Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Rainbow Cupcakes

Easy Rainbow Cupcakes recipe. I actually make muffin sized cakes, and this recipe makes 12 of those:


120g butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 cups self-raising flour
drop of vanilla essence
choice of colouring
paper cupcake holders


Cream butter & sugar together in a bowl, slowly add beaten eggs. Add 1/2 milk, 1/2 flour and repeat. Mix well. Drop in some vanilla essence. Combine ingredients thoroughly.

Split mixture evenly into three bowls. Add choice of colours (e.g., red, blue, yellow) seperately into each bowl.

Spoon one of each colour into each paper holders. Use tip of a skewer and draw a few circles in the mixture, until colours are loosely mixed.

Cook in preheated oven (200 - 230'C depending on fan forced or not) for about 10-15mins.


Sunday, 30 January 2011

Chicken News - Crowing, temp spikes, blackouts!

I could hardly believe my ears when, yesterday morning, I heard a strangled crowing from the A-teams little palace.

Yes indeed, one of the little black araucana's has begun to crow! He has a nice red, plump peacomb on him now and so there is the first gender proved beyond doubt!

It was this one (pictured previously)

Yesterday I moved the A-team from their palace into the second pen, alongside the main pen. Mumma hen (the boss lady of the big girls) went on and on with her clucking. 'Who are these strangers? Who authorised their entry into our spare pen' and so on.

I'm sure they will get use to each other soon enough and then I will be able to integrate the girls and chosed rooster into the flock a bit easier (I hope!).

The B-Team who are still in the incubator, have had many hurdles to overcome this week. After candling the eggs on Sunday night and discarding 16 of the 36 eggs, which were not developing, I was left with 20 eggs in the bator. Of those, 5 were 'maybes' which I left in just in case.

However the next day when I got home from work - I found the temps very high - 103'F. I moved the sensor to try and bring the temps back a couple of degrees and it didn't seem too bad as we left for a camping trip for Australia Day.

On our return on Wednesday afternoon though, I was shocked and upset to find the temps at 104'F at the top of the eggs. I spent all afternoon trying to get temps back to a normal range - moving the sensor etc. In the end I had no choice but to turn the knob (a big no-no as they are very sensitive). In the end I had to turn it several times because I came home from work on Friday and it was cooking again. I was so frustrated - I never had this trouble with the same type of incubator in the past. I hope this one is not faulty!

Anyway, temps stabalised after my last fiddling attempt on Friday night and have been fine since then.

Oh, on top of that we had a 4hr black out from 11pm - 2am on the Friday night!

So, I can only hope that some of my B-Team will survive.

I will do the final candling on Tues or Wed night, top up the waters and let them be. HOPEFULY I will have some chicks by this time next week. Although I may have a few feet to fix if the high temps have caused curly toes in some of them.

Anyway - FINGERS CROSSED that I will get 10 or so healthy chicks this coming week! (Is that a bit optimistic?? - I suppose I will be happy with any after all these issues!)

Will keep you posted!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Chicks at Week 5

I can't believe how fast the last two weeks have gone! I started a new job on 10th January, three days a week and I am loving it.The kids are still on holidays too, so on my off days I have been keeping busy.

Last weekend I spent the Sunday shovelling crusher dust into the two larger pens to build up the floor which had been dug/eroded away and gaps had begin to show under the floor frames.
I still have to fix up the smaller of the two pens, to make it snake proof before I put the A-team down there.

Anyway - here is an update on how the A-team are growing out and their gender guesses to date:

Rocky - I am now thinking that Rocky is perhaps a girl!

Midnite - Still thinking girl.

Little Red - yep, definately a boy!

Barnie - still thinking 'girl' for this one.

Little Barnie - yes, definately a boy - look at that comb!

And now the Buff Sussex ones:

Buff 1 = Boy

Buff 2 = Boy

Buff 3 = Girl!

Buff 4 is looking more New Hampshire, and is a girl!

And now the Araucanas - which I really have no idea on, but here are my guesses.

On the left, Lavender - still hoping she is a girl.

Next to her is Musketeer 1 - I think possibly a boy.

Musketeer 2 - I am thinking boy for this one too.

Musketeer 3 - I think could be a girl?

Musketeer 4 - I think might be a girl also.

They are growing quite quickly but still fit comfortably in their little pen I made them.
Within the next two weeks I am planning on moving them down to the larger pen next to the main pen.

I also have some more eggs in the incubator. B-Team are due to hatch 5th Feb if all goes well.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Chicks at Week 3

It has been 3 weeks since Rocky popped out of his shell, followed by the rest of the A-Team. As promised, here are some progress photos.

Rocky - my guess: BOY

The Four Musketeers - I think I have two GIRLS and two BOYS, however one of the boys could be a girl. We will see.

Midnite - I started out saying girl for this one, however am unsure now. Perhaps a BOY.

Little Red does not have much of a comb but the personality leads me to still say BOY.

Lavender - still convinced she is a GIRL

The Buff Sisters/Brothers - I think I may have two GIRLS and two BOYS:

This one I am sure is a GIRL

Barnie - this one has me a little confused. I will still say GIRL at this stage.

Little Barnie - still thinking definately a BOY

It was quite funny trying to catch them all for the photos. I don't think I will be able to get these individual photos again!

Friday, 7 January 2011

A Little Ray of Sunshine

After an incredibly rainy few days and 40mls of rain overnight, it was fantastic to see the sun today. Yes it was masked by clouds for most of the day, but HURRAH - a little ray of sunshine popped through here and there.

Not enough to convince me to hang my washing on the outside line, but definately enough for me to let the chickens out for a nice free range today.As always, a naughty few flew the run and I found them relaxing and scratching about under a neighbour's tree (luckily he doesn't mind them coming over and fertalising his trees every now and then!).

It was a frangipani tree, with gorgeous pink-tinged flowers just begging to be photographed.

The rain kept us all house-bound. The kids began to go crazy, I began to go crazy. Even poor Ben, our 8mth old Jack Russell was forced to sit and watch the falling rain.

And our driveway is really getting a hammering:

So I am very thankful for a break in the rain today!

I am also excited to have received my Bellsouth 100 incubator in the mail. It is second hand, purchased through Farmstock, however is in excellent condition.

It has automatic turning so I don't have to turn the eggs morning and night. Pretty much just set and forget, only topping up the water tray when necessary then preparing the eggs on day 18 for hatching on day 21.

I have ordered 2 dozen eggs from Shrimani Farm and am busting to get some eggs set. I should have them in by this time next week. I have already planned a following incubation, setting some pekin duck eggs from my sister and brother-in-law's ducks. Setting eggs is just too addictive!

My 3 week old chicks are all going well. I can't wait to see what they all feather out like, seeing as there are a few cross breeds amongst them. I will also have the hard decision of which roosters to keep (1 for myself, 2 for friends requiring roosters) and which to chop.

I will post some updated pictures of the chicks at 3 weeks tomorrow, IF I can catch them!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

A house for the A-Team

The A-Team enjoyed their first two weeks of life in a simple brooder box constructed from a large plastic tub, and red heat lamp.

Things were beginning to get cramped and I had been unable to get a rabbit hutch so I decided I would have to have a go at making something myself.

I used mostly recycled and reclaimed items to make this crude but functional chicken pen for the youngsters. All up it cost me $20 for the roll of avery wire and $30 for a large piece of ply which covered the back, back sides, and top of the pen.

Inside the rear section, which is raised. The cardboard box aims to serve as a cold brooder as they are off the heat lamps already, however I don't think they are using it so I will remove it soon.

They are very happy with their new home and will stay there until they outgrow it. Then they will move down to the second pen which sits alongside the main pen until they are integrated into the other flock at about 16 weeks.

Chickens - Incubation to Hatch

Well, as usual I have been slack with keeping this blog up to date however I will make more of an effort in 2011!On 28th November, the day before my 31st birthday, I fired up the Bellsouth 100 incubator, borrowed from a friend.I purchased 30 eggs locally, which included Rhode Island Red, Buff Sussex X New Hampshire, Araucana, Barnevelder x Australorp and Dark Barred Plymouth Rocks. I also gathered 11 eggs from friends.When I candled to see what eggs were fertile and growing, I found that 20 of the eggs were not even fertile! This included 5 of the 6 purchased Plymouth Rock eggs and 3 of the 6 purchased Rhode Island Red eggs, so I was a bit upset about that. The remaining Plymouth Rock egg had not progressed past day 7. And so, I was left with 21 eggs in the incubator.

On Saturday 18th they began to hatch:

First out was 'Rocky', a Barnevelder x Australorp who had the Australorp markings:

2 chicks died trying to get out of the shell, but I got 14 healthy chicks in the end.

These were:

ROCKY - First born and I'm pretty sure he is a rooster

BARNIE - Barnevelder x Australorp with Barnie markings: My guess = GIRL

LITTLE BARNIE - Barnevelder x Australorp with Barnie markings: My guess = BOY

THE BUFF SISTERS/BROTHERS: Buff Sussex X New Hampshire: My guess at week 2 is that the light headed one at back is a GIRL the other three BOY

THE FOUR MUSKETEERS - 4 of the 5 Araucana that hatched are black. Some seem to have little mostaches, so they look like little musketeers. At week 3 my guess is that I have 3 GIRLS, 1 BOY.

LAVENDER - who is actually white not lavender in colour is the 5th Auracana. Pretty sure she is a GIRL.

MIDNITE - was the only one from friends eggs that hatched, I am not sure if it is a girl or boy but hoping GIRL.

LITTLE RED - Rhode Island Red, the only one to hatch and they were lucky last. I am pretty sure it is a BOY.

S0 there they are - 14 little chicks making up the A-Team for 2011.