like the Eglu Cube. It’s twin-wall insulation works in the same way as double glazing to keep the cold out of the coop, and the heat in during winter. The plastic material is waterproof and super easy to clean out quickly (especially important on chilly winter days).

☁️ CLOUD ☁️

The most boring of all weather forecasts, but often a rest bite from other more extreme conditions. During winter, a few cloudy days should raise the temperature slightly and give you a good opportunity to clean out your coop and thoroughly check on your chickens and make any changes needed for whatever the forecast predicts for the coming days.

🌧 RAIN 🌧

Some weather reports are more helpful than others when it comes to the exact timing and chance of there being rain. But if you’re looking at days of 90% chance of heavy showers, it would be wise to act fast and get some protective clear covers over the run. If the ground under your chickens’ coop and run is already extremely muddy and wet, you might want to consider moving them to a new patch of grass, and maybe even laying down a base material, like wood shavings, to prevent it developing into a swamp!

💨 WIND 💨

How you react to a windy forecast completely depends on the wind speeds predicted. Light winds, less than 25 mph, shouldn’t cause much of a problem. You might want to add some windbreaks around the base of your Eglu and a large clear cover down the most exposed side. However, in extreme high winds, the worst thing you can do is completely conceal your run, particularly a larger Walk in Run, with covers from top to bottom. In a large run, the mesh holes allow the wind to flow through without causing any issues to the structure, and a clear cover round one bottom corner of the run will provide chickens enough shelter. If you cover the run completely, the wind will be hammering against it and is more likely to cause the structure to lift or move. 

If your chickens are in a smaller run attached to their coop, we recommend moving it to a position where it will be most protected from the wind and any falling debris, for example, against a sturdy building wall. The Eglu’s wheels allow you to easily move the coops around your garden to suit the conditions. If you are keeping your chickens in their Eglu coop and run, and not free ranging during dangerous weather conditions, consider adding some entertaining toys and treat dispenser for them to prevent boredom, such as the Peck Toy or Perch


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Chicken-Keeping Challenges In The Year Ahead

Backyard hens usually spend their entire lives outdoors. This means they have to cope with everything the year throws at them, from blazing summers and sub-zero winters to year-round downpours.

Being hardy birds, they take much of this in their stride. But there are still ways of helping your flock through the changing seasons.

Winter

This is the most challenging time of year for any animal living outdoors. The cons outweigh the pros, but with a little bit of help from their human friends, chickens can shrug off the excesses of the season.

  • Although chickens cope well with the cold, they don’t thrive when it’s both cold and raining. Protecting the run with extra weatherproofing will help enormously. Keeping the birds in an insulated Eglu is a good place to start.
  • Keep the hens’ feet dry in wet weather by lining the run with wood chippings.
  • 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 are prone to wander in the dark, a high visibility hen coat will help you locate them – and also ensure they’re visible to anyone else, should they stray from the garden. The coats also keep the birds cosy, so it’s a double blessing in the winter. 
  • Roosting perches enable chickens to cuddle up in the cold – something essential on a cold night. Roosting also prevents their feet from becoming too cold.
  • In sustained sub-zero conditions, rub petroleum gel (e.g. Vaseline) on the hens’ combs and wattles, to prevent them becoming frostbitten.
  • Keep an eye out for coughs, sneezes, lethargy, or other signs of illness. A chicken with a weak constitution may be vulnerable when the cold weather kicks in.
  • Egg numbers will drop – this doesn’t mean you’ll have no eggs for breakfast, though. Three hens should till deliver eight eggs a week in the coldest months, but this will vary somewhat.
  • Make sure the hens’ diet remains healthy, and add some extra vitamins and minerals to keep their immune systems up to scratch.
  • Their water will freeze, so be prepared to break the ice, and have some spare water dispensers ready in case things freeze up entirely.
  • On the upside, winter might kill off any lingering red mite in coops and runs!

Spring

As the days lengthen, your hens will start laying more eggs. The garden comes back to life, and the chickens will find things worth scratching for in the ground.

  • Foxes will be hungry after a long, lean winter, so make sure your coop and run are secure. Automatic doors will ensure the hens are in and out at the right times, and will prevent predators from gaining after-hours access. The door will also let your chickens out in the morning, so that you can enjoy weekend mornings in bed as the days get longer.
  • With the warmer weather, the red mites start to gather… mite-proof your chicken shed before the situation gets out of hand!

Summer

It’s amazing, having seen your chickens happily cluck and scratch their way through freezing winter, to now see them equally happy in temperatures 20-odd degrees warmer. The main problem in summer is too much sun – but with plenty of shade in the garden, your birds will love the warm weather every bit as much as you do. A chicken coop that provides shade in itself, like the space under the Eglu Cube or the Eglu Go Up, is ideal for the summer months.

  • Keep the water supply topped up, as hens drink more in warm weather.
  • Provide a dust bath – either a dry area of ground in the garden, or a tray in the chicken run. Cat-litter trays make good baths.
  • Daily egg-collecting will discourage hens from going broody – something they sometimes do at this time of year.

Autumn

Although the summer has gone and winter lies ahead, this is actually a great season for chickens. There are lots of juicy bugs to scratch for in the still-soft ground and leaf litter. If you have any fruit trees, there are rich pickings for the birds in the shape of windfalls.

  • Hens often moult at this time of year, so they need a good diet to help them stay healthy and grow new feathers. Extra vitamins and minerals will help, and a little apple cider vinegar in their water will help ensure a healthy, glossy new plumage.

Chickens are a year-round commitment. Fortunately, they make it easy for you – these wonderful birds are pretty much happy whatever the time of year.

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How the Eglu Keeps Your Chickens Warm in Winter

In winter, one of the biggest concerns we see from our customers is: “how well is the Eglu going to keep my chickens warm?”. In this blog, we explain the science behind the Eglu’s carefully designed features, which ensure your chickens are kept nice and toasty in the colder months. 

Insulation 

Air is an amazing thermal insulator. Heat is conducted between an area of more heat to an area of less heat. The warmer molecules vibrate rapidly and collide with others, passing on energy. If the material the heat (in this case the body heat from the chickens inside the coop) is trying to pass through has few molecules in it then it will be harder for the heat to transfer through it. This is the case with air, and that is why it’s commonly used as an insulator in everything from walls and windows to cooking utensils and drinking flasks – and chicken coops!

The Eglus’ unique twin wall system captures air in a pocket between the inner and outer wall, taking full advantage of air’s great insulating properties. This solution stops the cold air from moving into the coop, and retains the warm air in the coop. The same process also keeps the chickens cool in summer by stopping the warm air from entering the coop and making it too warm.

Ventilation 

Perhaps even more important than the coop’s insulating properties, is how well ventilated it is. If the coop doesn’t have good ventilation, you run the risk of either having a nasty draft if the coop has badly positioned vents or large holes and openings, or a build up of moisture if the coop is too tightly insulated. Both will prevent the chickens from staying warm on chilly winter nights, and can cause unpleasant respiratory illnesses.

The Eglu coops are designed to let air flow through the coop, but without creating an uncomfortable draft for the chickens. The vents are positioned in such a way that your pets won’t notice the fresh air flowing through the coop, but the warm air evaporating from the animals and their droppings will move through the vents and prevent any moisture. 

How chickens keep themselves warm

Chickens, like many other non-migrating birds, have a layer of downy feathers under their visible plumage that they can fluff up to create air pockets close to their bodies. This will retain the heat, and will keep them warm during winter. 

Chickens also have a high metabolic rate that will speed up even more during winter, helping to keep their bodies warm. This is why you might have to feed your chickens a little extra during the winter months. 

Chickens are also able to decrease the blood flow to their bare legs to minimise loss of body heat. The overlapping scales on their feet and legs trap some warm air, so walking on snow and ice rarely causes chickens any discomfort. When roosting in the cold, the feet and legs are tucked in under the warm feather blanket, and the chicken might also tuck its head under a wing to get some extra body heat.

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

1. Don’t shut your chickens in their coop

Chickens are built to be outside, and they are known to withstand some pretty extreme temperatures. Under the visible plumage birds like chickens have a layer of downy feathers that can be puffed up to create an extra layer of insulation that will keep them warm. 

Cooped up chickens will soon get bored and agitated, and even though you might be surprised that they choose to go out in freezing temperatures, you should definitely always give your chickens the opportunity to stretch their legs. 

Ensure chickens have a dry and sheltered spot in a secure run or in an area of the garden where they can spend time outside. We have plenty of different covers that makes this an easy job. Clear covers are ideal for winter as they will protect your chickens from wind and rain while still letting the light in. Put straw on the ground to prevent a build-up of mud, and install a perch or two for the chickens to rest on during the day. 

Close the door to the coop when all chickens have gone inside to roost for the night, or let your Automatic Chicken Coop Door do it for you. 

2. Don’t compensate for bad insulation by blocking up the coop

Well insulated coops, like the Eglus, will keep the 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 build up of moisture, without any nasty drafts.

Drafts and moisture are the two biggest winter enemies for chickens, as they make it difficult for them to stay warm and dry. If the coop is too tightly insulated the moisture evaporating from the chickens breaths and droppings will have nowhere to go. This humid environment – and the possible build up of ammonia – is really bad for chickens, and can lead to unpleasant respiratory illnesses.

Make sure that your coop is well ventilated, with vents that directs the air somewhere other than straight onto your chickens. 

3. Don’t heat the coop

Chickens are hardy creatures that will gradually adapt to lower temperatures, and heating the coop will mean that your chickens never get used to the cold. This will also make them less likely to actually leave the coop and get that exercise, fresh air and entertainment that they require to stay happy and healthy. 

Apart from the fact that heaters in the coop will always be a potential fire hazard, you also run the risk of your ill-adapted chickens getting a shock at a sudden drop in temperature if the power was to go off for some reason. This is much worse for them than having a slightly chillier coop. 

If you’re worried you can always add a bit of extra bedding to the nest box, or put an extreme temperature cover on your Eglu. 

4. Don’t leave eggs too long

Although the Eglu will keep your eggs warm and toasty, there is a risk that eggs laid elsewhere in the run or the garden will freeze in winter. Frozen eggs are not automatically dangerous to eat, but when the content of the egg freezes and expands, there’s a higher risk of bacteria entering through the cracks in the shell. 

Collect the eggs every time you visit your chickens to minimise the risk of a frozen yolk.

5. Don’t ignore the water

As goes for all animals, you will want to give your chickens constant access to fresh water, even in winter. They won’t drink as much during the colder months, but here that’s actually a disadvantage, as the water is more likely to freeze if not touched regularly. 

Bring the drinker inside overnight and take it out when you go to check on your girls in the morning. If the temperature goes below zero during the day, check the water as often as you can, and break the ice or change the water if it has frozen. 

There are several water heating solutions available on the market. There are heaters that you can easily plug into an outdoor power source, but there are also battery powered heaters you can put in the water. Just make sure the chickens are not able to peck their way through the heater.

If the temperature stays around zero, you can put something floating in the water, like a tennis ball. As the floating object moves, it will break up surface ice as it forms on the water, which will stop, or at least slow down the freezing process.

6. Don’t put off cleaning the coop

Hanging out in the garden is not as tempting in winter, but you will still need to make sure the chickens’ house is nice and clean. It is likely that your chickens will spend more time in the coop in winter and produce more droppings there, so keep an eye out and change your routine accordingly. 

7. Don’t limit the fun

The chickens might not venture as far out in the garden as they normally do, and the opportunity to forage for bugs and other treats will be limited when the ground is frozen or covered with snow. This can lead to chickens getting bored, which might result in aggressive feather pecking and egg eating.

You will need to make sure that they have plenty of fun things to do in their run. We have lots of boredom busting accessories in our shop. Put up perches the chickens can sit on and try the super fun Peck Toys or the Caddi treat holder for gradual treat-dispensing hentertainment. Or, if you feel your chickens might be the adventurous kind, why not put up a Chicken Swing they can enjoy together?

8. Don’t stick to the same feeding schedule

Your chickens will most likely eat more in winter, as they need the energy to keep warm. Give them some extra food, and make sure it doesn’t freeze in the feeder. For an extra snack, sprinkle some corn on the run in the afternoon to add both calories and some foraging fun. Or why not try this yummy chicken porridge that will warm their tummies on cold winter mornings.

Also make sure that you provide plenty of grit. As chickens don’t have teeth they need it do digest their food. The rest of the year they find and swallows little stones and pebbles as they peck around the garden, but if the ground is frozen this will be much harder.

9. Don’t ignore combs and wattles

All chickens, but particularly breeds with large combs and wattles, run the risk of frostbite on these sensitive body parts during winter. It’s not necessarily dangerous as it’s normally just the tips that get affected, but can be a bit uncomfortable. To prevent this, apply petroleum jelly to the combs and wattles during cold spells. 

10. Don’t take covers off when the sun is shining

If you’re in the habit of taking the covers off the chickens’ run when it’s sunny, it might be a good idea to stop doing this in winter. Clear covers in particular will create a lovely sunroom feeling on the run when the sun is out, and your girls will love having a warmer spot to retreat to. Covers will also stop cold winds, so we would suggest keeping them on permanently in winter.

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Snow Safety Tips for Pets

Snowy weather can bring great fun for all the family, but when it comes to our pets we need to take extra care to keep them happy and healthy (even if they love it!) Take a look at our snow safety advice, and make sure you’re prepared for whatever winter may bring…

Dry off damp fur and feathers

Check on your outdoor pets a few times throughout the day during periods of snowy weather and check they haven’t got too wet. Damp fur and feathers will take longer to dry during colder temperatures, making it difficult for them to warm up again. Indoor animals should also be dried off with a towel after being outside or going for a walk. 

Clean paws of ice

For dogs and cats in particular, snow can get compacted into their paw pads and turn to painful cubes of ice. Use a towel or drying mitt to dislodge any chunks of snow and dry off their feet. Also take care when walking your dogs in snow, as salt used to grit the roads can be poisonous. Watch that they don’t stop to eat snow at the roadside and clean their legs and paws of any snow or dirt after their walk. 

Extra food 

Pets of all kinds will use more energy to keep themselves warm in winter, particularly in super cold, snowy spells, so they will benefit from some extra food. Although they will appreciate more treats, don’t be tempted to overfeed on these. Something nutritious will help them the most.

Extra bedding

Outdoor pets will need more dry bedding in their coop or hutch for them to snuggle into and keep warm. However, make sure their home is still well ventilated to keep fresh air moving through and prevent health problems. Read other ways you can get your coop winter-ready. Indoor animals might also appreciate an extra blanket or a cosy den for bedtime. 

Potential risks

If you have a cat who still likes to go outdoors whatever the weather, be wary of the potential of antifreeze poisoning. Look out for symptoms such as vomiting, seizures or difficulty breathing and call a vet immediately if you think your cat may be ill. Find out more about anti-freeze poisoning here. An outdoor enclosure could also provide a solution for letting them play outside in safety.

Don’t forget about the wild birds in your garden! 

Place a wide bowl or tray of water in your garden with something inside to float around (e.g. rubber duck!) to keep the water moving and prevent freezing. Extra wild bird food will also be appreciated!

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This entry was posted in Pets


The Omlet Thanksgiving Sale is on! Up to 20% off

Whether you are starting your chicken keeping journey in the new year, want to give your pets a safe space to to play on in the garden, have decided to invest in the incredibly popular automatic chicken coop door, plan to build a fun tunnel system for your rabbits or just looking to treat your pet – we’ve got you covered!

In Omlet’s Thanksgiving Sale you get up to 20% off your order, so what are you waiting for?

 

Terms and Conditions

Up to 20% off promotion is only valid from 11/18/19 – 11/28/19. No promo code required. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. All Extreme Temperature Jackets and Covers are excluded from this promotion. The discount cannot be transferred to delivery or courses. Offer is only valid on full priced items and cannot be used on already discounted products or in conjunction with any other offer.

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