The Omlet Blog

Omlet meets: Madison, Connecticut keeper & “chicken guy”

With chicken season hatching all around, we checked in with Omlet Ambassador Madison, who was kind enough to feature in our film for the Eglu Cube – see if you can spot her!

Ambassador Madison sitting with family next to the Omlet Eglu Pro

I know you’ve already got your Eglu Pro – how did the chickens react? 

So, we put it together in the garage, and once we’d built it, we took the chickens in to show it to them, and it was so funny, because they made a beeline for it. They went straight to the nesting box and were having a real nose around. Instinctively, they just knew it was for them! You could tell they loved the LuxPanel too; they clustered around behind it, straight away. 

How did you come to be an Omlet Ambassador?

I’ve worked with Omlet as an Ambassador for about a year. We went with Omlet out of the gate – we did lots of research. So we were weighing up the options, whether to do prefab, or to construct something ourselves, or go second hand. Then I stumbled on an advert for the Eglu Cube and that was it – I said to Nick, “We have to save up and get this.” With the weather in New England, I was already worried about wood rotting and the upkeep that comes with wooden coops. I know how fast wood degrades – it’s just not worth it, especially somewhere like this, with a good deal of snow. Yes, as an upfront investment it’s more expensive to go with Omlet, but we’ve had our girls for four years now, and I’ve saved that money back – because there’s no upkeep needed, no degradation. 

So, money well spent?

Honestly, I absolutely love it! I’m so glad we did the research and then did the Ambassador program – going to see an Omlet coop up and running, and talking to a chicken keeper about their experience with Omlet, that really helped. It’s actually why I became an Ambassador in turn – I really believe in the products and I’m glad to pass that advice on to others in the same position as we were once. 

What put you on the path to chicken keeping?

Well, we moved from the south, where we were really boxed in; there was no farming zoning. So we came to New England and we were lucky – we found this house with two acres, in a really farming positive area. Most states or areas have some regulations but there are no stipulations here – we could probably get goats and alpacas or whatever if we chose to – but we’re happy with chickens for now! 

We started with five – we got them when they were a few months old. We bought our Eglu Cube with a run, and initially the plan was to let them out to free range by day. But it just didn’t work – we have so many predators. Just nearby, we have four bald eagles, cooper hawks, and foxes. We thought that with enough trees around, they might be OK, but a hawk flew low, through the trees and landed. So we realized we had to go a different way. We added a Walk In Run to our 6ft attached run, and we kept our set up stationary from that point. We started off with a 9×9 Walk In Run, but we’ve added an additional 6 feet. The modular design is great for that – you can keep improving and adapting your set up. Our flock has a great space and they’re safe from predators, which gives us peace of mind.  

Tell me about your flock – what breeds do you have, and what are they like?

We have nine chickens in total, we have six Rhode Island Reds, one Golden Comet, one Welsummer and a Silver Laced Wyandotte. She is by far the fussiest. She’s just too pretty! The others are so friendly, but she’s a diva – you can’t catch her. The Rhode Island Reds are super – big, hardy, friendly. They’re not fancy but they’re lovely and good layers. 

Our initial five were a mixed bunch we got from a farm – we just went in, caught what we could and took them home! There are three left – one passed naturally, and one we sadly lost to the hawk when we were still trying to free range. The three of the originals we still have are called Hennifer, Jebecki and Cher. 

Little girl with the Omlet Eglu Pro and free ranging chickens

So how did you get to nine?

Well, chicken math I guess. We weren’t planning on getting more, but then we saw a post on a local group, and that they were Rhode Island Reds. I had wanted to get some Rhode Island Reds for a while, so we went for it, and yeah, three became nine! Unlike the originals, their markings are identical and Nick and I can’t tell them apart – so they’re just the girls. Maybe our daughter will name them when she gets older. 

How do you feel life has changed since getting your flock?

It’s funny, but now, we’re known as the chicken guys – and we love it! Everyone knows, oh Madison and Nick have chickens. We’re the experts, people will come ask us about chicken keeping and we’ll always like talking about what we’ve learnt. We’re known for our fresh eggs too, we have so many – a lot of people come for them. It’s so lovely to give them away. But we’re actually going to start selling them, as we have so many we can’t give them away fast enough!

Then there’s the family side of the routine. We have a 2 year old, and now that she’s getting older she loves collecting the eggs and feeding the chickens – some will sit still and let her pet them, which is sweet. We’re really looking forward to teaching her to care for them. We love when we go to my in-laws, they always have a baggy of scraps for the chickens. The girls love that –  they go crazy. 

They like getting treats?

Absolutely! If they’re happy, or have some new variety in their life that they’re enjoying, we notice straight away that we get more eggs. So it could be a new toy – we made them a sand bath recently, they are so happy – it honestly makes them so happy. And when they’re really engaged and happy, they lay more. 

That’s lovely – what else can you tell me about their characters?

They play with our dog! He’ll run up and down alongside the run, and they run up and down with him – it’s hilarious. We have our alpha chicken, she’s grown rooster spurs – she’s in charge. If we could let them free range, she’d be our attack chicken. She’s very nosey – if she sees us out in the yard, she stays out watching us, keeping a beady eye on everything that’s going on. She has to be at the centre of the action! If the dog gets too close, she pecks his nose and he jumps back, but then they’ll keep doing it, and you see it’s a game. He gets all excited and the rest are squashed up to get away from him, because he’s big, like 50lbs, but she’ll keep playing with him and is totally fearless. 

What would you say to anyone considering starting out with chickens?

For starters, I would definitely gush about the Omlet products – I would say, you absolutely have to get an Eglu Cube or an Eglu Pro and you have to get a Walk In Run. Then, their life is good and yours is easy. I think my other top tip is to trust your gut. The chickens will let you know if something is wrong. As long as you have the right protection – from the breeze, from the sun, from the snow, the rain and from predators – then they are going to be great outdoors. Just make sure you have a set up that protects them, keep them watered and fed and off you go. You’ll find your way and you will love it. Oh and bless the creation of the Autodoor! We used to let them out of the coop and shut them in at night by hand and as soon as the Autodoor came out it was a “Forget everything else, we have to prioritize buying this!” situation. If you’re getting chickens, get an Autodoor!

Ha! Yes, we often hear that! So, Autodoor factored in, chicken life’s a good life?

Absolutely. I think it’s partly because it’s such a nice routine. It helps us stay grounded and connected to running our household. It’s nice to know we’ll always have fresh eggs – breakfast, quiche or whatever, but it’s having that sense of daily routine that brings you all together. It’s really fun to work on their area on the weekends, especially as it gets warmer – we love finding them things to do. We bring in old logs from the woods for them to climb on, or branches so they can peck through the dead leaves. It’s restorative. 

Ambassador Madison in the Walk In Run with her daughter and chickens


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