The Omlet Blog

Date Archives: June 2018

An Eggcellent School Project

A school in Italy, Agrinido e Agriasilo Montessoriano Al Nido dell’Aquila’ has recently bought an Eglu Cube and Eglu Classic Chicken Coop for their educational programme on nature and pet caring.

We spoke with Mr Colombo’s about their new exciting project.

“Our farm with vegetable garden area produces fruit and vegetable and has recently added a nursery and a kindergarten following the Montessori method.

According to the Montessori method, the outside space needs to be prepared and organised as well as the classrooms inside the building. Therefore, we created and equipped an area
of our farm for the purpose of having children grow and care for the vegetables and also the pets (chickens and tortoises).

We wanted our little students to care for their own chickens for different reasons: firstly, to teach them how to care for another living being, and secondly, for the daily exiting reward of
getting delicious fresh eggs. Moreover, chicken- and pet-keeping has been a valuable starting point to teach numbers to the children, not to mention that the eggs were perfect to
paint and use as Easter decorations!

In order to assure that our students had the best and most educational experience, we needed something practical, clean and safe. In addition, it has to fit in the 55sqm we dedicated to the project. We decided to choose an Eglu Chicken Coop as, compared to regular wooden coops, plastic was easy to clean, highly hygienic, wouldn’t rot and would last for a very long time.

We decided to opt for Omlet’s Eglu Cube, as we valued the possibility to move the coop regularly. We move our Eglu every Saturday, in order to allow our chickens to enjoy new fresh grass every week. We were pleased to discover that one person can easily move such a big coop alone thanks to the wheels.

The size of the coop was also essential: it has to be accessible by small children. The Eglu Cube features a lateral door for easy access to the nest and eggs which is at the perfect height even for 2-year-old children. Thanks to this, our students can easily collect eggs in complete autonomy.

After a year, we wanted to expand the program and we bought another coop, the Eglu Classic, which we use to keep chicks. Keeping chicks helps children learning about time flowing and the phases of life from the egg incubation, to hatching and growing, and the patience necessary to wait for all these changes to happen.”

The Eglu Cube Chicken Coop is the ideal way to keep up to 10 chickens in a town or country garden – find out more here

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This entry was posted in Chickens on June 13th, 2018 by helenkennedy


The Danish Championships for Guinea Pigs 2018

Last month, the Danish championships for guinea pigs were held in Copenhagen.  The championships were hosted by Dansk Marsvineklub (The Danish Guinea Pig Association). The association’s purpose is to spread knowledge about the animals, and how to best care for and feed them and shows are held throughout the country where members meet up and exhibit their animals.

There were 3 main classes:

  • Pure bred: Judged by the standard for each breed, for example whether the hair is properly coloured, if the eyes and ears are large and are placed correctly etc.
  • Pets: All animals are welcome and emphasis is placed on the animal’s general condition, well-being and temperament. Denmark is known for the best pets throughout the Nordic region. We will return to this point…
  • Juniors: A class for exhibitors under the age of 15. Same requirements as for the pets class, however, here emphasis is also placed on the interaction between children and animals and the child’s knowledge of the daily care

In addition, there are also some “for fun” competitions:

  • Dress up competition
  • Cucumber eating 
  • Weight competition

 

WINNER OF THE DRESS UP COMPETITION

The winner of the dress up competition was 5 month old Bluebells Teddiursa who was dressed as a dinosaur!

Here’s some of the other dress up entries!

 

WINNER OF THE CUCUMBER-EATING COMPETITION

How did you prepare for this competition?

“The animals feel safe with us – this is the theory. They feel so safe when we’re standing down there at the table. So they come to us and because they know we’re there and looking after them, they just dare to sit and eat and relax. Even the little one there who’s 2 months old, he was number 3 in the competition. We were number 1, 2 and 3 – and that happens almost every time. We take the guinea pigs up and feed them every day, they’re real pets! So you could say that we are practicing every day.”
This family (mother and two sons) were number 1, 2 and 3 in the cucumber-eating competition this year. The boys are both 14 years old, so it’s the final year that they’re allowed to compete in the junior class. Next year they have to compete with the pets. How do they feel about this?
“Well we’re already allowed to compete with the pets now – it’s only the adults that can’t compete with the juniors.”
The family has only once returned home from a guinea pig show without the cucumber-eating rosette.
“This was in February. Their favourite guinea pig was ill and they decided that she should be allowed to compete in the cucumber competition one last time, even though they knew she probably wouldn’t win it.”

You can learn more about Guinea Pigs by reading the Omlet Guinea Pig Guide here

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This entry was posted in Events on June 13th, 2018 by helenkennedy


A Quacking Rescue Story

A few weeks ago the Springfield Sanctuary in Banbury gained a few extra guests.  Two broods of ducklings arrived at the sanctuary a week apart. We’ve spoken to Joanne, the owner of the sanctuary to find out more about them and to see how they are getting on in their new Omlet Walk In Run!

When did the ducklings arrive?
The first group of 12 came in on 26th April from a village near Witney. The residents had been keeping an eye on them all day as there was no parent in sight. Apparently they were knocked about in the road, went in and out of the brook and got waterlogged, and then ended up in a garden! To keep them out of trouble one of the residents popped them in a recycling box in her garden, hoping mum would come for them. By evening they were cold and limp and there was still no sign of mum so they were brought all the way to Banbury for us to care for.
Less than a week later, on 1st May, we got a call from a house not far from us. This mum duck had laid her eggs under some decking (unbeknown to the homeowner!) and they all appeared one morning! The garden had no exit for the ducklings and so mum could not lead them to water. Mum left them and by evening hadn’t returned. So the ten little humbugs came to us too. So we then had 22 ducklings!

How old do you think they are now?
We think they were around 2 days old when they came in so the older ones are nearly 7 weeks and the younger ones are 6 weeks old now.

When are you hoping to release them?
They should be ready for release at around 8-9 weeks old, so we’re very close now! We are just waiting for their flight feathers to grow so they have the best chance at getting away from predators when they are released.
The younger ones are going to Swalcliffe School but we have not yet decided about the big kids. We will separate them into smaller groups to avoid over populating any area.

Have you named them?
We have named the groups but not individuals. The older ducks are the Big Kids and the younger are the Little Ones! There are only two we can tell apart from the others because the Little Ones are actually Hybrid and two of the ducklings are paler! Down by the canal in Banbury there are a couple of white pekin ducks which I’ve seen a few times. We think these ducklings came from this area and so are hybrid, mallard x pekin.

What do you feed them?
They are fed much like chicken chicks. They start on chick crumb for the first 3 weeks then they move onto Growers Pellets. In the last week or so we have added some duck and goose mix to the growers for variety prior to release. We will need to go and feed them for at least a week after release (gradually reducing the amount) to make sure they are finding their own food.

 

They love playing with the hose when I clean them! Ducks are ridiculously dirty and we have to clean them every 3 days. When we clean the pen it makes a lovely slurry of what we have called ‘Duck Poo Soup’ (it’s as pleasant as it sounds). The ducks have clean water in drinkers all the time but as soon as you get the hose out they start drinking. So I spend a lot of time sweeping up duck poo soup, dodging drinking ducks, and getting filthy! They also like to get in the paddling pool before it’s filled and paddle around playing in the hose spray.

Have you introduced them to the chickens or any other animals that you have at the sanctuary?
We have set up our Omlet Walk in Run as two runs which share a wall. The little ones are in one side and our rooster chicks Rodger and Mike are next door (Roger and Mike hatched at a school on 21st March and came to us with their sister as the school didn’t want them to go back to the farm to join the food chain!!). The boys were fascinated but the ducklings seemed completely oblivious. The boys have recently found their voices and crow if we are seeing to the ducks and not giving them any attention!!

We love the walk in run. We have another large run but we lost one of the big kids to a fox who managed break the ties and get under the chicken wire. The Omlet Walk in runs are much sturdier. We love that they are modular so I can add length to the run and link runs together to save space. They will be fantastic for introducing rabbits for the first time when we need to pair up lone rabbits, as they will be able to meet with a barrier between them. The size will allow the rabbits to be rabbits! Jumping, hopping, flopping and binkying with lots of space for a pair of bonded rabbits. With the amount of cleaning we have to do the height is ideal as we can stand tall while we sweep up. The stable door is great for putting feed and water in without little animals escaping! It’s also a great width so I can get in with a bucket and brooms. Having a cheaper run we can see the difference in quality and I would definitely change the large run for an Omlet one in a heartbeat! No sharp edges or chicken wire, plenty of headroom so no stooping, nice wide door and fox resistant. Everything I need for the wide variety of animals we get in.

The runs are earmarked for our pheasant chick when he is big enough to go out. His name is Pippin and he has a best friend called Hobble who is a Pekin Bantam chick with a dodgy leg! They will hopefully go out into our Omlet run once the ducks have been released.

To continue reading about the ducklings as they get ready to be released, please follow the

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This entry was posted in Interviews on June 13th, 2018 by helenkennedy


How to get rid of Red Mites

red mite or poultry mite

A familiar problem for backyard chicken keepers and commercial enterprises for laying hens, is infestation of the birds’ environment with Dermanyssus gallinae, also known as red mites or poultry mites. Compared to other poultry parasites such as fowl ticks, lice and flies, mites are by far the most common, most destructive and difficult to remove. Red mites are nocturnal parasites and hide themselves in all kinds of gaps and cracks during the daytime. This makes the treatment of red mites harder and more complicated.

Red Mite Signs and Diagnosis

Red mites are up to 1mm in size. The title “Red” has been given to this mite as it turns from grey to red after it had a blood feed. Once the infestation becomes significant, your chickens will become anaemic. Their wattles and the combs will start looking pale and their egg production will drop significantly. Red mites also cause skin irritation, feather pecking, weight loss and restlessness in the flock. Because of the mites your chickens will probably be reluctant to go to bed, because that’s where the mites are!

When checking your chicken coop for red mites, check the perch’s at the end and cracks and crevices. An even easier way to check is to run a white paper towel underneath the perches at night. If there are red mites, at this time they will be on the underside on the perch after feeding on your chickens and you will be able to see red streaks on your paper towel.

Red Mite Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure. But this is not always that simple. Wild birds or new chickens can transmit red mites to your coop.  It’s a good idea to check for red mite routinely when you clean your chicken coop and use some preventative treatment to the coop. For example, you can use Diatomaceous earth as part of the weekly clean (DE is a 100% natural powder which dehydrates parasites it comes into contact with). All types of chicken coops can get red mite, however wooden coops tend to suffer from infestations the most.

Unfortunately red mites can survive for up to 10 months in an empty hen house, so leaving a coop empty for a while doesn’t usually fix the problem. Choosing your housing carefully can help prevent infestations.  Omlet’s Eglu chicken coops are made from plastic which makes it very difficult for red mites to make a home. And in the event that there is a Red mite infestation, they are quick and easy to clean. A quick blast with a pressure washer should do the trick.

Red Mite Treatment

1) Cleaning

If you find lots of red mite in the coop, it’s time for a big clean up. The initial clean out will take a couple of hours for wooden coops, with a plastic coop it will take less time. Remove all birds from the house and strip the house down as much as possible. If you have a felt roof you will need to remove this and have your coop re-felted.

2) Mite disinfectant detergent

Mix a mite disinfectant detergent (such as Smite Professional Disinfectant 1 Litre Concentrate or Barrier Red Mite X 500ml Concentrate) with water (using the manufacturer’s guidelines). Apply this to the coop ensuring you get it in the cracks and crevices, concentrating where there are perch ends and concentrations of red mite. Leave for 15-20 minutes.

3) High pressure hose

Use a hose (preferably high pressure) to hose down the coop and the parts. Try to get in every nook and cranny as this is where the mites like to live. Leave for 10-15 minutes to dry. After this you will most probably see more mites, which have been disturbed, crawling out. Repeat this process until there are very few mites emerging after each wash.

4) UV

Leave the house to thoroughly dry. It’s ideal to do the initial clean on a sunny day as the UV can kill some bacteria and will dry the house quicker. Put the coop back together and add bedding (dispose the old bedding in a plastic bag in a bin as the red mites will happily find somewhere else to live).

5) Red mite powder

Sprinkle the whole coop and your chickens with a red mite powder. Ensure you rub the powder onto the perches so any remaining mites will have to crawl through it to reach your chickens. 

6) Repeat red mite powder treatment

Re-apply the red mite powder every couple of days or when it has rubbed of. Red mite are only active during mild weather, so in Australia the red mite season usually falls between October and May (depending on where in the country you are). During Autumn and winter, the mites become dormant and do not feed. But this doesn’t per se mean they are gone.

 

Sources: www.omlet.co.uk, www.poultryworld.net, www.accidentalsmallholder.net, www.wikivet.net, www.poultrykeeper.com

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This entry was posted in Chickens on June 5th, 2018 by lara.solomon