The Omlet Blog Category Archives: Chickens

Could chicken keeping suit my lifestyle?

Woman letting chickens out of Omlet Eglu Pro

When thinking about outdoor hobbies, have you ever found yourself wondering, could chicken keeping suit my lifestyle? If so, you’re not alone. Keeping a backyard flock of chickens has grown in popularity as a way to reduce stress, provide fresh eggs, and increase time outdoors. Here’s a look at how chicken keeping can fit into your lifestyle — no matter where you live.

Reasons to keep chickens

There are several benefits to keeping a backyard chicken flock. In addition to their charismatic charm, chickens offer their keepers many benefits like:

  • Fresh eggs
  • Pest control
  • Fertilizer
  • Yard upkeep
  • Compost pile assistance

But above all, chickens can form bonds with their owners that will last a lifetime. Depending on the personalities of your hens, these relationships can look similar to those you share with your dogs or cats.

Knowing some of the benefits that hens can bring, it’s time to look at the finer details of keeping a flock. Housing and caring for chickens has several options, allowing you to choose a method that integrates them into your lifestyle with ease.

Types of setups

There are several different ways you can design your flock’s setup. Mobile coops, chicken runs, and chicken fencing are all components of chicken keeping that can all be customized to suit your lifestyle. Some chicken-keepers opt to let their flocks free-range, but there are some risks associated with this practice.

Mobile and stationary coops

All of Omlet’s chicken coops can be converted into mobile chicken coops with the addition of optional wheels or handles, or purchased as pre-constructed chicken tractors. Chicken tractors allow you to easily move your flock’s coop and run around your yard to reduce overgrazing and fertilize your lawn. It also makes it possible to move all of your chickens to shelter quickly in severe weather events.

Chicken runs and chicken fencing

Stationary chicken coops can be attached to large walk in chicken runs, or placed inside of chicken fencing. This is a popular option for many chicken keepers, which gives your flock a dedicated space in your yard. Chicken runs and fencing keep your chickens where you want them, and away from your garden plants or any other areas that don’t require their attention. You can also choose the substrate of your chickens’ run once they’ve grazed over the available grass.

The risks of free-ranging

Free-ranging is an option for chicken-keepers that aren’t subject to laws that prohibit flocks from wandering. But there are still several important things to consider before allowing your chickens to free range:

Flocks that free-range have access to additional nutrients, and can find their own chicken dust bathing areas — but these conveniences don’t come without risks. Your chickens are always safest inside of a sturdy chicken coop and run, with additional nutrition supplied to them through dried insects and herbs, seasonal hay, and fresh foods from your garden or supermarket will keep your chickens nourished without added risks.

If you do choose to let your flock free-range, be sure to take the proper precautions. Always close them safely in their coop at night, or schedule your automatic chicken coop door to close shortly after dark to keep them safe overnight. Avoid letting your chickens roam when you aren’t home so that you can monitor their whereabouts.

Man tending to chickens inside the Omlet Walk In Run

Daily routine

Daily routines are another area where each chicken keeper can decide what works best for them. There are some routine tasks that need to be done, but with easy to clean chicken coops, they’ll only take minutes a day. Here’s an example of a daily routine with hens.

Morning:

Afternoon:

  • Check the nesting box for eggs
  • In cold weather, make sure water isn’t frozen; in hot weather, make sure water is topped off

Evening:

  • Close your hens inside the coop
  • Remove any leftover feed to prevent rodents from visiting
  • Check the nesting box one more time

Leaving chickens while you travel

Chickens are fairly self-sufficient, and as long as the weather is mild, overnight trips shouldn’t be a problem. Extra food and water can be left out for quick trips, and the Autodoor will ensure that your hens are let out and tucked in on time. If you plan to be gone more than a day or two, you’ll want to get a chicken sitter to look in on your flock.

Flock sizes

Chickens are flock animals and need the companionship of chickens to thrive. It’s important to keep at least 2 hens together, but aiming to keep at least 3 or 4 together will allow them to establish a healthy flock pecking order.

Check the laws of the land

Before deciding on how many chickens you’ll keep, be sure to check with your city (if you live within city limits), county, or homeowners association (HOA) to see if your property is subject to any chicken keeping laws. Many laws that apply to keeping chickens will limit the number of hens you can keep at a time, where to place their coop, and whether or not roosters are allowed. Some properties are subject to minimum lot size requirements, and several cities require chicken-keepers to apply for a permit or license from the city before obtaining chickens.

Keep chicken math in mind

Once you have guidelines from the appropriate governing authority (if applicable to your property), you can decide how many chickens you’d like to have. Keep in mind that “chicken math” is real, and often strikes the unsuspecting chicken-keeper. Once you start a flock and discover their addicting attributes, it’s hard to stop at just a few hens. And so, a few hens often leads to many, resulting in more than you initially may have bargained for.

Leave room to grow

It’s always a good idea to invest in a setup that has room to grow your flock. Unless your property is strictly limited to 2-4 hens, it’s very likely that you’ll eventually end up with more chickens than you had in your starter flock.

The Eglu Pro houses up to 15 hens comfortably, and has increased safety features along with the easy-to-clean design of the entire Eglu chicken coop lineup. By choosing a large chicken coop, you’ll be able to add to your flock spontaneously.

Chicken lifestyle with Omlet

At Omlet, we make it possible to integrate chickens into your lifestyle. From urban backyards to rural barnyards, our chicken coops, chicken runs, and Autodoor make it possible for anyone to keep hens healthy and happy. Embark on your new adventure keeping chickens, and discover the joy hens can bring to your life without sacrificing your lifestyle.

Woman and child playing with chickens on Omlet Freestanding PoleTree

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What is a chicken run?

Omlet Walk In Chicken Run and Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop in the yard

What is a chicken run? In short, it’s a confined space where your chickens spend time outside of their coop. But what makes a chicken run, how big they are, and what should be inside them varies widely between flock raisers. We’ll help you understand what a chicken run should consist of, where it should be placed, and why it’s an essential part of having hens. 

Why hens need a run

Chicken runs are enclosures that are either attached to or surrounding your flock’s coop. Even keepers who choose to let their hens free range can benefit from a chicken run. They give your flock a designated, safe space outside of their coop. A good chicken run: 

  • Gives your hens space to forage and exercise 
  • Defends against predators 
  • Has a top to protect against the elements and aerial predator attacks 
  • Is roomy enough to accommodate the number of hens you keep 

Not all chicken runs are created equally. The material, size, and arrangement of your chicken run will determine how well it serves your hens and you as their keeper. 

What are chicken runs made of?

There are several different types of chicken runs available. Traditionally, chicken runs are made of wood and either chicken wire or hardware mesh, but the problem with these materials is that they deteriorate over time – leaving your flock vulnerable to chicken predators and the elements. 

Heavy-duty welded wire chicken runs are a much better option. They can be attached directly to your chickens’ coop, or surround it as a standalone structure. All Omlet chicken runs are designed with anti-dig skirting that helps protect your flock from digging predators. 

Weather protection for chicken runs helps keep your hens dry and warm in the winter, and out of the sun in the summer. The ability to add these covers to the top of a chicken run is just one of the many benefits of having a fully enclosed chicken run. The angled roof panels of our chicken runs help prevent water and snow from accumulating on the run, which maintains the structural integrity of the welded wire. 

The different types of chicken runs

There are several different types of chicken runs available. When deciding what type of chicken run to keep your flock in, it’s important to determine your chicken-keeping style. Does your flock free-range, or do they need to be kept in a designated space? Do you need to be able to move your flock frequently, or is a permanent structure more appealing? 

The best option for most chicken keepers is a walk in chicken run. Walk in chicken runs: 

  • Allow you to spend time with your flock 
  • Offer easy access to feeders and waterers 
  • Make use of aerial space 
  • Are fully enclosed to protect hens from every angle 
  • Can connect directly to Omlet chicken coops 
  • Surround any type of hen house placed inside them 
  • Give plenty of space for flock activities 
  • Can be expanded to any dimension to grow with your flock
  • Are ideal for flock raisers that have a permanent run location in mind 

If you have a free-range flock, alternative options include: 

Chicken tractors are mobile chicken coops with attached runs of up to 12 feet in length. This setup enables you to move your entire flock and their coop and run around your property. Our easy-to-use chicken coop wheels and handles make it possible for just one person to relocate their flock in seconds. 

Chicken fencing is for the ultimate free-range feeling. With a variety of sizes and the option to attach to the side of a structure, you can create an area of any shape for your hens to roam freely. Removable fence poles allow you to adjust or move as needed, while the mesh fencing keeps your chickens where they should be. 

How to choose a chicken run

Choosing a chicken run is almost as important as choosing your chickens’ coop itself. It should work for both you and your flock, and fit in with your space and lifestyle. When choosing a chicken run, consider: 

  • If you’ll need to move the run, or leave it in one place 
  • Potential expansion options 
  • Time needed to clean the run 
  • Longevity and functionality 

Choosing an easy-to-clean, low-maintenance chicken run is the ideal option for most chicken keepers. Rot-free materials with customisable configurations are the perfect solution for flocks of all sizes. 

Top reasons to choose a walk in chicken run

The largest of chicken runs, walk in runs, allow keepers to enter their flock’s area without having to bend over, and give full access so you can customise and clean their space. Walk in chicken runs are perfect for keepers that: 

Our step-by-step how-to-build videos make assembling your walk in chicken run a breeze. And, even after it’s assembled, you can customise the space and layout of your run. Add walk in chicken run partitions to give depth to your run or raise different breeds of chickens, or to have designated dust bath, play, or enrichment areas of the run. Our walk in chicken run can be expanded anytime, to any size, so your imagination is the limit when it comes to creating the perfect chicken setup. 

Reasons to choose a mobile run

Mobile chicken coops can be outfitted with chicken runs that can be moved along with the hen house. Our convenient wheels and handles make it possible for just one person to relocate the chicken coop and attached run as needed. Smaller gardens or flocks can benefit from these types of runs, or those that free-range regularly. 

Where to put your hen run

The ideal location for your chicken run is a flat, somewhat shady spot of your property. Natural shade helps in the summertime when UV rays are at their most intense, but partial sun is ideal for sunning and for warming up in the winter. Avoid placing your chickens’ run under trees with low-hanging branches, or where it could be in danger of falling limbs. Level ground makes for easier cleaning and assembling of your chicken run, and will help keep the run bedding in place. 

You’ll also want to choose a location that makes caring for your chickens convenient and accessible. Choose a place that your water hose can reach easily and that has plenty of room for you to store their feed in bins close by. A spot that’s easily observed from a window in your home may also be a good idea – most chicken keepers love to watch their hens peck and play. 

Essentials for inside your run

The bare essentials in any chicken run are quality feed and constant access to fresh water, so you’ll need chicken feeders and drinkers inside the run. Beyond those two necessities, you can offer enriching elements like chicken peck toys or a Chicken Swing to give them physical and mental stimulation. 

Chickens will make quick work of grass inside stationary chicken runs, so you’ll need to consider adding bedding to the run once they’ve eaten it down to the dirt. Untreated mulch or wood chips, straw, pelletised bedding, hemp, or other soft bedding is ideal. Some keepers also use gravel around the perimeter of the run to reduce bedding loss and the presence of mud. 

What’s the difference between a chicken run & coop?

All chicken runs have a coop, but not all chicken coops have runs. A chicken coop is a house that your hens use to sleep and lay their eggs, or seek shelter inside during storms or other inclement weather. The run is the outside portion of your chickens’ setup where they spend the majority of their waking hours. 

First-time chicken keepers benefit from having an all-in-one solution, such as the Eglu Cube. This spacious chicken coop can house up to 10 hens, and the attached run can be expanded to up to 12 feet long. A walk in chicken run can be added at a later time by either placing the coop inside the run, or by purchasing a kit to connect the attached run to the walk in run from the outside. 

Pet care with Omlet

Protecting your flock is at the forefront of our designs. With our exclusive hen houses, chicken runs, and extreme temperature protection for chicken runs, you can be sure that your flock is being protected and kept comfortable by expertly engineered products that are designed to last a lifetime. Whether your flock free ranges or stays in a run, we’ve got the products to help make chicken-keeping an enjoyable and effortless experience that will bring you closer to your hens, however you house them.    

Father and son walking toward the Omlet Walk In Chicken Run

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Can you keep chickens and ducks together?

Hen with ducklings

Can you keep chickens and ducks together? This may be a question you’ve raised as you’ve ventured further into the world of poultry. Ducks and chickens can cohabitate, but there are some modifications and considerations to take into account. For example, only female ducks (hens) should be kept with your chickens, and some adjustments need to be made to their waterers. Find out everything you need to know about keeping chickens and ducks together before diving into mixed-flock keeping. 

Why keep chickens and ducks?

Chickens and ducks have similar dietary and space requirements, so they can easily be kept together. Both species can thrive as a free-ranging flock, or in coops and runs. Ducks also lay eggs, and depending on the breed, can lay as often as one egg per day. 

In addition to adding variety to your egg basket, ducks offer an infusion of personality into your chicken flock. Their social behaviours are similar to those of chickens, but tend to be more laid back than hens.  

3 tips for chicken and duck harmony

Housing and space 

Ducks prefer to roost at ground level, while chickens seek out an elevated sleeping spot. For mixed flock keepers, this leaves a couple of different options: 

  1. Create a roosting area for your ducks underneath your hens’ elevated chicken coop.
  2. Provide a ground-level hen house for your ducks.

The area beneath the Eglu Cube Chicken Coop can be utilised for your ducks by covering the sides with chicken run covers. You’ll also want to provide your ducks with a nesting box at ground level – which your chickens may utilize as well. 

An Eglu Go hen house with the roosting bars removed works wonderfully for webbed-footed flock members. Most domesticated breeds of ducks will fit comfortably inside, but be sure to verify the size of full-grown hens of the breeds of ducks you’re considering to compare with the size of the Eglu Go. If you’re unsure, our knowledgeable team can help you decide if your ducks will be comfortable in one of our coops. 

Beaks and bills 

Chickens have beaks, while ducks have bills. Duck’s mouths are shaped mainly to forage in wetlands. Their flat, wide mouths have tiny hair-like structures along the edges called “lamellae” that filter their findings through water and mud. Because of the shapes of their bills, they need open container waterers – but not so large that they’ll want to climb in for a swim. A run-mounted chicken drinker is a great option for both species. 

Because chickens have narrow beaks instead of wide bills, serving their scratch grains and treats in chicken peck toys and hanging dispensers will ensure they get their share of the daily allotment. Ducks can scoop grains and treats up quickly with their shovel-like mouths, potentially before more timid hens can get to them. 

Create a swimming section 

Ducks need access to water, especially during the warm summer months. Children’s wading pools or shallow water troughs make perfect swimming areas for small flocks of ducks. This area should be a separate area from your chickens’ pecking areas – ducks will happily splash water haphazardly and create muddy areas. A chicken walk in run partition can be used to create their own swimming section within the shared run. 

Keeping chickens and ducks: what else to consider

Chickens and ducks can eat the same diet – a quality layer feed of 16% protein is fine for a mixed flock. Feeders should have openings large enough for your ducks’ bills to fit into, or be open-topped containers. The same fresh foods, treats, and scratch that you feed your chickens can be given to ducks as well. 

Raising ducklings and chicks together can be done without many adjustments, but be sure that your brooder is large enough to accommodate at least two different temperature zones. Ducks mature faster than chickens, so ducklings won’t need as much heat for as long as chicks will. They’ll also try to play in waterers, so the bedding of the brooder will need to be changed frequently. 

And finally, it’s crucial that only duck hens be kept with chickens. Male ducks (drakes) can be very aggressive with hens, and attempt to mount them as a roosters would. But, not only does this not result in offspring, the size of the drakes will cause injury to chicken hens. Duck hens are much more even-tempered, and can cohabitate with chicken hens without issue. 

Chickens and other pet birds

In addition to ducks, there are some other animals that can be kept with chickens. From the bird family, other fowl you may consider adding to your chicken flock include: 

  • Quail 
  • Pheasants
  • Pigeons 
  • Geese 
  • Turkeys

Again, only female varieties of each species should be kept together to avoid potential injury. There are some dietary and housing considerations to be made for each species you keep, but it’s definitely possible to keep more than one type of bird together. 

Omlet and your flock

At Omlet, we aren’t just a group of engineers and inventors – we’re animal behaviourists. We consider first the pets we design our setups for, then how their owners can maintain their health and happiness and deepen their mutual bonds. When considering adding ducks in with your chickens, our Eglu Go hen house and walk in chicken run are an excellent pairing to maintain harmony with your hens of both species. 

Hens roaming the Omlet Walk In Run

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Steps to familiarise chickens with the human touch

Man holding a chicken next to girl in the Omlet Walk In Chicken Run

Chickens can bond with their owners, much like other domesticated pets. While holding hens may not be what immediately comes to mind when people envision owning chickens, there are breeds that will tolerate or even enjoy being held by their owners. Chickens aren’t hatched with an innate desire to be handled, but you can take steps to familiarise chickens with the human touch – no matter how old they are. Find out how time, patience, and your setup can help build a deeper bond between you and your flock. 

Are chickens affectionate?

As prey animals, chickens aren’t naturally trusting of humans – but that doesn’t mean they can’t be persuaded by your efforts. While some individual chickens may be more outgoing and comfortable around their owners, it’s possible to earn the trust of your other flock members. Patience and consistency are key when gaining the trust of your flock. 

The easiest chickens to tame are those that have been handled since they were hatched. Talking to, petting, and handling chicks from a young age will help them understand that you are a friend and not a foe. Physical contact should remain consistent throughout their development to make them as tame as possible as adults. 

Chickens that have been rescued can become comfortable with being handled, but you’ll need an abundance of patience. While trust is hard-won, it’s easily lost through mistreatment or neglect. Or, it may be that rescued hens have simply never had any human contact. Whatever the case may be, the steps to familiarise chickens with the human touch are the same for rescued hens as it is for chicks or mature hens. 

What about roosters?

Roosters are a bit of a wild card when it comes to being handled. Some roosters are extremely affectionate, while others can be stand-offish or even aggressive toward humans. Since they are at the top of the pecking order in a flock, most roosters have big personalities one way or the other. Keeping roosters is a matter of personal preference, but the same methods used for taming hens can be applied to roosters. 

Most affectionate chicken breeds

Just like other pets, each chicken will have their own personality. Some breeds and individual chickens will be more receptive to being petted, held, and handled. Here are the breeds of chickens best known for being the most affectionate toward humans: 

Silkies are known as the “lap dogs”, and Orpingtons are known as the “golden retrievers” of chickens. These comparisons to man’s best friends pay homage to the personalities of their breed, but unlike dogs, they still aren’t hardwired to accept human touch. All of these breeds that make the list for being the most affectionate toward humans still need to be won over by their owners – but they’re the most likely to be easily swayed, making them a standout choice for those wanting a flock that can be handled. 

3 steps to familiarise chickens with the human touch

Familiarizing your chickens with human touch can be accomplished through time and patience. Depending on your hens’ personalities, age, and background, you can expect being able to handle them effortlessly to come only after a period of training and consistency.

Handle early 

If possible, handle your hens from an early age. Newly hatched chicks can be handled with care from the time they’re 2 or 3 days old. If you have older pullets or mature hens, let them settle into their new home over the course of a week or two before introducing the concept of human touch. Establish a routine from the start that your flock can expect. When they’re let out, when they’re fed, and when treats are brought should be highly anticipated events for your hens. 

Having a Walk In Chicken Run for your flock makes this process even easier. Stepping into their habitat regularly with positive experiences reinforces trust and affection between you and your chickens. By walking with your flock daily, they’ll start to see you as a normal and enjoyable aspect of their everyday routine and environment. 

Beyond the Walk In Chicken Run, you can use Chicken fencing to create a safe perimeter for your flock to enjoy. Our chicken fencing has convenient gates for you to easily enter into your hens’ area to enjoy time with them. 

Handle often 

Once your hens have accepted you as the giver of food and a regular run visitor, it’s time to incorporate human touch. Start with a chair or stool inside of the run and simply sit with your flock while they go about their business. This new sight might inspire more curious hens to approach you. You can reach out slowly to pet these bolder hens, or sit quietly and let them set the pace. 

Keep scratch grains, dried insects or leafy greens with you to reward their curiosity with hand-fed treats. After a few sessions of hand-feeding, move to sit on the ground if possible and encourage your hens to take their treats from your lap. If sitting on the ground isn’t comfortable, move your chair over toward a chicken perch and encourage them to hop onto your lap for their treats. 

Repeat this process as often as possible for maximum benefits. Some hens will warm up to you in just a few hours, while others may take several days or weeks. But, once one hen has the courage to make the leap onto your lap, the rest are usually soon to follow. 

Handle with care 

Once your hens are confidently taking treats from your hand or lap, it’s time to embrace them – literally. Slowly start wrapping an arm around your hens, being sure to encompass both of their wings to prevent them from flapping. Pet them gently and offer more treats by hand. Start out with short holding sessions of no more than a minute or two, working toward longer embraces. 

After your hens become used to being held this way, stand up slowly and go for a short walk with them. If your hens object or become nervous, stand still and pet them until they have calmed. Reward their compliance by placing them down near their favourite chicken toys, or another favourite spot in the run. 

Your hens are making great strides at this point, but it’s important not to push them too quickly. As the old adage goes: two steps forward, one step back – too much too soon can set your hens back and diminish some of the confidence you’ve helped them build. 

What not to do

It may be tempting to rush through the process, or throw in the towel when you don’t think you’re making progress. But, as with many endeavours, success is just around the corner. Be patient with your flock, keeping in mind that as prey animals they can be stressed or startled easily. 

When training your chickens to accept human touch, remember: 

  • Never chase or grab at your hens as they pass you in order to catch them
  • Don’t expect too much too soon – every hen progresses at their own pace 
  • Wait for your hens to complete one milestone before moving on to another 

If you let your chickens set the pace, you’ll be delighted to find your bond growing through mutual respect and thoughtful consideration. Remember: your hens are regarding and evaluating you, just as you are them. 

Omlet and your flock

Our Walk In Chicken Runs, Chicken Fencing and Chicken Toys and Accessories make building a bond with your flock easy and enjoyable. Foster their natural behaviours and curiosity with our expertly designed products, while making spending time with your chickens effortless. See why chicken keepers who choose Omlet for their flocks’ needs enjoy a more fulfilling experience and deeper relationships with their hens that last a lifetime.  

Family with their flock in the Omlet Walk In Chicken Run with the Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

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Signs of heatstroke in chickens

Two white and grey chickens drinking from the Omlet Eglu Cube Drinker

Summer is a great time to enjoy your chickens. But along with the summer fun comes sweltering heat and high humidity for many chicken keepers. Being aware of the signs of heatstroke in chickens can keep your flock safe and enable you to enjoy the warmer months along with them. 

What is chicken heatstroke?

Heatstroke is what animals, including chickens, can experience when they become overheated to the point of it causing internal organ failure. Also known as heat exhaustion, heatstroke in chickens is more than just a hot hen — it’s the result of their body temperatures being elevated beyond a safe level for an extended period of time. Chickens that are too hot for too long simply can’t cool themselves anymore, and will succumb to heat exhaustion. When not treated properly and promptly, heatstroke can quickly become fatal to any affected hens. It’s important to help your chickens stay cool in the summer to avoid their body temperatures reaching this dangerous level. 

Are any chicken breeds more susceptible to heatstroke?

Some breeds of chickens are more heat tolerant than others. The breeds that tend to not fare as well in hot climates are those that are bred primarily for meat such as Jersey Giants, and Delewares. Most egg-laying breeds of chickens do well in the hot weather as long as they have the right provisions — though some may need a little more support than others. 

Silkies are a breed that doesn’t thrive in hot weather. This is largely due to their unusual feathers, as they can’t circulate air as proficiently as their regular-feathered cousins. Their head plumage can also obstruct their vision, making it more difficult for them to find water readily. Heavy breeds like Brahmas and Orpingtons may also struggle more in the heat due to their size. 

Heat hardiness also depends on where chickens are raised. Hens that are adapted to the heat will fare much better than those that were relocated from a cooler climate to a warmer one. If you’re adding new chickens to your flock and experience intense heat in the summer, it’s best to obtain hens that are already accustomed to the warmer temperatures. 

How to prevent chicken heatstroke

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is applicable when protecting your flock from heatstroke. One of the most important methods of keeping your hens cool in the heat is proper coop ventilation. Traditional wooden coops get stuffy and humid, keeping hens hot and uncomfortable. This can spell trouble quickly when the temperatures rise. 

The Eglu Cube chicken coop by Omlet provides ample ventilation to move cooler air into the coop, which helps keep the internal temperature down. You’ll also want to provide as much shade as possible in your chickens’ run. This will help keep their body temperatures down, as well as keeping water sources cooler. Other preventative measures to combat heatstroke in chickens include: 

  • Providing plenty of fresh, cool water 
  • Letting your chickens dust bathe 
  • Offering frozen treats like corn or other chicken-safe vegetables 
  • Adding electrolytes to their water
  • Frequently checking in on your flock to see how they are faring 

Black Rock hen cooling down in a dust bath

6 signs of heatstroke in chickens 

Recognizing heatstroke in chickens quickly can make all the difference when treating it. Overheated chickens need prompt care in order to make a full recovery, so be on the lookout for the following signs of heatstroke in your flock. 

1. Decrease in egg production

Chickens take their jobs of supplying eggs for your family seriously, so if they slow down or stop producing eggs then there is likely something amiss. Summertime is not part of the usual moulting season for chickens — which is the only natural reason for young (non-broody) hens to stop laying eggs. You should investigate the cause of any decrease in egg laying by your hens, especially in the summer months, as this can be a warning sign to your flock getting too hot. 

2. Lethargy

Hens that aren’t willing to move, seem dull, or appear sluggish should be evaluated for heatstroke. When hens are merely resting they will be stirred easily by food or human contact. Lethargic hens may be slow to respond or refuse to get up for food or after a gentle nudge from their owner.  

3. Panting

The open-mouthed breathing associated with dogs is actually a cooling mechanism employed by chickens as well. While chickens may not loll their tongues out of their mouths, they will pant with their beaks open. Panting for short periods of time is a natural response to the heat, but keep a close eye on your flock if you notice panting. Offer cool water or frozen treats when you first notice them displaying this behaviour. 

4. Increased thirst

Are your flocks draining their drinkers? It’s good for chickens to drink more water during the summer, but make sure their waterers stay full and clean. Chickens can become dehydrated quickly on a hot day, and if their thirst can’t be slaked they will deteriorate rapidly. If you notice that you’re filling your flock’s drinkers much more often than usual, it could be a sign that they’re getting too hot. 

5. Reduced feed intake

Healthy chickens also take eating very seriously. Any hens off of their feed need to be checked thoroughly. Make sure your chickens have access to quality laying pellets at all times, and offer frozen treats and fresh fruits and veggies often during the summer. Scratch grains are best offered in the evenings, as these grains increase your chickens’ metabolisms, which causes their bodies to heat up. The amount you feed your chickens should not need to be adjusted in the warmer months, and you can expect healthy hens to go through the same amount of feed as they normally would. Many animals (chickens included) will naturally eat less during the warm months, but it should not make a significant difference to your flock’s feeder. 

6. Wings outstretched

Chickens don’t have sweat glands, so they have to find creative ways to expel heat from their bodies. Panting is one way, but stretching their wings or holding their feathers more erect is another. This allows more air circulation around their bodies and through their feathers in an effort to bring their core temperature down. 

All of these symptoms can be signs of chicken heatstroke, but they can also point to other problems that can plague your hens. Familiarize yourself with chicken ailments so that you’ll be able to differentiate between conditions that may require different treatments. 

How to treat chicken heatstroke

Preventing heatstroke in chickens is the best way to combat it. But, should you find any of your flock presenting with symptoms of heatstroke, you’ll need to act quickly. And, if the following actions don’t have your hen improving, it’s time to call your veterinarian. 

First, you’ll need to move any affected hens to a cool, shaded area. It may be tempting to bring them indoors, but cooling them down too quickly can actually cause them to go into shock — which can be lethal. 

If your hen is conscious and compliant, you can fill a bucket with enough cool (not ice-cold) water to submerge them from their neck down. It’s very important to not use very cold water, as cooling a hot hen down too quickly can cause them to go into shock, which is often fatal. After this brief soak, place the hen in a cool, shaded area until they are acting normally once again. 

Omlet and keeping your hens safe

The Eglu Cube chicken coop by Omlet was designed to keep your hens cool in summer and warm in the winter. We want hens all over the world to be comfortable all year round. By putting chicken run covers over your flock’s outdoor space and providing them with the twin-insulated Eglu Cube, both you and your birds will be able to get back to enjoying a carefree summer. 

Girl and chickens in an Eglu Cube chicken coop in summer

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Chicken nesting box guide

Brown hen in Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop nesting box

Chicken nesting boxes come in so many shapes, sizes, and materials that it can be hard to decide which type will be best for your flock or coop. Hens need sturdy, safe, and secluded areas to lay their eggs comfortably, and choosing the right nesting box will help achieve this setting. We’ve created the ultimate chicken nesting box guide so that you can maximize your flock’s egg-laying experience while reducing your workload. 

What are chicken nesting boxes?

Chickens will instinctively lay their eggs in what they perceive is the safest place to make their nest. Multiple hens will use the same nesting area, trusting the judgement of the first hen who chose the spot. The majority of hens feel most at ease in an elevated station to lay their eggs, but will also seek a dark and secluded area at ground level. 

Providing egg-laying hens a comfortable nesting box is an essential role in chicken-keeping. Without a nesting box, hens will become nervous as they prepare for the arrival of an egg, and various negative behaviours or outcomes can sprout as a result of not having a safe nesting area. These include: 

  • Hens eating their eggs, because they don’t feel like their nest is safe 
  • Random eggs littered around the run can attract rodents or predators, and encourage flock egg-eating 
  • Stressed hens with missing feathers, poor appetite, or dull appearance 
  • A decrease in egg production 

Young hens can start laying eggs as early as 16 weeks old, so it’s important that your chicken coop has appropriate nesting boxes from the time you move your pullets in. 

Chicken coop nesting box problems

If your flock’s nesting area is not in the right place, or is unable to maintain ideal conditions, your hens will abandon using them. Here are some common problems with nesting boxes. 

Placement 

One of the main reasons a chicken is not using their nesting box is because of poor placement. Nesting boxes are best utilized when they are part of the coop and not out in the run. They should be in a designated, secluded area where hens neither sleep nor frequent for any other reason than to lay their eggs. 

Accessibility 

Another key design feature of a nesting box is accessibility – for both you and your chickens. Hens should be able to easily access nesting areas. Nesting boxes should be between 1-3 feet off of the ground, and have a comfortable ramp or ladder leading up to them. The path to the nesting boxes should be kept free of obstructions, and not in an awkward position of the run that has you bending down or squeezing in to collect eggs. If hens can’t easily access their nesting boxes, you’ll find your chicken hiding eggs around the run. It might sound like fun to have an Easter egg hunt every day, but this method of nesting is stressful for hens and can easily lead to unwanted long-term behaviours like egg eating or refusal to use even an accommodating nesting box. 

Comfort level 

Chickens not laying eggs may be the direct result of them not feeling comfortable in their nesting box. If the nesting box is well placed, and can be accessed easily, but your hens are still not laying their eggs in it, it’s time to consider the comfort of the nesting box. For optimum comfort, make sure your hens’ nesting box: 

  • Isn’t in a high-traffic area
  • Doesn’t receive direct sunlight 
  • Has low noise levels 
  • Is well ventilated  
  • Maintains its cleanliness 

Chickens shouldn’t sleep in their nesting boxes, so bedding doesn’t need to be changed as frequently as the rest of the coop. Depending on your bedding of choice and the number of hens you have, the nesting box can be refreshed every 2-4 weeks. 

Inappropriate bedding 

There are many different choices for bedding in a nesting box, but hens feel best making a nest in loose, fluffy bedding like shavings or straw. Avoid using faux turf pads, kennel liners, or rubber mats in nesting boxes, as these feel unnatural and don’t offer much padding for the eggs being laid. Aspen fibre nesting pads can be fluffed up to make an acceptable nest, and are a good alternative option for chicken keepers wanting to use removable substrate in their nesting boxes. 

How many nesting boxes are needed per chicken?

Four hens can happily share one nesting box, but five may become a crowd. Some larger flocks share one nesting box just fine, but it’s largely dependent on your hens’ personalities and laying frequency between chicken breeds. And, any nesting areas need to be large enough for your hens to stand up, turn around, and avoid crushing eggs, while being small enough to feel cosy and secure. 

While the term “nesting box” implies a square shape, you can think outside the box when it comes to nesting areas. Oblong nesting areas are a great alternative to traditional boxes, as they give hens more space to fluff their bedding and settle themselves into whatever position is most comfortable for them. Omlet’s chicken coops come in a variety of sizes, all with integrated nesting areas to accommodate any size flock or hen. The Eglu Cube in particular is a favourite among flock-keepers for its elevated structure, dedicated nesting-area door, and sliding partition between the roosting and laying areas. The spacious nesting area allows for 2 hens to lay at time when schedules overlap, and gives your hens options of where to lay their eggs within the space. 

There are many different types of chicken nesting boxes. Some are DIY projects, while others are commercially made from metal or other materials. Some are anchored to the coop, while others may pull out or be removed for cleaning. There are pros and cons to each type of construction, but as most chicken keepers would agree, integrated nesting boxes that are easy to access and clean are the best type of nesting areas. 

Wooden nesting boxes 

Wooden nesting boxes get the job done, but are notorious for harbouring bacteria, mildew, and mites. Because wood is porous, wooden nesting boxes are difficult to keep clean or sanitize thoroughly. They’re relatively inexpensive to make, but can easily be made too heavy to mount to a chicken coop. Because of this, they often require their own support like legs or even a table to be mounted to – something that most backyard flock raisers don’t have room for. Those opting to buy rather than make a wooden nesting box should note that they are usually made from flimsy, cheap materials that will break down quickly. 

Pros: 

  • Inexpensive to construct or obtain

Cons: 

  • Absorb moisture and bacteria, and house mites 
  • Heavy, cumbersome, and impractical for most flock raisers 
  • Commercially made versions are cheap and flimsy 

Metal nesting boxes 

When thinking about nesting boxes, most people conjure up the image of traditional chicken nesting boxes made of metal. These structures can have anywhere from 1-10+ “holes” that lead into a nesting box. They stack in rows, which takes up less space, but may become too tall for some hens to reach the top row. Metal outlasts wood, but still succumbs to the elements – especially in hot, humid areas. Rust is common in metal nesting boxes, and the boxes themselves can become very hot and stuffy.  

Pros: 

  • Longer lasting than wood 
  • Easier to clean than wood 

Cons: 

  • Rusts over time 
  • Can easily become too hot for hens 
  • Expensive 

DIY nesting boxes 

This inexpensive option can get the job done, but should only be used for supplemental or temporary nesting areas. DIY nesting boxes can be made from repurposed milk crates, storage bins, or 5-gallon buckets turned on their side. These materials are difficult to place and anchor in ideal locations. They also require alterations to make them safe, which may cost more than the project is worth. 

Pros: 

  • Inexpensive 
  • Readily available 

Cons: 

  • Flimsy 
  • Uncomfortable 
  • Potentially dangerous without modifications 

Plastic nesting boxes 

The best material for nesting boxes is plastic. This non-porous material is easy to clean and outlasts other types of nesting boxes. It wards also off parasites and prevents moisture buildup. While plastic nesting boxes might not be as popular as other types, their long-term value makes them well worth it. 

Pros: 

  • Long-lasting 
  • Easy to clean 
  • Free of parasites 

Cons: 

  • Not as readily available as other options 
  • More expensive to obtain 

The best of both worlds: integrated plastic nesting boxes 

Thankfully, there’s an all-in-one option with modern hen houses. Omlet’s plastic chicken coops all have integrated nesting boxes and roosting bars for a convenient and comfortable interior. The nesting area is part of the removable tray, which can be pressure washed and refreshed in minutes. 

Creating the ideal chicken nesting box with Omlet

With Omlet, making and maintaining the ideal nesting area is fun and easy. Your hens will feel safe and secure in the elevated and spacious Eglu Cube and its integrated nesting area. This large chicken coop even has a dedicated nesting box door to collect eggs without disturbing the rest of the coop. 

With happy hens, you’ll have lots of eggs to gather, giving your family a fresh egg supply. Not only will a clean and tidy nesting box make your hens feel comfortable, but you’ll also have the unique satisfaction that comes from collecting a still-warm egg from the nesting area. 

Chicken care with Omlet

Keeping your hens happy isn’t just limited to providing the ideal nesting area. At Omlet, we have chicken-keeping essentials for every area of flock raising. From enriching chicken toys and accessories to technology like automatic chicken coop doors that make your schedule simpler and your flock safer, you can have confidence that your chickens are happy in their coop. 

Boy collecting eggs from Eglu nesting box

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Chicken coop door ideas

Brown chicken walking into their Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop via the Autodoor

In need of some chicken coop door ideas? Should a chicken coop even have a door? We’ll explore the ins and outs of doors and how they benefit a chicken coop. And, we’ll share how your chicken coop door can act as a sentry against predators, extra insulation in the elements, and even as a babysitter when you aren’t home. 

Should a chicken coop have a door?

Your chicken coop should have a door to maintain the safety and comfort of your flock. Chicken coop doors serve two main purposes: 

  • Protection from predators
  • A shield against the elements

Closing the chicken coop door at night is essential to ensure that your hens are as safe as possible against animals that seek to prey on them, and from precipitation or drafts. The ideal time to close your chicken coop door is right after all of your hens have headed off to bed — usually just before nightfall. 

The best types of chicken coop doors

There are a few options when it comes to choosing a chicken coop door, and they are largely dependent on the type of chicken coop you have. 

Traditional doors 

Traditional chicken coop doors are either full-size doors for keepers to walk through, or a smaller version of a wooden door on hinges just large enough for hens to walk through. The problem with these is that wood warps and shifts over time, making them more and more difficult to open and close over time. Gaps along a chicken coop door are dangerous — drafts or predators can slip through any openings that result from shifting or settling doors. Plus, wooden chicken coop doors can’t be attached to just any coop material. 

Automatic doors 

An automatic chicken coop door is made of easy-to-clean plastic that won’t shift or warp in the elements. It opens the same, smooth way each and every time, and in any weather. Omlet’s Autodoor can be installed on any material: wood, wire, or directly onto the Eglu Cube chicken coop

In addition to standing the test of time, the Autodoor can be programmed to open and close on a schedule based on the sun or the clock, making it a coop concierge for your flock. 

Light-sensing automatic chicken coop doors with Omlet

The Autodoor by Omlet is a sophisticated light-sensing automatic chicken coop door that can be programmed to open and close on a schedule of your choosing. Some standout features of our Autodoor include: 

  • Light sensor for customized open and close times 
  • Time setting to set a schedule based on the clock 
  • Reliability in all weather conditions
  • Horizontal opening mechanism for hen safety 
  • Extra coop security against predators 
  • Can be installed on any coop or run 
  • Integrates seamlessly with the Eglu Cube 

Chicken keepers love the Autodoor because of its versatility, functionality, and performance. Taking control of your flock’s schedule and having it enforced even while you’re away takes your chicken keeping to a whole new level. The Autodoor’s light setting really shines during the winter months — your hens can be closed in before the sun is finished setting, and stay warm and comfortable in their coop until there is plenty of sunshine the following morning. You and your hens can both sleep in during the coldest hours of the morning, knowing the Autodoor has made winter chicken keeping easier than ever. 

Easy steps to install a chicken coop door

The Autodoor is easy to install on any existing setup. Just choose the fixings pack that corresponds to your coop when you purchase your Autodoor, and you’ll have everything you need for installation when it arrives. Choose from wood or wire for your fixings pack, and follow the detailed instructions for installing your Autodoor. If you have an Eglu Cube chicken coop, no additional fixings need to be purchased — you can install the Autodoor right out of the box. 

Once installed, the control pad makes programming your schedule quick and easy. If you choose to use the light setting, the amount of daylight can be selected on the Autodoor for both open and close times, and custom delay open and close times can be adjusted. This would give your hens a buffer for the weather to warm up, or for storms to clear if the light sensor hasn’t been able to receive its programmed amount of light. 

Should I make a chicken coop door?

Making a chicken coop door is an option, but significant attention to detail and considerations need to be taken into account. Chickens have fragile legs that can be caught easily in doors, and materials like wood will rot and warp over time, making a path for crafts or predators to penetrate the coop. You’ll also need to manually open, close, and secure your DIY chicken coop door each day to ensure safety, which means trudging out in harsh weather or going out in the dark when you’re home late. 

Choosing an Autodoor is a one-step solution to your flock’s security and comfort. You won’t worry about safety or functionality, and with the added ability to automate your flock’s schedule, you can rest assured that your hens are being cared for — while you enjoy the comfort of your own bed. 

Pet care with Omlet 

Omlet makes keeping your hens easy and enjoyable. We take the guesswork out of caring for your flock, because we’ve asked both the obvious and the unexpected questions when it comes to creating the ideal chicken setup. Our chicken runs, chicken tractors, and hen houses are all designed to accommodate both you and your flock for an unparalleled chicken-keeping experience. 

Chicken walking down the ladder of the Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

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Keep your chickens entertained

Two chickens eating snacks from the Omlet Chicken Peck Toy

Who enjoys being bored? The same boredom that plagues humans and other pets can creep into your chicken flock – potentially causing destructive behaviour. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your chickens entertained. We’ll share our favourite ways to keep your flock’s minds and bodies busy to effectively keep boredom at bay. 

Why do chickens need to be entertained? 

Much like children, chickens can act out if they become bored. It’s not uncommon for bored hens to display a variety of negative behaviours or attitudes when they don’t receive enough mental or physical stimulation. Some signs that your chickens may be bored include: 

  • Feather pulling (on themselves or picking at flockmates) 
  • Sudden assertive or aggressive behaviour 
  • Dull demeanour 
  • Decreased appetite 

Chickens are very social animals, and while having companions helps curb their craving to be entertained, supplemental activities will help keep your flock fit and happy. 

Ways to keep your flock occupied 

Keeping your chickens entertained in any season is easier than you may think. Simple additions to your chickens’ run can make the difference between doldrums and delight. The following boredom-busting activities are great for any sized flock to get a great mental and physical workout in. 

Provide perches 

Chicken perches are an easy, yet effective way to get your flock engaged in their run. Perching is a natural behaviour for nearly every species of bird, and your hens are likely craving some vertical variety in their space. Freestanding chicken perches are quick to install and move when needed and can be customised to accommodate even the smallest hen in your flock. Or, go big with a PoleTree customisable chicken perch for the ultimate perching and play experience. 

Put out heaps of leaves, straw or hay

Sometimes you need not look any further than nature for inspiration for enrichment. Freshly raked piles of leaves or scattered piles of straw or hay are great ways to encourage foraging in your flock. Toss some scratch grains or dried insect treats into the piles and watch your hens scratch around for hours searching for their snacks. 

Designate a dust bathing area 

Dust baths for chickens aren’t just to keep their feathers in good condition but are also a social activity among hen pals. You’ll often notice two or three hens taking a dust bath together. Providing your flock with a dust bathing area in a specific area of their run will help create a communal spot to hang out and catch up on coop gossip. 

Put up a mirror

Chickens take pride in their appearance, and will appreciate the opportunity to check out their reflection. Take care that any mirrors are securely mounted, and are not in an area that will reflect concentrated sun rays onto flammable surfaces like straw, hay, leaves, or dry grass. Use a mirror with caution if you have a rooster in your flock. If they perceive another rooster encroaching on their hens they will go on the defensive – even if it’s against their own reflection. This could stress them (and the rest of your flock) and do more harm than good. 

Chicken toys

Chicken toys are helpful to motivate hens to exercise mentally and physically. Elevate your hens’ snacktime with peck toys. The Pendant Peck Toy swings and sways along with your chickens’ efforts, which stimulates both their minds and bodies. Or, choose the Poppy Peck Toy for a more stationary option. The Caddi Chicken Treat Holder lets you serve your flock’s favourite fresh finds in a creative way. Stuff it full of leafy greens, hay, or 

Other toys for chickens include the Chicken Swing, which provides a fun alternative to an ordinary perch. Many chickens enjoy a nice sit on a gently swaying swing – especially when there’s a nice breeze. Some other toy ideas include: 

  • Xylophones mounted to the side of the run 
  • Toy balls (large enough to not be choked on)
  • Hollow dog toys to fill with scratch grains or other treats 

Change things up 

Chicken tractors are perfect for changing things up for your flock. Chickens thrive on routine, but benefit from variety. Move your chickens’ coop to different areas of your garden to give them fresh pecking grounds, new scenery, and different sunning angles.  

If you have a stationary chicken coop, try moving some toys or perches around periodically to spice things up. Adjust perch heights, move peck toys to new spots, or add herbs to their dust baths to give your hens variety in their everyday routines. 

Spend time with them 

This activity doesn’t require any special equipment – just your time. Even if your chickens just view you as the bringer of food, having you in their run for an extended visit helps liven things up. Bring a chair or stool to sit with your flock, or offer some treats by hand to build a bond with hesitant hens. As any chicken keeper knows, time spent with your hens is time well spent. 

Omlet: providing your flock with fun  

At Omlet, there’s no shortage of fun or innovation. The result? Imaginative chicken toys and accessories that are anything but dull. From pillar pieces like strong chicken coops, to quirky components like the Chicken Swing, our products help you create the perfect hen habitat.  

Chicken sat on the Omlet Chicken Swing

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What are your hens’ eggs telling you?

Girl collecting fresh eggs from the Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

Eggs are amazing, nutritious feats of nature that chickens give back to their keepers. They come in a variety of sizes, colours, and sometimes even shapes, but sometimes their appearance can surprise those who come to collect them. From the normal to the not-so-normal, we’ll cover it all in our What are your hens’ eggs telling you? guide. 

Why are chicken eggs sometimes misshapen? 

An oddly shaped egg can be produced for various reasons. It often takes young hens an egg or two before they settle into their regular pattern. Stress in the chicken coop can lead to misshapen eggs too. This is usually due to a hen having the urge to lay but finding the space in the laying box occupied by another bird.

Misshapen eggs can be:

  • Elongated, or they may have a thin, pointy end. 
  • Rough with bumps 
  • Thicker around the middle, appearing in a band pattern 
  • Round rather than the traditional oblong appearance 

A ball-shaped egg is usually a sign of slight calcium deficiency. The round shape requires less calcium than a normal oval egg. In all these cases, the egg inside is unaffected and is perfectly safe to eat.

Infectious bronchitis can lead to misshapen eggs. An infected hen will stop producing eggs for a few days or will only lay intermittently. The eggs that are laid will have thin, wrinkled or rough shells, and the white of the egg will be watery. It is also common for the affected eggs to have lighter-coloured shells than usual. This condition is uncommon, and should be diagnosed by a veterinarian. 

Laryngotracheitis is another illness linked to egg abnormalities, but should also be diagnosed by a veterinarian. It’s important to note that any ailment can cause a hen to become stressed, which can cause a hen to lay misshapen eggs. 

Why do chickens lay freckled eggs?

Some breeds always lay speckled eggs. However, if a hen that typically produces plain eggs lays speckled ones, there are various possible causes. She may have been stressed in some way while the egg was forming, or she may have developed an anomaly in the pigment-producing part of her egg-laying system.

Freckling is often the result of excess calcium production, sometimes associated with the ‘end of season’ laying at the beginning of winter. On some eggs, there is a marbled pattern rather than an area of freckles.

The speckling is usually smooth, but it sometimes manifests as raised blotches of excess calcium. These can be spots or wormlike strands, and they often occur as single spots on an otherwise standard egg. This may be linked to dehydration, so make sure your hens have enough water, and that a timid hen isn’t being bullied out of being properly hydrated. 

Why do chicken eggshells sometimes have a white ring?

Viewed from the side, an eggshell with this peculiar oddity has a thick white ring, looking like an x-ray of the egg that lies beneath. It is usually caused by an interruption in the formation of the eggshell, caused by stress or by a second egg entering the internal production line.

The second egg produced in this process will usually have a flattened side, as it has bumped into the first egg during the early stages of shell formation and has been ‘squashed’ into an odd, flattened shape.

Why are chicken eggs sometimes wrinkled?

An eggshell with wrinkles can be a sign of stress or illness, but is usually a hereditary condition. Some older hens begin to lay wrinkled eggs too. The wrinkles are often deep grooves, giving the appearance of a very misshapen egg that is perhaps the most unusual of all egg oddities. 

The wrinkles sometimes look like a series of cracks in the shell. This results from an egg cracking during calcium formation. The cracks are the chicken’s repairs – laying calcium over the fissures. Once again, the underlying cause is usually stress or illness, although sometimes it is simply the result of a second egg ‘crashing into’ the first due to an over-productive system.

Why do some eggs have double yolks?

In a rare, but completely normal phenomenon, chickens can lay eggs with two yolks inside. If fertilized and incubated or kept under a broody hen, double-yolked eggs can hatch twin chicks – but it’s more common for only one embryo to fully develop. 

If you crack one of your chickens’ eggs and see two yolks, it’s the result of the hen releasing two yolks at the same time during ovulation, which then becomes encapsulated within one shell. It’s more common for newly-matured hens to lay double-yolked eggs, as their bodies are adjusting to ovulation. Laying eggs with two yolks can also be genetic, and the hen may continue to do so for the duration of her egg-laying career. 

You do not need to crack the shell to find out what is inside – you can spot a double-yolker by ‘candling’ the egg. The word candling comes from the ancient practice of holding an egg in front of a candle flame, but a small flashlight does the job just as well. If there are two yolks inside, they will be visible as two dark blobs against the bright light as it shines through the shell.

Although double-yolkers are estimated to occur in just one per thousand eggs, the huge population of laying hens over the world means that they are a common sight on the plates of chicken keepers. Triple yolks are possible, but are very unlikely to grace the breakfast table– this ultra-rare phenomenon is found in just one per 25 million eggs.

Why do chickens lay less eggs sometimes? 

Breed, age, health, and time of year all affect how many eggs chickens lay. Among the many different chicken breeds that are considered good layers (those that can lay upwards of 300 eggs per year), some well-known egg producers include: 

In contrast, most ornamental and smaller chicken breeds lay less frequently, with some only laying a few eggs each month. 

Depending on their genetics, hens will begin to ovulate (release a yolk) every 24 hours on average, starting at 6 months of age. Once a yolk has been released, it takes 19-20 hours to finish forming and be fully dressed in an eggshell. After an egg has been laid, the process repeats again – good layers can begin ovulating again within an hour after laying an egg. A hen will lay the most eggs during the first two years of life. After that, production begins to decrease by 10-20% each year. 

Hens that are not feeling well, or are malnourished will lay less frequently. Flock discord, inadequate nutrition, and overcrowding are a handful of stressors that can take a toll on egg production. Make sure your hens have access to clean water and quality layer pellets at all times to ensure they’re getting the calories and nourishment they need. Adding scratch grains, chicken treats, and healthy kitchen scraps or safe foods from the garden to their diet will also give hens a nutritional boost. 

Hens will inevitably lay less, or stop laying eggs altogether in the winter. A hen’s ovulation cycle is based on daylight hours, so once the days shorten, you can expect egg production to slow down. This is a hen’s natural reaction to the changing seasons as they prepare to reallocate energy to keep warm instead of laying eggs. Your hens will resume a normal laying schedule closer to spring, as days grow longer. 

Another annual reason for a decrease in egg production is moulting. Moulting is the process of shedding old feathers and regrowing new ones to replace them. Moulting also occurs during the fall in preparation for winter – so as the days grow shorter, your hens will begin to lose their dingy feathers in favour of new, denser ones to keep them warm. The result is a beautiful, vibrant new feathery outfit for your hens – but fewer eggs for you to gather. Moulting takes a lot of energy, so expect your chickens to be on “lay-cation” for 8-16 weeks. There are some things you can do to help your chickens through a molt to offer relief during your flock’s annual feather renewal. 

Omlet Egg Skelters in three different colors

Why do chicken breeds lay different-coloured eggs? 

You’ve probably seen white and brown eggs, but some chickens can lay eggs in shades of green, blue, and even pink. But what causes such a variety of colours? 

Genetics determine what colour eggs a hen will lay. Some breeds of chickens have a standard colour you can expect from them. For example, you can count on Leghorns to lay white eggs, Orpingtons to lay brown eggs, and Ameraucanas to lay blue ones. But different shades such as olive are the result of a hybrid hen – a hen bred from a combination of blue and brown egg genes. For example, if you breed an Orpington (brown egg genetics) cockerel with an Ameraucana (blue egg genetics) hen, the result would be an “olive egger” hen that would lay green eggs. Egg colour should be consistent with the hen laying them, and different-coloured eggs are not a cause for concern unless a hen suddenly starts laying a different shade from usual. 

All eggs begin with a white shell, but the hen laying the egg adds a pigment to them as they make their way to be laid. This pigment only colours the shell, and does not penetrate the membrane. You’ll have to add food colouring if you want green eggs and ham! 

Other breeds known for laying colourful eggs include: Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, Wellsummers, and Marans. Hybrids (bred through selective pairing), such as Olive or Easter Eggers, can produce eggs varying in colour based on their genetics. 

Pro tip: you can get an idea of the colour eggs a hen lays by looking at their earlobes. Hens with white earlobes will lay white eggs, and hens with red earlobes will lay brown eggs. This technique is not as accurate for pigmented eggs (blue, green or pink), as hybrid chickens will have a variety of colours to their earlobes. Still, it’s fun to try this prediction test with your flock.

Why do my chickens’ eggs have a thin shell, or no shell at all?

Have you ever collected eggs, only to find yourself flabbergasted by a naked egg? Thin-shelled eggs or those with no shell at all feel like partially filled water balloons and can be very disconcerting to find in the nesting box. These strange, spongy eggs are actually laid without the presence of the shell; only the membrane. This most often occurs with high-producing hens, when their bodies simply cannot keep up with yolk production. Oftentimes they will lay a fully-formed egg, then lay a shell-less egg a few hours later. 

The other most common reason for eggs having thin or missing shells is inadequate calcium in their diet. Warning signs leading up to shell-less eggs can be thinner shells, so take note if your hens’ eggs are suddenly much easier to crack, or if you find broken eggs in the nesting box. A lot of calcium is required to “fully clothe” a yolk, so be sure to feed quality layer pellets that contain added calcium. If you notice thinner shells or “naked” eggs, supplement your hens’ feed with crushed oyster shells or other chicken calcium supplements. You can also save egg shells after cracking them to crush or grind up and sprinkle on top of your hens’ feed. Be sure not to offer shells that have not been broken down into smaller pieces, as chickens can acquire a taste for eggs and can actually eat them straight out of the nesting box.

Boost your hens’ shell-producing ability with chicken supplements to ensure they have all of the vitamins and minerals they need. As an added bonus, supplements such as omega-3 fed to your chickens are passed onto their eggs– and then to you when you eat them!

Why do chickens sometimes eat their eggs?

Hens will actually eat their own eggs, usually for specific reasons. This behaviour can usually be corrected when adjustments are made to their environment. 

Dehydration 

Chickens that eat their eggs may be dehydrated. Since eggs contain a large amount of water, your chickens may be resorting to eating them in an effort to keep themselves hydrated. To stop egg eating due to dehydration, make sure that your hens are supplied with clean water at all times.

Vitamin deficiency 

Your chicken’s diet is fundamental to their well-being, and a poor one could be depriving them of their nutritional requirements – leading them to feast on their eggs in an effort to recoup missing nutrients. It’s important to provide your chickens with a balanced diet of enough protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. For added calcium, offer crushed oyster shells. 

Issues with the nesting box 

Your nesting box needs to be a secure and safe space for your hens. Egg eating can occur when your hens are uncomfortable with the nesting box, most commonly due to the bedding itself or exposing your chickens to too much light. Make sure that their nesting area: 

  • Has adequate bedding made of a comfortable nesting material
  • Remains free of droppings or debris 
  • Does not receive direct sunlight 
  • Has enough space for the number of hens you keep
  • Is completely separate from the roosting area 

Our chicken coops are designed for easy cleaning, and with integrated and private nesting boxes, while leaving plenty of space for roosting. This ensures a comfortable and hygienic habitat for your hens that will support them in their laying efforts.  

Behavioural 

Chickens found to be eating eggs can also be suffering from stress or anxiety, which hens can experience for a number of reasons. Stress-inducing scenarios can be related to: 

  • Being handled 
  • A new environment 
  • The introduction of new chickens
  • Extreme heat
  • Visits from predators

Some stressful situations are easier to alleviate than others, such as introducing new chickens or excessive handling. 

Chickens that eat eggs may simply be bored. Boredom in chickens can occur when they don’t have enough space to roam, or they lack activities to keep them entertained.

For a happy hen, provide as much space as possible outside of the coop with a walk in chicken run or chicken fencing. Chicken toys are another great way to keep your chickens entertained. 

Omlet and your hens’ eggs

The more love and care you put into your flock’s setup and your interactions with them, the happier and healthier your hens will be – and the more delicious and healthy their eggs will be. Hens that are kept in clean, safe chicken coops will lay eggs more regularly and without difficulty. The joy and companionship you’ll reap from sowing a great relationship with your hens will accompany the steady supply of eggs for you to display in your kitchen – a visual reminder of the bond you share with your flock. 

Chicken keeper collecting eggs from the Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

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Chicken roosts 101 

Chickens in the Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop on the plastic roosting bars

Chicken roosts are an essential part of a flock’s setup. They’re simple in their concept, but chicken roosts can prove difficult to perfect in their construction and placement. Omlet has taken the guesswork out of the perfect chicken roost, and we’ve incorporated them in all of our chicken coops. Read on to see how to help your hens make the most of roosting time for their well-deserved beauty rest. 

What is a chicken roost?

You can think of your chickens’ roost as their bed — and like a mattress, a roost can make or break a good night’s rest. Chickens will spend anywhere from 8-12 hours roosting, depending on the amount of daylight. When the sun starts to set, your hens will instinctively head to their cosy chicken coop

Setting up the perfect roost for your chickens

The perfect place for chickens to go to roost is: 

  • Set up above ground level 
  • Separate from egg-laying areas 
  • Shielded from the elements 
  • Safe from chicken predators 

Chicken roosts should be constructed of easy-to-clean materials, and should be comfortable for your hens’ feet. Traditionally, roosts have been either round or rectangular bars that are small enough around for chickens’ feet to grasp. But, since chickens squat down to cover their feet when they roost, these bars have them performing a balancing act all night long. A much better alternative is a flat, textured surface for them to get comfortable on. 

Creating an ideal roosting area is a vital part of how to take care of your chickens. This secluded, comfortable area should make your hens feel safe and protected all night long. Quality sleep contributes to your flock’s overall health and well-being, making their roosting area a fundamental element of their setup. 

Why do chickens roost?

A “roost” is both a verb and a noun: chickens roost at night in their roosts. Roosts are where birds congregate in order to sleep, and their biological clock tells them when to roost. Some birds roost on the ground, but many species of birds, both wild and domestic, seek roosting places that are above ground level. Chickens are part of the elevated-roosting group of birds. 

Protection from predators

Being elevated while sleeping makes hens feel safer from chicken predators and the weather. In the wild, many birds roost in trees that offer a canopy of shelter from the elements. Similarly, your chickens will seek a place that is both elevated and shielded from the wind, rain, and snow. 

Pecking order at night

When night begins to fall, your hens will begin to head in to roost in their coop. If you observe the order in which they turn in, it’s common for hens at the top of the chicken pecking order to claim their spot in the roost first, and the rest will follow suit down to the lowest-ranking hen. In an established flock, the top-ranking hens will make sure every flock member has a place in the roost. 

Keeping your hens safe whilst roosting

By the time the last hen has turned in for the night, it will be past sunset. This is when predators are most active, which is why hens instinctively roost before nightfall. To add an additional layer of protection, an automatic chicken coop door can be installed on your hens’ house to make sure everyone is tucked in safely after dark.

Difference between chicken perches & roosts 

Not to be confused with a roosting area, chicken perches are bars set up inside of your flock’s run to give them space to climb and exercise. Many hens enjoy being above ground level at various times throughout the day to observe their surroundings. Hens will flap, fly, or hop their way up to their perches, which help to strengthen and stretch their wings. 

Chicken perches like the PoleTree Customisable Chicken Perch or the Freestanding Chicken Perch are designed for play and enrichment, or maybe the occasional afternoon nap in the sun – but not for overnight sleep. Roosting overnight on a chicken perch in the run leaves your hens exposed to the elements and at higher risk of encountering predators. 

Common chicken roost problems

Many chicken keepers mean well when they set up their flock’s roosting area, but most homemade constructions fall flat when it comes to creating restful roosts. Oftentimes homemade roosting bars or racks:

  • Are hard to clean
  • Invite mites
  • Weaken over time  

Any poorly placed, wobbly, or unlevel chicken roosts will be deemed unfit for sleep by your flock. You may also notice older hens avoiding roosts that are too high, as their joints can’t support them when they dismount each morning. Heavier hens may also have trouble flying up to roosts that are too high. 

Uncomfortable, unsafe, or cramped roosts can lead to a chicken not going to their coop at night. Instead, your hens may find their roost in nesting boxes or on perches out in their run. This behaviour can quickly become frustrating and dangerous, and should be addressed as soon as possible. 

How much roosting space per chicken?

Another potential problem with homemade roosts is inadequate spacing. Sometimes there’s just not enough room for the last hen or two to find a comfortable spot in the roost at night. On the flip side, if there’s too much space, hens may feel vulnerable. This is a problem particularly in the winter months, as hens will huddle together for warmth overnight. 

Different chicken breeds have varying space requirements, but as a general rule, you should aim to provide approximately 8-12 inches of space on the roost per hen. Omlet’s large chicken coop has a roosting area that can accommodate up to 10 hens comfortably. 

Best chicken roosting bar material

There are different types of roosting bars and racks. We’ve outlined the most common materials, and the pros and cons of each. 

Wooden roosts

Wood is the most traditional material for constructing chicken roosts. It’s affordable, easy for chickens to grab onto, and readily available. However, wood has its fair share of disadvantages as well. 

Cons: 

  • Absorbs moisture and odours, allowing bacteria to breed 
  • Harbour mites and other insects 
  • Can splinter off into your hens’ feet 
  • Warps, rots, and deteriorates over time 
  • Hard to clean 

Pros: 

  • Affordable
  • Readily available 
  • Cut and placed easily 

For all of its popularity, wooden roosts are not the most practical solution. There is a lot of maintenance and upkeep involved in wooden roosts, and most chicken keepers would do well to avoid them. 

Metal roosts 

At a cursory glance, metal roosts may look appealing. They’re easy to clean, long-lasting, and don’t require much upkeep. But even with these advantages, the biggest drawbacks involve your beloved hens. 

Cons: 

  • Slippery and hard for hens’ feet to grasp 
  • Easily affected by temperature – they can be burning hot or freezing cold to the touch 
  • Expensive 
  • Difficult to adjust or cut to size 

Pros:

  • Long-lasting 
  • Easy to clean 

As you can see, metal roosting bars and racks can be very dangerous for your hens. In cold weather, chickens can actually become frozen to metal roosts, and in hot weather, the metal can burn your hens’ feet. Their longevity might be appealing, but it isn’t worth the risk to your hens. There’s an even better, long-lasting solution. 

Plastic roosts 

Plastic has the best of both worlds: easy to maintain and safe for your hens. Here are the pros and cons of plastic: 

Pros: 

  • Easy to clean with a pressure washer or sponge 
  • Doesn’t absorb moisture 
  • Not hospitable to mites and insects 
  • Easy for your hens’ feet to grasp 
  • Is not easily influenced by the temperature 
  • Long-lasting and does not require routine maintenance

While plastic roosts may be hard to make yourself, Omlet has perfected the plastic roosting rack that is included in all of our chicken coops. The ergonomic design fits perfectly in the coop with a slightly textured surface to give your hens’ feet purchase on the smooth material. And, being made of heavy-duty plastic, your Omlet setup will be the only one you’ll ever need to buy. 

Cons: 

  • Difficult to cut to size 
  • Not readily available (apart from an Eglu chicken coop) 

Chicken roost ideas

The ideal chicken roost will be: 

  • 3-4 feet off of the ground 
  • Made of an easy-to-clean, comfortable material 
  • Large enough to accommodate your flock, but small enough to make them comfortable 
  • Separated from their nesting boxes 

This particular setup may prove to be difficult to design within an existing coop. Plastic is extremely durable, but difficult to cut with common tools – not to mention hard to come by. So what’s a chicken keeper to do when pursuing the perfect chicken roost? Thankfully, Omlet has the solution to this conundrum. 

Creating the ideal chicken roost with Omlet

The Eglu Cube has a divider that can be closed to prevent hens from roosting in the nesting area, and has designated doors for both the roosting area and nest box. Additionally, the Eglu Cube’s roosting area has: 

  • A roosting rack constructed of heavy-duty plastic with a textured overlay to help your hens grip the surface 
  • Small openings for droppings to pass through to the tray below, which also offers small footholds for your chickens 
  • A large, flat area perfect for your hens to hunker down for the night 

The fully enclosed Eglu Cube makes it a formidable fortress for your flock during their most vulnerable times. With the dual-insulated walls and ample ventilation, your chickens will never be more comfortable. 

The other two chicken coops from Omlet are: 

Both of these coops are for smaller flocks of 2-6 hens, and include the same style of roosting rack as the Eglu Cube. In addition to a plastic chicken roost, both coops also feature: 

  • Dual insulated walls and ample ventilation 
  • The ability to add on wheels and handles to convert them into mobile chicken coops 
  • Easy-to-clean interior components that can all be pressure washed or wiped down 

All of our chicken coops help foster your flock’s natural behaviours and habits, including a comfortable and secure roosting routine. 

Chicken care with Omlet

From roostime to playtime, give your chickens the best when you choose Omlet for all of your flock-raising needs. All of our products have been rigorously tested by both our team of experts and through daily experience from our customers. Our dynamic chicken tractors and unique toys like the Chicken Swing are sure to be a delight to both flocks and their raisers. 

Easy-to-clean roosting bars from the Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

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How to transition your chicks into their Eglu chicken coop

Baby chicks in their brooder

Chicks grow up quickly and soon it will be time to transition your chicks into their Eglu chicken coop. Their brooder will start to feel crowded after a few weeks, and your fully feathered pullets will be ready to strut out in a coop of their own. We’re here to help you make moving day an easy and stress-free experience. 

What age can chicks move into their Eglu chicken coop?

Chicks are usually fully feathered by the time they’re 6 weeks old, but not all chicks are ready to venture beyond their brooder at this age. Even though they’ve traded their fluffy down for mature feathers, they’re still very young. At Omlet, we recommend transitioning your chicks from their brooder to their Eglu chicken coop at 12 weeks of age. 

Waiting until your chicks are 12 weeks old will give them time to become more coordinated and build the strength they need to navigate ladders, and give them plenty of time to become familiar with their rise-to-roost schedule. 

From brooder to coop

These 12 weeks will go by in a blink of an eye, so be sure to prepare for (and enjoy) your chicks’ time in the brooder. Caring for newly hatched chicks is exciting, and will set the tone for the rest of your relationship with them. Handling your chicks daily will help build a bond and before long your chicks will trust you, and there’s no better time than when they’re in their brooder to kickstart this relationship. Once your little flock trusts you, it will make their transition to their coop even easier. 

In the meantime, you can set up your flock’s walk in chicken run to take your chicks outside once they’re fully feathered. Keep these excursions short to make sure they don’t get chilled or draw the attention of other animals (including your other pets). If you plan to use an automatic chicken coop door, you can open and close it while your chicks are on their outing to get them used to the noise. Show your small flock where their chicken feeders and waterers are so that they’ll know where to find them once they move in. 

Once your chicks are 12 weeks old and are all healthy and happy, it’s time to make the move to the coop. The big moving day should be based on the weather rather than a specific date. You want to look for a sunny day with moderate temperatures – ideally between 18-26°C Avoid moving your chicks on windy or wet days, and try to move them as early as possible so that they can experience a full day and be ready to head to bed when night falls. 

Tips for your chicks’ first night

If your brooder utilises a brooding plate rather than a heat lamp, your chicks may already have the hang of going to bed at nightfall. But, being in a brooder is much different than being out in the big world, so even chicks that have an established sleep cycle may be caught off guard during their first night out. 

First and foremost, you’ll want to keep your chicks safe from predators. The attached runs of the Eglu chicken coops are predator-resistant, but they will be much safer and more comfortable overnight in the roosting area inside of the coop. You may need to manually tuck your chicks in on their first night (or two) and close the door until they learn when bedtime is. 

If you have an Autodoor, the coop light acts like a nightlight to guide sleepy heads to the roost. This is particularly helpful for chicks that were raised with a coop light – they’ll associate light with warmth and will seek it out when darkness falls. 

New chicks and the existing pecking order

If you’re introducing your chicks to an existing flock, your older hens will help them learn the tips and tricks of the coop. But, older hens will also let newcomers know who’s in charge. Every flock of chickens has a hierarchy, and by understanding the pecking order in chickens you’ll be able to recognise what is normal hen behaviour, or what constitutes bullying and the need to remove your chicks for their safety. 

Most chicks fall into line quickly, just as most hens at the top of the pecking order aren’t ruthless tyrants. There are exceptions to the rule though, so be on the lookout for concerning behaviour like: 

  • Hens keeping chicks away from food or out of the coop 
  • Scuffles severe enough to draw blood or cause excessive feather loss 
  • Pinning chicks down 

If you notice your hens not accepting your chicks into the flock, try setting up an adjacent run or add walk in chicken run partitions to your setup to allow them to get to know each other through a safety barrier. It’s rare for hens to forever hold a grudge against new additions, so be patient, but also conscientious of the safety of your chicks.  

Omlet and your chicks

Our products are designed to keep your flock safe – no matter their age, and to make caring for your chickens less of a chore and more of an enjoyable activity. The Eglu Cube chicken coop is perfect for growing flocks, especially when paired with our walk in chicken run. And, by installing an Autodoor, you’ll have peace of mind from the start. Make moving day an enjoyable and memorable experience for you and your chicks, and set the tone for a lifetime of adventures together. 

Pullets in their Omlet Walk In Chicken Run with Eglu Cube chicken coop

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6 top tips for rescuing hens

Rescue hens in their Omlet Eglu Cube chicken coop

Have you considered rescuing chickens? Whether you’re just starting out with a flock, or growing an established one, adopting hens can be an emotionally rewarding experience. Hens can be in need of rescue for a number of reasons: owner surrender or confiscation, retiring breeding or laying hens, or chickens with special needs – there are chickens in search of their forever homes. We’ll share our 6 top tips for rescuing hens, and show you how Omlet can support them, and you, in the journey. 

1. Find the perfect chicken coop

Creating the perfect setup for rescue hens is essential in helping them adjust to their forever home. Hens in need of rescuing may have been confiscated by law enforcement due to neglect or unsuitable living situations or may be leaving a noisy egg production facility. No matter what their story may be, all rescued hens will be in desperate need of a safe place to land. 

Having an Eglu Cube chicken coop ready for your hens’ arrival will provide them with peace and comfort from the start. With its elevated design and secluded egg-laying area, hens can find rest in the shade and a secluded place to lay their eggs privately. The attached run offers space to peck at the grass – which may be something rescued hens have never experienced before. The Eglu Cube is also available as a chicken tractor to offer your newly rescued hens fresh patches of grass and a new selection of insects to munch on. 

Adding an automatic chicken coop door will help your hens feel even more secure overnight. The gently closing door will tuck them in tight and keep potentially stressful sights and sounds from keeping them awake. And, with the ability to open and close on a light or timed schedule, rescued hens can seize the day at the crack of dawn while you sleep in. 

2. Give them plenty of space 

Space is not something generally afforded to hens that are coming from less-than-ideal living conditions. Whether they’ve been crowded or caged, your newly rescued hens will appreciate having some room to spread out. And, as their new owner and forever-home-provider, you’ll want to spend time with them in their setup. 

Our Walk In Chicken Run gives rescued hens the space they deserve, while giving you the opportunity to spend time with them. The convenient and secure stable-style doors let you access your hens with ease, and the fully enclosed run keeps your hens safe from predators. The anti-dig skirting helps prevent predators like weasels and foxes from tunnelling in, and the roof panels keep aerial predators away from your flock. 

Customise their walk in run with chicken perches, the PoleTree customizable chicken perch, or Freestanding Chicken Perch for unparalleled perching opportunities. Perches or chicken toys and the enrichment they provide are probably elements that rescued hens have never encountered before, but are excellent ways to let your new flock members know that they are loved and safe in their new home. 

3. Allow them to settle

Depending on their previous living conditions, rescued hens may take longer to settle into their new homes than those raised in ideal situations. At first, they may be distrustful of humans – either from negative experiences or lack of contact. Give them plenty of time to become used to seeing you. With patience and routine, your rescued hens will soon figure out that you mean them no harm. 

As tempting as it may be to get to know your new chickens, don’t attempt to handle or pet rescued hens for the first week or two. Chickens make great family pets, but children should be taught how to handle hens properly and to respect their space when needed. Rescued hens will be overwhelmed enough trying to get used to their new surroundings, so incorporating unfamiliar physical contact may be too much for them. Instead, try to sit quietly with your flock while they eat or peck in the grass. Speak softly to them to get them used to your voice. Over time, you can offer treats or scratch grains by hand – just make sure to let your hens come to you. 

4. Understand the pecking order

Chickens are social animals that have a hierarchy within their flocks known as the “pecking order.” To new chicken keepers, the act of establishing this pecking order may be confusing or even concerning to witness. To understand the pecking order in your hens, you’ll need to watch them closely when introducing them – both to each other and to a new home. Normal behaviours for chickens establishing a pecking order include: 

  • Raising the feathers around their neck 
  • Squaring off with each other through posturing or staring 
  • Squawking or clucking at each other 
  • Brief scuffles that include sparring and/or feather pulling 

Every flock has a pecking order, which can be challenged periodically even once it’s established. It’s normal to see minor and short-lived disagreements within an established flock, but chickens should be separated from each other if: 

  • Physical altercations occur more often than once or twice a day for consecutive days 
  • Bleeding or extreme feather pulling occurs 
  • Dominate hens are keeping other hens from coming into the coop to roost or lay eggs (even the “top ranking” hens should see that the lowest ranking hens have a safe place to sleep and lay)
  • Flock members are keeping others from eating or drinking 

5. Keep an eye on their health

If you’re adding rescued hens to your own backyard flock, you’ll want to be absolutely sure they’re healthy first. All new chickens should be quarantined away from your flock for 14 days to make sure they don’t have anything contagious. Consider having a secondary chicken setup such as the Eglu Go chicken coop to quarantine new hens, or to separate ill or fighting flockmates. 

Even if your rescued hens are your first flock, you’ll want to give your chickens a health check before releasing them into their setup. Once they’re in their forever home, keep a close eye on them to make sure they are eating, drinking, and acting normally.  

The appearance of rescued hens varies, but some common ailments seen in rescued hens include: 

  • Dull or missing feathers 
  • Clear, thin discharge from the eyes or nose 
  • Irregular gait or hesitant to walk much (usually due to being confined in a wire cage – their feet may be sore and their legs weak)

These minor discomforts should resolve within a week or two after eating a nutritious diet. If your hens don’t improve, or get worse, be sure to call your veterinarian. 

6. Provide them with the right diet

Feeding your hens a nutrient-dense diet will help them feel and look their best. If they are a laying breed of chicken, be sure to feed them quality laying pellets containing 16-18% protein. Your hens can have feed left out for them all day – even rescued hens that may have been deprived of food will not overeat. It’s also helpful to feed chicken supplements to help hens bounce back from stress. Protein-rich treats like dried mealworms or scratch grains will help hens feel more energised – and are also a great bargaining chip when it comes to winning their trust. 

As with any flock, make sure rescued hens have unlimited access to fresh water. Adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar to their water will help boost your hens’ immune system and help them grow healthy feathers. You can also toss herbs like fresh oregano into their water or feed for an added immunity boost. 

Where to rescue hens

There are various resources when it comes to adopting rescued hens. A great place to start would be your local animal control office or animal shelter. Hens are sometimes surrendered to an animal shelter, or animal control officers may remove chickens from poor living situations and will care for them at the shelter until they are adopted. Other resources for finding hens to adopt include: 

  • Chicken rescue groups (found online) 
  • Egg production facilities that retire hens after their peak laying age (usually around 2 years old) 
  • Hatcheries that are retiring breeding hens (these hens are usually well cared for, but in need of a forever home) 
  • Individuals seeking to rehome their flocks due to circumstances 

Omlet and your rescue hens

Adopting an animal in need is a beautiful thing. Rescuing hens from dire situations or temporary care and bringing them to their forever homes is a balm for both chickens and their keepers. Omlet’s Eglu Cube, Walk In Chicken Run, and Autodoor will help your rescued hens feel safe and secure from the first moment in their new setup. A difficult living situation can be turned into a distant memory with your love and care, and with our chicken products that are designed to help hens live their best lives. 

Man with his chickens in Omlet's Walk In Chicken Run and Eglu Cube chicken coop

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Raising chickens for beginners 101 

Chicken keeper watching her chickens in their Omlet Walk In Run

You may not find a class on raising chickens for beginners at your local college –  which is why we’re here to help you get started on your chicken-raising journey. Lots of information about chicken care for beginners can be found online, but it can all be a bit overwhelming. The surest way to succeed is to stick to the basics, purchase high-quality chicken products, and to keep things simple. Omlet has the knowledge and the products to help you succeed when getting chickens for the first time. 

Reasons to start raising chickens

If you’re new to poultry, getting chickens for the first time can seem daunting. Hens are often viewed as farm-specific animals whose main purpose is to lay eggs. But chickens actually make wonderful pets that are full of personality and character. 

There are so many benefits of raising chickens. These include, but are not limited to: 

Flocks can be raised in urban or rural settings, and don’t require much space. Don’t let where you live keep you from entertaining the thought of keeping hens of your own. 

Preparing for your new chickens

Getting chickens for the first time is an exciting and joyous occasion so long as proper preparations are made. There are a few things to consider before bringing home new chickens like: 

  • How much time you have to devote to their care 
  • Space requirements for your desired flock size  
  • Other family pets that may pose a risk to your hens 
  • Selecting your chicken coop and run 

Chickens don’t require as much hands-on care as other pets do, but will still need to be looked after daily. Make sure you have adequate space for the number of chickens you want to keep – giving them as much space as possible. Secure your chickens’ area to prevent other pets or predators from reaching them. 

The best beginner chicken breeds

It’s a good idea to research and decide which breeds of chickens you want to keep before bringing any hens home. Different breeds have different qualities and temperaments, but here are some that are known for being great hens for first-time chicken keepers: 

Consider your climate, available space, and egg-laying expectations when selecting which breeds you want to keep. Keeping a “mixed flock” is common among chicken keepers, as it adds variety to your egg basket. 

If you’re getting full-grown chickens, select your hens based on temperament and appearance. As with other pets, hens have unique personalities and some may be more in sync with your own personality. 

Getting started with chicks vs mature hens 

If you want to start your flock from chicks, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the breeds you want to keep. Once you’ve decided on which breeds you want, you’ll need to know where to find and buy your chicks. Common options include local feed stores, breeders, or even online hatcheries. No matter where you purchase your chicks from, be sure they are reputable establishments or breeders for the types of chicks you’ve chosen. 

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether to raise your flock from newly-hatched chicks, or to start out with established hens. Chicks require more time and resources for the first several weeks of their lives. But, raising your chickens from the start can offer several benefits as well. 

Raising chicks for beginners

Raising chicks can be a very rewarding experience for any flock-keeper – beginner or experienced. Chicks grow fairly quickly, but do require extra care and equipment until they’re old enough to be more self-sufficient. To raise chicks, you’ll need: 

  • A secure brooder pen 
  • A heat lamp or brooder plate 
  • Chick-specific feeders and waterers 
  • Chick-feed and grit 

With each new stage of raising chicks comes different necessities. Newly hatched chicks will need a special enclosure called a “brooder” for the first several weeks of life. A brooder should be predator-resistant and kept somewhere out of the elements. Garages, barns, or shops are ideal places to keep brooder pens. Chicks will also need a heat source (which mother hens would ordinarily provide) that is adjusted weekly to help them adjust to life outside. You can expect to house and care for your chicks in their brooder until they are around 12 weeks old. 

One of the greatest benefits of raising chicks is being able to handle them from a young age. Handling your chicks daily will help to make them more docile as adult hens. After a few weeks of being handled and housed in the brooder, your chicks will be ready to be moved to their permanent home. 

Choosing the perfect beginner’s coop

Aside from the chickens themselves, a chicken coop is the most important aspect of keeping chickens. And, as a beginner, you’ll want a coop that works with you, not against you. For example, DIY chicken coop plans may look appealing, but they often lack fundamental provisions for your flock. It’s important to have a safe, easy-to-clean, comfortable coop for your hens. 

The process of choosing your chicken coop can be simplified by following these suggestions: 

  • Decide if you want your coop in a permanent location, or want the freedom of a mobile chicken coop (also known as a chicken tractor). 
  • Think of your garden’s space, and how large of a flock you intend to keep. If you want to keep more than 4 hens, you’ll need a large chicken coop
  • Determine how much time you want to dedicate to cleaning and maintaining your chicken coop and run. It’s important to remember that wooden chicken coops all require routine maintenance, updating, and take several hours to clean thoroughly. 

Plastic chicken coops don’t rot, peel, or succumb to the elements – so they require zero maintenance. Omlet chicken coops are also incredibly easy to clean: simply remove the droppings tray and roosting rack, dump the bedding, spray or wipe clean, add fresh bedding, and place the components back in the coop. Our coops take all of the guesswork out of chicken care for beginners, and allow you to spend more time enjoying your flock, and less time cleaning and maintaining their coop. 

Create space to roam with a chicken run

Chickens crave space – and lots of it. Chickens are much happier when allowed as much space as possible to explore. Chicken runs give your flock a safe space outside of their coop to peck at grass and insects, stretch their legs and wings, and soak in fresh air and sunshine. 

A great option for first-time chicken owners is a walk in chicken run. These runs not only give your hens more aerial space for chicken perches, but also allow you to easily walk with your flock. Our chicken coop attached runs can be easily integrated with a walk in run, or you can simply place your chickens’ coop right inside of the walk in run. 

We’ve also made it possible to extend your walk in run as your flock grows. Both the length and width can be extended at any time, giving your hens maximum space. You can also add walk in chicken run partitions to create different areas of your walk in run. This is helpful for keeping hens separated if needed or when introducing new flock members. 

If free-ranging is more in line with your lifestyle, consider chicken fencing to keep your hens close to home. Chicken fencing can be used to prevent your flock from getting into flower beds, wandering off of your property, or straying too far from home. Configure a pen of any shape with posts that can be repositioned at any time, or anchor the fence to a structure with a wall mount. An easy-access gate allows you to spend time with your hens while they explore their surroundings. 

What hens eat & drink

As caretaker of your chickens, you’ll need to decide what they eat and when. Chickens are fairly self-sufficient, and prefer their feed to be left out free choice. To keep your flock fed, keep their chicken feeders full of quality feed. 

If your hens are laying age (16 weeks or older), they’ll need to be fed laying pellets or crumbles. Both varieties of feed offer the same nutrients, and choosing between pellets or crumbles is a personal preference. Some hens (especially small breeds) or older chicks transitioning from chick crumbles to laying hen feed may do better with crumbles. 

Chicken treats can be offered when bonding with your flock, but should not make up a sizable portion of their diet. Dried mealworms are ideal treats because they contain protein and nutrients that chickens need. 

Make sure your chickens have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Place your flock’s drinker high enough that bedding or dirt doesn’t get kicked in while your hens are scratching the ground, but low enough for your smallest hen to access. 

Caring for your flock

Getting into a routine will come naturally after you’ve tended to your chickens for a few weeks. Coop cleaning, feeding, watering, and egg collecting are all part of the daily task list for chicken keepers. If you’re unsure about what your routine should look like, here is an example of a daily routine keeping chickens with an Omlet setup: 

Morning 

  • Let chickens out of their coop and into their run or fencing 
  • Clean the coop and refresh bedding
  • Feed chickens and top off waterers  

Afternoon 

  • Collect eggs 
  • Check feeders and waterers (if the weather is warm, refresh with cool water) 

Evening 

  • Close chickens in their coop once they’ve gone to roost 
  • Pick up and store any uneaten food for the next day (this reduces the number of visits from rodents) 

Chickens thrive on routine, and will help you establish one that works for both of you. Most chickens are ready to go out of the coop at sunrise, and will naturally go in to roost around sunset. Hens will usually lay eggs in the late morning or early afternoon, but the timing will vary between chickens and seasons. It’s not common for hens to lay eggs overnight, but it’s good practice to check the nesting box each time you visit the coop. 

Chicken keeper holding hand out to chicken using Omlet's PoleTree Chicken Perch

Predators, & protection from seasons

You’ll need to make a few adjustments to your flock’s setup depending on where you live. Luckily, Omlet makes it easy to adapt and overcome obstacles as a new chicken keeper. 

Chicken predators 

Chicken predators are an unavoidable part of keeping a flock. No matter where you live you’ll encounter predators that will try to take advantage of hens that aren’t fully protected. From foxes to neighbourhood dogs and cats, you’ll need to fortify your flock’s home.

Make sure your chicken coop doors are secure and have mechanisms that can’t be pried open by pesky paws. Installing an automatic chicken coop door adds an extra layer of protection between your hens and predators trying to get in a closed-up coop. The horizontal open and closing mechanism helps prevent the door being pried open – unlike vertical opening doors. 

Seasonal protection 

As outdoor pets, your chickens need different care during different times of the year. Most chicken keepers elect to cover their chickens’ runs to protect them from the elements. Omlet’s line of heavy-duty chicken run covers offers protection from rain, snow, wind, and harmful UV rays. Our solid covers are perfect for providing shade on a hot summer day, while our clear covers allow sunlight to filter through to warm your hens during the chilly winter months. 

The temperate weather of spring and autumn is favourable for hens, depending on your location. And while most breeds of chickens tolerate both high and low temperatures, if your area experiences extreme temperatures you’ll need to take additional measures to keep your hens comfortable. 

To keep your hens cool in the summer, make sure they have plenty of water and shade. Omlet’s chicken coops keep hens cool through thoughtful design, and will help your flock weather the warm summer nights. 

During extreme cold temperatures in the winter, consider adding an extreme temperature jacket to your chickens’ coop. While our Eglu chicken coops are designed to keep the inside temperature at a comfortable level, your hens will appreciate the extra layer of insulation during the bitterly cold months. Be sure to also offer your hens plenty of perching space as reprieve from the frozen ground. Offer warming chicken treats to keep their metabolisms up and to promote egg laying. 

Encouraging egg production as a beginner 

Egg-laying breeds of chickens will produce approximately 1 egg every day and a half. That means that during peak laying age (around 2 years old), high-producing egg layers can give between 300-350 eggs per year. But do they need your help to accomplish this? 

Many first-time chicken owners wonder what they can do to encourage hens to lay eggs. The main components to help keep hens happily laying are: 

  • Quality feed 
  • Fresh water 
  • Adequate space 
  • A clean environment 
  • Feeling safe 

If these needs are being met, your hens should lay on a regular schedule, routinely providing fresh eggs for your family.  Once collected, fresh eggs can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge for several weeks. You may want to display your hens’ hard work in your kitchen by using an egg skelter. This handy device not only shows off your flock’s natural works of art, but also helps you organise and use your eggs from oldest to freshest. 

What first-time chicken keepers should avoid

Chickens can make wonderful, entertaining pets that offer enjoyment to any family – so long as expectations are realistic and preparations are made. Before diving into the world of chickens, remember: 

  • Chickens may want to interact with their human caretakers, but aren’t as hands-on as other pets, and may not crave attention 
  • Buy a quality setup that won’t rot or deteriorate over time – it’s worth the investment 
  • Flocks are kept outdoors year-round, so be sure adjust their accommodations accordingly as the temperatures change 
  • Don’t attempt to raise your flock from chicks unless you have a safe place for a brooder, and can spend 2-3 months at home to look after them until they can be moved into their permanent coop and run 
  • Always check with governing authorities for permission before obtaining chickens or a coop
  • Research the breeds you want to keep before bringing them home 
  • Most importantly – have fun! 

Begin keeping chickens with Omlet 

Getting started with chickens doesn’t have to be stressful. Let Omlet help you on your chicken-keeping journey. Explore entertaining elements like our Chicken Swing or Customisable PoleTree Chicken Perch for endless entertainment for both you and your flock. 

Chicken keeper watching his chickens in their Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

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Best automatic chicken coop door

Omlet Eglu Cube chicken coop shut with Omlet Autodoor - automatic chicken coop door

The best automatic chicken coop door is one that serves multiple purposes. One that is programmable to fit your schedule, provides a layer of protection from predators, and opens horizontally with built-in safety sensors. Read on to see how an Autodoor can revolutionize your chicken-keeping routine. 

Why your chicken coop needs an automatic door

An automatic chicken coop door turns your ordinary coop into a technologically advanced smart hen house. Like a personal chicken coop concierge, the best automatic chicken coop door keeps your hens on schedule and protected while they roost. The addition of an Autodoor will: 

  • Let you sleep in while your hens are let out 
  • Give you peace of mind if you’re away from home at dusk 
  • Add another layer of security against chicken predators 
  • Bolster the insulating effects of a plastic chicken coop 
  • Establish and reinforce a routine that fits your flock 

There are many different types of automatic chicken coop doors, but there’s a clear choice for the best option when it comes to flock comfort and safety. 

The Automatic Chicken Coop Door from Omlet

The Autodoor by Omlet has been thoughtfully designed. Made of heavy-duty, rot and rust-free materials, it’s easy to clean and will last a lifetime. The ingenious horizontally opening screw-style gearing makes it incredibly difficult for predators to pry open. Omlet’s Autodoor also increases the insulating effects of our Eglu Cube chicken coop, and is designed to integrate into it seamlessly without having to remove the existing door. The Autodoor can also be installed on an existing wooden chicken coop, Omlet chicken runs, or on traditional chicken wire runs.  

Light sensors for dawn/dusk automation

Want to sleep in or stay out late, but still have your flock tended to? The Autodoor can keep your hens on schedule based on the sun. And, since chickens seek out their roosting space based on the amount of daylight, you’ll never need to worry about changing the Autodoor’s settings when winter comes around. The various hours of sunlight during the year will prompt the Autodoor to close at the desired light level – no matter the season. And, the sophisticated Autodoor takes into account storms or overcast conditions, ensuring the door doesn’t close during brief fluctuations in lighting. 

Set your own schedule

Some flocks roost at the same time each day rather than waiting for the sun to go down. If you have hens that prefer to turn in early, the clock setting may be the best option. Simply choose the designated time to open and close each day, and the Autodoor will see that your chickens keep to their schedule

Install on both wooden & plastic coops

Additional fixings packs can be purchased to install the Autodoor on our chicken runs, or traditional chicken wire, making the Autodoor universal in fit. Install it on any existing traditional wooden chicken coop or Omlet chicken coop attached run –  which makes it easy to transfer from a wooden coop to an Eglu Cube when you upgrade. 

Predator resistant

The best automatic chicken coop door keeps your flock safe from predators. By securing the coop door each night, your hens will be protected during the most active time for chicken predators.

Protecting your flock from predators poses a particularly difficult challenge, as they are very adept at prying doors open. However, the horizontal opening of the Autodoor is much more difficult to pry than other automatic chicken coop doors that open vertically. And, with the spiral gear mechanism instead of a pulley system, the Autodoor will stump even the most persistent of predators. 

Reliable in heat & cold alike

Worried about the weather? The Autodoor withstands all weather conditions and temperatures. The door will still function in sub-freezing temperatures, effectively keeping your flock warm in the winter. With fewer daylight hours, your flock will stay toasty in their coop until the desired daylight levels or scheduled time is reached. 

In the summer, the Autodoor will let your hens out during the cooler morning temperatures to help your flock through the warmer months. The longer daylight hours mean your flock will be able to enjoy a breeze and shade outside of the coop for as long as possible, while still being protected and kept comfortable at night. 

Built-in safety sensors 

Sophisticated safety sensors ensure your hens aren’t accidentally caught in the closing Autodoor. If any part of a hen is obstructing the Autodoor, it will re-open and attempt to close again a few minutes later. The gentle bump from the Autodoor is usually enough to get your hens moving if they’re resting on the threshold, and soon they’ll learn their schedule so they don’t dawdle at the door. 

Pair your Autodoor with a coop your flock adores

The Eglu Cube chicken coop and the Autodoor are made for each other. The Autodoor installs quickly and easily on the Eglu Cube, without requiring any additional attachment kits. And, due to the integrated design, there’s no need to remove the existing swivel Eglu Cube coop door. In fact, the standard coop door can still be opened and closed separately from the Autodoor. 

When you pair the best chicken coop with the best automatic chicken coop door, you’ll ensure your flock has the absolute best setup. Omlet’s chicken coops are predator-resistant, dual-insulated, and provide optimum ventilation for your flock’s comfort. 

The best chicken care with Omlet 

Omlet creates the best chicken products available. Designed for a lifetime of ease and comfort, our chicken runs, chicken tractors, and hen houses set you up for success from the beginning and all throughout your chicken-keeping journey. Choose the best automatic chicken coop door and other poultry products from Omlet, and help your hens live their best lives. 

Omlet Eglu Cube chicken coop and Walk In Run with Autodoor

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Chicken eggs: collecting, production, and hatching guide

Boy looking at a hen laying eggs in an Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

Chicken eggs are considered one of the healthiest food sources. Packed with essential nutrients and protein, it’s a staple in most family diets. But even more than a food source, chicken eggs are fun to gather, display, and hatch. Learn how to encourage your hens to lay beautiful eggs all year long, store these labors of love, and even hatch fertilized eggs with the help of an incubator or broody hen.

Creating the perfect environment for chicken egg laying

First and foremost, hens need a safe, quiet space to lay their eggs. Hens will naturally seek out the most suitable place to lay a chicken egg – so if a designated nesting area isn’t supplied to them, hens will venture off in search of the right spot. The ideal nesting area is in a covered space like a chicken coop, away from your flock’s active areas. Enclosed nesting boxes or spaces are preferred, as hens will instinctively want their eggs safe from chicken predators.

Omlet’s hen houses have designated nesting areas inside that are comfortable and secluded. Hens will feel safe inside of their enclosed coop’s nesting area, and with the rest of the flock out for the day, will have the privacy needed to encourage egg laying.

How to encourage egg laying

Good laying hens can produce over 250 eggs per year without much supplemental encouragement. As long as they have adequate space and nutrition, their natural egg-laying cycles should remain intact. Aim to give your flock as much space as possible outside of the coop, whether free-ranging with the help of chicken fencing or in a chicken run.

Laying hens should have a diet consisting of:

  • Quality scratch grains and chicken treats offered daily
  • Access to fresh, clean water in a chicken waterer
  • Free-choice of high-quality layer pellets or crumbles, with protein levels between 16%-18% depending on their breed
  • Fresh greens or grass as often as possible

What to do if your hens stop laying eggs

If you notice fewer eggs in the nesting area, it’s time to perform a health check on your chickens. Any hens with noticeable discomfort should be quarantined, and you should contact your veterinarian. If all of your hens appear healthy, there are 6 other ways to boost egg production among your flock:

  1. Offer chicken supplements
  2. Increase the protein of your hens’ diet
  3. Switch to a different feed
  4. Make sure your hens are visiting the nesting box, as they could be laying eggs elsewhere
  5. If you have a broody hen among your flock, it may affect your other hens’ cycles
  6. Make sure your hens are not molting, as egg production will decrease for several weeks during a molt

If these methods don’t help or give you insight into any potential issues, contact your veterinarian.

How and when to collect your hens’ eggs

It’s important to collect your chickens eggs daily. Eggs left in nesting areas are at risk of being cracked or broken by multiple hens using the nest. And, eggs left in the coop may draw in pests or predators like rats or snakes.

How often hens lay eggs

Good laying hens will produce an egg approximately every day and a half. The majority of hens will lay their eggs in the late morning or early afternoon hours, but there may be some stragglers toward the end of the day. It’s very uncommon for hens to lay their eggs overnight. This means that early evening would be the best time to check your coop for chicken eggs.

If you’re concerned about how long your hens’ eggs can stay in the coop, try to collect them at least once a day. But, in general, eggs are still safe to consume even if they are left to sit in the coop for several days. The hot summer months will reduce this timeframe, but eggs are still safe to consume after exposure to the heat. Winter months pose a challenge due to the risk of eggs freezing in the coop. If your area experiences prolonged temperatures below freezing, you may want to check your coop several times a day before eggs have a chance to freeze solid.

Daily egg collections

Daily egg collections will also help deter hens from going broody. If you want to keep hens from becoming broody, remove any eggs from under a hen that has been sitting for longer than usual to lay an egg. Be cautious – even the most docile hens can get aggressive when protecting a clutch of eggs they’ve decided to sit on.

How to tell if a chicken egg is fertilized

Eggs require a rooster in order to be fertilized. Roosters fertilize the eggs before they are laid, so if you have a rooster in your flock, there’s a potential for any of your hens’ eggs to be fertilized.

There are some misconceptions about roosters, eggs, and fertilization. The most common ones are:

  • Hens do NOT need a rooster to produce eggs – they will lay eggs regardless
  • Not all chicken eggs will be fertilized if you have a rooster in your flock
  • The only way to know if a freshly laid egg is fertilized is to crack it open

If you’re interested in hatching your own chicken eggs, the best method is to pay attention to the eggs you’re eating. When you crack them open, look for a “bullseye” pattern in the yolk. This subtle change that appears as a target will be your clue that the egg is fertilized. If you notice most of the eggs you’re cracking are fertilized, start saving a few to place in an incubator. After 1 week in the incubator, you’ll be able to candle the eggs to see if there is embryonic development.

How to hatch eggs

Hatching your own eggs is an exciting experience. If you choose to incubate your eggs instead of having a broody hen sit on them, you’ll be able to document their progress by using an egg candler. This special light will help you see how the chicks are developing, and will help you dispose of any unfertilized eggs before they spoil and burst.

To hatch your own chicken eggs, you’ll need:

  • An incubator
  • Thermometer (if not included in your incubator)
  • Hygrometer to monitor humidity level
  • Egg candler (optional)

Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch from the time of incubation. It’s best to place eggs in the incubator as soon as possible, but if you must store eggs before incubation, they can be kept in temperatures between 55-65℉ for up to 7 days.

On day 18 of incubation, you’ll want to “lockdown” your incubator. This means you’ll add water if needed (humidity levels need to increase to 65-70% in the final 3 days before hatching). Turn off any automatic turners, or stop hand-turning your eggs on day 18, and place a non-slip covering on the hatching floor of your incubator so that newly hatched chicks do not develop splayed legs. A paper towel or non-slip shelf liner that will allow ventilation are both good options.

Taking care of chicks once they’ve hatched

Once your chicks have hatched, be sure to leave them in the incubator until they are dry and fluffy. This will ensure they don’t get chilled when they’re moved to their brooder pen. The nutrients that fed chicks while they were inside of their eggs will sustain them for up to 48 hours after hatching, so it’s safe to allow them to fully dry before moving them.

When raising newly hatched chicks, make sure you have:

  • A secure brooder pen with a top to prevent escapes
  • A heat source like a brooder plate or lamp
  • Chick starter crumbles – medicated or non-medicated depending on your preference
  • Chick-specific feeders and waterers
  • Absorbent bedding like pine shavings or pellets
  • Adequate time to check in on your chicks daily

Chicks can be quite messy as they work on their coordination. Waterers should be checked frequently for debris to make sure they have access to clean water, and feed should be refreshed. Growing up is tough work, and chicks will need to consume a lot of feed.

The benefits of having your own egg-laying chickens

There are many benefits to keeping your own chickens, like:

  • Supplying your family with fresh eggs
  • Providing exceptionally nutritious chicken eggs
  • Having your hens help with pest control and lawn care
  • The opportunity to experience owning a unique pet

There’s nothing like gathering freshly laid eggs from your own flock of chickens. Proudly display your hens’ labors of love in an egg skelter on your kitchen counter, or gift friends and family members with small packs of eggs.

Best breeds for egg laying

There are many different breeds of chickens, many of which are known for their proficiency in laying eggs. Some of the best breeds for egg laying include:

Chickens that are bred for ornamental purposes will still lay eggs, but at a much lower volume than laying breeds. Bantam (miniature varieties of full-sized breeds) also lay eggs, but they are much smaller and less frequent than their full-sized counterparts.

Cleaning your eggs with care

Storing fresh chicken eggs depends on how quickly they’ll be used, and as a matter of personal preference. There are two main ways to keep backyard eggs fresh:

  • Leaving them unwashed and set out at room temperature
  • Washing them and storing them in the refrigerator

It’s very important that any eggs left out at room temperature remain unwashed. Introducing eggs to water or cleaning solution removes the bloom (microscopic protective barrier) from the shell. Egg shells are semipermeable – meaning air and moisture can pass in and out. Once the bloom has been washed off, the eggshell loses its natural barrier to keep harmful bacteria out.

Unwashed eggs can also be stored in the refrigerator, but washed eggs must be stored in the refrigerator to remain fresh. That’s why store-bought eggs are refrigerated – they have all been washed.

If you choose to wash your eggs, you can either make a DIY egg cleaning solution from vinegar or purchase ready-made egg cleaning products. Or, if you want to simply use water, soak your eggs in warm water, as this will help keep bacteria from entering through the pores of the shell. After a nice soak, gently rub your eggs with a cloth or soft-bristled brush. Dry with a towel, and promptly place your cleaned eggs in the fridge.

Chicken egg color guide

Did you know your hens’ eggshell colors are the result of genetics? Hens will lay the same colored eggs their entire lives. Some breeds are bred to lay specific colors, while other breeds differ from hen to hen. Sometimes nutrition or health changes can subtly impact the color or appearance of your hens’ eggs, but you should expect consistency from your hens.

Common chicken eggshell colors include white or cream, and browns in various hues. Chicken eggs can also be blue, green, and even pink. Most eggs are a solid color, but some breeds like Marans, Barnevelders, and Welsummers can lay speckled eggs.

Your hens’ eggs tell about their health. Sometimes misshapen, discolored, or eggs laid with shell anomalies point to a nutritional deficit. If you notice your hens laying eggs that aren’t consistent with their previous appearances, it’s best to evaluate their diet.

Frequently asked questions about chicken eggs

How frequently do chickens lay eggs?

Every hen is different, but peak age for most laying hens is around a year and a half through 2 or 3 years of age. During that time, a good laying hen should produce anywhere from 250-350 eggs per year depending on their genetics. Egg production will decrease as hens age, and will also dip or stop altogether during their yearly molting cycle. Some hens may also decrease egg production in the wintertime to reallocate energy to stay warm.

Do chickens stop laying at a certain age?

Depending on their breed, most chickens will stop laying eggs by the time they are 4 or 5 years old. There are some breeds of chickens that will lay well into their later years, while others will drastically decrease production by year 3 or 4.

How do chickens lay eggs?

Chickens ovulate in order to lay an egg. Ovulation takes about 24 hours to complete, and starts in the ovary. The yolk is formed first, then passes through the oviduct where it is surrounded by the white (also called the albumen). Finally, the egg is encased in its shell inside of the hen’s uterus (or “shell gland”). Shell formation takes roughly 20 hours, after which the egg is laid by the hen via the cloaca or “vent”. All excretions from the hen exit through the vent, but during egg laying a hens’ uterine lining stays with the egg until it has been deposited – keeping it nice and clean.

Do chickens eat their own eggs?

Hens may begin to eat their own eggs for the following reasons:

  • Nutritional deficiencies – usually low calcium intake
  • Dehydration
  • Boredom
  • Stress
  • Feeling unsafe in the nesting area

Keep your hens from eating their eggs by supplementing their diet with calcium. Crushed oyster shells can be purchased from feed stores, or you can save the eggshells from eggs you are using to crush and feed back to your hens for a boost in calcium. Always make sure your hens have plenty of fresh water to ward off dehydration.

Provide boredom-busting activities with chicken toys, and make sure your hens are housed in secure chicken coops and chicken runs. Hens that don’t feel safe may eat their eggs to hide evidence of their presence from chicken predators. Consider installing an automatic chicken coop door to make your hens’ feel more secure in their home.

Get more chicken eggs with Omlet

All of our chicken products are designed to promote safety, comfort, and security for hens, and for ease of use for their caretakers. Healthy, happy hens lay more eggs – so give them plenty to occupy their busy minds. A walk in chicken run gives your flock ample room outside of the coop to forage and play. Add a Chicken Swing to give your hens a unique place to relax in between egg-laying sessions, and to provide versatility in their space.

Hand holding chicken eggs with chickens in background

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Beginner chicken coops

Omlet Eglu Go Up Chicken Coop with weather protection cover

Looking for a beginner chicken coop? The best chicken coop for beginners are those that can grow along with flocks and their keepers – making it the first and last chicken coop you’ll need to buy. There’s a lot hinging on your hens’ home: their health, safety, and comfort. You’ll also want a coop that is easy and quick for you to clean, and is enjoyable to use. Omlet has the coops to check all of those boxes – and more. 

The best Omlet chicken coops for beginners

The best chicken coops grow with their flocks and keepers’ level of experience. And, the best beginner chicken coops are easy to use from the start, but also functional and practical enough for even the most advanced chicken keeper. 

We’ve made keeping chickens easy for all ages and stages of flock-raisers. Omlet’s line of Eglu chicken coops not only provide superior safety and comfort to the hens they house, but also allow owners to spend less time cleaning and worrying and more time enjoying their flock. 

All of our coops are: 

  • Easy to build
  • Simple to clean 
  • Predator resistant 
  • Have the ability to be mobile with the addition of our wheels and handles kit 
  • Are twin-wall insulated, keeping your flock comfortable all year round 

Choosing your chicken coop depends on your space and how big of a flock you intend to keep. Once you’ve got an idea of where you want to place your coop and how many hens you want to have, you’re ready to find the coop that best fits your needs. 

Types of chicken coops

There are a few choices to make when it comes to buying a beginner chicken coop. Some popular options are: 

Each type of chicken coop has their own advantages, so you’ll need to decide which option best fits your lifestyle and space. For example, mobile chicken coops allow you to move your flock around your garden whenever you’d like. This lets your hens peck new grass and prevents a permanent spot from being worn into your lawn. Large chicken coops can house up to 10 small breed hens comfortably, and can also be converted into chicken tractors. Ground-level coops are best for chickens that don’t have a strong roosting drive, or for gardens subject to height restrictions.  

Wood vs plastic chicken coops

Above all, the best chicken coop for beginners is a plastic chicken coop. There are many reasons why plastic chicken coops are better than wooden chicken coops, as plastic is: 

  • Easier to clean 
  • Mite-resistant 
  • Rot-proof 
  • Better insulated 
  • Draft-free 
  • Easier to assemble 

Purchase a plastic chicken coop at the beginning of your chicken-keeping journey, and it will serve you and your flock for years to come. 

Girl and chickens in an Omlet Eglu cube large chicken coop

DIY vs ready-made chicken coops

Deciding whether to buy or build your first chicken coop? Building a proper chicken coop from scratch is hard – especially if you’re new to chickens. Hens have essentials when it comes to their home, and it’s hard for DIY plans to get them right. Most DIY plans look aesthetically pleasing, but leave much to be desired in functionality, safety, and practicality. 

Omlet coops come as a kit to be assembled and have everything you need to get started with your flock right away. Our designs have been keeping hens healthy and happy for over a decade – so there’s no guesswork for you. 

Choosing the perfect size coop for your flock

There’s a term that all chicken keepers will experience at some point: chicken math.

It’s used to describe the phenomenon of bringing home more chickens than you originally intended. This can occur right off the bat, or take a few months to set in, but at some point, most (if not all) chicken keepers crave more chickens. 

That being said, it’s always best to get the biggest coop you can for your space and budget. Chickens thrive when as much space as possible is available to them, and extra space allows room for the inevitable chicken math conundrum. 

What needs to be in your new chicken coop

A good chicken coop keeps hens comfortable, safe, and shielded from the elements – but a great chicken coop offers entertainment and enrichment as well. Chickens get bored if they don’t have enough stimulation, which can lead to behavioural and health issues. Be sure to offer a variety of things to keep your flock busy when they’re in their coop’s attached run. To bust boredom, try offering: 

The more space and activities your hens have, the happier and healthier they’ll be. Some other ideas to keep boredom at bay include: serving fresh veggies in a Caddi Chicken Treat Holder, socialising with your flock, or moving a mobile chicken coop to fresh pecking grounds. 

Top chicken coop care tips for new keepers

New chicken keepers should keep the following in mind when taking care of their chicken coops: 

  • Clean out your chickens’ coop daily to keep it fresh and to keep your hens’ in good health 
  • Use an odour-absorbing bedding such as pine pellets or shavings 
  • At least once a week, remove the roosting rack and droppings tray from your coop to pressure wash, or scrub with soap and water 
  • Collect eggs daily to help prevent broody hens and visits from predators 

Keeping your chicken coop clean is one of the best ways to ensure that your hens are in a healthy atmosphere. Like most birds, chickens keep themselves clean through preening and dust bathing – but it’s up to their owners to keep up with their housekeeping. 

Choosing a run your flock will love

Companion pieces to most chicken coops are chicken runs. Even if you want your hens to have access to most of your garden, there will inevitably be times that you’ll want to keep them penned up in a run. Large chicken runs give flocks that free-range feeling, without the hazards. 

The best option for large spaces is a walk in chicken run. Not only does it maximize your chickens’ space, but it allows you to walk with your flock and get closer than ever to your hens. Omlet’s walk in chicken runs can also be extended at any time to accommodate a growing flock. Covers for walk in chicken runs can be added to give your flock shade from the sun or a barrier from snow, rain, and wind. 

Other considerations when choosing your coop

Once you’ve researched and chosen the type of coop that best fits your lifestyle, you’ll also need to consider: chicken predators, the changing seasons, and zoning laws that may be applicable to you. 

Predators

Omlet coops are designed to protect against chicken predators. The types of predators vary depending on your location, and you can bet that at some point they will come after your hens. Common chicken predators include: 

  • Foxes
  • Badgers
  • Neighbourhood cats and dogs 

Adding an automatic chicken coop door to your chickens’ coop adds an extra layer of protection against predators. The Autodoor ensures that your flock is safely closed into their coop each night, and the horizontal opening mechanism makes it extremely difficult for predators to pry open. 

Bantams strolling out of the Omlet Eglu Go Chicken Coop door

Seasons 

Chickens are amazingly resilient, being built for life outdoors. However, not all breeds fare well in extreme temperatures. That’s why it’s so important to choose breeds that are suited to your location’s climate. Cold hardy breeds typically don’t fare well in the heat, while heat-tolerant breeds may struggle in the bitter cold. Ageing hens may also not weather the changing seasons as they once did, and some minor coop modifications can go a long way in helping them through more extreme temperatures. 

For the winter, an extreme temperature jacket can be added to your chickens’ coop as an extra layer of insulation. Weather protection for attached chicken runs in the form of tarps and covers can also be added to keep snow, rain, and wind off of your hens.

The same tarps and covers can also be used for hot weather conditions by providing shade on scorching days. Hens often do well in warm weather as long as they have adequate shade and water.

Keeping chickens for the first time

Getting chickens for the first time is an exciting experience. But don’t forget that preparation goes a long way when getting ready to bring your flock home. Make sure you have the time, space, and supplies for your hens before committing to being a flock’s forever home. Some additional things to consider when keeping chickens

  • A safe, comfortable chicken coop 
  • Chicken run 
  • Perches 
  • Food 
  • Feeders and waterers 

Make sure all of your equipment is assembled, and familiarise yourself with it before introducing your flock. You may find yourself wanting to make minor adjustments such as moving feeders and waterers or perches around, but the majority of your chickens’ set-up should be well established by the time your hens come home. 

Your first and last chicken coop with Omlet 

Choosing your chicken coop is a commitment, but when the creators of the coop are as committed to chickens and their keepers as Omlet, you’re sure to have the best experience possible. And, don’t forget to have fun with your flock. Accessories for your chickens take flock-keeping to the next level, and chicken treats help you quickly bond with your hens.  

When you choose Omlet for your chickens’ coop and accessories, you’re not just purchasing your first coop – it’s the only coop you’ll ever have to buy. Unless of course you fall victim to chicken math and need more chicken coops. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! 

Chicken on Omlet Freestanding Chicken Perch with Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop behind

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When can chicks go outside? 

A mother hen looking after her chicks

Wondering when your brooder-raised chicks can go outside? Raising hens from chicks is an exciting endeavour, but deciding when it’s safe to transition them to the outside world can seem daunting. As with most plans, timing is key! We’ve taken the guesswork out of transitioning chicks from a brooder and into their forever coop and run. With the help of a comfortable chicken coop and the knowledge to follow, you’ll gain the confidence to know when and how to safely move your chicks outside. 

At what age is it safe for chicks to go outside?

If you’ve had your chicks since they hatched, or got them shortly after, you’ll recall how soft and fluffy (and adorable) they looked. The “downy” feathers that give a chick their fuzzy appearance don’t stick around for long. You’ll soon notice your once fluffy chicks start to look a bit bedraggled. This perfectly normal (while unsightly) phenomenon is simply the process of your chicks’ adult feathers growing in. In general, you should see these adult feathers start to peek through sometime between 7 and 14 days old. There are multiple factors that will determine how quickly a chick grows their adult feathers such as: 

  • Breed
  • Diet 
  • Temperature 
  • Care 

Once you’ve noticed these adult feathers mottling your chicks’ fluff, it’s time to start slowly decreasing the temperature of the brooder. Aim to reduce their heat by 3°C each week until the brooder and the ambient temperature are the same. This gradual decrease in temperature will further aid in their transition to life outside. 

By the time your chicks reach 5 weeks of age, they’ve officially entered their “teenage stage.” They may sport a convincing set of adult feathers, but like most teenagers, are not quite mature enough for the outside world! Once your “teenage” chicks reach 6-8 weeks of age, it’s time to consider letting them fly the brooder in favour of some supervised outdoor excursions.

3 essential factors to consider when taking chicks outside

To help you determine if your chicks are ready to spend any amount of time outdoors, ask yourself: 

  • Do my chicks have all of their adult feathers? 
  • Is the weather above 15.5°C? 
  • Will they have a fully enclosed space? 

When your chicks are fully clothed in their adult feathers, they can withstand temperatures as low as 15.5°C. Sunny days are always best for outings with your chicks, and it’s important that they stay dry in order to help them regulate their temperatures. A fully enclosed chicken run is essential for outdoor visits – especially if you’re unable to stay with them the entire time. 

Temperature and climate considerations 

Timing is key when moving your chicks from their brooder to their coop and run, but if your chicks are at least 6-8 weeks old, they’ll be able to tolerate cooler temperature dips. If you have a chicken tractor, you may want to move it around to follow the sun to help your chicks transition from artificial heat to natural heat. And, if your area experiences frequent weather fluctuations in the colder months, you can add extreme weather protection to your chicks’ coop to ensure they stay cosy overnight when they are most vulnerable.

If you’re letting your chicks out during warmer months, a raised chicken coop offers additional shelter and shade. Like adult chickens, chicks can become overheated in warm climates. Be sure to have plenty of fresh water available, and use chicken run covers to provide ample shaded areas. 

Predator protection for chicks 

Once your chicks are spending large stretches of time outside, it’s not always feasible to monitor them. A safe chicken coop and predator-resistant walk in chicken run are essential not only for housing hens, but for introducing chicks to the outdoors as well. Chicken predators are mainly active at night, but there are those that would not pass up an opportunity for chicks during daylight hours. 

Consider giving your chicks plenty of places to “hide” if they get overstimulated. Simple structures such as upturned cardboard boxes with entrances cut into them, or other DIY hides are sufficient. And while your chicks might not be big enough to fully utilize chicken perches, Omlet’s Freestanding Chicken Perch has easy height adjustable perches to give your chicks an opportunity to practice their climbing skills. 

Mother hens

Some chicks are hatched and raised naturally under their mothers. Hens can go “broody” (sitting on a clutch of eggs to hatch) any time of the year, but will usually attempt to hatch eggs in the spring. If your hen is broody in the winter, it’s best to discourage her by collecting eggs daily, as chicks hatched in the winter will have a harder time than those hatched in the warmer months. If your location experiences mild winters, hens can successfully keep chicks warm in below-freezing temperatures, but will need to be monitored to ensure that the chicks aren’t being left unattended for too long when the hen goes to eat or drink.

Nature will take its course when chicks are left to be raised by a hen. Hens will provide warmth to their chicks even after they hatch, making them the “brooder.” Good mother hens instinctively know how long their chicks can withstand the absence of heat, and will help their young adjust to the ambient temperature. 

If your hen hatched chicks in an elevated chicken coop, consider moving both the hen and chicks to a ground-level chicken coop to avoid chicks accidentally falling while following their mother. Alternatively, you can remove the hatched chicks from the hen once they are dry and place them in a brooder. 

Taking chicks outside during the day 

If you’ve been decreasing the temperature of the brooder, your chicks should be comfortable outside in temperatures as low as 15.5°C by the time they are 6-8 weeks old. For successful outdoor excursions with your chicks, choose days that are sunny and warm. Start with short visits to your chicken pen and let them hop and scratch around.

Every chick is different, but expect to see hesitation or uncertainty from your chicks at first. The feeling of grass under their feet is much different from the straw, shavings, or flooring of their brooder. The outdoors hold many sights, sounds and smells that are foreign to brooder-raised chicks, so start with short visits to avoid overstimulating them. Aim for 10-15 minutes once or twice a day to help build your chicks’ confidence. Be sure to stay with your chicks during these first few visits to see how they react to their surroundings. 

After several days of short visits, increase outside time by 10-15 minutes every couple of days, keeping the weather in mind.  Before long, your chicks will be spending many daylight hours getting used to their permanent home. If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to start letting your chicks out in their coop and run during their outdoor time.

Checklist for permanently moving chicks outside 

Your chicks are fully feathered, have successfully completed outdoor trips to their new home, and are thriving. It’s time to make the move permanent! Make sure the following are met before moving your chicks outside full-time: 

  • A safe chicken coop that your chicks are comfortable accessing
  • An attached chicken run reinforced with additional predator-resistant measures
  • Feeders and waterers placed at appropriate heights for your chicks 
  • Outdoor temperatures of 15.5°C or higher, even overnight  
  • Your chicks are at least 6-8 weeks old 

If you are moving your chicks to an Eglu chicken coop, the recommended age is 12 weeks old. This gives them ample time to grow into a size that is appropriate for the design of Omlet coops. Roosting racks and coop ladders may pose a challenge to chicks under 12 weeks of age, and the wire spacing of the run was designed with larger chicks in mind. 

Can chicks be outside with other hens?

If your chicks will be joining other hens, follow the same steps as you would when introducing new chickens to your flock. Quarantine periods need not apply to chicks you’ve raised yourself in a brooder, as you would see signs of illness during that time. However, you’ll want to introduce chicks to their future flock-mates slowly to minimise the risk of injuries. A chicken pen placed inside or next to your existing flock will allow your chicks to visit your other hens safely. 

As always, hens have to establish a pecking order, regardless of how many times they’ve seen each other through a barrier. Always monitor the first encounter when introducing new members to a flock. Quickly remove any chicks that hens appear to pick on, and consider housing them or any aggressive hens separately until your chicks are bigger. 

Winter considerations for letting chicks outside 

Most chicken keepers will agree that spring and early summer are the best months to move their chicks outside. However, with some climates experiencing dreadful cold for over half of the year, it can make spring chick-raising slightly more difficult. In these situations, it’s best to keep your chicks in their brooder for as long as possible – ideally, until they are 12-16 weeks old. If your chicks are too large to stay in the brooder for that long, be sure to take extra precautions against the cold. Prepare your chicks’ coop and run for the winter as you normally would for adult hens, trusting that your Eglu keeps your chickens warm. Additional weather protection for your chicken coop can be added to provide extra insulation. 

Are my chicks too cold? 

The same signs of chickens being too cold apply to chicks. Check-in on your chicks routinely and monitor for any signs of them getting too chilly, such as: 

  • Lethargy 
  • Huddling together 
  • Standing with one foot off of the ground 
  • Discolouration of combs, wattles, or feet

If you notice any of these in your chicks during cold weather, bring them inside promptly. Do not warm them up too quickly, as this can cause them to go into shock. Only use a heat lamp if their inside area is in a drafty space such as a garage or barn. Indoor temperatures above 18°C will be adequate to slowly warm up any overly-chilled chicks. Keep them inside until they are eating and drinking normally, and plan to let them back out when the outdoor temperatures stabilise. 

When chicks should not go outside

There are some circumstances where chicks should not be transitioned outdoors. These include: 

  • If your chicks are less than 6 weeks old 
  • Sustained temperatures below freezing if your chicks are less than 12 weeks old 
  • During heavy rains or extreme weather 
  • If your chicks cannot easily access their coop 

Always check your weather forecast to get an idea of temperatures and precipitation for the week you plan to permanently transition your chicks outdoors. If heavy rains are expected, or any other significant weather events are, postpone until conditions improve. Wet chicks, just like their adult counterparts, have a hard time regulating their body temperatures when they’re wet. 

Some chicks get the hang of a chicken coop ladder quickly, while others may struggle to perfect this technique. If you notice that some of your chicks are unable to use a ladder, create a ramp to lay on top of the ladder rungs. Once they’ve gotten the hang of using their growing feet, you can remove the ramp. 

Lastly, consider avian flu and its prevalence in your area. Chicks are just as much at risk for contracting avian flu as adult hens, but by using waterproof chicken run tarps to prevent droppings from wild birds, you can greatly minimise that risk.  

Omlet’s award-winning chicken care products 

Omlet aims to help you succeed in all of your chicken-keeping endeavours, including supporting you in your journey of raising hens from chicks. Large chicken coops help accommodate your growing flock, and mobile chicken coops help move your chicks even closer to you for supervision, or to get them closer to their future flock-mates. Our hen houses make excellent first-time homes for chicks, keeping them safe and comfortable in all climates.

Boy collecting eggs from Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop in Summer

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Do all chicken coops rot? 

Lenham Wooden Chicken Coop versus Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

Worried about your chicken coop rotting? It’s a valid concern that all chicken keepers have. Chicken coops are out in the elements, and can take a beating from the weather and predators. Still, chicken keepers rely on their structural integrity to keep their flocks safe – so what happens when a coop starts to rot? 

Thankfully, not all chicken coops rot. Wooden coops all eventually succumb to their exposure to the environment, but there’s an alternative option. We invite you to consider: Omlet’s plastic chicken coops. 

Why do wooden chicken coops rot?

Wooden chicken coops, by nature, break down over time. No matter how “weather-treated” boards, planks, and roofs may be, they will eventually decompose when exposed to the relentless elements. This is especially true in areas that receive a lot of humidity and severe weather. A constant battering from rain storms, followed by intense sunshine will leach out the weather protectants that lumber may be treated with. Wind and rain will also loosen or warp shingles on chicken coops, making coops drafty and wet. Once the weather has stripped wood of its protectants, moisture sets in, and the wood begins its rotting process. 

Wood that stays damp rots the fastest. Wet wood swells and expands, which allows for more moisture to make its way in. And, when exposed to the sun, swollen wood begins to contract when it dries. Through this process of swelling and contracting, wooden chicken coops begin to lose their shape as the boards or planks warp. You may notice bowed or split wooden components on your chicken coop as a result, which will eventually break or collapse. Different types of wood experience this process at varying speeds, but most commercially bought wooden chicken coops are made from lower-quality wood with a shorter lifespan. 

Once the wood of a chicken coop begins to rot, any affected boards will need to be replaced. It’s important to address any rotten pieces of a chicken coop immediately to avoid adverse health effects on your chickens. Rotten wood attracts mites and other parasites that will plague your hens, and mould or mildew is often present in damp wood. These fungi can cause respiratory problems in your chickens, and creates unsanitary conditions for both you and your flock. 

How to prevent your chicken coop from rotting

Oftentimes it’s easier to build or purchase a new chicken coop from scratch than to renovate a rotten one. Repairing a rotten chicken coop is costly and time-consuming, and will likely need to be repeated throughout the lifetime of a wooden coop. There are preventative measures you can take to maintain a wooden coop to help improve its longevity, but these too take effort and resources. 

Repainting, staining, or weather-treating a wooden chicken coop 

To help prevent wood rot, wooden chicken coops can be repainted, stained, or weather-treated regularly – usually on an annual basis. Take great care to select products that are non-toxic to chickens, and allow for ample drying time between coats before allowing your hens back into their house. Natural products such as tung oil can be applied to wooden chicken coops to make them water-resistant, but 100% pure tung oil can be costly. 

Keep your coop covered 

Another method to help prevent wood rot is to keep your chickens’ coop covered. This could be through the use of a tarp, inside of a structure such as a shed or a barn, or by building a structure over the top. It may seem a bit redundant to cover a chicken coop that is meant to protect your flock from the elements, but shielding a wooden coop from sun and moisture can help preserve its components. This isn’t the most convenient option, and application of water-resistant products will still be needed on occasion to protect the exterior of your coop. 

Forgo a wooden coop 

By far the easiest option to avoid having to fix a rotten chicken coop is to purchase a plastic chicken coop. Omlet’s Eglu Cube chicken coop is made of heavy-duty plastic that’s weather and waterproof, so there’s no concern over rotting components. Truly a zero-maintenance solution, the Eglu Cube is ready to house a flock of up to 10 small breed hens from the time it’s assembled. Omlet’s design is meant to last a lifetime, which means no breaking down or rotting, and no application of preservatives is required to keep your Eglu Cube sanitary and functional. 

Why do plastic coops not rot?

The short answer as to why plastic outlasts wood is: because plastic does not exist in nature, naturally occurring organisms are not effective at breaking it down. Wood exists in nature, so there are bacteria and other living organisms that are equipped to dispose of it. Plastic, on the other hand, has no “natural” foes. 

Plastic chicken coops do not rot or lose their shape in the elements and do not require routine maintenance. They’re also much easier to clean, offer a more sanitary environment, and are able to be moved with ease compared to their wooden counterparts. 

How to maintain a plastic coop

All Omlet products are designed to last, but you’ll still want to check in on your chickens’ coop routinely for any signs of wear and tear. Usually, any doors or parts that are not aligning properly are the result of the soil beneath the coop shifting, and can easily be corrected by moving the coop by a few inches as needed. Chicken run clips may also come loose during these shifts, and should be checked regularly. 

Aside from checking your coop for shifting, you’ll also want to clean your coop regularly to keep it fresh. Even deep cleaning the Eglu Cube takes mere minutes, as compared to several hours of cleaning a wooden chicken coop. A pressure washer or high-powered water hose makes the process go even faster. Simply remove the droppings tray and roosting rack, spray clean, and wipe dry. 

Compared to wooden chicken coops, maintaining the Eglu Cube saves countless hours each year. And, a coop that’s so easy to clean and maintain creates a much more sanitary environment for your hens, which cuts down on illness and discomfort brought about by the weather. Keeping chickens has never been easier or more enjoyable than with an Omlet coop. 

Omlet and your chickens’ perfect home

A rotting chicken coop is a frustration for chicken keepers that we sought to put an end to. The result is our line of high-quality chicken coops that stand the test of time. Combine your Eglu Cube with a Walk In Chicken Run for the ultimate chicken-keeping experience. And, with accessories such as the PoleTree Customisable Chicken Perch or Caddi Chicken Treat Holder, you’ll be able to foster and enjoy watching your hens fulfil their natural behaviours. 

Chickens outside in their Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop and Run

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Chicken coop size

Chickens in their Omlet Eglu Go Up Chicken Coop with weather protection

Wondering how to choose the right chicken coop size for your flock? Your hens’ home will need to safely and comfortably house them, and you’ll want to be sure that you get the right size for the number of chickens you have. Appeal to all of the Goldilocks in your flock with our tips and coop sizing. Find your perfect coop that’s not too big, not too small but just the right size.

The importance of the right size coop

Chicken coop size is important because hens need adequate space to roost at night and lay their eggs. Chicken coops with dedicated egg-laying areas are ideal so that your hens have a place to rest and a place to nest. This keeps your eggs clean and free from being smashed by roosting chickens.

Your chickens’ coop should be large enough for your hens to feel comfortable and safe. Keep in mind that your hens’ house will mainly be used to sleep in at night and to lay eggs. Your hens will play, forage and be active outdoors, so their coop will only need to be large enough to manoeuvre into roosting or laying positions comfortably.

It’s also important to not get a coop that’s too large – especially in colder climates. Hens huddle together during chilly weather, and a smaller coop will help contain their body heat within. If you know that you’re limited to keeping 3 or 4 hens, it’s best to go with a smaller chicken coop. But if you plan to keep more than 4 hens, their body heat will fill the space of a larger chicken coop.

How much space is needed per chicken

There’s no exact formula for determining how much space to give chickens, and chicken coop sizes can vary. Different breeds of chickens have varying space requirements, and each individual hen will have their own opinion of how close they prefer to be during roosting. As a general rule, you’ll want to provide your hens with as much space as possible. This will allow ample space for your existing flock, as well as room to grow. The phenomenon “chicken math” plagues most chicken keepers when trying to calculate coop size per chicken. This is a term used when flock raisers acquire more chickens than they originally intended to. So, it’s always a good idea to get the biggest chicken coop you can for your space, should chicken math creep up on you.

Some cities or states may require specific dimensions for your chicken coop based on the number of hens you have. Check out any local restrictions or requirements before choosing your chicken coop.

Elements to consider when deciding the perfect size chicken coop

Before settling on your chicken coop size, make sure you consider the following:

  • How many hens you’d like to keep
  • Your garden’s space
  • Local requirements or restrictions

You’ll also want to consider if you want a mobile chicken coop or one that you’ll keep in a permanent location. Mobile chicken coops are great for letting your chickens help mow your lawn, and are particularly helpful in areas that experience severe weather events. They can be moved to safety quickly and easily – while your flock remains safely inside.

Chicken coops placed in a permanent location will need a chicken run or chicken fencing to be attached to or placed inside. This will allow your hens time outside of their house in safety, and keep them from areas you’d rather not have them pecking around in.

Choosing your chicken coop comes down to personal preference. Most chicken keepers would agree that having a chicken coop that’s easy to clean is at the top of their list when it comes to selecting a chicken coop. Your ideal chicken coop size should be one that fits your needs and fits your flock inside.

Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop with windbreak

Finding the right coop for your flock size

If you’ve already decided on which breeds of chickens you’re going to keep, it’s time to determine how many you want to have. There are many different types of chicken coops to consider. Those with these restrictions can easily choose from our chicken coops that house 2-4 chickens:

  • The Eglu Go
    • Perfect for those needing a low-profile chicken coop, or that keep hens that prefer roosting at ground level
    • Can also be used as additional housing for sick or injured hens
  • The Eglu Go Up
    • Ideal for those wanting an elevated coop
    • Can be converted into a mobile chicken coop easily with the addition of handles and wheels

Larger flocks can be housed comfortably in one of our large chicken coops. The Eglu Cube is recommended for:

  • Flocks of up to 10 small breed chickens
  • Chicken keepers wanting to grow their flocks
  • Both mobile and permanent setups

How to increase the size of your current chicken coop

At Omlet, we have firsthand experience with chicken math. Expanding your flock’s space will likely be an ongoing endeavour. Our walk in chicken runs can be extended indefinitely to accommodate your growing flock. Simply choose your ideal dimensions using our online configurator, and attach the corresponding run extension to your existing walk in run. Our attached chicken coop runs can also be extended to up to 7.2 metres

Add extra chicken coops for sleeping and laying space within your growing run. The addition of any of our Eglu chicken coops will offer lodging to your growing flock. Create different areas of your chickens’ area with chicken run partitions, which can separate your flock by breed, size, or temperament.

First-time chicken-keeping tips

Ready to get started keeping chickens? Once you’ve determined your coop size, here are some other things to check off before making the poultry plunge:

  • Research what type of diet you will feed your hens. This could be regular laying feed, organic, non-GMO, or free-range pellets or crumbles.
  • Decide if you want to start out with hens or chicks. There are pros and cons to each, but chicks will require additional equipment and care for the first 6-12 weeks of their lives.
  • Prepare your garden and measure where you want your chicken flock’s home to be. This can help you determine if you would prefer a mobile or permanent setup.

The perfect size with Omlet

Choosing the chicken coop size that’s right for you is a big decision. But with Omlet, you can be sure that no matter the size of the coop, you’ll be getting a hen house that’s been designed to last a lifetime. All of our chicken coops are built from the same heavy-duty, rot-free materials. Add some finishing touches with a Freestanding Chicken Perch or the Chicken Swing to help your flock enjoy their space to the fullest.

Hens in their Omlet Eglu Go Chicken Coop

 

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Daily chicken care

Chicken keeper cleaning out Omlet coop as the sun sets

Daily chicken care can be an enjoyable activity. More of a hobby than a chore, caring for your flock should be something you look forward to every day. Chickens are relatively low-maintenance animals, but like all pets, require daily care to live their best lives.

Wondering what a day in the life of a chicken keeper looks like? We’ve compiled sample schedules that showcase how Omlet makes tending to your flock easy and enjoyable.

Morning chicken-keeping care

What if you could clean your chicken coop in the same amount of time that it takes you to prepare your morning cup of coffee or tea? With the Eglu Cube Chicken Coop by Omlet, you can! Your flock’s morning care routine couldn’t be easier or more efficient than with the Eglu Cube. Not only is our chicken coop easy to clean, but the included feeders and waterers hold plenty of sustenance for your flock to get them through the day.

Imagine if you will, a typical morning chicken care routine for a keeper with an Eglu Cube…

  • Your day may start around 8:00 am. You’ll want to let your hens out to seize the day and open up their nesting partition door once they’ve vacated the coop.
  • Then it’s time to clean the chicken coop out, but since you’ve got a sophisticated, easy-to-clean coop, it’s no problem. You’ll remove the droppings tray, and dump it in your compost pile or garbage.
  • You’ll then want to spray or wipe the droppings tray and removable roosting rack clean if needed.
  • Time to refresh the bedding in the tray, and replace the now-clean components back into the Cube.
  • Finally, you’ll just need to top off your flock’s feeders and waterers for the day.

These tasks only take minutes for you to finish – likely before your coffee pot or tea kettle is done with your morning pick-me-up.

Afternoon chicken-keeping care

Your mid-day chicken check-in can be quick and easy. Hens usually lay eggs during the late morning and early afternoon hours, so mid-late afternoon is prime time for collecting cackleberries. The Eglu Cube has a convenient access door on the side that opens directly into the nesting area for quick egg-collecting.

Afternoon is also the perfect time to watch your hens in action. If you provide them with an assortment of chicken toys and accessories, you’ll be able to observe them play, peck, and perch throughout the day. Our customizable PoleTree Chicken Perch is perfect for your hens to catch a view of the world from an elevated place, or to take a quick nap in the afternoon sunshine.

When you head out to check for eggs, consider taking your flock a snack in the Caddi Chicken Treat Holder. This unique treat dispenser elevates snacktime and is great for keeping the floor of your flock’s run clean and tidy. Serve up fresh veggies or leafy greens to supply your chickens with enrichment and nutrition.

Chicken stood next to the Omlet chicken coop door

Evening chicken-keeping care

When daylight dwindles, it’s time to wrap up your flock’s day. For maximum safety, close the door to the coop overnight. If you aren’t home to tuck your hens in, consider adding an Automatic Chicken Coop Door.

The Autodoor in action:

  • The Autodoor can be programmed with the clock or the sun to keep your flock on schedule – with or without you being home.
  • Sophisticated safety sensors prevent the Autodoor from closing on any hens that are crossing or sitting on the threshold of the Eglu Cube.
  • The sideways opening mechanism increases flock safety by making it difficult for predators to pry the door open.

Imagine how simple your evening routine would be with an Eglu Cube:

  • You’ll close your hens in at dusk, or just after dark. If you’re using an Autodoor, you may just take a nice evening walk and check to make sure all of your hens made it in for bedtime.
  • As a matter of personal preference, you may want to slide the nesting area partition door closed to prevent hens from roosting in it overnight.
  • Finally, you’ll probably want to collect and store your flock’s leftovers to reduce raids from rodents.

And just like that, your flock is tucked into their comfy coop for another night of restful sleep.

Housing your hens in an Eglu Cube keeps them safe not just overnight, but during storms and predator attacks as well. But just how sturdy are Eglu Cubes? Strong enough to withstand attacks from a bear, hurricanes, tornadoes, and falling trees. Sleep easy at night knowing your flock is being fully protected when they’re secured in their Eglu Cube.

Omlet and chicken care

Omlet’s chicken-keeping experts have made tending to flocks easier than ever. Not only are our products safe and durable, but they’re easy to clean and a joy to use. Lighten your workload and treat your hens when you add an Eglu Cube, Autodoor, and PoleTree to your chickens’ setup.

Chicken on wooden bar looking for treats

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