We want to give a shout out to the unsung furry or feathered heroes that provide companionship, comfort and cuddles when we’re not feeling our best – the Power of Pets. We asked the Omlet community to share their stories of the times when pets have saved their day, month, year or even life – and the results are extremely heart-warming. Grab a tissue and keep reading!
DEBORAH & TEDDY
I have always wanted to have a cat, but I struggled with the thought of supporting an animal, thinking they wouldn’t be happy with me and that I would be using them.
I have very low self esteem. I suffer from ADHD, and one of the symptoms is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria i.e. the fear of being rejected if I made the slightest mistake. This led to me not wanting to become attached to anyone, human or animal, as I was sure that I would automatically make them unhappy.
And then, in the summer of 2021, a friend who knew I wanted a cat told me about Teddy. I fell in love with her as soon as I saw a photo, and adopted her on a whim. I have never regretted it.
She taught me how to respect her, to respect myself, that I could be loved unconditionally and that she has absolute confidence in me. She wakes me up, she plays, she cuddles, and we have created a way to understand each other. I especially like it when she comes and disturbs my meditation sessions. I’m sitting cross-legged and quiet so I must want hugs, right?
Of course, I have also had help from mental health professionals, but Teddy was definitely the one who taught me that I was valuable and had the right to be loved. Today, I can’t imagine my life without her. I’ve been having anxiety attacks for a few years, but they have changed, and now I can fight them.
CLAIRE & RYO
I am a psychologist and my dog Ryo, a Lhasa Apso, comes with me to work to meet my patients. I work with people aged 55 to 99, and I can only see the benefits Ryo has on them. For a moment they forget everything else and just relax and laugh, and they always talk about Ryo the next session and how much they liked meeting him.
Sometimes patients cry, and then Ryo goes straight to them and offers hugs. It’s amazing to see how sensitive he is to our emotions. And for me, it’s a daily joy to have him by my side – I genuinely never feel lonely.
BECCA & HER HENS
I have 6 hens. Nat, Wanda, Prim, Nieve, Peggy and Winter, plus two in heaven. They are rescue hens but really, they rescued me. I was going through a really dark time in my life and they made me smile on my darkest days. They are still sometimes the reason I get out of bed. The way they are so excited to greet me. Many people don’t realise how spectacular and loving chickens are. I’m forever grateful that they came into my life – they help me so much!
LINDSEY & BIGGIE
I have struggled with mental health issues and drug abuse issues since I was 12 years old, I am now 30. Growing up I always had cats and dogs, but everything changed when I got Biggie Smalls.
Biggie is a 2 pound male teacup chihuahua, and the most unique dog that I have ever owned. I don’t even consider him a dog, he is my son and he comes with me pretty much everywhere I go. When I got him I was in a very bad place mentally, and my life revolved around drugs. I ended up going to rehab twice after getting him, and the last time I decided that he was the most important thing in my life and that I needed to change and better myself for him.
I have no human children, just my four dogs; Biggie, Puppers, Milo, and Luna. After coming home from rehab for the last time my life has completely changed. I wake up in the morning happy and blessed to be able to have Biggie and the rest of my dogs in my life, I don’t wake up craving anything but him! I am doing things that I never had any interest in doing before. Like cooking, I want the best and healthiest life for him. The point is that if I didn’t have Biggie I don’t know where I would be right now, or if I would even be here. My outlook on life has done a complete 180° and I don’t have to force myself to want to do anything anymore, it just comes naturally.
They all bring so much joy to my life, I have been clean going on just around a year now and it’s all because of him! I truly believe that anybody struggling with mental health issues or drug addiction can change their lives for the better and mine has changed because of Biggie Smalls!
AZANIEL & SIMON
A few years back my father passed away. He was my best friend and teacher, and meant the world to me. When he passed away I had a hard time accepting it. Then someone gave me a budgie. His name is Simon and he decreased the pain a lot. After 3 years I decided to get him a partner. Her name is Catherine and they also have a baby chick together, Luke. They just make your life so much more pleasant because they are so adorable and won’t judge you. They also accept you and who you want to become.
Are you looking for some fun activities for the whole family over the Easter holiday? We’ve gathered some fun games, creative craft activities and delicious recipes that will keep children (and adults) busy between the egg painting and the hot cross bun snack breaks!
Thursday 17th February is Random Acts of Kindness Day, celebrating the small (or big) things you can do to make someone else’s day, week, month or even year. This is the perfect opportunity to spread some happiness to friends and family, furry or not! Here are a few suggestions of things you could do (pet based of course!)
Walk a Friend’s Dog
If your friend has just had a baby, has a busy time at work or just has a four legged friend that won’t tire, they will most likely be overjoyed if you pop around to take their dog for a walk. Spend an hour enjoying the countryside or throwing a ball around in the park, and you will be both dog and owner’s favourite person!
Make a Cake From Your Hens’ Eggs
Gather up a few fresh eggs from your chicken coop and dig out your favourite cake recipe. Invite some friends over for a spontaneous afternoon tea or knock on the neighbours’ door and hand them your delicious creation.
Buy Your Pet a Blanket
For pets it’s Random Acts of Kindness Day every day of the year. They give us so much joy it’s nice to, every now and then, treat them to something nice. A great gift for your pet is a Super Soft Dog Blanket to put on their bed. They don’t even have to be a dog, many pets will love snuggling up on a blanket for some extra warmth and comfort.
Go to a Pet Shop and Pay For Someone’s Shopping
Give back to a fellow pet owner at the pet shop. You don’t even have to make yourself known, just leave some extra money when you’re paying and tell the shop assistant to put it towards the next customer’s purchase. A gift to both pet and owner!
Donate to an Animal Shelter
If you have a few pennies to spare there is arguably no better way to spend them than to donate to an animal shelter or charity. Some shelters accept donations in the form of food, treats and bedding, so you could buy an extra bag of your own pet’s favourite feed and put it in a donation box or bring it off at the HQ.
Make Today Your Pet’s Perfect Day
You probably have a pretty clear idea of what your pet’s ideal day would look like. Maybe it’s a special breakfast followed by a walk or some playing? A grooming session and some cuddling? Or just treats galore! You can pretend it’s their birthday and make every aspect of the day that little extra bit special. And we’re sure you’ll also have a big smile on your face by bedtime!
Collect Litter on Your Dog Walk
As you’re already going out, you might as well take a rubbish bag and some gloves and pick up some litter while your dog is bouncing around. You’ll be surprised how much rubbish is hiding in hedgerows or on the side of the road. A great help for wildlife, and a nice thing to do for the community!
Leave Out Bird Food
Wild animals can also need a little help sometimes, especially in the colder months, and they will definitely appreciate a small random gift of kindness. Put up some bird feeders in your garden and fill them with delicious seeds or fat balls and you will quickly be able to spot a range of beautiful little birds outside your window.
These are our suggestions, but I’m sure you have lots of other ideas! A Random Act of Kindness could be to share them on social media and tag us so more people get a chance to spread some happiness this February!
We asked people from the amazing Omlet community to share stories of how their pets helped them find love, or how animals played a big part in some of their most romantic moments. Cuddle up and read these heart-warming stories!
Elisse – VW, USA
I met my husband, Dan, in 2001 while we were both working for FEMA in NYC, on the Disaster Response Operation following the 9/11 terrorist attacks; he was Logistics from HQ, and I was Community Relations from NYC. He came over to my apartment, and, being a US Army Ret. workaholic can-do kinda guy, he decided I needed shelves – and that he was just the man to install them! Dan set out his tools and got to work… and Trapper, my sweet old Yellow Lab, laid down next to him and put his paws over Dan’s tools. It was SO obviously a possessive “he’s mine” move that we both started to laugh- that was one of the many reasons I knew Dan was “the one”: Trapper was not going to let him go!
Trapper always loved me, I’d had him since he was a puppy in 1988, but he ADORED Dan: he’d finally found “his guy”! And Dan loved him back: When we moved to WV in 2002, and Trapper’s back legs started to go from old age, Dan carried him up and down 3 flights of stairs every day… and Trapper would lay out in the sun while Dan worked on our garden, swiveling his head around, as he had to see Dan All The Time… he’d “arf” if he couldn’t see Dan at all times!
Mel – UK
As a child I grew up around animals, and this pushed me into my career as a veterinary nurse. My life is based around my pets, and pet owners put their trust in me every day to keep their 4 legged, feathered, and scaled family members safe.
My valentines love story is about my wedding day, it wouldn’t be the same without animals around me! Upon planning the wedding when I called my local vicar the first thing he asked was ‘I hope your dogs are coming’ of course they were going, but he didn’t release the extend of the animal packed day! I was taken to my wedding by 2 beautiful grey horses pulling us along with my 3 dogs by my side. My dogs walked down the church aisle with my man on honour, and one of them was my ring bearer! I’m so proud that she managed to go all the way down the aisle without stopping to get cuddles from all her favourite guests in the church pews. I was then taken by the horse and carriage to a beautiful barn where my mum surprised me with one of my favourite animals, alpacas!
By the end of the day my dress was black and green where the alpacas had stood on my dress, but I didn’t care, it truly was a magical animal packed day! However I was a little sad my chickens and guinea pigs didn’t get to make an appearance, but I think they were happy enjoying the sun at home!
Lauren – UK
When I first met my now husband he told me he had a cat. Having not had my own place due to being at uni and travelling I was very intrigued as I love animals. I swear blind he told me that she was called Stripe because she had a white stripe from the tip of her nose to the tip of his tail. This wasn’t the case as she was a tabby with no white markings. But it got me intrigued enough to hear more!
When I first went to my now husband’s house for the first time shortly after we met, I sat on the sofa whilst he made a cup of tea in the adjoining kitchen. Whilst he was doing that his cat (Stripe) came and sat on my lap and I was stroking her. When he came back with the tea my husband said that she never does anything like that as she is a very shy cat. So we always say that Stripe chose me as she knew I would love her!
She sadly died in 2020, but we gave her the cat equivalent of a state funeral.
Annette – UK
My cuddly Cupid was my first ever dog called Dooby !! She was a Lakeland Terrier cross with a Jack Russell – and a very picky, feisty dog. When I had a few friends come over to stay, just near Christmas, she decided that night that she would leave my nice warm bed and go and sleep with one of my friends. Her choice!!
His name is Ian and we have now been married for nearly 25 years, and yes, she was at the ceremony. Unfortunately we no longer have her with us in the flesh, but she will always be with us in spirit, having made the best decision of my life for me!!
Mathieu – France
When I met my future wife Céline, she had a 3 year old Yorkie: Nouky. The first time I went to pick her up to go to the cinema, her father opened the door. I politely asked to see Celine, but the dad called Celine’s mother Lyn, pretending I was coming for her… But the little dog, whom I had met the week before, came to cheer me on. I wasn’t in the wrong house! He stayed with us for the next 12 years, always playing ball (excellent goalkeeper) and never tired!
Providing your small pets with enough exercise and activity is extremely important for their mental and physical well-being. An under stimulated rabbit or guinea pig will easily become bored, which can result in unwanted behaviours and a lot of frustration. Luckily, there are things you as an owner can do to encourage movement and introduce more excitement into their lives. Here are some of our top tips:
Provide more space
It might seem obvious, but it’s much easier for a rabbit or guinea pig to get enough exercise if they have plenty of space to move around on. Extend their current run, add new playpens, or set up a room in the house or area of the garden where your pets can securely roam free.
Change things up
New things will excite and stimulate your rabbits and guinea pigs. However, they don’t need a completely new home every month to stay interested. Regularly swapping toys around or changing the setup of their hutch and run by moving accessories to new places will encourage them to explore, stimulating both brain and body!
Get them foraging
Rabbits and guinea pigs instinctively love searching for food. You can help them live out this natural interest by hiding treats in their enclosure, stuffing hay into small nooks or putting leaves, fruit and vegetables in a Caddi Treat Holder. Anything that gets your pets working for the reward of some really good treats is great in terms of activating them!
Adding guinea pig and rabbit platforms to your enclosure is a great way of utilising all the space available. Guinea pigs will love running down ramps, and rabbits can use their long leg muscles to jump up onto platforms or steps. As if that wasn’t enough, rabbits especially love sitting up high and inspecting their surroundings, so giving them a lookout space is going to be very popular!
While it might not apply to the average guinea pig, you will struggle to find a rabbit that doesn’t absolutely love digging. If you don’t want them to ruin the lawn, giving them a designated digging pit is a good idea. A large plant pot or tray with loose soil will be a great start. You can also put some crumpled up newspaper in the bottom for your rabbit to shred.
Get involved with the playing
If your pet is comfortable with it, a great way of activating them is to play together. Get down to their level and give them some time to get used to your presence. Eventually they will likely approach you and you can slowly introduce games and interactive playing. You can bring toys and treats for encouragement, depending on what your pet likes.
Rabbits’ and guinea pigs’ teeth never stop growing, so to keep them in tip top shape your pets will need something to grind them down with. A constant supply of hay is the most important thing, but you can also give them gnaw toys and pet friendly branches to nibble on.
Give them a space to rest
While it’s important to give your pets enough space and opportunities to move and exercise, it’s just as important to make sure they have places in their home where they can settle down and relax. Being prey animals, they will benefit from having somewhere secluded to return to where they know they will be safe. This could be snuggling down in the bedding of their hutch, or peeking out from a shelter on the run.
Does your cat get in the way when you’re wrapping presents at Christmas? Are you tired of hunching over badly wrapped socks with scotch tape stuck to your fingers? Is your dog snoring in the corner with one eye on the food gift sets?
It’s time to take a break and make some fun DIY pet toys! These four simple toys can easily be made with used wrapping paper cardboard tubes, so you can make great use of the tubes, and keep your pets entertained.
Opting out of wrapping this year? Don’t worry, you can make all these toys with a toilet paper roll or paper towel rolls.
Safety note: Always supervise children with scissors and supervise your pets with these new toys. Give treats in moderation.
You will need:
Toilet roll cardboard tubes or a longer wrapping paper tube cut shorter
Your dog or cat’s favorite treats/kibbles
Cut into one end of the cardboard tubes, and repeat around the edge of the end of the tube, about 1cm between each cut, and up the tube by about 2cm
Fold the cut pieces into each other and hook together so they hold their position, push your thumb through so the ends point inwards into the tube
Repeat with the other end, but before closing up the tube and pushing inside, fill with your pet’s favorite treats or kibble
Use the pencil to poke holes into the tube, just about big enough for the kibble to fall out of
Give to your pet and encourage them to kick the tube around to release the treats!
You will need:
Toilet paper roll cardboard tubes or a longer wrapping paper tube cut shorter
A small cardboard box
Your dog’s favorite kibble
If using a cardboard box, cut down the top flaps so it’s a completely open box
Stand up toilet paper roll cardboard tubes in the box. You can cut them into different heights to make it more interesting
Fill the box with your dog’s food
Place the box on the floor and watch as your dog sniffs out their kibble and nudges and removes the tubes to eat
Christmas tree chewer
You will need:
Toilet paper roll cardboard tubes or a longer wrapping paper tube cut shorter
Fold a toilet paper roll tube in half by length (end to end)
Draw a Christmas tree shape on the toilet roll
It’s very important to leave a folded edge uncut by about half a centimeter either side – this will hold the tree together
Once the tree shape is cut, push in the sides so isn’t folded flat, and the tree should stand up
Place in your hamster’s cage or playpen and enjoy!
You will need:
Toilet roll cardboard tubes or cut up a longer wrapping paper tube
Treats or kibble
Cut a toilet roll tube into 5 rings
Place one ring through the other, and a third ring through these 2
Place another ring through a gap, then pop some kibble into the center
Place the final ring through the tiny gap left so it holds its shape
Roll the treat ball on the floor for your cat or dog to kick around to release the treats!
Anxiety is an issue that affects many dogs. Some breeds are prone to nervousness, and some individual dogs may have had a tough upbringing that results in anxiety as an adult.Others may have issues such as joint pain that require extra comfort and a cozy corner.
The symptoms of anxiety in a dog or pup may include hiding, ‘burrowing’ under blankets, cushions or on a bed (the dog bed or the owner’s bed!), or ‘cringing’ (with the tail between the legs). Some dogs will express anxiety by whining and whimpering, panting when there has been no energetic activity, shivering. Jumping – even nipping and snapping – can also be a sign of dog anxiety.
Treating dog anxiety is not a straightforward issue, neither in humans nor dogs. While humans can talk to someone about the issue and receive good advice, the options for a dog are more limited. Positive training can go a long way towards reducing dog anxiety and boosting confidence, and a calm environment can have a very positive impact, too. The dog bed can make a big difference here.
What can calm an anxious dog?
Dog anxiety often stems from puppyhood stress. With rescue dogs, the events in the early months of your pet’s life are often unknown. Dog anxiety is usually linked to separation, though. Out and out abuse manifests as fear and lack of confidence in dogs, but anxiety is something slightly different. A high quality calming pet bed can help dogs with a mild form of separation anxiety – that is, if your dog frets when left alone, or is particularly ‘clingy’ with one member of the family.
Dog anxiety can also be brought on by discomfort. Many dogs suffer from joint pains, notably in the hips as they grow older. Lying on a blanket or a thin dog bed or a pet bed that’s too small will not give these dogs the comfort they need for a good night’s sleep, leading to a vicious circle of anxiety-inducing poor sleep and stress.
A comfortable pet bed provides the anxious dog with that all-important sense of security, a combination of a bolt-hole and a life jacket. Such dog beds may feature orthopedic padding, blankets or quilts for really snuggling down, extra-soft cushions and raised sides for resting a lazy head on.
Even the best dog beds alone will not ‘cure’ a dog’s anxiety, and they need to be part of a general dog-friendly environment, combined with a consistent behavioural dog training programme, a healthy diet, supplements, and – if absolutely necessary –medication. Dog beds, then, are where dog owners should start when addressing anxiety issues, but they are only part of the wider solution.
Best dog beds for anxious dogs
The central part of a calm environment for dogs is the dog bed. The location of the pet bed is important. It needs to be somewhere relatively quiet, where the dog can feel safe and in control. The design of a bed for dogs is equally important, and a comfortable mattress is the beginning, rather than the end of the story.
So, what type of bed does a dog prefer? For many dogs, a bed is simply the place where they lie down and sleep. It doesn’t even have to be the same spot each night – some dogs like to spend one night on their allocated bed, the next night in a cool spot on the kitchen floor, and the next night camped at the foot of your bed. But with anxious dogs, consistency is important, and the right bed in the right place is the key.
An anti-anxiety dog bed can actively reduce stress and anxiety, and when combined with anti-stress training, the dog bed can go a long way towards eliminating the issue. Calming supplements can also help, and in extreme cases a vet will recommend anti-stress medication, too.
Do anxiety beds work for dogs?
An anti-anxiety dog bed is all about giving dogs and puppies a sense of security, reinforced by sheer comfort. The key is in the design, and there are many models to choose from. The best options include dog beds that go the extra mile to enhance your dog’s comfort, including features such as a removable cover, orthopedic foam, memory foam, a washable cover (machine washable, ideally), and a generally easy to clean design. Dogs love their comfort, and a consistently good night’s sleep, after all, is one of the best ways to tackle and reduce dog’s anxiety.
A well designed dog bed will be soft, machine washable and hygienic. Omlet’s Bolster dog beds, for example, provide plenty of comfort and support for your furry friend, with super soft memory foam mattresses, raised edges and an easy to clean washable cover. Topologydog beds combine these benefits with the option of raising the bed off the ground to improve air flow and prevent issues such as mould, mildew, dust and debris, all of which can accumulate in a poorly ventilated dog bed. The Topology dog bed mattress can be covered with different ‘topper’ blankets, some of them gently absorbing damp and dirt, others simply adding an extra layer of soft bedding to burrow under. A dog loves to feel cozy!
A top class calming dog bed won’t cure dog or pup anxiety on its own. But a good night’s sleep is half the battle, providing the dog with the comfortable start and end to each day, making the rest of the anti-anxiety regime that little bit easier.
Topology Dog Beds give all dog’s that ‘clean sheet’ feeling.
A recent survey discovered that 22% of dog owners think that the dog bed takes 2 weeks to become unhygienic, yet 23% still leave it a month between washes! No wonder a dog bed is one of the 10 dirtiest spots in the home.
We’re known as a nation of dog lovers, but it has become clear that many owners do not give their dogs the sleeping experience they deserve. In fact, the survey showed that only half of dog owners wash their dog’s bed as frequently as dog and hygiene experts recommend: at least every other week.
The survey found the main reasons people struggle to keep their dog’s bed clean is that it’s time consuming and it leaves their dog without a bed while the cover is being washed and dried.
So how do we make it easier for the owners, and more comfortable and hygienic for the dogs? Enter Omlet’s newest innovation: Topology, the dog bed evolution our pets have been craving!
Topology Dog Beds feature patented, machine washable toppers that easily zip on and off a sturdy and supportive memory foam mattress. This allows owners to quickly swap to a new topper when the dirty one is in the wash. A range of designs from luxurious sheepskin to highly absorbent microfiber and even a beanbag version mean that you can find a topper that suits your dog perfectly, and looks great in your home.
After many days of rigorous play and nights of deep sleep, a worn topper can also be replaced without the need to throw away the rest of the bed. Economical, hygienic and kinder to the environment!
Another exciting feature of the Topology Dog Bed is the possibility to raise the bed with stylish designer feet. Not only does this make the bed blend beautifully in with the rest of your furniture, it also improves airflow around the bed without creating nasty drafts, minimizing dust and debris as well as unwelcome disturbances. Yet another improvement to dog bed hygiene, thanks to Omlet!
Omlet’s Head of Product Design, Simon Nicholls, says: “We wanted to combine all the things dogs and their owners find important into one ultimate dog bed, and what we ended up with was Topology. The combination of the base, the toppers and the feet provides extreme comfort and support, cleanliness and hygiene, and durability. It’s been really nice to see how different dogs tend to go for different toppers and how their favorites match their personalities!”
Meet five pawsome stars from our exciting new video, and find out more about their new favourite dog bed: Topology!
Topology is a super stylish, comfortable and practical bed that both dogs and owners will love! Machine washable toppers zip on and off the supportive memory foam mattress, so that your dog’s bed can easily be kept clean and hygienic. The range of five different toppers also means that you will be able to customise the bed to fit your dog and their personality.
We asked five of the canine characters in the Topology video to tell us which topper was their favourite and why:
Freddie love his Topology Dog Bed with a comfy Beanbag topper
Freddie is a boisterous Dalmatian with bundles of energy! He loves showing off his jumping skills, and will happily throw himself at his bed over and over again to burn off some steam. This isn’t a challenge for the robust fabric and stitching of the Topology Dog Bed, and Freddies favourite topper, the Beanbag, is both fun and super comfortable as it fully lets the dog’s body relax as they lie down on top of it.
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes even Freddie needs a good, long nap, and as much as the Topology dog bed can withstand his lively playing, it will also provide superb support for his resting body. Thanks to the memory foam layer in the base and the softness of the topper, Freddies owners have no doubt he’s fully relaxed and comfortable when he finally settles in for the night.
Woody could relax for days on his Topology bed with luxurious Sheepskin topper
Even if neither he nor his owner would admit to it, Woody the Goldendoodle is what many would describe as a pampered pooch. He won’t settle for anything but the most luxurious of dog beds after his strolls around the city’s parks, so it’s no surprise that his favourite topper is the sheepskin.
Positioned in the best position in the living room, Woody can stretch out on his Topology Dog Bed and feel the super soft fabric against his skin while the memory foam mattress moulds around his body. Woody’s owner really appreciates how easy it is to remove and clean the topper.
Winston feels safe and supported on his Topology dog bed with Bolster topper
Little Winston is a Dachshund, and only six months old. With all the exciting exploring, learning, playing and chewing shoes he has to do all day, it’s extra important that he has a comfy bed to retreat to when he gets tired.
Winston absolutely loves the bolster topper. Not only does the perfectly padded bolster give his little head support when he snoozes, it also encloses the body to provide a den-like feeling that adds a sense of security.
Margot favours the elegance and extreme comfort of the Quilted topper
Margot is a classy Afghan Hound who appreciates the simple luxuries in life. She loves being comfortable, preferably curling up by the fire after a walk around the town when she enjoys meeting new dogs to sniff.
Margot’s favourite topper is the super soft quilted version. It stays cool against the body in summer and has a warming effect in winter, and the classic design oozes luxury and comfort. Additionally, Margot’s owners love the look of the soft minty grey against the rest of their furniture!
Esme can dry off and relax on the Microfiber topper on her Topology Dog bed
Esme is a perfectly sized terrier mix who loves nothing more than running over wide fields and chasing squirrels between trees on long country walks. Rain and wind won’t stop her – the muddier the better! That’s why the microfiber topper is her favourite. The structured fabric is nice to roll your wet back against, and it will speed up the drying process.
Esme’s owners also love that she’s got a space to dry off after inevitable hose-downs that isn’t the living room carpet! Leftover mud and moisture from walks will quickly and smoothly blend into the microfiber topper, and it can be washed over and over again, allowing for more lovely nature walks.
Ever cleaned your pets’ run and found old bits of moldy cabbage or soggy feed that is nearly impossible to pick out of the grass? There is an easy way of keeping your pets’ treats fresh for longer, while also improving run cleanliness AND keeping your animals entertained!
The Caddi can be hung at any height from all pet runs, trees or other structures in your backyard or garden. It’s super easy to fill with whatever you want to give your pets, be it bits of fruit, or fresh hay.
At the moment you will get 50% off Caddi Treat Holdersfor chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs when you sign up to the Omlet newsletter. Take this opportunity to make your pets’ run funner and more hygienic than ever before!
4 reasons Caddi will improve your pets’ run:
Improves run cleanliness
All pets will be happier if their living quarters are tidy and clean, but it’s also important for their health that both their coop or hutch and run are kept hygienic. Moldy food left on the damp ground can make a chicken, rabbit or guinea pig very ill, so having a Caddi to keep it in will make it much easier for you to spot anything that’s gone off, and to remove it in a second.
Reduces food waste
Food, treats or hay that is left on the ground on the run will go off very quickly, especially at this time of year when temperatures can vary dramatically between day and night and there is likely to be more rainy days. With the Caddi, the treats you leave your pets will keep fresher for longer as they won’t come into contact with the wet ground. They will also be kept dryer thanks to the waterproof top.
Keeps pests away
Sometimes with the change of the season, there will be less food available for wild animals like rodents and small birds, and they are likely to approach your garden and your pets’ home in search for tasty morsels. By putting feed, hay or vegetables in the Caddi rather than scattering on the ground, you are making things more difficult for uninvited visitors!
Yummier tasting treats
As the treats, veg or hay you are giving your pets are kept contained in one place and won’t get stepped on by muddy feet, they will be crunchier, cleaner and better tasting. As the swinging motion of the Caddi offers stimulation and entertainment, your pets will truly enjoy snack-time!
Buy now and get 50% off when you sign up for the Omlet newsletter!
Terms and conditions: This promotion is only valid from 28/09/21 – midnight on 03/10/21. Once you have entered your email address on the website you will receive a discount code that can be used at checkout. By entering your email you agree to receive the Omlet Newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any point. This offer is available on single Caddi Treat Holders only. The offer does not apply to Twin Packs, Twin Pack with Peck Toys or packs with Feldy Chicken Pecker Balls. Excludes all other chicken accessories. Offer is limited to 2 Caddis per household. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on delivery, existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.
It’s often hard to tell if a hen is laying. Hens do not produce the same number of eggs each week throughout the year, and there may be health- and environment-related changes to egg production, too.
It’s useful to know when a hen stops laying, as you can then give her a quick health check to identify the cause of the interruption. But how do you tell which chicken is not laying eggs? In a coup of six hens, in which the daily average number of eggs is five, it’s not immediately obvious which hens are laying.
Seven signs that a hen has stopped laying
1. Age. This is the most obvious cause of a drop in egg production. Over her egg-laying years, a hen’s production will tail off. This is natural, and it does not mean the chicken has reached the end of its usefulness. All hens play a part in the social order of a coup, and a bird reaching the end of its egg-laying life will still be as feisty, active and lovable as the younger birds – and she’ll still lay the occasional egg.
2. Moulting. This occurs every year once a hen is 18 months old (although younger birds may shed feathers, too). The signs are very clear – lots of feathers lying in the coop, and bare patches appearing on the hen. During this time, chickens need to produce lots of new feathers, which is a physically demanding process. Consequently, egg-laying is reduced, and sometimes there will be several days without an egg. The moult tends to occur in the autumn, but it depends on when the hen first started laying. Moulting takes 8 to 12 weeks, occasionally longer.
3. Vent. A dry vent – the hole through which the hen lays her eggs – is a sign of no production. In a hen that is still laying, the vent will be moist.
4. Abdomen. If the area below the breast bone is hard, it means the hen is not laying eggs.
5. Comb and wattles. A healthy laying hen tends to have bright red comb and wattles. These become duller when she is about to lay, but turn bright red again once she has laid the egg. If the comb and wattles are pale or dull looking all the time, it could be a sign of illness.
6. The food dye test. If you put a small dab of food colouring on a hen’s vent, the colour will be transferred to the egg. The colour that fails to appear tells you who the non-layer is. This is only practical in smaller flocks, though, given the limited palette of food colourings…
7. No eggs. This isn’t as silly as it sounds! If you only have a few hens, and they are different breeds, you will often come to recognise which eggs are produced by which hen. In this case, the sudden disappearance of one particular egg-type will tell you who’s not laying.
Five reasons why hens stop laying eggs
1. Temperature and sunlight. Seasonal factors play a part in egg production. As the daylight hours lessen in autumn and winter, hens tend to lay fewer eggs. In the depths of winter, the low temperature becomes the cause, as a hen needs all her energy to produce body heat. With her resources diverted to this essential function, egg-laying is put on hold.
2. Stress. Any form of stress will tend to interrupt or stop egg production. Stress can be brought on by several things, including parasites, bullying, injuries and fear (of noisy dogs, for example).
3. Diet. Poor diet can impact egg production, too. If a hen is laying, she needs all the essential nutrients – not just calcium – to produce eggs. Top-quality layer’s pellets will contain everything the hen needs. A hen that fills up on treats before filling up on pellets may become malnourished and stop laying. It’s a good idea to let the chickens feed on their pellets first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and only offer corn and treats in the middle of the day.
4. Broodiness. A broody hen – that is, a hen who has decided to sit on her eggs in an attempt to hatch them – will stop laying. There are several ways of discouraging broodiness, but some hen breeds are more prone to it than others. If all attempts to dissuade her from leaving the nesting box, you have the consolation that after 21 days – the time it would take for a fertilised chicken egg to hatch – the hen’s self-inflicted ordeal will be over and she will resume normal life – including egg-laying.
5. Change of routine. If you move the hen house or introduce new birds to the flock, or if one of the hens dies, the birds’ routine and pecking order will be interrupted. This often causes them to stop laying for a short time, until their social lives settle down again.
Four ways to encouraging laying
1. Comfy coop. The first thing to do is to make sure the hens’ environment is adequately equipped and comfortable. Check for red mites, as an infestation of these nocturnal parasites can stop egg production. Reduce drafts and make sure there is no bullying going on – often a sign of an overcrowded hen house.
2. Light. Some chicken keepers install lights in the coop to encourage laying in the colder months of the year. However, bear in mind that a chicken can only lay a finite number of eggs in its lifetime. If she’s naturally programmed to lay 1,000 eggs, encouraging her to lay regularly throughout the winter will simply reduce her laying life.
3. Eggs. If an apparently healthy hen isn’t laying, she can be encouraged by leaving eggs in the nesting box, or placing rubber ones, or even golf balls, in the spot where she is supposed to lay. The sight and feel of these will encourage her laying instincts.
4. Reduce stress. Discourage dogs from disturbing the hens, and make your run and coop are as predator-proof as possible. Equally important, make sure the run isn’t overcrowded, and provide enough roosting space in the coop for all the hens to rest comfortably.
If your hens are free-ranging, they will sometimes lay an egg in a quiet corner of the backyard. This can become habit-forming, and if she’s doing it in secret, you may reach the incorrect conclusion that the hen isn’t laying.
A healthy hen who does not appear to be laying may be the victim of egg sabotage. A predator, a human thief or an egg-eating chicken might be removing the evidence of her labors. The best way of preventing this is to encourage your hen back to the nest box for laying. In crowded coops, a hen will sometimes seek an alternative laying place if the boxes are all full when she feels the urge to lay.
As a hen ages, she will produce fewer eggs. If you are uncertain of the age of your chickens, there is a simple test you can conduct that might sometimes give you a clue. Place your hand gently on a hen’s back. If she immediately squats down, it means she is still fertile and therefore producing eggs. Hens squat when they are mating, and it is an automatic response.
Although egg production drops as a hen ages, it will often continue throughout her life. The occasional egg from an old hen always reminds you what a wonderful friend she’s been throughout your long time together!
If you have done your research and decided that a rabbit is the pet for you, you now have the task ahead of choosing which rabbit breed you would like to get. There are lots of wonderful breeds to choose from, and they all have their own specific features and characteristics. To help you pick the right rabbit for you and your family, we’ve put together a list of things to think about:
Rabbit breeds differ in size, from small Netherland Dwarfs to large Flemish Giants. Smaller breeds tend to be more skittish and nervous, whereas larger rabbits are generally more gentle and less aggressive.
Larger rabbits will naturally need more food, and more space. But don’t think that small rabbits will be fine with limited space, often littler bunnies run around a lot more as they have more energy.
Child-friendly rabbit breeds
While young children should never be given the main responsibility of looking after a rabbit, if you have children in the family it’s good to find a breed that is generally happy to be touched and handled.
A lot comes down to personality, but there are some breeds that are known to get along well with children, like French Lops and Dutch Rabbits.
Reason for getting a rabbit
Think about why you are getting a rabbit, and what is important to you in a pet. Are you happy to just watch them enjoy themselves in the garden, or would you really like to have a rabbit that is sociable and wants to come to you for cuddles? Would you like to breed for your bunny, or show it off in rabbit shows?
Rabbits come with various fur lengths, colours, ear types and builds. You probably have an idea of what you would like your pet rabbit to look like, but it’s worth exploring a few different breeds to see what’s out there.
It’s important to remember that different breeds require different amounts of grooming and looking after. Long fur, like that of the Angora rabbits, will for example need brushing daily or a few times a week, so you will need to consider if that is something you will be happy to do.
Meet the rabbit in person
While rabbit breeds have characteristic features and temperaments, a lot also comes down to breeding and personality. If possible, try to go and see the breeder or person you are buying your rabbit from, or the center where you’re adopting from.
If your rabbit is still small, watch how they interact with their surroundings and siblings, and if possible, see what the mother is like. Make sure the rabbit doesn’t have any obvious health problems, and try to get a feel for its temperament. If it’s important for you that the rabbit is happy to be picked up, make sure they have been around humans from the start and have regularly been handled.
Read up on specific breeds’ susceptibility to different health problems. Some breeds tend to have a higher risk of developing problems with their jaws, others with joints, or ear mites. With good care the absolute majority of rabbits will be happy and healthy, but it’s a good idea to research problems in order to prevent them.
The expected lifespan also differs somewhat between breeds. The majority of rabbits live between 5-8 years, but some breeds are known to often live for over 10 years. This is obviously a bigger commitment, so it’s worth thinking about.
Consider these things when choosing a pet rabbit. If you know what you want, here are some of our suggestions:
You want a gentle family bunny that is good with children
Your chickens’ coop should be a space for your flock to eat, drink, lay eggs, and sleep. It should also be a place for your chickens to feel safe and be protected from the outside elements or any danger. However, sometimes chickens may suddenly decide that they do not want to go into their coop at night, which can be for a number of reasons. Here are some explanations as to why this could be happening.
A Broody Hen
Hens can get broody, regardless of if you have a rooster. Although many hens will decide to stay in the nest of their coop so that they can sit on their eggs, others like to search for a quiet space away from the coop, which can mean remaining outside the coop all night.
Moving a broody hen can be highly stressful for them, so should you decide that it’s best to move your hen inside the coop, due to safety concerns, you need to take great care when doing so. One way to start is by collecting your hen’s eggs regularly (twice a day). Be sure to wear leather gloves when doing so, as a broody hen is likely to be aggressive around you as they are very protective of their eggs. You’ll also want to reduce the light supply when you move her, as the moving process situation will be less traumatic in the dark.
Predators such as foxes, cats, rats, and badgers could be one reason as to why your chickens have stopped going inside the coop at night. These animals will spook your flock, with smaller predators such as badgers having the potential to gain access inside the coop by climbing over the fencing, or squeezing through small openings in the coop’s wiring.
Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to deter these animals and have your chickens back in their coop every night. One option is to get a motion sensitive light installed, which will scare off any unwanted guests. Alternatively, take a look at the Omlet chicken coop range. All of the Omlet coops are predator resistant, which will reassure you that your chickens will be safe from any night time visitors. With anti-tunnel skirts that lie flat on the ground, and heavy duty steel weld mesh, these features will help to prevent animals from digging in. You can also purchase the Omlet automatic coop door which shuts your chickens away in their coop at night to keep your flock secure, enclosing them until the time you set for the door to open in the morning.
An Overcrowded Coop
Chickens need their own personal space, hence why many chickens are also kept free range. Not only is overcrowding an unpleasant experience for chickens, causing them to avoid the coop at night, it can also lead to further complications such as the build up of ammonia and an increase in disease. The solution? The more space the better! For size reference, the Omlet Large Eglu Cube chicken coop can comfortably accommodate six large hens or up to ten bantams.
Tensions Amongst Your Chickens
Unfortunately, bullying amongst chickens happens, and isn’t actually too uncommon of a problem. Chickens naturally create a pecking order, whereby the flock will establish themselves in a social hierarchy of strongest to weakest chicken. However, if aggressive behaviour continues after the head rooster, or the dominant hen in their absence, has found their way to the top of the ladder, you may be dealing with a bully. Common signs are missing feathers from a chicken’s back, unusual weight loss, reduced egg production, or blood from where the victim has been pecked, all of which could lead to a chicken/s refusing to go into their coop at night.
To stop the bullying, and therefore get your chickens back in their coop at night, first try to establish the cause. Common reasons for bullying can be an injured or ill bird, having a large flock, or your chickens being bored. However, should the bullying continue after attempting to resolve what you believe to be the cause of conflict, you can purchase anti-pecking spray, which will discourage feather pecking. Alternatively, separate the bully from the flock. Isolating the bully for a week may mean that they lose their dominant position in the hierarchy once they are reintroduced.
Mites and Parasites in the Coop
Pests are a very common cause for chickens to have stopped going to their coop at night. Red mite in particular is a likely culprit, a parasitic mite that lives inside chicken housing and lays eggs in cracks near nests. They can make your chickens restless at night, as they live inside chicken coops and crawl onto the chickens to feed on their blood as they sleep. Only active during warmer weather, red mites are also more likely to strike wooden coops.
Red mites are not the easiest thing to get rid of, however, one solution is to purchase red mite treatment, which works by immobilising pests with its sticky consistency. Rest assured, it’s also completely safe to use in the chicken feeding area, so you do not have to have any concerns about your flock digesting the product.
Luckily, chickens are creatures of habit, so once you’ve identified the cause, you should be able to get your flock back into the coop at night in no time!
Despite many cats enjoying being independent creatures, according to the PDSA PAW Report,43% of cats in the UK now live in multi cat households. Whilst it’s understandable why so many of us give in to the temptation of introducing another feline friend into the home, it’s also important to be cautious of the potential onset of cat behavioural issues such as aggressive behaviour i.e. hissing, growling, or chasing as a result of doing so, and to consider if the dynamic of a multi cat household would work for you and your family. However, if you do decide to take the plunge, here are some tips on how you can try and keep the peace.
Plenty of Exercise
Providing your cats with plenty of exercise will help to keep them at a healthy weight and keep them stimulated. Both are important for all cat owners, even those who only have one cat. However, for cats who live amongst other cats, keeping active can aid with avoiding a potential build up of excess energy, which can sometimes manifest itself as aggression towards other cats in the household.
One way to help keep your cats exercised is through play, which will also help to strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. A great way of exercising your pets is to invest in acat tree. Cats love climbing and scratching, so a cat tree is one sure way to encourage this and keep them entertained.
Use Pheromone Diffusers
Pheromone diffusers are an odourless plug-in product that works by producing pheromones, or chemical substances, that your cat naturally releases when they either rub against surfaces, scratch at items, bump heads with humans or other cats, or spray. Pheromone products mimic how pheromones would naturally send messages between cats, meaning that they can help in multi cat households to have your cats to feel more relaxed, and reduce their stress levels.
Multiple Litter Boxes
It’s important that your cats have their own litter box when they live with other cats. This is because of their territorial nature, which often means that cats like to ‘claim’ where they go to the bathroom and do not like this area to be shared. If cats feel as though their territory is under threat, this can lead to aggressive behaviour such as fighting.
Furthermore, most cats will refuse to use a dirty litter box, which will likely happen should you only provide a single litter box for several cats, as of course, their waste will accumulate more quickly than if your cats were to have their own. The general rule of thumb is that you should have one litter box per cat, plus one spare to have placed out in your home.
Separate Feeding Stations
Cats like to be alone when they’re eating, meaning that if you have multiple cats, they will require separate feeding stations at mealtimes. When cats are forced to share the same area for feeding time with another cat, it can take away from their predatory instinct to hunt and eat by themselves, which inevitably can induce anxiety and aggressive behaviour. In a multiple cat home, cats may see a shared feeding area as an opportunity to compete for food, which could result in you having a ‘food bully’ on your hands. As well as providing your cats with their own food bowls, give them each a designated space in the home to eat any from any other cats.
Furthermore, creating this divide will help your cats to stay healthy by having them fed equally, or in accordance to their own specific dietary needs, as it ensures one cat cannot access the other’s food. For example, factors such as the age, weight, or medical condition of your cat/s may mean that they have to be fed different diets. Therefore, it’s fundamental that you leave each cat’s bowl out of reach from any potential cat food thieves!
By nature, many cats need their own personal space, even when they’re not eating. It’s a good idea to have an area in the home that they can go to escape to by themselves, away from both humans and other animals. If you have the room, it’s advisable that each of your pets have at least one of their own private areas in the home that they can go to without being disturbed and becoming overwhelmed. This may even be a cardboard box if you’re limited for space, but be sure this is away from the hustle and bustle of the home or outside.
Introducing a new cat can be a difficult time for you and your already existing pet, but fortunately, it’s not impossible to make multi cat households work. So after a bit of advice, hopefully the transition period will be a lot easier. However, should you notice any signs of aggression between your cats, it’s important to seek help from a veterinarian before these issues get out of control.
As the days get shorter, you might find that your chickens are not laying as much as they normally do. Egg production is partly regulated by daylight hours, and the more light the chickens see, the more eggs they will lay. Other factors that can affect the production are moulting, broodiness and your hens getting older.
But if you find that you’re collecting significantly less eggs than you did six months or a year ago, there might be some things you can do to encourage your hens to start laying again and get the most eggs possible from your flock. Have a look at our tips below!
1. Choose the right breeds
If eggs are the number one reason you keep chickens, you should make sure you pick hens for your flock that through generations have been bred to lay. Bantams or more decorative breeds like Polish and Silkies generally lay relatively few eggs, as do the larger breeds that were developed for meat.
The ideal egg layer is also hesitant to sit on her eggs, and rarely go broody. Some examples of breeds that lay many eggs are Australorp, Sussex, Rhode Island Red and Leghorns.
2. Give your hens a good quality feed
It’s always important to give your chickens the best possible quality feed you can, but extra important if you want them to produce eggs. A good feed should have a good amount of protein (16-20% depending on the age of your chickens) as well as important vitamins and minerals.
If you feed your chickens treats, they should be kept to a minimum, and be low in fat. Fat or obese chickens will not lay, so make sure they fill up ongood feed, a handful of corn, and maybe some delicious worms from the garden. That should keep your hens happy and healthy, and hopefully laying regularly.
3. Minimise stress
Chickens that experience stress on a daily basis will put all their energy into being constantly on their toes, and will produce no or very few eggs.
Make sure your birds feel safe in their chicken coop and where they are free ranging. A predator resistant coop and run, like the Eglus, will allow your chickens to roost away from any danger. Try to keep cats and dogs away from the area where your chickens are roaming, and let the hens come to you rather than chasing them around the garden.
Generally, hens will also feel most comfortable when you have a clear routine. Let them out of the coop around the same time every day (made super easy with an automatic chicken coop door), feed them the same feed at the same place, and put them to bed when they’ve all returned to the coop.
Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid a certain amount of stress, for example if you’re moving the hens to a new place or are introducing new chickens to your flock. The chickens should return to their normal laying pattern once things have calmed down, but you could experience a few weeks of disturbed laying.
4. Give them plenty of calcium
Chickens need calcium to create strong egg shells. A good feed will contain a fair amount, but you should also provide your laying hens with an additional source, most commonly oyster shell or crushed, baked egg shells.
5. Provide fresh water
A chicken can drink up to a pint of water a day (!), so it’s important to give your flock plenty of fresh, clean water. Chickens will happily drink from muddy puddles and other water sources, but as standing water can contain bacteria and parasites it’s always best to make sure they have plenty of clean water to drink from their drinker.
This is especially important in the warmer months, as a dehydrated chicken will not lay, but also make sure the water doesn’t freeze in winter.
6. Keep parasites at bay
Mites are the number one culprit when it comes to a decreased egg production. They suck blood from the chickens’ legs at night, resulting in the hens being anemic and too tired to lay. Fleas and lice can really annoy chickens and make them stressed, and internal parasites like worms will lower your hens’ immune system and possibly make them very ill.
Get into the habit of checking your chickens over every, or every other, week by picking them up and going through their face, feet and feathers. That way you will be able to spot a potential problem early, and hopefully treat it before it affects your pets and their egg production. You can read more about giving your chickens a health check here.
7. Keep the chicken coop clean
Just like you and I, chickens don’t like sleeping, eating and socialising in mess and dirt. Their idea of cleanliness might look slightly different from ours, but if you want your chickens to be happy and healthy and lay plenty of eggs, you must make sure the coop and the run are tidy and free from poo and dirt.
With a chicken coop like the Eglu Cube, making sure the hens’ home is clean is super easy. Thanks to the wipe down surfaces and the handy pull out dropping tray, it will only take minutes to clean the coop.
Fill the nest boxes with plenty of soft bedding so your hens have somewhere comfortable to lay.
8. Provide more space
Lack of space can lead to a lot of stress for chickens. While roosting they prefer sitting close together in the coop, but during the day it’s important that they have a good amount of space to move around on.
If you chickens aren’t laying, maybe consider giving them a slightly larger run or area to free range on. Or if you have introduced new hens to your flock, it might be time to buy a second coop to house one half of the group.
Chickens, like most animals, have a defined number of eggs in their bodies, and once they have used up their reserves, nothing you do will make them produce more delicious eggs. If you have rescued ex battery hens for example, the rate of egg laying might slow down quite quickly, despite the hens still being young, as they have lived in an environment where they were manipulated to lay as much as possible, as quickly as possible.
It’s also good to remember that chickens are not machines, and their bodies will sometimes just need a rest. This doesn’t mean they will never lay again, so don’t give up on them! After all, as well as eggs, our chickens provide us with plenty of entertainment and companionship, and they deserve to be properly cared for however many eggs they produce.
Estimates of the world’s domestic rabbit population vary wildly between 15 million and over 700 million. People have kept rabbits for hundreds of years, and traditionally they were farmed as a plentiful resource – after all, they do breed like rabbits! The larger population estimate includes all the rabbits that are still kept for meat and fur.
With this many rabbit owners around the world, and with the bunny’s rather inscrutable facial expression, it comes as no surprise that the question “is my rabbit happy?” has been asked more than a few times by anxious rabbit keepers.
There are several ways of telling whether your furry friend is content and happy, most of them centring on body language.
Happy bunny body language
Body language is the key way of telling how your rabbit is feeling. Simply by spending time with your bunny, you will learn some of the basic messages that tell you if they are happy and relaxed, or stressed.
These are some of the signs of a rabbit’s mood.
Twitching nose. Rabbits are constantly twitching their noses. Not only does this help them sniff the air around them, it also eases their breathing, regulates their body temperature and helps them relax. A contented rabbit will do a lot more nose-twitching than a stressed rabbit, so if you notice that your rabbit hasn’t twitched its nose in a while, there may be something distressing it.
Chilling out. Another easy-to-spot sign of a happy rabbit is an overall relaxed body. Chilled bunnies will lie quietly, ears erect (unless their flop-eared bunnies), sometimes with their legs stretched out, noses twitching contentedly.
Crouching. Like us, when a rabbit is stressed, its muscles become tense as its fight-or-flight instincts activate and its body floods with adrenaline. If the bunny is in a crouching position, ears flat, pupils dilated, it is anxious, stressed or afraid. The cause could be another pet, a scary noise, or even a whiff of something unfamiliar in the air. This behaviour is common in rabbits who have not been hand-tamed from a young age. Conversely, if your rabbit is chilled out, lounging in the hay and not tensed up in any way, you can be sure that they are content.
Hopping. When most people picture a rabbit, they imagine a cute creature hopping around. Rabbits have evolved to be great jumpers, with very strong back legs to help propel them at high speeds. Hopping not only acts as a great escape mechanism, it also assists rabbits in their play. Bunnies like to hop around when they are feeling happy and mischievous. Your rabbits may perform the occasional playful leap in their enclosures, jumping in the air, twisting their bodies a little and then landing again, alert and playful. A rabbit showing this type of behaviour is very happy with life. A bunny who is gently hopping around and exploring the world around them is also feeling playful and happy.
Running. A rabbit who darts for cover, usually stamping its back legs on the ground first, is not a happy bunny. Something has startled your poor pet, and the best thing to do is let it recover its composure and confidence in a safe area – usually a quiet corner of the hutch. A quick run to another spot, with ears flat, can also be a sign of anger.
Curiosity. Rabbits are naturally nervous and will only let their curiosity take the lead when they feel safe. In the wild, rabbits are at the bottom of the food chain, a source of food for many predators. Because of this, rabbits are naturally jumpy (pun intended) and on edge. Domestic rabbits are calmer than their wild relatives but still retain their natural wariness.
Angry bunny body language
These physical clues tell you that your bunny isn’t chilled or afraid – it’s hopping mad!
Sitting, front legs raised. If your rabbit sits up, front paws raised and flicking in and out as if trying to punch something, it means the bunny is angry – no matter how cute the behaviour might look! The ears will be erect (although not in flop-eared bunnies) and facing outwards like radars. The posture may be accompanied by a growling sound.
Crouching and thumping. If your rabbit is tensed up and thumps its back legs on the ground but doesn’t bolt for cover, it’s angry. The tail will be raised and, in stiff-eared breeds, the ears will be erect. Everything about the bunny will look tensed up, and the pupils will be dilated.
Crouching with bared teeth. If your bunny is crouched with its front legs stretched in front of it and its head up, teeth bared, it’s angry and ready for a fight. The body will be tense, even quivering, and the mouth will be open, the tail raised, pupils dilated and ears folded back.
How to make rabbits happy
There are various reasons why a pet bunny might be unhappy or stressed. The commonest cause is poor environment. They need sufficient space in their hutch and run, and they don’t want to be harassed by nosy dogs, cats or loud parties. The rabbits will also need the company and stimulation that enables them to fulfill their natural instincts. Remember – rabbits are social animals and love having other bunnies to play with.
Giving your rabbits regular health check-ups and ensuring they are up to date with their vaccinations is also essential. A healthy diet will go a long way towards ensuring a happy bunny. A high-quality pellet mix and a lot of hay form the basis of healthy diets, with fresh veg as treats.
To summarise, if your rabbit is relaxed around you or shows signs of curiosity rather than fear when introduced to something or someone new, they are almost certainly happy and relaxed.
A chilled-out rabbit is a mixture of nature and nurture. They are naturally skittish animals, but if handled by their owners at an early age, they will come to treat you as part of their safe environment, and their happiness will be obvious in the fact that they love spending time with you.
Unless you know exactly when your hens were born, it is difficult to determine their exact age. We can’t simply ask them how old they are, so we have to make educated guesses based on their looks and behaviour.
Like most animals, a chicken’s looks and behaviour gradually change as they age. It is the visible evidence of these life stages that helps us determine a hen’s age. Young birds are the easiest ones to identify, as chicks do not have a complete set of adult feathers, beginning life with the short-lived fluffy yellow coating called down. They wear this attractive yellow coat for the first week or so of their lives.
After the first couple of weeks, chicks gradually moult their down and small feathers begin to grow to replace it. A baby chicken can be considered a chick until it sheds all its down, which usually takes around 12 weeks.
So, if a chicken still has some down, chances are it is 12 weeks old or less, although some breeds may take a while longer to shed all their baby fluff. But, generally, the more down, the younger the bird.
From chick to pullet
Once a chick has moulted and lost its down, it enters the transitional period between chick-hood and adulthood, the chicken equivalent of teenage years. Hens over the age of 12 weeks are in this phase, and are known as pullets. This period of their lives usually lasts until 20 weeks old, though it can be longer. The name ‘pullet’, though, is generally used for any hen under one year.
Pullets are considered adults when they lay their first eggs, which occurs somewhere between 18 and 25 weeks. Male chickens – cockerels, or roosters – reach adulthood when they start to crow and show an interest in the hens, usually by chasing them. This occurs at around five months old, although some breeds are later developers.
At this point in a chicken’s life, when it has finally become an adult bird, it is hard to pinpoint exactly how old they are. If your hens are not laying eggs yet but have all their adult plumage, they are most likely somewhere between 12 and 20 weeks old. Young hens of this age will tend to have smaller combs than fully adult birds.
From pullet to adult hen
If you are keeping multiple hens, it can be hard to tell if an individual bird has started laying or not. Pullets will have small, dry and pale vents in comparison to hens, and this can be used as a way of telling whether or not they are laying.
During this post-20 week period, both the pullets’ and cockerels’ combs and wattles will gradually become brighter and more pronounced. Birds with less vibrant combs and wattles are most likely to be aged around 12-15 weeks. It is during this prime egg-laying stage of a chicken’s life that their combs and wattles will be at their most vibrant – as a hen ages, it slowly loses the red colour.
Hens increase their body mass as they mature, and most have reached maximum plumes at nine months old.
Signs of an adult chicken
Once your pullet has laid its first egg, and your cockerel has started crowing and harassing the hens, they have reached adulthood. Despite the fact that they are considered adults at this point in their lives, they are still growing (albeit slower) and will reach their final size and weight at around one year.
At this age, hens will usually be laying one egg per day, and the cocks will spend a lot of time chasing the hens. At the age of 18 to 20 weeks, the chickens will have their first feather moult.
Guessing the age of a fully grown chicken that has had its first moult is more challenging. However, there are some features that help us determine their age with reasonable accuracy.
A young cock will have short spurs, a little under 1cm in length. By the time your rooster is two years old, their spurs will have grown and may reach lengths of 2.5cm-3cm.
Hens that lay an average of five to six eggs per week are probably in the first two years of their life
For the first two years of their adult life, both hens and cocks will be in their prime. This manifests in vibrant feather colours, smoother legs than older birds and colourful combs and wattles.
Older hens and roosters
At around the second year of their lives, chickens will enter the second half of their adult lives. It is usual at this time for hens to stop laying daily, and cockerels will start showing less interest in the hens.
During this time, a chicken’s legs will start to get rougher and more scaly, and their combs, wattles and feathers will become less vibrant.
However, although past their prime, at this point in their lives, a chicken will still have around between two and five years left in them, depending on the breed. As they get older, hens will only lay occasionally, and the eggs may be larger than the ones they laid as young birds. However, some breeds continue laying into their fourth year, and some can live up to 10 years or more.
It’s frustrating when a hen decides to ignore the comfy nesting boxes and lay eggs on the floor of the coop or run instead. Chickens love routine, and once they get into the habit of laying eggs on the ground, it can be hard to change their routine.
The main disadvantage to laying an egg on the ground is that it can be damaged. It can also be pecked, as chickens tend to peck at anything they find. If hens acquire the taste for fresh eggs, they tend to peck at every egg they can find, which is disastrous.
Luckily, there are a few ways of persuading a hen that nesting boxes are the best place to lay eggs.
1. Make sure you have enough nest boxes
You will need space for all the hens to lay, which generally means one box for every four hens. Note: if there are too many nest boxes, some of them will be ‘vacant’, and one of the hens might decide to move in permanently, using it as her sleeping box, and it will soon become fouled with droppings.
2. Make the nest boxes clean and comfy
The nest box should have lots of soft bedding, changed regularly to make sure it remains unsoiled and free of red mites. You also need to collect the eggs regularly, as a hen faced with a pile of eggs might not want to sit there and lay one of her own. A nesting box with just one egg or none is more appealing to a hen.
3. Provide enough roosting bar space
This might not seem linked to nest boxes and eggs, but it’s actually vital to the process. Chickens need space to perch when roosting. If there isn’t enough of it, some hens will be forced to look for space elsewhere, and that means they’ll occupy a nesting box. Being stubborn creatures of habit, once they’re installed, it will be hard to evict them.
4. Tempt the hens in with an egg
Young hens might not know instinctively where to lay their eggs. If you place a ceramic or rubber egg in the nesting box, it will give them a visual clue, and once they’ve laid their first egg or two in the nest box, the habit will be ingrained.
5. Keep hens in the coop first thing in the morning
Most hens lay their eggs early in the morning, so confining them to the coop until the sun has been up for a bit will prevent them from wandering away and laying eggs in inappropriate places.
6. Make it harder for the hen to lay in the wrong place
As creatures of habit, hens tend to lay in the same ‘wrong’ spot each time. If this is on the ground, you can put a rock there, or some sticks or plastic bottles.
7. Move the hen before she lays
You will start to notice when a hen is ready to lay on the ground. She will stop her usual foraging and clucking and snuggle down. Move her to the nesting box when she does this, and she will soon – in theory – get the message and go to the box when she needs to lay.
8. Stop hens from sleeping in the nesting boxes
A hen who sleeps in a nest box will mess it up overnight and not want to lay her eggs in the same place. Shoo any hens from the boxes in the evening as they are settling down to discourage the nest-sleeping habit. If the problem is more to do with the roosting bars being hard to access, address that issue instead.
9. Make sure the hens feel safe in the box
If the nesting box is too close to the ground, or if bright light leaks in, or if noisy pets or children play next to it at the crucial laying time, hens will be discouraged from laying eggs there. Make the habitat as hen-friendly as possible. Raising the boxes a few inches from the ground is a good start (but not so high that young birds can’t access the box).
10. Make sure your hens can easily access the nesting box
This may sound obvious, but it is sometimes overlooked. A poorly designed coop might make it difficult for hens to access the boxes and lay eggs in the nest, in which case they will take the path of least resistance and lay elsewhere. The nest boxes may be too low or too high, making it difficult for smaller chickens to access, or the roosting bars might block easy access to the boxes.
You can bypass all these issues by installing your hens in a well-designed coop such as the Eglu. All hens prefer to lay in a quiet, dark, comfy spot, so a nesting box will nearly always be their first choice. It’s a simple case of ensuring they have the space and easy access to a clean, appealing egg-laying space.
Getting a new puppy is such an exciting time for everyone involved (even if it means a manic few months ahead of you!). A cross between a poodle and cocker spaniel, cockapoos have soared in popularity over the past few years, with their hypoallergenic coat and undeniably cute looks both playing a huge part in this! With such a loving and fun temperament, it’s hardly surprising that they have become a new firm family favourite. So, now you’ve decided that a cockapoo is the right puppy for you, where exactly do you start? Writing a puppy checklist is a good idea to get prepared before you bring your pet pooch into their new home.
Essentials for Before They’re Home
The first few days with your new puppy might be tough, as they adapt to your life and you become familiar with your four legged friend. Every dog is different but there are some essentials that we recommend for your cockapoo before even bringing them home that will make for a much easier start.
Food and Water (Including Bowls)
Puppies, of course, need a fresh supply of food and water (along with appropriate sized bowls for each). A reliable cockapoo breeder will tell you know what food your cockapoo puppy has been on before they come home, to make for a less stressful transition. Be sure to also purchase treats for your new furry friend. They’re a fantastic way to start the training process and will keep your puppy motivated.
Collar and Lead
When you pick your puppy up, they’ll probably have had a collar on to differentiate them from their litter-mates. However, you’ll want to purchase your own, even before they are able to go for their first walk. This will help to train them to get used to the feeling of a lead and collar. For size reference, cockapoos are generally medium sized dogs but this can range depending on what type of poodle they are mixed with. The general rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit two fingers under your cockapoo’s collar. Alternatively, you may wish to opt for a harness. Whichever you decide for your new cockapoo pup, make sure they are fitted with an ID tag, which states your name, first line of your address, post-code, contact number, and a message that indicates that your dog has been microchipped i.e. “I’m microchipped”.
A Crate and Bedding
When you bring your puppy home you should introduce them to a crate. A crate should never be used as a cage or to punish your dog, but should work as a den for your new cockapoo. TheOmlet Fido Studio Dog Crate allows your dog to have their own private and safe place in the house, whilst the modern design will compliment your home. Happy owner and happy pup!
Puppies need sleep, and a lot of it! So comfortable bedding for your cockapoo puppy is essential. YourFido Studio Crate can also be very easily fitted with a wide range of dogbeds. The easy clean Bolster Dog Bed is perfect for puppies, it’s a breeze to throw the cover in the washing machine when it’s time for a freshen up!
Cockapoos are remarkably intelligent and many puppies take to toilet training within the first few weeks. For when your pup arrives home it really is a personal preference as to whether you’d like to use puppy pads for toilet training or not.Puppy pads are massively convenient, especially to those with limited outdoor space. However, if getting up in the middle of the night to take your puppy for a wee isn’t a problem for you then you may wish to avoid this product as your pup may find it difficult or confusing to transition between the pads and outdoor peeing.
Pups love to play and cockapoos are no different here. Known for their outgoing, playful personalities, you’ll need to be stocked up with plenty of puppy toys to keep their minds occupied. Toys are also great for when you have to start leaving your puppy alone. Do make sure however, that any toys you leave with them are safe, age appropriate, and cannot be consumed! Puppies also love to chew, especially as they get into the teething stage. Be sure to explore different styles ofdog toys to see how you can keep your cockapoo entertained and help with their chewing.
Although it’s wise to take your cockapoo to a professional groomer now and again, it’s also important to upkeep their grooming at home too. Purchasing a brush, comb, dog shampoo, and nail clippers is a great place to start. However, as cockapoos are of course a mixed breed, their coat type may vary. When your puppy reaches around seven to nine months old, they’ll develop their ‘adult coat’ and you will have a better indication of the best way to groom your dog.
Hopefully all the time spent preparing to bring your new puppy to their new home will help your family to transition better to life with your new furry friend!
Many of us have worked from home over the past year with our best furry friends beside us, giving encouragement and comfort on the toughest of days. It’s understandable for those people that going back to the office without their canine companion could be nerve wracking and upsetting. For the dogs who are now used to constant company, new spouts of being home alone could lead to anxiety and stress. But what if there was a better solution? What if your workplace was dog-friendly? Read on as we take a look at the benefits for all parties…
How do dogs improve our mood?
It’s no secret that dogs, and pets in general, are good for our physical and mental well-being, whether that be through easing loneliness, encouraging exercise, or reducing anxiety, stress and depression. You might have felt it yourself when returning home to your dog, or perhaps going to visit a friend’s new puppy. Interacting with dogs increases our levels of the hormones oxytocin and serotonin, which are important for the regulation of stress and anxiety and also improve our mood and happiness.
Having a dog present in an office environment can significantly elevate the mood, while also improving communication, reducing tension and increasing productivity!
Can a dog-friendly workplace benefit employers?
Not only will your boss enjoy the mood-boosting benefits of a new four-legged colleague, they may also begin to notice some practical benefits for their business too.
For some employees, especially those who have been working from home for a long time now, going to the office requires someone to look after their dog, perhaps hiring a dog walker to take them out or even a hurried trip home in their lunch break to check on their dog. Understandably, this in itself can be a cause of stress for any dog owner, and being able to take their dog to the office with them is a huge job-perk which could be hard to walk away from. Could a dog-friendly office actually improve employee retention? Woof!
Do dogs enjoy going to the office?
Obviously it’s not all about us. If you’re going to be taking your dog to the office you also need to consider whether he/she will be comfortable with the new environment.
If you’re thinking about taking your dog to work for the first time, you may have to accept that the first few trips won’t necessarily be a walk in the park! Start slowly if you can, introducing your dog to colleagues and spaces gradually so as to not overwhelm them. Have a bed next to your desk so your dog can see you at all times and reward them with treats and pets regularly.
Maybe not after the first visit, but hopefully soon your dog will relax into the new environment just as if they’re at home, and new faces, sounds and smells will no longer be a cause of excitement or stress. Instead, they will feel the benefits of being close to you, just as you do!
What should you consider before taking your dog to the office?
If your boss has given the green light to bring your dog to the office, there might be some things to check before going ahead. Of course, check in with your colleagues that no one has allergies or is afraid of dogs. If other colleagues are also going to be bringing their dog to the office, consider whether your dog will be okay with that, or if it could cause some stress.
Make sure you can schedule breaks in your day to take your dog outside to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom – this fresh air time is also great for your own well-being. Make sure you have everything with you, including treats, poop bags, a water bowl and a comfy bed where your dog can feel comfortable and relaxed. You may wish to keep a set of these items at the office if you’ll be bringing your dog with you regularly.
Whether or not you decide to take your dog to the office, the most important thing is that your dog is happy and comfortable. If you are returning to full time office working, consider your options to decide what’s best for your dog.