Here at Omlet we often receive calls from aspiring chicken keepers who are seeking chicken keeping advice before getting their first birds. Some of the most popular questions we get asked are, what should I feed my chicken with or how can I protect my chickens from predators? One question that keeps coming up is, do I need to shut the Eglu door at night?
Often people ask us this question because the idea of adding another task to their daily routine might be one of the reasons which puts them off chicken keeping. Much like you wouldn’t like to sleep with your front door open, unfortunately for chicken keepers, nor do your chickens, therefore most nights we would recommend you close the chicken coop door.
But having to close the door doesn’t necessarily mean that it would need to be done by the chicken keeper themselves! Have you ever thought about automatic door system? Well luckily for chicken keepers, Omlet has recently launched a new Autodoor which will solve all of these problems.
Even though our Eglus are specially designed to keep your chickens warm in winter with a unique twin-wall insulation system which works in a similar way to double glazing, leaving the door open overnight would let the cold enter inside which might result in having frozen eggs after a freezing winter night and could make your chickens feel unwell. Which is why we strongly recommend you use the handle on top of the Eglu and simply lift and twist it to close the door in one convenient motion each evening after having make sure all your flock are inside
As important as it is to close the door to protect your hens from the cold, it is also important to do it to protect them from potential overnight predator attacks. Most predators would wait for the night to attack your chickens therefore by simply closing the door it would protect your flock from being attacked by predators such as racoons, foxes and coyotes.
Having said how important it is to close your chicken coop overnight we understand that not everyone has the luxury of being at home every night to close the coop door especially for people working late shifts that are often home well after the sun sets. That is why we recently launched an automatic chicken coop door that can be attached directly to any wooden chicken coop, wire or the Omlet Eglu Cube Mk1 and Mk2.
Much like a personal chicken coop concierge, the Autodoor will always make sure your chicken’s coop is securely closed at night even when you’re running late. Whether you decide to use the light or time mode, the Omlet secure and safe Autodoor will either open and close at dawn and dusk or at specific times that you have programmed it to. In addition to being designed to be used in different modes the Autodoor has a unique safety sensor detecting any blockages to prevent your chickens from being injured when they decide to stop half way through the door.
Benefits of the Omlet Automatic Chicken Coop Door:
- Easy to install, no maintenance required
- Operated by light sensor or timer
- Powered by battery
- Works with all wooden chicken coops
- Improves coop security and insulation
- Compatible with the Eglu Cube
- Reliable in all weather conditions
- Built-in safety sensors
- Can be used with any chicken run or mesh
To summarise, closing the coop door is definitely the recommended action for every chicken keeper in order to protect their chickens from the cold and predators however this task can easily be completed by an Autodoor.
Check out the review below to see what one of our Autodoor owners thinks of this new product:
“Thank you Omlet for a wonderful product and great service. The door arrived quickly, very well packaged and my concerns over fitting it were unfounded as I was able to complete the task completely unaided. The door is easy to operate and means my girls are safely tucked up at dusk and I do not have to get up ridiculously early to open the coop and stop them hollering!” – Wendy
Read more reviews
This entry was posted in Chickens on May 28th, 2020 by linnearask
Having a crate for your puppy or dog has many advantages. It creates a space that is more than just a bed on the floor, a place the dog can return to when he or she gets tired that they know is just theirs. This is perfect for those moments when a small puppy feels a bit overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the house and would just like a moment of rest. A crate will also keep young dogs safe if you need to pop out someplace where puppies are not allowed. Additionally, crating leads to better sleep, is great for puppy training, and allows the dog to be more independent of its owner. And of course most importantly, most dogs absolutely love it!
Omlet has two great solutions for those who are looking for a crate for their existing dog, or the new puppy they’re expecting: the Fido Studio and the Fido Nook. Both come in two sizes to fit most dog breeds, and with the option of a wardrobe to store all of your dog’s things. The wardrobe can be further organised with shelves, hooks and a clothes rail, and a fitted mirror so your pup can make sure their outfit looks pawfect before hitting the park!
Both the Fido Nook and Fido Studio are stylish, modern crate solutions, but what is the difference between them? Here are the main things to note when choosing the one that best fit your needs:
- With the Studio, the crate is a completely integrated part of the piece, whereas it can be removed on the Nook. The easy release mechanism on the Nook makes it possible to lock the crate in place when you’re using it, and remove it when your puppy is fully grown.
- The Nook does not only fit in seamlessly with your home interior, but the possibility of unlocking and removing the crate means you can take it in the car to keep your dog safe during travel, or if you’re spending the night somewhere else.
- Both the Studio and the Nook come in a stylish white that will look great in all interiors. The Studio is also available in walnut.
- As the Fido Nook you can only open the door to the crate on the front. If you choose the Fido Studio however, the dog can access the crate at either the front or the side. This is useful if you want to place the Fido Studio in a narrow space.
- If you decide to remove the crate from the Nook when your dog is fully trained and you feel he or she no longer needs it, the Nook will still offer a secluded spot for your dog’s bed.
- Without the crate on the Nook, you can further customise the unit with these luxurious curtains. This will create a cosy barrier between the dog and the world outside, which will provide them with some extra, highly appreciated, privacy.
- Although the two are quite similar, they do look slightly different, and perhaps you just prefer one over the other. That’s okay, you don’t have to explain yourself – we won’t judge!
Whether you decide to go for a Studio or a Nook, we’re absolutely sure your dog will appreciate a place in the home that is just theirs, and that you will love the look and feel of Omlet’s dog products, as well as the opportunity to store all your dog’s things in the integrated wardrobe!
This entry was posted in Dogs on May 27th, 2020 by linnearask
Watch a cat stalking through the grass or simply relaxing in the sunshine, and it’s clear that they love being outside. If you live in the countryside, this isn’t much of an issue, and all country cats mix and match the great outdoors and the great indoors. In towns, however, owners may be less keen to let their cat spend a night on the tiles.
Town cats have shorter lifespans than country cats, on average. This is not due to the benefits of fresh air – it’s simply because most premature deaths in the cat population are caused by road accidents, and a town the cat has far more chances of quickly shedding its nine lives.
Why do cats like being outdoors?
Do you like spending time in the sunshine, with the fresh air in your lungs and a gentle breeze on your face? Cats are exactly the same. Like you, they get a buzz from life beyond the four walls. They are stimulated by movement, sounds and scents, and even the humblest garden has these in abundance. Cats will investigate whatever the world has to offer, and this gives them both mental and physical stimulation, a combination that results in a happy and healthy cat.
Research has shown that certain sounds, including the squeaks of rodents and the twittering of birds, is particularly stimulating for cats. They find these things satisfying and engaging on an instinctive level, and all animals need to keep their instincts happy.
If given the chance, cats will make full use of the possibilities of life in the fresh air – not just the immediate vicinity, but the much wider local area, sometimes prowling a territory with a radius of one mile from their home. They will form all kinds of relationships in this territory, some friendly and some not, but all part of the rich tapestry of cat life.
What this means is that access to the outdoors is a great stress reliever, giving a cat many of the things it needs in order to stay alert and content, and to allow it to chill in its natural habitat.
However, owners who want to keep their pets indoors should not be put off by this. They can still provide their pet with most of the benefits of the outdoor life.
How to bring the outdoors indoors
Breed – and therefore personality – plays a big part in a cat’s contentment. Some breeds – including the Burmese, the Siamese, the Korat, the Oriental and the Abyssinian – need the outdoors in the same way as a piano player needs a piano, and they will not be happy if denied access to nature. Others – including the Persian, the Russian Blue and the Ragdoll – seem to have been bred for a life on the sofa, and will not miss being outdoors one little bit. Most crossbreed cats like to enjoy the best of both worlds, so if your cat is going to live indoors, you will need to make the domestic space a bit more ‘wild’.
Providing stimulation with toys, including ones filled with catnip, is half the battle. You should also open your windows wide enough to let the fresh air and the scents and sounds indoors, without giving an escape route for the cat. Failing that, opening the door to the garden while closing off the inner doors will allow the fresh air to circulate.
If space allows, a cat run is a great option. This can be linked to the house via a cat flap on the door, allowing your pet to spend as much time outdoors as it wants. If the cat run is not connected to the house, you can let the cat spend time on the run while you’re out in the garden as well. Or, if you start early, you may be able to train your cat to walk on a lead. This needs careful planning, though, as avoiding dogs out on their walks is an important detail!
The main takeaways from this are that cats need fresh air, and all the things it represents. But at the same time, town cats who are happy with a life on the sofa can enjoy most of the fun and stimulation of the outdoors by staying indoors.
This entry was posted in Cats on May 22nd, 2020 by linnearask
Most chicken keepers limit their attentions to hens and eggs. Roosters – or cockerels, as they are sometimes called (and definitely not to be confused with roasters!) – are simply not on their tick list. After all, roosters are territorial, keen to defend their flock of hens, and famously noisy first thing in the morning.
But they are also beautiful birds, and if you intend hatching your own chicken eggs, your hens will certainly need the attentions of a rooster.
There are several cockadoodle-dos and cockadoodle-don’ts to consider if you are thinking of adding a rooster to your flock.
First, the good stuff
Cockerels look fantastic as they swagger across their territory. Their huge combs and wattles quiver like jelly, their pointy rear-end feathers and ‘mane’ of spiky neck feathers are wonderfully showy, and their posture suggests someone who has just strutted onto the dancefloor to show off some amazing moves.
But it’s not all about beauty. Roosters always have an eye out for danger, and will fight off any intruder they think they can tackle. The bird is not silly enough to attack dogs or cats, but it will make it clear to them that they are not welcome, through body language and alarm calls. This gives the hens time to flee for shelter, and the rooster will beat the retreat too, if things start to look too dangerous.
A rooster will add harmony to a hen flock, making sure none of his birds are bullied, and keeping everything in order, a bit like a hands-off, benign sheepdog.
If you want to hatch chicks, hiring the services of a rooster is the only way forward. Fertilised eggs are still edible, as long as you collect the eggs on a daily basis. Any fertilised egg taken away from the warmth of a broody hen will not develop into a chick.
And the downsides?
If you live in a town or village, noise might be an issue with the neighbours. In many places in the USA, roosters are banned for this reason. However, if your bylaws don’t place an outright ban on male chickens, you’ll have the law on your side. But what about those irate neighbours?
The irony is that people who keep roosters – and many others besides – love the sound of early morning cock-crow. I raise my hand, as the author of this post, and admit to loving the sound of a rooster at daybreak – and I live in a village with half a dozen cockerels battling it out first thing in the morning. It’s a much better sound than car engines and slamming doors as people prepare for the working day. If people can live with the sound of road, rail and air traffic, surely they can get used to the wonderful sound of a full-throated rooster?
Sadly not, in many cases, and a crowing cockerel can be the subject of arguments and recriminations. So, so if you have nearby neighbours, it’s an issue you can’t ignore. Start off by speaking to everyone who live near enough that they will hear a cockerel crowing in the morning and see how they feel about the idea. You never know, they might be really excited about the prospect of a new alarm clock!
There are ways to keep roosters quiet before everyone has got out of bed. Some people swear by anti-crow collars, Velcro strips that restrict airflow to the rooster’s voice box. They don’t hurt the birds or affect their breathing, but they transform the noisy COCK-A-DOODLE-DO! into a much quieter clucking sound. If you have a large rooster you may also be helped by a coop with a low roof. Roosters must stretch their neck to crow, and if the coop roof is not high enough to allow him to stretch the neck fully, he will have to wait until you let him out.
With that being said though it’s worth noting that roosters naturally crow, and if you (or your neighbours) can’t stand being woken up at the crack of dawn, you might be better off sticking to hens.
The rooster is not just a chicken version of a sheepdog, he’s a guard dog too. At the sight of any intruder, he’ll let you know. This is just the kind of vigilance you’d expect from a bird once declared to be the messenger of the sun god. And that’s a lovely image – he’s not crowing to annoy anyone, he’s crowing to announce the arrival of the life-giving sun. Who could say no to that?
This entry was posted in Chickens on May 22nd, 2020 by linnearask
Tipo 00 Flour
Homemade pasta is one of the easiest recipes to remember as it’s a 1:100 ratio. For every person you’re cooking for you’ll need 1 egg and 100g of pasta flour per serving, plus just a little bit of salt for seasoning – simple! This is how we at Omlet make it:
🔸 Start by weighing out your flour and then tip it onto a clean surface so it forms a mound, sprinkle with a bit of salt, then make a large well in the middle of the mound and crack your eggs into it.
🔸 With a fork start lightly whisking the eggs in the middle, slowly bringing the flour at the edges into the mix, keep going until you’ve got the majority of the flour mixed in. You may need to use your hands to work it in towards the end. Once the mixture is all together in a ball, start kneading the dough. It will feel quite rough and grainy to start with but as you work the dough more it should start to smooth out.
🔸 Knead until the dough is elastic and stretchy. Be careful not to over knead it as your pasta will become tough and chewy. Once you’re done kneading, cover or wrap your dough in a bowl or a beeswax wrap and then place in the fridge for half an hour.
🔸 Once chilled, bring your dough out. Depending on how much you’ve made you may need to split it into more manageable chunks.
🔸 Start rolling out a ball of your dough with a rolling pin and then with your pasta maker. Roll the dough through the machine on the widest setting, once through fold the dough in half and repeat. Then feed the dough through on a medium thickness and fold in half and feed it through again. Then move onto the thinnest setting and feed your dough through this setting twice, no need to fold it over this time. Your dough should be in a long lasagne style sheet, and thin enough that you can almost see your hand through it.
🔸 Then turn your attention to the linguine and tagliatelle accessory on the pasta machine. You can use either of these for this type of pasta, it will just depend what sauce you’re making and your personal preference. We used the tagliatelle cutter for this batch and it came out great!
🔸 Once you have fed your pasta through the chosen cutter, then hang it on a drying rack, or you could use a clothes airer for about half an hour. You don’t want the pasta to dry out too much. When it’s ready either boil it in salted water for about 3 mins if you’re ready to eat, or place in a Tupperware in the fridge or freezer ready for when you want to use it.
This entry was posted in Recipes on May 20th, 2020 by linnearask
The starting point for all budgie tricks is trust, and the key to success is treats! Once a budgie has been hand-tamed and is happy to perch on your finger outside the cage, you can take it a step further and introduce some fun challenges. Make sure you have a sprig of millet or your pet’s favourite vegetable snack handy!
Snakes and Ladders
For this, you need a small raised platform, with a ladder leading on one side and a slide on the other.
The ‘ladder’ part of the trick is simple: place the budgie at the foot of the ladder, and offer the treat at the top. As the bird climbs up, use a command such as ‘Up the ladder!’ After a while, you will be able to place the budgie further from the foot of the ladder.
For the ‘snakes’ part of the trick, the budgie will scoot down the slide, and once again the millet or other treat is the key. Place it at the foot of the slide, and be patient. It’s very likely that, being such a smart bird, the budgie will fly to the treat without using the slide. If this happens, hide the treat, and start again.
The budgie will soon realise that the slide is the key to the treat. Once the bird is on the slide, say ‘Down the snake!’ You can then extend the ladder and the ‘snake’, if you wish.
If you put a table tennis ball in your budgie’s cage, the bird will soon be playing with it, ‘dribbling’ the ball with its beak. Outside the cage, this can be turned into a human-versus-budgie football game. Gently roll the ball towards the budgie, and the bird will instinctively ‘save’ the ball. Include a goal mouth, and your budgie is transformed into a goalkeeper.
Set up another goal mouth a metre away from the budgie, and see if the budgie manages to score a goal as it taps the ball forward with its beak. Once the ball is between the goalposts, say something like ‘Goal!’, and offer a treat. The bird will soon learn to hone its beak-dribbling skills in order to score those treats!
The Great Escape
The aim here is to get your budgie to negotiate a short tunnel. It won’t be tunnelling its way to freedom, though, just to a tasty treat!
To begin with, use a piece of cardboard with a large hole cut into it, or a large plastic ring. Call the budgie, offering a treat on the other side of the hole. As the bird hops through, speak your chosen command words – something like ‘Let’s tunnel!’ Once the trick is going well, swap the hole for small sections of plastic or cardboard pipe, with a narrower hole/tunnel as time passes. Eventually, you will be able to call your budgie to make his Great Escape through something with the thickness and length of a kitchen towel tube.
This one takes a little time to get right, but once again the budgie’s intelligence wins through in the end. The goal here is to teach your bird to pick up an object, bring it to you, and drop it into your hand.
To begin with, get the budgie to perch on your hand, and offer a shiny object such as a button or paperclip. When the budgie takes it in its beak, say ‘Fetch!’ When it drops the object, say ‘Drop it!’, and if it lands in your hand, offer a treat.
Once this has been mastered, place the object away from your hand, and say ‘Fetch!’ when the budgie picks it up. Bring your hand close, ready to catch the object when it falls. Over time, this will develop into a routine in which the budgie picks up an object, runs back with it, and places it in your hand for a treat.
The thing that all these tricks have in common is that the budgie will love performing them. If they don’t want to take part, they won’t, simple as that. This means there’s no pressure, no forcing the issue. It’s just fun all the way, for budgie and owner alike. Trust and treats – that’s the key!
This entry was posted in Budgies on May 15th, 2020 by linnearask
If you keep chickens, you already know what a happy, healthy hen looks like. If anything changes, it’s a sign that all is not well in the henhouse.
The commonest problems are not due to diseases or parasites, but stress. If the henhouse is overcrowded, dirty, or too hot, or if the birds are feeling harassed, they will become stressed. The symptoms include egg-eating, aggression to their neighbours, loose droppings, lethargy, and a sudden interruption to their egg-laying.
The cause should be obvious enough, once you stop to look. Too many birds in one house? No shelter from direct sunlight? No room to exercise? Nothing but wet mud? These things can be sorted out by rearranging the hens’ environment, extending the run, and getting a bigger hen coop. Check the hens’ diet, too – are you feeding them a good, fortified chicken feed, supplemented with some corn
? Poor nutrition is a gateway to other health issues, as it weakens the birds’ immune systems.
Infectious Bronchitis – The Commonest Chicken Disease
There are many diseases that can afflict chickens, but thankfully most of them are uncommon. Anecdotal evidence shows that Infectious Bronchitis is the one that small-scale backyard hen keepers are most likely to encounter.
Hens suffering from this ailment will have a quiet, rasping, wheezing cough, sneeze or snore. The first signs of the problem are usually a loss of interest in food. As the disease takes hold, the hen will develop a ‘runny nose’, with discharge from the nostrils and eyes.
The bronchitis is caused by an airborne virus, and the best remedy is vaccination of the flock. Any infected birds should be isolated and kept somewhere dry and warm, making sure they eat and drink well. Some will die, but most pull through.
Note: the symptoms described here are also associated with other diseases, including Infectious Sinusitis, Newcastle Disease, and the deadly Aspergillosis, Pullorum and Bird Flu. The Omlet Chicken Guide has more details.
Bumblefoot – The Commonest Chicken Injury
A leg or foot wound that becomes infected can result in Bumblefoot. The wound will not always be obvious, but the biggest clue is a limp, or the tendency to stand for a long time on one leg while the other hens are scratching and pecking for food.
After a few days, the limb will swell, at which point you need to act fast. Taking the bird to a vet is the best bet, as the wound will need thoroughly cleaning, and minor surgery may be involved if the problem is severe. Untreated hens can die.
Not all limps are the result of Bumblefoot, though. Hens sometimes land awkwardly after the chicken version of flying. Broken toes and legs are quite common too, and these will require a splint. But if there is no visible surface wound, Bumblefoot is unlikely to set in.
So, look out for the limp – that’s your first clue that all is not well.
Common Chicken Mites
Chicken parasites are common, but not usually life-threatening. The commonest ones are the mites, of which there are several species.
Red Mite, or Chicken Mite – These nasties hide away in the henhouse, in corners, under perches and elsewhere. Anti-mite powders and liquids can be applied to the coop, and keeping things super-clean at all times will discourage the tiny red bloodsuckers.
Northern Fowl Mite – these are a bit bigger than red mites, and live on the birds rather than just dropping in for a quick bite. Remedies are available, and need to be applied to the bird itself.
Scaly Leg Mite – This variety causes a hen’s legs to become rough, sore and weepy. Antibacterial scaly-leg treatments are the only way to tackle the problem; although rubbing in a little Vaseline can ease the discomfort.
Depluming Mite – This variety burrows into the feather shafts, causing swelling and producing a discharge on which the mites feed. The hens will then begin plucking their own feathers to relieve the discomfort. The mites spread quickly, so the whole flock and henhouse will need treating.
Quick action is the best way of tackling these ailments. Each morning, carry out a quick visual health check. Any of the following should be taken as a warning sign:
- Dirty or messy feathers
- Hunched-up posture
- Evidence of parasites
- Unhealthy-looking poo
- Sneezing, wheezing, coughing
- No appetite
- No eggs
If you have cause for concern, check out Omlet’s chicken health guide, and call the vet for advice.
This entry was posted in Chickens on May 14th, 2020 by linnearask
The temperature is already dropping rapidly, the nights are drawing in and we are just weeks away from the first frost. Although the fresh air and crunchy leaves may be loved by some, the signs of winter being just around the corner can be a worry for chicken keepers.
Now is the time to act! Get your chickens’ coop ready for the colder months before the freezing temperatures hit, and you will be able to rest easy knowing that your girls are warm and healthy throughout winter.
Take a look at some of our top tips for getting your chicken coop winter-ready…
Move your coop closer to the house
This is a simple step for making it easier for you to look after your girls and give them their daily health checks, which are even more important in the colder months. Choose a lightweight coop with wheels, like the Eglu, to make it even easier to move it around your garden.
Upgrade your wooden coop to an Eglu
The main benefit to an Eglu Cube Chicken Coop for chicken keepers in winter is the twin wall insulation found in the design of the plastic house. This works in a similar way to double glazing, by creating a barrier between the cold air outside the coop, and the air in side. The air between the two walls conducts poorly, which means inside the house stays at a consistent and warm temperature throughout winter, whatever the weather is doing outside. Chickens are very efficient at keeping themselves warm, all you will need to do is make sure the coop door is shut at night time.
…and to make sure your chicken coop’s door is always shut at dusk, even if you are not yet home, the Automatic Chicken Coop Door is a convenient solution for the Eglu Cube or wooden chicken coops. You can set the Autodoor to close at a specific time or light percentage to suit when all your girls have gone up to bed and the sun has set. The Autodoor runs off batteries and has been tested to work down to -10 degrees Celcius so there is no worry, however cold it gets outside!
The other benefit to the Autodoor is that it will open again at dawn so you can head off to work early before the sun rises and your girls need to be let out, or you can stay in bed for even longer at the weekends without going out in the freezing cold to let your chickens out of their coop!
The NEW Coop Light also makes it easier for you to check on your girls and carry out daily chicken keeping duties if you don’t get home until after dark. This plugs directly into your Autodoor control panel, and can even be programmed to automatically turn on 5 minutes before your Autodoor closes to encourage your chickens up to the coop.
“The nights are drawing in and I couldn’t be happier knowing that my girls are safely tucked up in bed with their Omlet Autodoor closed behind them. The Autodoor has given me peace of mind, flexibility and a well needed lie in! Couldn’t recommend it enough!” – Hayley’s Lottie Haven
Chickens are very good at coping in cold temperatures, but don’t like getting wet, so it would be kinder for them to be protected from the elements when in their run by our clear covers and windbreaks. Available in a variety of sizes to suit your run length, the clear run covers protect your girls from wind and rain so they can continue to play whatever the weather, whilst still allowing light into the run.
Extreme temperature jackets
When the temperature drops below freezing for multiple days in a row during the very depths of winter, it might be wise to give your chickens extra warmth with an extreme temperature jacket. Poorly or older chickens, will definitely benefit from this extra support.
Prevent chickens getting bored when rain stops play with a variety of fun and interactive toys they can play with in all weathers. The Chicken Perch provides an easy outdoor perch which can be installed in their run (and protected by the run covers) for when your chickens can’t perch in their usual spots around your garden. The Chicken Swing provides hours of fun and again, can be easily installed in any run. While the Peck Toys and Caddi Treat Holder offer enriching entertainment as well as a rewarding flow of treats.
Prevent your chickens’ water from freezing with a water heater to ensure they have access to flowing water at all times. It is also recommended to provide extra layers pellets and treats during winter, as chickens will need more energy to keep themselves warm and lay their eggs in the colder months.
This entry was posted in Chickens on May 11th, 2020 by linnearask
The Azawakh originates from the Saleh area south of Sahara, where it’s still used by nomadic people to guard herds of sheep and goats from predators and enemies. It has also previously been used to hunt gazelle and hare across the arid desert lands.
The Azawakh is a very lean and large sight dog with long legs, and the muscles and bones are clearly visible through the thin skin.
It’s a loyal family dog that forms strong connections to their owners, and must get used to being by themselves early on to minimise the risk of separation anxiety. The breed needs to run freely, so make sure they can do so in a safe area. The hunting instinct can be strong, but they are intelligent and relatively easy to train, so it’s possible to take them from walks off the lead.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Catahoula Leopard Dog was originally bred in the state of Louisiana, and was initially used to hunt large game, and later feral pigs in the swaps. It’s still used as a working dog with several purposes, including herding, as it’s known for its agility, intelligence and strength.
It’s a medium sized dog with a short coat that is normally recognised for its many varied coats, eye colours and patterns. Catahoula Leopard Dogs can make great pets as long as they get enough stimulation. It’s also important to train and socialise them early, as they run the risk of getting territorial and overly protective otherwise.
Caucasian Ovcharka / Caucasian Shepherd Dog
As the name suggests, this giant dog breed originates from the Caucasus, an area between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, where it was first used to herd livestock.
It’s an extremely independent, fearless and intelligent dog that can get very territorial and protective, so requires an experienced owner that can give them consistent handling and accurate socialisation throughout their lives. This will counteract potential aggressive behaviour, mainly towards other dogs.
Caucasian Ovcharkas require plenty of both mental and physical stimulation. When not working, the dog will enjoy sleeping the day away, so it’s important to prevent the high risk of obesity by going to plenty of walks and playing fun retrieving games.
Schipperke means small herding dog in Flemish, which is where the dog breed was first seen. It’s also got a history as a guard dog and ratter on the Dutch and Belgian canal boats. Today the breed is mainly kept as a pet, but it still makes a great guard dog, as you’ll struggle to find a more loyal companion.
As the Schipperke was bred to work, the breed will need to be kept stimulated and active to prevent destructive behaviour, but it’s relatively easy as they will be happy with most things as long as they are with their owner!
The Berger Picard is easily recognisable thanks to the large pointy ears, the wavy brindle coat and the hooked tail. The name comes from the breed’s home region of Picardy in France, and it’s one of the oldest French herding breeds.
They are extremely active dogs that will be the perfect companion for owners who enjoy long runs and hikes, sports and mental stimulation in the form of obedience training. If you can only give your dog a short walk around the block every day, the Berger Picard is not for you!
The breed was recognised 1925, but had almost disappeared after the world wars. Keen enthusiasts recreated a strong breeding stock, but it’s still rare.
The Pumi is a result of selective breeding of the other famous Hungarian sheep dog, the Puli, and French and German herding dogs and terriers. This has given the breeds it’s lively, intelligent and active temperament.
Pumis love working, but also to relax with their family. It’s a generally happy breed that will make a great pet for an active family that can keep the dog busy during the day and shower it with love and snuggles on the sofa in the evening.
The curly coat, normally grey or black, requires a bit of work, but doesn’t shed.
This entry was posted in Dogs on May 6th, 2020 by linnearask
Rabbits and chickens are two of the nation’s favourite pets, and while there are many things that set them apart, they also have a lot of similarities, and if you are careful and manage to cater for their different needs, they can actually live together in harmony.
Both chickens and rabbits are very sociable animals that like spending time together with others, and it doesn’t matter too much if the company is of another species. They also have similar requirements when it comes to space, temperature and attention. Apart from that, having the two live together will also be more space efficient for you, as you won’t have to create two living quarters, but can focus on one larger area instead.
There are however things to think about if you’re considering keeping rabbits and chickens together – just putting them together in a run and hoping for the best will probably not end well. Chickens may carry diseases that are latent and symptomless, but that will make the rabbits ill, and they are also by nature scared of fast-moving things (animals included), and having speedy rabbits racing around their feet might create a lot of stress if they are not used to it.
So while it’s not problem free having the two live together, it’s definitely possible. Here are some things to think about:
- You are more likely to succeed if you start introducing the animals to each other when they are young, so that they are raised together and don’t really know a life without the other. Start by keeping them on different sides of a fence or a run, so that they can get used to each other (Omlet’s partitions for the Outdoor Pet Run will be perfect here). Move on to keeping them together, but in a very large enclosure, so that no one feels threatened by the other species. Make the enclosure gradually smaller, until they are all in the run where you are planning to keep them permanently.
- The chickens might try to peck the rabbits while they are getting used to the fast movements. This doesn’t hurt a fully grown rabbit, and it will pass after a few days, but never put a baby bunny in with a flock of adult hens, as they are much more vulnerable.
- Give both a place to retreat to. Chickens and rabbits are both nervous and vulnerable animals that will benefit from having their own space to return to when it all gets a bit too much.
- They also have different requirements. Chickens need perches to roost on at night, and rabbits will need plenty of hay in the hutch to both curl up on, and to eat. Keep this away from the chickens to avoid contamination. You will also need to feed them separately; chickens will try to eat everything, and rabbit food will make them ill.
- Rabbits are known to be extremely cleanly animals, a reputation you rarely hear about chickens. To keep your rabbits happy you will therefore need to clean the run and the hutch and/or coop more often than you would if you only had chickens. The rabbits will not be impressed with chicken poo in their home!
- Make sure there is plenty of room for all. Having two species in one place might be space efficient on the whole, but make sure the run is big enough and equipped with toys and hiding places to entertain and calm your pets. The Caddi Treat Holder is a perfect food toy for both rabbits and chickens, and the Zippi playtunnels will be perfect as a small den for a tired bunny.
- If you’re planning to have rabbits and chickens living together, we would definitely suggest neutering male rabbits. Even if he doesn’t live with female rabbits, unneutered bucks are notoriously known for mounting everything that comes in their way, including feathered friends.
- It’s never a good idea to keep one single rabbit in a flock of chickens, or vice versa. Despite being part of a group, they will feel lonely and stressed without a friend of their own species.
This entry was posted in Chickens on May 6th, 2020 by linnearask
The closest ancestors of the domestic cats were solitary wildcat species that didn’t have to, and in most cases didn’t want to, draw attention to how they were feeling. Showing weakness would potentially expose you as an easier target for predators or competing cats. This is still present in cats today; in most cases they will try to hide what they are feeling from you.
With that being said, they do of course communicate. With other felines, and with us. They use scents and vocalisations, but also a lot of visual cues in the form of body language.
When you’re trying to analyse and understand your cat’s body language it’s important to use the context of the whole situation rather than just looking at one thing. Check the surroundings and try to work out what factors might affect your cat. Is there anything that might make the cat stressed, angry or worried? This might make it easier to understand the cat’s, not always crystal clear, signals.
There are five things to focus on when trying to read your cat’s body language. Eyes, ears, face, body and tail!
- Slow blinking – Eyes that blink slowly or are half closed indicate that your cat is really relaxed and trusts that the situation is not threatening. Try blinking back in the same slow way to mimic the cat’s behaviour. This is a great bonding exercise for the two of you.
- Dilated pupils – Given it’s not extremely dark in the room, large pupils indicate that your cat is feeling surprised, or scared and anxious. Normally the eyes will also be open wide, and the cat will not blink.
- Constricted pupils – If the pupils on the other hand are very small and constricted, your cat will most likely feel tense, possibly bordering on aggressive.
- Staring – If your pet locks their eyes on something or something, it is likely to be a challenge. If it’s you the cat is staring at – best not to approach!
- Pointing slightly up and forward – A content and relaxed cat will keep its ears held upright and pointing forward. This is the default ear position, and the ears will probably move somewhat as the cat follows familiar sounds in the room.
- Pointing straight up – This is a sign of a cat who is alert and ready to go. They might have heard something they want to investigate, but will first listen out a bit longer.
- Pointing in different directions – If one ear is angled to the side and the other one points backwards it is possible that the cat is nervous and trying to assess the situation to get as much information as possible.
- Pointing back, lying flat against the head – This is a sign of an annoyed, angry and potentially aggressive cat who is ready to pounce. It’s best to leave them alone.
- A relaxed and happy cat will have relaxed whiskers pointing going out from the face. Many cats also have a relaxed facial expression that resembles a smile.
- An anxious or scared cat will pull its whiskers back along the side of the face to take up as little space as possible and not seem like a threat. Or if they are on high alert, the whiskers will point forwards.
- If the whiskers stand erect pointing away from the face, or forwards, it’s a sign that the cat is angry. He or she might show their teeth and hiss or growl.
- The neutral body stance for a cat is relaxed and even, with no tension. If they are lying down, they will be stretched out or curled up into a ball with their paws tucked in under the body. Often this might be followed by purring, a sign that the cat is content and relaxed.
- An anxious or scared cat will in most cases just run away and hide somewhere away from what is frightening them, but if it’s not possible they will crouch very still on the ground with their head held low.
- An angry cat will try to make itself look as big as possible, with the fur pointing away from the body, straightened front legs and an arched back.
- It’s worth noting that a cat that’s lying on its back might not want a belly rub. Just as dogs they are trying to show submission, but would in most cases prefer just to be left alone.
- Held upright – This is a sign of a happy cat that wants attention and company. The tail can also be relaxed, but normally doesn’t move.
- Held straight down – This should be a sign that the cat is scared or upset. A scared cat can also hold its tail under its body.
- Wagging – A wagging tail does not mean the same for cats as it does for dogs. If the tail is moving quickly from side to side, the cat is likely annoyed and would like to be left alone. If the cat instead wags the tail slowly, they are trying to assess the situation and deciding what to do. The cat might be a bit worried, so if you can, try to reassure him or her.
- Big, bushy tail held out straight from the body – Do not approach! This is an angry cat that is trying to look as scary as possible to potential threats.
This entry was posted in Cats on May 1st, 2020 by linnearask