The Omlet Blog

Omlet meets: Kat, hen hotelier extraordinaire

“they’re all characters. I’ve had some shy ones, I’ve had some you really need to kick out the bar at the end of the evening!”

We love to see our designs out in the world, being enjoyed by chickens and people alike, so we were thrilled – and more than a little intrigued – when we saw an article featuring hen hotelier Kat. We caught up with her for a chat on all things chicken. 

Omlet meets: Kat hen hotelier extraordinaire with chicken and an eglu cube

We loved the piece on your hen hotel in the papers. How did your story get picked up by the national press?

Actually it was my local paper that picked it up and it just snowballed. I’ve even been on ITV. I think it shows that people are getting more interested and aware of chickens as pets – they’re so underrated. Now I can help spread the word. 

Where I live in Kent, I get a lot of walkers past our garden, who buy the eggs and they often stop and talk and ask questions. It’s almost a chicken viewing point! I’ve got an Omlet Freestanding Perch there that the bantams LOVE. I honestly think they love posing and showing off to passersby, which is hilarious. But it’s great because I want to educate people – if you don’t have chickens you probably don’t know just how full of character and interesting they are. Mine are my pets, my girls, and I’d never be without them.

Have your chickens changed since finding fame? Who are the primadonnas?

In my flock, I’ve got 5 at the moment, all rescued or rehomed. They’ve all got their own characters, but there’s one in particular who is the most confident chicken you could ever meet, a real queen bee. She’s called Sally – I named her after the lady I got her from. She gets involved in everything. She’ll jump on my shoulder when I’m cleaning. She was in the shoot with the photographer for the newspaper and she totally played up to it and did everything he wanted. A born performer. 

How about the others? Any other big characters?

They’re all so different. Some are shy, some are happy to be picked up. Edwina, she’s always behind me, pottering. She’s very gentle, happy to be cuddled, unflappable. Edwina comes to nurseries with me.

Nurseries? As in children’s nurseries? 

Well, I do educational workshops – always free, I don’t charge. We’ll go into local schools and talk about topics like free range hens, what happy eggs look like. I want to spread the word and the love. Edwina has a little mesh carrier suitcase with wheels on that she sits in and peeps out of and she travels in that.  

That is so nice, such an important thing for children to understand. And great that Edwina has the right temperament. What about other chickens though – do your girls ever come into contact with your guests?

So for boarding, I keep hotel customers – I call them the hen parties – quite far away, because birds are sensitive and territorial, so it’s important to not stress or disrupt them. So on arrival they go straight down to boarding, where I do some simple health checks to make sure they’re mite and lice free. 

We’re lucky, we have 2 acres, so our holiday hens are far enough away that they can stay apart and still have plenty of space. It’s more relaxing, no squawking. I put a lot of thought into the design when I set it all up.

That’s interesting you mention design; at Omlet we are always asking how we can invent better, to make caring for chickens more instinctive and enjoyable. As a loyal Omlet customer, did that affinity for design attract you to our products?  

I think within the chicken community, Omlet is a household name. When I went into chicken keeping myself, there was no other option. It had to be Omlet. Because my mentality is, if I’m going to do this, I’m doing it properly. With wood, things harbour. You just don’t know what’s lurking in the cracks. When I set up the hen hotel, I knew I wouldn’t use something for my boarders that I wouldn’t want for my own chickens. So it’s all Omlet: the coops, the perches, the swing, the tarps. The lot!

It sounds lovely! What room service do you provide – how do you keep the place clean? 

I think keeping the standard of cleanliness you need can be time consuming, because you have to make sure there’s no risk of bad hygiene or disease. But again, if you enjoy what you do it doesn’t feel like work. I have got to say it’s the ease of the Omlet design – it is so easy to take apart and jet wash – that really does make a difference. The products I use make it much easier. 

Do you ever get any rowdy customers?

Haha, yes. Like I said, they’re all characters. I’ve had some shy ones, I’ve had some you really need to kick out the bar at the end of the evening. Some are louder than others, so yes, definitely a few rowdy ones. They’re like women – some are just louder than others!

What’s the most rewarding part of running a hen hotel?

That’s so hard. I sound so sad but I just love chickens. I think it’s a privilege to have pets. And I really do think chickens are so underrated – I feel so lucky I get to have them, that there are so many rescue opportunities. They are little souls, beings. You can see it in their eyes. I want to gain them the respect as a pet that I think they truly deserve. So to the question, it’s all rewarding. 

And does the rest of the family get involved?

I have a 5 year old. He loves going to see the holiday hens because they’re different to ours, so he likes me to take him down to see them. So yeah he does get involved, but unsurprisingly the cleaning’s all left to me! My partner just wants to know how many eggs we’ve got. 

Ha! Well that’s one good reason to have chickens. In fact, my last question was, why chickens? What would you say to anyone thinking about starting their chicken keeping journey?

Well, I mean my initial answer would be, do it – it’s the best thing you’ll ever do. But like any animal they need care, they need love, they need attention. But they really do return it. So, yes, do it. And do it properly. Open up your heart and rehome some chickens! 

Omlet meets: Kat hen hotelier extraordinaire with chicken and a pink eglu cube for hen hotel

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