The Omlet Blog

How can a chicken run save your plants from predators?

Did you know that Omlet’s Eglu Chicken Coops have survived bear attacks, fallen trees, and even tornadoes? We’ve seen the Eglu Cube save chickens and remain unaffected by the harshest of conditions on countless occasions – our products are built to last, after all. But how good is the Walk In Chicken Run at protecting veggie crops from pesky predators? Plant enthusiast and happy customer Mark put this question to the test. Find out how he came to discover his secret tool for keeping his garden crop safe from the “enemy”…

Australia, land of a million things that want to kill you, or at least eat your veggie crop. In 1932 the Australian army went to war with the emus and lost. When I lived in England for a year, way back, the only dangerous animal I encountered was a hedgehog and that was because I tripped over it on my way home from the pub. I remember it looking at me rather pityingly.

Know thy enemy:

Possums: There are ten different types of possums native to Brisbane. But the one I struggle with is the Common Brushtail Possum. They’re not called that because of their abundance but rather their lack of taste, education, and good manners. Brushtail possums hang around local shopping centres in groups, smoking and listening to Hip-Hop music. At night they do hits on local gardens and steal cars.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos: These things are huge and prune trees with their powerful secateurs-like beaks just for fun. A flock can decimate a fully-grown tree in an afternoon. They usually gather on street corners, shaking down tourists and pensioners for change and travel cards. But they are most dangerous when they decide your crop of sweet corn looks promising.

Corellas: Smaller and more polite than the Sulphur Crested, in small numbers these birds are hilarious. They will gather on rooftops and slide down for fun. But in large numbers, they become a ravenous hoard. They descend on towns in the state of NSW in the tens of thousands and eat everything, including windscreen wiper blades, the windscreen seals and telephone cables.

Bush Turkeys: America got magnificent big turkeys that are large and good to eat. We got tough, wiry clumps of feathers and sinew on legs that spend their day scraping all the compost out of your garden and across the road to your neighbour’s yard.

Flying Foxes: I came home from work one evening to find my English flatmates locked in their rooms. Turns out, they’d been enjoying a cool Brisbane autumn evening when “These giant flying things like something out of Lord of the Rings” started flying over. “Oh, you mean the flying foxes,” I said. “You knew about these things?! Why didn’t you warn us?” they cried. Fruit bats are in fact lovely and don’t want to kill you at all. But the Hendra virus they carry and can transmit does want to kill you, and the bats eat any fruit they can latch onto.

The battle begins

Early attempts to save my veggie and fruit crops were a potpourri of lousy advice, expensive gizmos, spray-on homemade potions, idiotic gadgets and some straight-out stupid ideas. Once, I even purchased a scary-looking plastic owl to put up in the garden. The stupidity of this idea is breathtaking. First up, we have Tawny Frogmouths and Kookaburras, and nothing is scared of them. Kookaburras eat snakes for goodness sake! Second, the silly thing looked more like Tommy Hancock than an owl. And finally, it was made of plastic so it didn’t do anything. I knew that idea had bottomed out when I awoke one morning to find its severed head next to me in bed with a note from the possums.

In search of a solution

I looked everywhere for an answer. On the recommendation of my local nursery, I covered all my garden beds in white mesh netting. That afternoon the Police called because from the air it spelt out H.E.L.P. I tried a greenhouse but greenhouses in the subtropics end up as a breeding ground for super weeds and bugs so big they get jobs loading trucks at the markets. I even stopped growing veggies and planted avocado trees with an understory of spiky finger lime bushes to stop the possums. Turns out the possums use the finger limes to scratch themselves and every creature in the world eats avocados. But then, I was at my local hardware megastore one day when I spotted a pet enclosure. It was flimsy, and not very big, and not very adaptable, but maybe that might work.

A few broken eggs:

The internet is a wonderful thing and now, with the pet run idea in mind, I began searching. The usual crazy stuff appeared during my searches. Sore Knees? Eat This!, The New Way to Eat Toast, Omlet, Why Drive When You Can Swim? A Bear Walked Into A Bar, You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next. I kept searching, nothing looked suitable. Omlet.

Reviews looked bad. Omlet. Some were too expensive, some looked too flimsy. Omlet. Why does this Omlet thing keep appearing? Better have a look.

The answer

Turns out Omlet have a pet run, sturdy, flexible, good-looking, easy to install, interchangeable and versatile. So what if, instead of keeping the animals in as they suggest, I buy an Omlet pet run to keep the animals out? Could that work? Why don’t I buy a small one and see?

The purchase: online and very, very easy

Delivery: Lots of boxes, well packaged and clearly labelled so you knew what was in each box.

Construction: Here’s where things veered off course for me. Not Omlet’s fault because I had to build the enclosure around something, not build it to put something in. And that proved challenging. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and there are some helpful tutorials online. But I wish I’d sat down and laid out all the parts in order before tearing into it like a crazed tram conductor. I would recommend laying everything out before you start building. Way easier. But despite my backyard being strewn with Omlet, parts various, it went together surprisingly easily. I built it by myself although two people would have sped things up. And my best piece of advice…learn to love the clip.

The moment.

I knew I was on a winner the moment I finally installed the gates. Often the weak point of a garden building, the Omlet gates went straight in easily, worked perfectly from the get-go and still work perfectly today.


Because my Omlet build was somewhat off-piste, there were some things I did differently. For example, I didn’t need the anti-dig surround. So I turned most of those pieces into shelves. Won’t take much weight but a handy spot to leave a few tools. Some of the straight pieces I used to extend the end wall to make a trellis. Mind you I saw a possum walk past me at the bus stop the other day carrying a shovel he’d bought from the hardware, so I might need that surround after all.

And did it work?

Yes. The Omlet run has kept everything out. I left some chilli bushes I’d potted up out on my workbench overnight and the next morning I found them mostly eaten. The ones inside are as healthy as. My plants still get grasshoppers and snails. The Omlet can’t stop them. But my veggies now only have a few bugs and insects to deal with, not a continuous cavalcade of marauding wildlife. And every day I discover new tricks. Tomato stakes are easily installed by putting them in the garden beds and poking the top out through the mesh in the roof. No need to bash them all the way in, the mesh holds them steady. And on really hot, sunny days, of which we have many, I can drape over a small tarp to keep the midday sun at bay.

Would I recommend Omlet?

Well, I’ve just bought a 7-metre pet run that will be half chicken coop, half veggie garden. So yes, I would recommend it. The Walk In Chicken Run, used how I used it as a garden protector, exceeded my expectations, the product is cleverly designed, of high quality, well built and easy to use. Best of all I found Omlet very easy and helpful to deal with. I needed to ask a few questions for my next project and they were answered promptly and were exactly what I needed to know.

Thanks, Omlet.

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This entry was posted in Chickens

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