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Category Archives: Chickens

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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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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Guide to keeping Chickens!

Thinking about keeping chickens?

Read our handy guide first that has been provided by Sarah from Sussex Garden Poultry ….

 

 

What advice would you give for someone looking to keep Chickens? 

The most important thing is going to be the coop, choose something that will be safe for the hens, that will last, that’s easy to clean. Spend well, spend once. Buy your hens from a reputable source, it’s easy to be fobbed off with cockerels or older hens if you don’t know what to look for. Buying ‘point of lay’ means they may not be laying yet, but within a few weeks you’ll get eggs, there is no way of ageing a hen, you don’t want to buy something that’s 3 years old.

Which type of Chickens would you suggest to get as a first time Chicken owner?

 

If you’ve never kept hens before I always suggest you choose a fairly calm type of hybrid. The Red Rangers, Blacktails, Light Sussex & speckled hens. These girls will lay you lots of eggs with the minimum of fuss. Bantams are also a good choice if you have a small garden.

 

What type of Coop would you recommend?

 

Always buy the biggest coop you can afford & have space for, hen keeping is addictive, you start with 3 & end up saying, ‘oh I like that colour, that breed, that shape……..’

 

How many Chickens would you suggest getting initially?

 

First think about your coop size, I always recommend starting with 3, the classic & the Go easily take 3 hens, should you have the misfortune to loose a bird you need to add a minimum of 2 hens, these coops have the space for 4 hens max. With the Cube you can take more hens, but remember when you want to add to your flock it’s best to double your numbers, so 4 or 5 in a cube allows you to add again in a couple of years time to keep a year round supply of eggs from new layers.

 

Should you always keep more than one Chicken?

 

Chickens like to be in flocks, no one wants to be lonely, why would a chicken?

 

To read even more about keeping Chickens read the Omlet Chicken Guide here

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Top 15 Chicken Facts!

 

Have you ever wondered what’s going on in the minds of your chickens?

 

  • Chickens have, just like us, full-colour vision. So the colourful Eglus from Omlet will also brighten up your chickens’ day!
  • Chickens dream just like we do. During sleep they also experience REM (Rapid Egg Movement?). Maybe they dream about all the exciting things they did during the day…
  • Chickens love to roam around freely, take dust baths, sun bathe and play. Because of this, Omlet have an interesting range of chicken toys and accessories, like the Elvis & Rocky Peck Toys, and the Chicken Swing!
  • Chickens are omnivores, which means they eat both vegetables and meat. They love seeds and juicy worms, but will also appreciate a small mouse if they come across one.
  • Chickens are related to the Tyrannosaurus rex. Maybe this is not that hard to believe when they stare at you with a penetrating gaze (trying to convince you to feed them…again!).
  • There is a word for the extreme fear of chickens, namely alektorophobia.
    People with alektorophobia can even develop a fear for eggs.

 

  • Chickens have an excellent memory. They are able to recognise the faces of more than 100 members of their species, other animals and humans.
  • Wild chickens just lay ten to fifteen eggs a year during the breeding season. Battery hens are bred to lay an egg almost every day. To make sure you’ll use the eggs of your hens in date order, Omlet provides the Egg Skelter and Egg Ramp
  • The heaviest chicken egg ever weighed was 340g (as a comparison: an average chicken egg weighs between 55-75g). As chickens get older they will lay fewer but larger eggs.

 

  • The colour of the egg does not alter its nutritional value or taste. The reasoning behind different shell colours is that different breeds lay eggs of different colours.
  • It takes 21 days on average for a chicken egg to hatch once incubation begins, whether you incubate them with an incubator or set them under a hen.
  • It is very unlikely that an egg with a double yolk will produce a chicken twin. There is too little space in the egg for two chicks to fully develop.

 

  • Worldwide there are more than 25 billion chickens (as a comparison: there are less than 7.5 billion people). Chickens are therefore the most common birds on earth.
  • The red junglefowl (gallus gallus) from Asia is the ancestor of the modern chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus). Chickens were probably already domesticated in the sixth millenium B.C.

 

 

Sources: www.omlet.com.au, www.backyardchickens.com, www.countrysidenetwork.com, www.smithsonianmag.com, www.thefactsite.com, www.thehappychickencoop.com.

 

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Christmas Card Colouring Competition

Colour in the card to win

 

With only 25 days until Christmas we thought we’d give you a little something to keep you and the kids entertained… a Christmas card colouring competition.  The great thing about this is that all you need is a piece of A4 paper and pens/pencils and you will end up with a lovely card to give to someone…

Not only can you have fun colouring, but you can also win some eggcellent prizes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(more…)

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Chickens are for more than just Eggs

When you talk to most people who are planning to get chickens they talk about wanting them so that they can have fresh eggs daily and yes, that is usually the main reason, but there is more to chickens than their eggs… (more…)

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Win 1 of 10 Pairs of Tickets to the Royal Adelaide Show

Adelaide show (more…)

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It’s Christmas in July at Omlet and You can win!

Win Christmas in July goodies with Omlet

It’s wintery and cold and time to celebrate Christmas in July with Omlet.  We have 3 fabulous stockings stuffed with prizes to giveaway PLUS 7 runners-up prizes… (more…)

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Win 1 of 5 Egg Skelters complete with 24 chocolate eggs

win an egg skelter and 24 chocolate eggs (more…)

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Win 1 of 12 LOVE Packs

valentine's day competition (more…)

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Australia Day Eglu Go and Hutch Special Offer

Australiday day 2016 save 50

Summer is well on it’s way and with it comes Australia day.  If your chickens, rabbits or guinea pigs are feeling a bit fed up with their house this is the perfect time to upgrade it to a new easy to clean house!

Save $50 off all the Eglu Go’s below when you use coupon code: AUSSIE50 at the checkout before 31/1/16

Eglu Go chicken coop with 2m run – usually $499 now $449

Eglu Go UP chicken coop with 2m run and wheels – usually $699 now $649

Eglu Go guinea pig hutch with 1m run – usually $449 now $399

Eglu Go rabbit hutch with 2m run – usually $499 now $449

Get $50 off these chicken coops, rabbit hutches and guinea pig hutches with runs when you use the coupon code online before midnight on 31st January 2016.

Please note that the discount does not apply to any orders already placed before the discount started (18/1/16) and the discount cannot be used with any other discount codes.  The offer only applies to Australian orders.  The discount only applies to house and run packages not the house alone.

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Should I keep my eggs in the fridge

fresh eggseggs out in the air

This is a question I get asked A LOT…  The answer is YES AND NO!  Have I confused you yet?  Well according to my eggpert source, a food scientist eggs can be kept in or out of the fridge.   (more…)

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