On delivery, assembly, and first impressions!
A few weeks ago I received a message from Omlet, a company whose chicken coops I have admired for YEARS. They offered me a huge discount on my dream coop in return for an honest review. So of course I said YES!!
I opted for the purple Omlet Eglu Cube with the 2m run. The Eglu Cube is the largest offering from Omlet and can house up to 10 small chickens or four very large ones (and anything in between).
I thought long and hard about what kind of chickens I might get. As a first time chicken-keeper I wanted hens who were easy to keep and friendly, but I was also inspired from an animal welfare point of view. I don’t personally agree with veganism, but I have long felt uncomfortable with the treatment of hens and the way our society produces eggs. Inspired by fellow Instagrammers @thegoodlifeainteasy and @hayleyslottiehaven (allotment and chicken-keeping queens!) I adopted four ex-batts from the British Hen Welfare Trust.
If you don’t know, ex-batts are commercial hens that were destined for slaughter at 17 months as at this point their egg production drops slightly. In those 17 months the chickens are kept in what are known as ‘enriched cages’ or ‘colony cages’ which means that around seventy to eighty hens are kept in a large cage with scratch mats and nesting perches. It is nowhere near the kind of life a chicken should have and so I’m delighted that I can give four girls a chance at a normal life outside of this system. And especially delighted that I can provide them with a well-designed and hopefully happy home in the Omlet Eglu, which we have nicknamed Cluckingham Palace!
I intend to write a series of posts about my experiences adopting hens from the BHWT so I won’t expand further on this now. Instead I’ll take you through how I found ordering and setting up the Eglu, followed by a few of my favourite features.
DELIVERY AND ASSEMBLY
Delivery was via DPD and was very speedy. The delivery arrived exactly when expected and comprised of four very large cardboard boxes (which as you can see below are decorated with really fabulous chicken drawings!) One word of warning about the boxes – they are very heavy! I’m a fit and active person and consider myself to be reasonably strong, but the boxes were difficult for me to lift on my own. The delivery man was extremely helpful in carrying the boxes into the house which I’m grateful for!
The Eglu was straightforward to assemble but do be prepared to set aside an afternoon to go through it. It’s not difficult (I would say perhaps marginally harder than a Billy bookcase, and we’ve all managed to put one of those together!!) just lengthy. It’s best done with two people and do be sure read the instructions more carefully than we did – we assumed you can attach the run at the end of the process. You can’t. The individual parts feel strong and weighty and once assembled the Eglu feels solid and well-made.
One note on assembly – I opted not to have the wheels as I don’t intend to move the Eglu around much. However the Eglu is EXTREMELY heavy and awkward to move without the wheels. I’m grateful for this, because it means that the Eglu is well made and able to withstand any predators. I’m still not sure if not getting the wheels was the right decision, but happily it is possible to purchase and add them later. Who knows, maybe one day when I move from my ordinary house to a farm, I may add the wheels and turn the Eglu into a ‘chicken tractor’ !
Now for some of my favourite features.
To access the egg laying area there is a small hatch on the side with a twist-open handle, called the Eggport. I cannot describe to you the level of excitement I experienced the first time I opened that magic little door and found an egg, still-warm, nestled among the straw. I am frequently found peeping into the nest box like an excited child, hoping to spot an egg, and I could imagine that this job would be regarded in the same way by actual children!
THE EASY-OPEN FRONT DOOR
The front door of the Eglu Cube (to allow your hens out of the Cube into the run in the morning) is accessed by what I’m going to call a lift and pull twisty thing, which is in the roof of the Eglu. I.e. you don’t have to clamber inside the run to open the door, which is a godsend when it’s early in the morning and you’ve staggered out, dressing-gowned, into the garden, coffee in hand, to let the hens out. You pull the handle up which allows it to twist 180 degrees round, and the door twists with it. Later I will be looking at the option of having the automatic door fitted for ease but for now I’m loving the easy access front door!
THE EASY-CLEAN ROOSTING BARS AND SLIDE OUT DROPPINGS TRAY
I usually try to avoid plastic but in this case it has some huge advantages. It’s a good idea to give your chicken coop a thorough clean once a week. On the Eglu both the droppings tray and the roosting bars easily slide out and can be wiped down quickly and easily. At the moment I haven’t quite got this cleaning process finalised as I have only had the coop a week or so. I’m currently using a high quality non-toxic spray cleaner but I’m thinking of investing in a cheap hand-pumped pressure washer to keep use of chemicals to a minimum. I’ve read that a plastic coop also results in far fewer red mites than a wooden one which is a big plus.
THE FREE EXTRAS
The Eglu Cube came with feeder and drinker which hook onto the side of the run and are so easy to grab out and fill, especially through the handy stable door. You might worry that chickens attract rats but it’s actually usually the chicken food that rats go for – and is therefore easily avoided by bringing the food in at night, easy when the holder hooks on and off like this one does. The Eglu also came with a rain/sun cover and some seriously cute 4-egg boxes for gifting eggs to friends and relatives which was a really nice touch!
Overall my first impressions of the Omlet Eglu are that it more than lives up to my high expectations. I’m looking forward to writing another post (The Omlet Eglu Cube – Part II) once I’ve had the Eglu slightly longer and I can give some more detailed thoughts.
You can read more about the Omlet Eglu cube here:
And if you’re interested in keeping chickens I recommend having a read through of the British Hen Welfare Trust’s website:
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have a cup of tea and a chat in the garden with my girls. Bok bok bok!