The Omlet Blog

Date Archives: August 2020

What Is FIV and How Does It Affect My Cat?

Photos by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

What is FIV?

FIV, or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, is a viral infection that affects cats all over the world. It’s not in itself particularly dangerous, but steadily weakens the cat’s immune system, making them more susceptible to secondary infections. 

FIV can be found in 2.5-5% of all cats worldwide, but is less common in healthy, domesticated cats like our pets. 

How can my cat catch it?

FIV is spread through direct contact with an infected cat, most commonly through bites and wounds, which is why unneutered male cats prone to fighting for territory are over-represented among cases. Some evidence shows that mums can pass the infection onto their kittens, but it is rare. Infection through social grooming, sharing food and water bowls, and general close contact is very rare. 

FIV can’t be transmitted between species, so infected cats can live with humans and other pets, but should be kept in a single cat household to be on the safe side. 

How does it affect my cat and how do I spot it?

FIV starts with a short, normally relatively manageable illness that is not always noticed by the owner. After this the cats’ immune system will start to slowly deteriorate, but it can be years before it actually affects your cat in any way. 

Something that will make a vet react and test for the infection is a cat that seems to struggle to recover from minor infections and illnesses. The cat doesn’t necessarily need to be very ill, it’s more a question of how often he or she needs to see the vet, or if they seem to be constantly battling some kind of health issue. 

FIV positive cats are more susceptible to certain types of tumours, serious respiratory infections, skin diseases and mouth inflammations. That being said, research shows that infected cats have a similar life expectancy to healthy cats, and will in most cases be able to live a long and happy life if kept inside and looked after by a caring owner. 

Can FIV be cured? 

The simple answer is no, there is no cure for FIV, but as it’s secondary diseases and infections that mainly affect the cat, there are in most cases treatments, and there is no reason that a FIV positive cat won’t make a great pet for years to come. 

A vaccine against FIV has been developed, but its efficiency has been questioned, and it’s currently only being used in some places in America. 

What can I do if my cat is infected? 

As FIV is spread through direct contact with other cats, it’s very important that infected cats are kept indoors. Not only does this stop the cat from passing on the disease to other felines, but also reduces the risks of catching secondary infections that due to their weakened immune system can make them very ill.

If you have a cat with confirmed FIV that can’t be let outside, they will still greatly benefit from some fresh air. The Omlet Outdoor Cat Run makes it possible for your cat to be outside and interact with the world around them, without the risk of running into any other cats. Decorate the run with some toys and a climbing post and let your cat play while you potter around the garden, or put a chair inside and take the opportunity to spend some quality time with your pet in the sunshine. 

Other things you can do to help your cat is to take him or her for regular check ups, and to contact your vet as soon as you notice any changes, even if minor, in your cat’s health or behaviour. Also make sure to give a nutritious and well-balanced diet. Raw food diets are not recommended for FIV positive cats as uncooked meat and eggs can be dangerous to cats with a compromised immune system.

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This entry was posted in Cats on August 24th, 2020 by linnearask


How to Litter Train a Cat

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Most cats don’t need much persuading to use a litter tray. This makes training a straightforward process, and the key detail is the tray itself.

A litter tray needs to be large enough to accommodate your cat comfortably while it’s using the facilities. It also needs to be placed in a suitable spot. Cats feel vulnerable when they’re relieving themselves, and will not use a litter tray in a busy part of the house. A quiet corner is what they need – but it should be away from the feeding area, as cats, like humans, do not like their eating and toileting activities to be in the same space!

The cat litter itself is not usually an issue. All the available brands do the job. The advantage that shop-bought products have over plain sandy soil is that they are super-absorbent, and don’t stick to the cat’s feet. It is best to avoid perfumed or deodorizing litter, unless the additives are all natural. Chemical perfumes can cause allergic reactions in some cats.

Basic Litter Training

A young kitten with a weak bladder – or a stressed rescue cat – may take time to get the hang of litter trays, but it is rare for a cat to fail this basic training course!

  1. Make sure the tray is big enough. If in doubt, get the biggest one you can. This will accommodate the growing cat, and the tray will not seem ‘full’ after a couple of visits. If the cat thinks the litter is too soiled, it will not want to enter the tray.
  2. If your cat is particularly shy, a covered tray is the best option, as these give more sense of privacy.
  3. If you have more than one cat, it is recommended that you should have one tray per cat. This prevents problems if the pets fall out or decide they’re not going to poo where another cat has just pooed!
  4. Remove the solid waste from the tray each day, and thoroughly wash it – and replace the litter completely – at least once a week. If the tray starts to smell too unpleasant, the cat will be tempted to relieve itself elsewhere else.
  5. In the early days, timing is important. A kitten will usually need to relieve itself after playing and after eating. When a young kitten has finished eating, carry it to the litter tray. A few sniffs and a bit of litter-pawing will often stimulate the desired response. You can also play with your kitten next to the litter box, ready to lift her onto the tray when play has ended.
  6. Lead by example. Not by actually using the tray yourself, of course, but by pawing the litter with your finger. Don’t take the cat’s paw and force it to dig, though, as this can be stressful and may even lead to litter phobia, which is definitely not what you want.
  7. If accidents happen outside the litter tray, put the droppings in the tray as a prompt for the cat.
  8. Be patient, never shout at the cat if it’s taking a little time to get the hang of it, lavish praise and affection on a successful litter-visit, and once your pet knows what to do, just quietly leave her to it.

Litter Training Problems

If the cat is resistant to the idea of using the tray and continues to use other parts of the house as the toilet, one effective deterrent is to move the cat food bowl to the place where the accident happened. Cats do not like mixing and matching their food and toilet, so this should help her move on to the more appropriate facilities.

If the message is still not getting through, confining the cat to a spare room may do the trick. With the litter tray at one end and the food and water bowl at the other, it would be a very perverse cat indeed who did not get the message. It may sound a little like a prison, but as long as the room isn’t too hot or cold, the cat will feel secure. You can visit for playtimes too, of course, and the need for confinement will usually be over in a couple of days.

Cats that persistently refuse to use a litter tray may be stressed by something in their environment. This could be other cats, a dog, noisy children, or the simple fact that the tray is not in a suitable location. There are occasionally health-related issues that make a cat ‘miss’ the tray, too, so that’s worth checking out if you’re not making progress with the training.

Otherwise, litter training a cat is simplicity itself.

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This entry was posted in Cats on August 24th, 2020 by linnearask


Chicken Sounds and What They Mean

Hens are always talking amongst themselves. All those clucks and squawks means something, and while some of the meanings are obvious – the explosive squawking of a bird running away in panic, for example – others are more subtle.

Here are ten ways in which you can eavesdrop on the chicken chatter and brush up on the bantam banter.

A calm, gently rising borrrrb. This is the sound hens make as they peck their way through the grass or chicken run, and it means two things. It indicates that the chicken is enjoying the endless search for quick snacks, and it’s also telling the other birds ‘everything is fine’. A flock of hens saying borrrb together sends out the reassuring message that there’s nothing to worry about.

The cluck-cum-squawk. This brief, excited cry usually means that there has been some sort of confrontation, usually between a meek hen and a more dominant one who has muscled in to see what snacks the more timid bird has found. The sound is also used if a hen is surprised by something, such as the chicken-run door opening suddenly.

The ‘squawk bomb’. This is when the hen clucks, gobbles and squawks in one hysterical flurry. It sounds as if the bird is about to explode in a cloud of feathers. This is the chicken’s main alarm call, expressing fear and also telling the other birds to run. The causes can be vehicles, dogs, people trying to pick up the hen, or predators.

Cackling. This is the name often used for the familiar Buk-buk-buk-badaaak! call. Repeated several times, and loudly, it is the sound many hens produce after laying an egg. The hen moves away from the egg and then begins cackling. It is thought to be a way of luring potential predators away from the egg and the nest.

Buk-buk-buk (but with no badaaak!) This slightly angry and persistent sound is often made by a hen who wants to sit in her favourite nest box but finds it occupied. It’s meaning is a combination of “I’m here!” and “Get out!”

Growling. If a hen is broody and doesn’t want to move from her nest box, she will make a hissing, growling sound. This simply means “Don’t touch!” and “Go away!”

Chick-chat. A hen hatching eggs will mutter various gentle clucking sounds to communicate with the chicks and reassure them. Once the chicks are hatched and running around, she tells them where the good scratching and pecking places are by saying tuk-tuk! (Cockerels use this sound too, to tell the hens that they have found a good foraging spot). Mother hens also have an insistent Rrrrrr call, which is the chicks’ cue to come running if the hen senses danger.

Crowing. This is cockerel territory, the classic cock-a-doodle-doo – although some hens get the crowing habit too. Crowing says several things. It means a new day has dawned, and it’s time to be up and scratching/pecking. It also tells the world that this is the cockerel’s territory, and that these hens are his. If there is more than one cockerel, the subordinate ones will only crow when the boss has crowed. Crowing usually hits 90 decibels, or even more!

Help! A hen separated from the flock will make an alarm call. The sound is similar to the ‘cackling’ that announces a new egg. It is thought to be an SOS call to the cockerel to come and save his lost hen. There will be a strong element of danger if there are predators around, so it’s a risky strategy for a lost chicken.

Buzzing. First thing in the morning, with the chicken coop still locked, the hens will begin to make repetitive, buzzing clucks, which may rise in volume as the minutes pass and the doors remain shut. This sound simply means “Let us out – there’s lots of pecking and scratching to be done!”

With this knowledge of chook chit-chat, you will be able to tell what your girls are talking about, even if you can’t actually see them. It’s an all-day, non-stop conversation!

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This entry was posted in Chickens on August 21st, 2020 by linnearask


9 Things Humans Do That Annoy Our Dogs


Photo by Matthew Foulds on Unsplash

1. We talk too much

Dogs don’t know English, and they won’t understand syntax and grammar however much you try to teach them. As you can imagine, it will be extremely frustrating having a human shouting incomprehensible noises at you.

Dogs like learning spoken commands and connecting them to actions, but won’t be able to understand anything longer than a short sentence, and will be very confused when you start using new ways of telling them to do things. If you’ve taught them the command “Drop” to get them to give you a stick or a toy, then “Leave” or “Let go” or “Give me that, you silly sausage!” won’t be of much use.

2. We let other people into our territory

Humans think it’s normal to go to other people’s houses, and to let individuals from outside the pack come into your and your dog’s territory. This will annoy some dogs immensely, and can actually make them really stressed, so don’t be surprised if they treat visitors with suspicion. 

If you want to invite other dogs into your house, it might be a good idea to let the dogs meet on a walk beforehand, on neutral grounds. Most dogs will be absolutely fine with sharing their space, but it’s always best to minimise the risk of arguments. 

3. We stare at them

We think that eye contact is something beautiful that is needed for bonding, and with both our own dogs and new ones we meet we tend to look into their eyes as we’re saying hello. Most dogs don’t appreciate this. While loving gazes between you and your pup is often accepted, being stared down by a stranger can be extremely stressful for a dog. They see the focused stare as a challenge, and might consider you a threat, so try to avoid eye contact with dogs you don’t know.

4. We hug them

This is a slightly contentious topic, but many people mean that while dogs accept our hugs, they don’t like them. It depends on the dog, but some feel very nervous and stressed when we interfere with their personal space, and placing your arms around a strange dog’s neck can be seen as a threat. 

Most dogs like cuddling, and nearly all love scratching, so if you want to be sure you can show your affection with a belly rub and shared sofa rather than constraining your pup with your weird human arms. 

5. We don’t let them sniff on walks

For dogs, walks are not just about exercise. While we humans can stop to enjoy beautiful scenery, dogs explore the world much less visually, and prefer to snuffle around for interesting smells. This also provides them with great mental stimulation that will tire them out just as much as the actual walking, so try to be patient with your dog and let him or her stop, sniff and mark as much as they like on a walk.

6. We change our shape and smell

Dogs change their coat roughly once a year, whereas humans change clothes every day, use different hand soaps, spray themselves with perfume and use cleaning products in their homes. Dogs might get to grips with this unusual behaviour after a while, but they will definitely not see the point, as they would probably prefer it if we never washed and walked around in the same clothes all the time.

7. We’re inconsistent

Dogs get very confused with inconsistency. They don’t understand “just this once” or “only when mummy is on a work trip”, but will much prefer to for example always be off the bed rather than having to constantly try to interpret your varying signals. 

8. We leave them alone

To dogs, some of the strongest pack animals around, leaving the group seems absolutely pointless and stupid. That’s why they can get confused and annoyed when we leave them alone to go to work or to the cinema. 

Train your dog to be by themselves from an early age to avoid bad separation anxiety, and try to never leave an adult dog alone for longer than four hours a day.

9. We get frustrated when they’re being dogs

To dogs, sniffing, barking, digging and scavenging for scraps are all natural behaviours, and they can get very annoyed if you get upset with them for doing what comes natural to them. This doesn’t mean that they should be allowed to do exactly what they want all the time. Try to redirect and encourage desirable behaviour, but it’s also worth remembering that dogs are dogs, and that’s part of why we love them so much.

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This entry was posted in Dogs on August 19th, 2020 by linnearask


Why Are Some People Allergic To Cats?

Allergy to cats is the most commonly seen of all pet allergies, almost twice as common as the dog equivalent. It’s estimated that up to 3 out of 10 people have some level of reaction to felines, but to what extent it limits peoples’ ability to spend time with cats varies greatly.

Common symptoms of cat allergy include one or several of the following symptoms after having been around a cat, or having spent time in a house where cats live:

  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Itchy and blotchy rash on the chest and face
  • Red and itchy eyes
  • Sneezing

More extreme allergic reactions are shortness of breath, severe swelling, and in bad cases anaphylactic shock. If the allergy is present but not as prominent people might at first be absolutely fine around cats, but over time experience never ending fatigue and a constant sore throat.

What causes these symptoms?

Opposite to many people’s belief, it’s not actually hair that causes pet allergies, but a protein produced in oil glands on the skin, and is found in cat saliva, urine and dander (dried flakes of skin often found on cat hair). This protein is called Fel d. The World Health Organisation recognises 8 different allergens, Fel d 1-8, and out of these, Fel d 1 accounts for 60-90% of allergic reactions. Its exact biological function is still unknown, but it sure knows how to annoy humans!

People with allergies have an oversensitive immune system that mistakes harmless things, like a cat protein, for dangerous invaders and sends out a strong attack to destroy these invaders. The symptoms allergic people feel are side effects of the body’s defence against the allergen.

What is there to do?

Male cats produce higher levels of Fel d 1 than females and neutered males. The difference is however relatively small, so if you’re struggling it probably won’t matter that much.

The same goes for so-called hypo-allergenic cat breeds. While they do work for some allergic cat lovers, they still produce Fel d 1. So if you have severe reactions to some cats, getting one that produces less dander won’t make it possible for you to live with one. The only thing you can do is to spend time with the breed you’re potentially planning to buy or adopt beforehand and see how you get on.

Antihistamines can be a help to some allergic people; if taken regularly they minimise symptoms and make it possible to spend time in a house where a cat has been. They are normally best taken preventatively, making sure the body is prepared should it come across any triggering allergens. It’s however not recommended to depend on antihistamines on a daily basis to make it possible for you to get a cat. Even if it’s sad, you might have to come to terms with your allergy and that cat ownership might not be possible at the moment.

Finally, it’s worth noting that you can develop cat allergies at any time of your life, even if you’ve never shown any signs before. Allergies are not hereditary as such, but the tendency to develop allergies is sometimes passed down from parents to their children. This means that if you’re allergic to cats, it is more likely that your child will develop an allergy to something. It won’t necessarily be to cats as well, but as it’s one of the more common allergies it’s worth letting your child spend time with other peoples’ cats before getting one yourself.

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This entry was posted in Cats on August 18th, 2020 by linnearask


Understanding the Pecking Order in Chickens

A flock of chickens can easily give the impression of peace and equality. But it’s not like that at all!

Every flock of hens, whether it consists of two birds or 200, has a pecking order. This decides who’s top of the chooks, and who’s bottom of the bantams!

The pecking order generally sorts itself out. The more dominant birds will assert themselves, and the others will fall into line. Hens brought up together in the same coop or barn sort this out with minimal fuss; but if two dominant birds are brought together, they will fight for dominance. This involves lots of flapping and pecking, but rarely results in serious physical harm. Any hens who spar in this way should be left to it for a minute or two, unless you fear that one of them is going to be seriously hurt. If you intervene too soon, the battle will commence again as soon as your back is turned.

The point is, once the feathery fisticuffs are over, the pecking order is settled and you won’t have to intervene. It’s very rare for a hen to be so aggressive that she goes out looking for a fight when the hierarchy has already been established.

If you’re worried about the safety of the tussling hens, you can separate them by clapping your hands to scare them apart, and then physically removing one from the battlefield. Some Vaseline on the comb and wattles will also minimise damage, if you suspect that there may be more scuffles before things settle down again.

Hens need plenty of space. If they are too cooped up during the day, they may start to peck each other (an issue that afflicts large flocks kept for mass egg or meat production). To prevent this, you need to make sure your run isn’t overcrowded.

If a dominant hen begins guarding the food and water supply, install a second feeding and drinking station to defuse the tension. Distraction is an effective method of diffusing problems, too. Some corn cobs or cabbages, some CDs or even a peck toy hanging at pecking height, will deflect aggressive birds’ beaks to other things.

A Change in the Pecking Order

It is generally agreed that the most aggressive hens are the ones at the top of the pecking order. But sometimes a chicken seems to rise to the top with very few pecks involved. There is, indeed, circumstantial evidence that the birds’ combs may play a part in the war of the wattles. Hens with large, erect combs tend to be higher in the pecking order than birds with less impressive combs.

If a dominant hen is no longer around, the pecking order enters a state of flux, and there may be new outbreaks of feathered feuding before the new order establishes itself. A previously meek hen may find herself in charge, and this is particularly common if she is one of the ‘old guard’ who suddenly finds herself keeping a new influx of point-of-lay hens in line.

When introducing new hens to a flock, the newcomers should be penned away from the old guard for a week or so, to let everyone get used to each other. Throwing new birds in at the deep end can result in tragedy, as the older birds sometimes gang up on the newcomers and peck them. Once a hen draws blood, the other birds have a tendency to join in the pecking, and death can result.

The pecking order can also change if a dominant hen becomes ill, or becomes broody and spends her time sitting on eggs. If she’s allowed to live a full life and die of natural causes, she may lose her top place in the pecking order towards the end, and in these circumstances you need to keep a gentle eye on the flock, to make sure the old bird doesn’t become hen-pecked.

Being top of the pecking order isn’t all about bullying and the rule of terror, though! Top hens protect the flock by keeping an eye open for danger, and also lead the other birds to exciting new sources of food and scratching.

The hen-based pecking order doesn’t entirely disappear if cockerels are part of the flock, but the male bird will nearly always be at the top of the order, unless he’s unusually timid and the top hen is unusually assertive. The hens will still have a pecking order amongst themselves, though. It also needs underlining that there should never be more than one cockerel to every 15 hens, otherwise things become very unbalanced, the males fight, and the hens might be physically abused.

Living in a flock takes a bit or organising. But as long as you give the hens enough space and keep an eye on things to make sure the pecking doesn’t spill over into open warfare, nature has a wonderful way of taking care of things.

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This entry was posted in Chickens on August 14th, 2020 by linnearask


Can Rabbits Swim?

Rabbit owners often ask us if pet bunnies can swim. The answer is yes – but in many ways, it’s the wrong question. If you ask “Do rabbits enjoy swimming?”, the answer is definitely no.

Most mammals are capable of swimming, but not many actually take a dip unless they are forced to. We all know that cats hate water – but they can and will swim for safety if they have to. Rabbits are the same. In times of flood, or if chased by predators, they will sometimes jump in at the deep end and swim for it.

Which brings us to one of many rabbit myths. Bunnies have webbed feet – surely a sign of an animal intended for swimming? Well, no. The webbed feet are there to help rabbits hop and run – not swim.

What about all those swimming bunnies on YouTube?

A quick YouTube search will produce a list of video clips showing bunnies apparently enjoying themselves in garden pools; but you will struggle to find a clip in which the rabbit voluntarily enters the water. Some can be trained to do so, in the same way as a circus can train animals to do all sorts of things they wouldn’t otherwise choose to do. And that’s the main point – turning your pet rabbit into a circus act is inhumane.

In the various videos of swimming rabbits, the animals don’t appear panicked or distressed. But that’s just the rabbit’s way of surviving. It knows it can float, and it knows it can paddle to safety. It’s not going to thrash around and drown, and nor is it going to give any clues to how it’s feeling in its facial expressions. A rabbit serenely gliding across a garden pool is doing one thing only – surviving.

This has become a contentious issue, and there are even online petitions to prevent swimming bunny videos being posted online. As far as the signatories of the petitions are concerned, this is animal cruelty, nothing more and nothing less.

Healthy Swimming for Rabbits?

There is circumstantial evidence that some rabbits like to float in the water to ease arthritic problems, or simply to clean themselves and/or cool off. The only advice that can be given here – after taking such evidence with a pinch of salt – is to let the rabbit lead the way. A bunny who voluntarily takes a dip does not necessarily need dragging from the water and locking away somewhere dry and safe. The swimming is, no doubt, great exercise, just as it is for humans.

However, the fact that a rabbit enters the water may indicate an underlying problem – perhaps they do, indeed, have joint problems, or maybe their enclosure has an outbreak of fleas, lice or mites, something that might lead a bunny to desperate measures in the garden pool!

And the fact that it’s a garden pool presents another potential problem. Pools tend to have chlorine and other chemicals in the water, and these can irritate a rabbit’s eyes, nostrils and skin. Even untreated water can cause skin irritation if a rabbit remains wet for too long. Rabbits have very small lungs, too, and even a small amount of water breathed in by mistake can prove fatal.

If your pet rabbits voluntarily take to the water, dry them thoroughly after they’ve finished exercising. If you’re considering aquatherapy for rabbit joint-related problems, speak to a vet first.

The rule of thumb on this issue is simple – don’t put rabbits into pools or other bodies of water. Yes, they can swim; but no, they don’t like it. Usually!

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This entry was posted in Rabbits on August 13th, 2020 by linnearask


Why Your Pets Need A Caddi

Here’s why the Caddi is the perfect choice for your treat-loving pets…

  1. The Caddi Treat Holder decreases the rate at which your pets will eat their treats. Slower treat release through the gaps in the holder means more satisfaction for longer, and prevents over indulgence. 
  2. The Caddi Treat Holder swings around and creates a rewarding, interactive game to keep your pets entertained, which is especially great for rainy days! Your pets will love the stimulating experience of foraging for their treats, and enjoy hours of rewarding fun.
  3. The Caddi allows you to feed your pets treats without having to throw them on the ground. This improves run cleanliness, reduces food waste and prevents pests, as well as being a healthier solution for your pets. Simply hang the Caddi from the roof of your pet’s run with the plastic hook and use the string to adjust the height to suit your pets.
  4. Endless treat opportunities! With the Caddi Treat Holder you can feed a range of fresh greens, fruits and vegetables to your pets, you can use it as a hay rack for rabbits, or fill it with pecker balls for hens. Get creative and reward your pets with exciting new flavours in the Caddi. 
  5. You can save 50% on the Caddi Treat Holder until midnight on Monday, just by signing up to the Omlet newsletter. It’s a great deal for you, and an exciting new treat dispenser for your pets! Enter your email address on the Caddi page to claim your discount code.

Now available for just $8.99 if you sign up to the Omlet newsletter!



Terms and conditions
This promotion is only valid from 12/08/20 – midnight on 17/08/20. Once you have entered your email address on the website you will receive a unique discount code that can be used at checkout. By entering your email you agree to receive the Omlet Newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any point. This offer is available on single Caddi Treat Holders only. The offer does not apply to Twin Packs or bundles with Omlet Peck Toys or Feldy Chicken Pecker Balls. Offer is limited to 2 Caddi Treat Holders per household. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on delivery, existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.

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This entry was posted in Chickens on August 12th, 2020 by linnearask


How to Protect Your Chickens from Red Mite

The Red Mite Problem

Red mites, or Dermanyssus gallinae, are without a doubt backyard chicken keepers’ worst enemies! They are nocturnal creatures living in cracks and crevices of the coop, and they only come out at night to feed on chicken blood. Most long term chicken keepers will have encountered these parasites, and can confirm that they are more destructive and difficult to get rid of than all other pests combined. 

Getting Rid of Red Mites

If you have diagnosed a red mite infestation in your wooden coop, there are a few things you can do to try to get rid of them. Start off by giving your coop a really deep clean. Strip the house down as much as possible to get into all corners, nooks and crannies, and scrub with warm water. You will need to replace any felt or fabric parts and carefully clean perches, feeders and drinkers and other loose objects in the coop. Make sure that you get rid of all bedding that might have been infested. 

If you can still see mites crawling out of crevices in the wood when the coop is drying, try hosing the coop and all loose parts down with a pressure washer. Leave to dry for 10-15 minutes and blast it over again to get rid of even more mites. Repeat until there are very few mites emerging after every wash. 

Still not completely clear of mites? Time for the anti-mite products. Mix a mite specific concentrate with water using the manufacturer’s guidelines and apply this to the coop. Go heavy on areas where it is likely that the mites are hiding (corners and end of perches are particularly affected areas), but it is important that you treat the whole coop. When the wood is completely dry, apply plenty of red mite powder on your chickens, their bedding and their dust bath before you let them back into the coop.

In summer you will need to re-apply the powder every few days, and it in many cases getting ahead of the mites will mean deep cleaning the coop with detergents on several occasions over a period of two weeks. When autumn comes the mites become dormant and will not feed on your chickens, but they are unfortunately likely to reappear when the temperature rises again in spring.

Preventing Red Mite Infestations

When it comes to red mites, prevention will always be better than cure, and one of the few things you can actually do to keep these little creatures from hurting your chickens is to have a coop that doesn’t make life easy for them. 

The smooth plastic surfaces of the Eglu chicken coop leaves very little space for the mites to hide. There are no corners or gaps that you won’t be able to reach with a hose or a pressure washer, which means that one deep clean of the Eglu should get rid of all dust, dirt and possible pests. By cleaning your Eglu on a regular basis you prevent red mites from ever becoming a problem for you and your hens, and you won’t have to spend all that time and money cleaning and disinfecting that you would if you had a more traditional coop. 

The Eglu chicken coops have over the last 15 years been the solution for a lot of people who have tired of constantly trying to get rid of red mites from their wooden coops. Here are some of the things current Eglu owners have told us about battling red mites:

“I’ve thought about having an Eglu for two years but this summer’s red mite infestation was too much. I hate using chemicals/insecticides around my hens so I took the plunge and I’m really pleased.”  Sue

“After having some terrible experiences with mites we decided enough is enough and time to buy a “mite free eglu” as advertised. We have been slightly put off by the price previously but now I wish I had one from the start! I couldn’t rate the omlet eglu cube any higher! What used to take 2 hours to clean and scrub a chicken coop now takes 10 minutes! We have not had any lice infestations since having the cube I absolutely love it and so do our chickens, just wish we had bought one sooner!” Amie

“The most important feature to me is the hygienic, easy clean & wash nature of all the surfaces. I would never buy a wooden house again having struggled with mites which hid in all the joints and gaps of the boards. There is nowhere for the mites to hide on the Eglu and cleaning is quick and easy. I’m certain that there isn’t a better house available for healthy hens.” Neil


Does the thought of mites make you itch? Watch our video about two neighbours having very different chicken keeping experiences, showing some of the struggles that chicken owners with mite-infested coops are faced with:

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This entry was posted in Chickens on August 5th, 2020 by linnearask


How Rabbits Show Love and Affection

Some pets are pretty obvious with the way they show love and affection. A dog might be the best example of this; with a wagging tail, smiling face and licking tongue, dog owners rarely have to guess if their dog is excited to see them when they get back from work in the evening. 

With rabbits it’s a bit more complicated. First of all, it often requires a bit more work to get your pet rabbit to trust you. As prey animals, they are naturally shy and cautious, and it may take a while before they warm up to new people. However, once they know you and trust you, they are extremely affectionate animals that love spending time with their owners. They might just have slightly different ways of showing it! 

If your rabbits do all or some of the following things, you can be sure that they feel genuine affection for you.

They stop being nervous

When the rabbit is new to you, it’s normal that they seem skittish or jumpy. This is to be expected, and it may take a while before the rabbit realises that they are safe in their new home.

The first signs that your rabbit is warming up to you is that they stop some obvious nervous behaviours. Maybe they no longer jump back when you reach your hand towards them with some treats, stop running into the hutch whenever you approach or start to relax their body language. These may seem like small things, but they are steps towards your bunny feeling true love for you.

They groom you

When two rabbits live together, they lick, nibble and groom each other as a way of showing love and affection. If your rabbit likes you, he or she might start to lick you or your clothing, nudge your arm or nibble on your finger. This is a sign that you are seen as part of the rabbit’s family, and that they care about your health and cleanliness.

They want to be stroked

If you rabbit comes up to you and starts pushing their head against your hand or put their head on your arm it’s a sign that they love you and want to spend time with you. It means your rabbit trusts you know what you’re doing and won’t hurt them, and is a true signal that they love being around you. 

They come and lay next to you

A rabbit that approaches you while you’re spending time with them in their run and lays down next to you is showing extreme trust, especially if they’ve got their legs sprawled out under them. This is a very vulnerable position to be in, so it’s clear that your rabbit trusts that you will look after them. 

They run around your feet

The closest you will probably get to a dog jumping up to greet you when you get through the door is your rabbit running in circles around your feet, sometimes doing figures of eight between your legs. You might have seen this behaviour when you approach your rabbits with food or yummy treats, but many will also do it just out of excitement of seeing their favourite human. 

They purr

Although it’s actually not purring in the same way as cats purr, but a grinding of the teeth that makes a soft humming sound and causes the rabbit’s head to vibrate slightly, it’s a clear sign that your rabbit is content. Normally this occurs when you’re stroking or grooming your rabbit, a time when your pet doesn’t have to worry about anything. 

They do a binky

A binky can be described as a jump up in the air with the legs stretched out. It’s an expression of excitement and exhilaration, and sometimes you will see your rabbit doing this in your company. We dare you not to smile when you see a binky!

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This entry was posted in Rabbits on August 3rd, 2020 by linnearask