So.....I have won an omlet eglu....and need all the advice in the world!(17 Posts)
So. Today I won an omlet eglu on eBay. I've got the eglu classic for 2-4 hens, a 2 metres eglu run, the glug and grub feeders for £122. Not sure if that's okay for a used deal.
We are very busy, oth working full time, have a one year old DS, a shihtzu dog
idiot stuffed animal and a 90 litre fishtank with seven easy going fish, no family anywhere around.
We live in a village in north bedfordshire. It's residential and we have very tall trees and very mature and tall hedging surrounding the garden.
There are two paved patio areas one sunny and one shady - both unused, and both under consideration for placing this set up. So first question, is it okay to place on concrete/paved base as this? Sunny better or shady? The shady but would have the conservatory wall at one end, and the kitchen exterior wall along one side of the run.
To make it further fox proof I plan to place bricks/heavy planters all over the skirting that eglu runs have. So every bit of the skirting will be under heavy bouldery stuff which goes nicely with a rockery type display there any way.
What's best and easiest to put in the run on the paving? Pea shingle? Gravel? Chippings from a tree surgeon? A mix of these? We are looking for one thing - EASE EASE EASE. so literally what's easiest to maintain and doesn't need repel dishing all the time.
Do I need to provide a dustbath in the run? They won't free range really. What would work?
In terms of bedding, I've heard glorious things about auboise. Is it really easier to maintain and change less frequently?
For food, organic layers pellets okay, with the mixed corn treat and occasional lettuce or apples suspended?
And finally - what are some breeds that we can keep as a pair, that will lay an egg a day ish, and are easy and small? Pekin bantams? Two of the OMLET hens? Something small would be great!
Any other advice? Prizes are my biggest worry, but not sure how active they are in villages.
I have my Eglu Go Up on grass and move it about to even out the
destruction use of the lawn. I think some people do use a solid base but you'd need to sprinkle something on top to let the chickens behave naturally - they do lots of scratching to look for food to peck. I'm sure someone else will post about using a hard base.
My chickens are able to make their own dust baths in the earth but in the wintertime weather I'll make one under cover for them to enjoy. They love dust baths (a social thing) and with a hard base, unless they get a dust bath elsewhere, then yes I'm sure they'd appreciated one in the run.
Mine eat the organic pellets, whatever they find plus some veg every day plus dried meal worms. I sometimes make a porridge type thing for them. They LOVE meal worms and they are good for them too. You'll also need to give them mixed grit for digestion and making good eggshells.
I use auboise - I like it and it makes cleaning pretty easy. I change my Go bedding every day. It is ok every other day. Chickens poo LOTS.
If they won't get out much the smaller sized hens the better but they will lay small eggs. You say they won't freerange daily - what will they get daily? Just the run? Personally I'd want to give them much more space to run and behave more naturally.
Chickens do take a bit of time but for me it is just a few mins in the morning and letting them in/out to keep them safe from Mr Fox.
They really do poo lots. I have 3 hens - 3 medium sized and get a shovel of poo a day.
Hope that helps
You do realise they will make a really big mess on a hard base?
We keep ours in a completely enclosed run with an earth floor, plus lots of straw on it; we lock them into a large hen house at night on the side of the run and usually let them out for a scratch and run around the garden for a couple of hours every day.
They eat layers' mash, pellets, grain and scraps as well as worms etc when they are out in the garden. We have five hens, they have much more space than the free-range minimum. They love chopped up cheese rinds, vegetable scraps and peelings, and soured milk. Any leftover spaghetti doesn't even hit the ground when we throw it into the run.
So jealous, would love chickens. No helpful advice on looking after them but visited a garden recently that had chickens who were wild about willow leaves, I think willow leaves must be the chicken equivalent of dreamies for cats.
Hmm I've seen a lot lf advice in this board to keep them on a paved base covered with material like chippings etc to scratch in? Paved base seems highly recommended if I do a search of the boards. Just wondering what to put on the base....haha to shovels of poo. How much can two small bantams poo?!
Like on this thread for instance http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/chicken_keepers/1223470-is-grass-essential-for-chicken-run
We have an eglu classic with a 3m run attached and it sits on slabs with a thick layer of aubiose. This works well but you have to keep the run covered to keep the rain out as the aubiose needs to stay dry really.
You can't poo pick in the run easily due to the tiny door but the aubiose dries the poo so well it doesnt smell. I just chuck down a bit of sanitiser and rake it through once a week, clean out the house and then every couple of months clear all the aubiose out of the run and put down fresh.
However, my run is 3m and I would think it cruel to keep chickens only in there. The minimum space they should have is 2m square per chicken. My eglu and run sit in a large fenced area and are only ever confined just to the run if we are out all day which is very rarely. Mine are bantams too which makes the run slightly more appropriate but still far too small to be their only space.
Also, I would try to get a minimum of 3 chickens. Then if one dies, the remaining 2 can live happily together. Part of the pleasure for me is seeing how social and funny my chooks are together and I'm not sure 2 would be as happy as slightly larger flock.
But yeah basically, don't do it if you can't give them more space than just the run.
Knitella - you mentioned meal worms up thread. If you are talking about dried ones rather than loving ones, please just be aware that it is illegal for these to be fed to chickens (they are sold for feeding to wild birds) as they are farmed eating raw human sewage in Asia and there is a possible risk of contamination to the food chain via eggs / hens for meat.
Also they carry quite a significant risk of salmonella so please be really careful if handling them. I know someone whose son was very poorly and it was traced back to not washing his hands carefully after giving some to their hens.
<apologies if you already knew all this...>
Paved base will cause a real mess IME and will be more smelly (hens get smelly very quickly) and difficult to clean. If they're on grass then the liquid from the poop will sink into the ground (but they'll dig up the grass unless you move them every few days. You're going to regret putting rocks around the edge too because you'll need to move the run regularly.
Oh god Captain I did not know that!!
Thank you - my son loves to feed the ladies their meal worms and probably does not always wash his hands as well as he should. I have been looking into making a home meal worm farm on and off but not quite sure I can do it.
I'll be needing a new snack to tempt the ladies back into their run . Bother!!
Appreciate the advice!
Gosh there is a lot of contrasting advice and experiences, have just finished reading pages of threads on this board and on poultry forums and there are entire threads advising against moving it all the time but giving it a dedicated space, or describing exactly how to weigh down the skirting.
Hmm, thanks everyone. Much to mull
It seems with the eglu runs you need to decide whether you want to have them on grass and move them around every week to give the birds fresh grass and allow the last patch to recover. They will absolutely decimate the grass in their run through scratching it up and eating it, although feather footed breeds like Pekin bantams do much less damage.
Or a permanent run in which case I'd recommend a slabbed base with substrate ontop and possibly waterproof covering depending on your substrate choice. Pea shingle / hardwood chips / special chicken safe rubber chips / wood shavings or rape or hemp chopped stalks are all often used. As said above, we have had a lot of success with aubiose in a covered run.
If you have your run on slabs, including the skirts, I can't see that you would need to put rocks on the skirt as a fox wouldn't be able to dig under the skirts because of the slabs anyway.
But as I said, your main issue is not enough space if you are only planning to use the run. You can buy run extensions new / eBay and omlet also does temporary chicken fencing that is easy to set up and move around - although you could do the same with a roll of chicken wire and some bamboo canes to be honest!
Yeah I appreciate the space point totally but see right here there is contrasting opinions about slabs or grass and moving to new spaces or havjng a dedicated space. It's hard having read the forums to know which way to set things up!
I have a cube not a classic but the runs are heavy and the edges don't really need weighting down if you've used the clips properly. The point is that a fox will go right up close to the wire to dig and will hit the lip. They don't then think to back up and dig further away to get under the lip.
We have ours on slabs if we go on holiday so that whoever is feeding them doesn't need to worry about moving the run. You need a good thick layer of base material if they're going to be like that (and if your hens are anything like mine they'll be digging through to the base layer to find worms in minutes, kicking all of the material out of the run in the process... We generally use bark chippings because then it doesn't fall through the wire of the run. Remember that omlet runs don't have a solid edging strip around the bottom. I guess you could make one though out of wood and run it around the inside of the run to stop the auboise or sawdust from falling out. It will be a wet soggy mess within hours though at this time of year unless you have a raincover.
We cover our cube with a clear tarp in the late autumn/winter (but ours are on grass and get moved every week or so even though they free range for most of the day).
Bedding wise the omelet coops are relatively easy to clean. I put in a layer of newspaper to stop the auboise falling through the holes in the bottom and then a good thick layer. The cube takes about 3-4 inches. You then need to poop pick that area because when they lay they tend to poop. When I clean out the nesting box area, anything salvageable gets transferred to the base of the roosting area to collect the poop there. So it serves twice IYSWIM.
I would buy point of lay hens in the spring. Hens typically lay from Valentines day to Bonfire night and you don't get nearly as much from them in the winter due to light levels. A few years back when we had bad snow though we had ours in a shed from October through to March and they laid like crazy all the way through because of the bright light in there.
I have an eglu (now go/cube but had a classic first). We made a wooden frame bigger than the eglu run and house and put them in it and then put wood clippings down. I get it from our local tree surgeon in big builders bags. We swop out the chipping every 6-7 months or so. We are lucky though we have an area of our garden we can chuck the used wood chippings. I had three bantams (silkies) in the classic and a one metre run extension. We also use newspaper and aubiouse in the house but only clean them out once a week. I feed them layers pellets and a small amount of mixed corn as a treat in the afternoon. Silkies don't lay very well and are permanently broody so not sure if I would recommend them. Definitely get three bantam sized ones rather than two big ones or maybe three rescue hens ex battery hens and see them flourish.
Mine dustbath in the wood chippings and i gave up giving them a separate one.
Here are photos of mine
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