My life… with a few chickens thrown in for good measure

Hatching update

So I candled on the 14th and only 12 were fertile eggs. I removed the dud ones and will now leave the eggs to do their ‘thing’! Only 11 days to go!!

Rcom 20 incubator

I started running my incubator yesterday to make sure all was well with it, it’s currently situated in the attic as that has a stable temperature and I can brood them up there too.
This will be my second hatch with the Rcom. I used the universal tray that came with it last time (sort of adjustable columns to pop eggs in )and I’m not convinced it turned all of the 12 eggs particularly well. With that in mind I invested in the 20 egg tray which has a cut out for each egg evenly spaced and I’m hoping this will do the job a lot better.
I like the fact that this incubator is fairly simple to use it needs minimal fiddling with. Aside from candling eggs at day 6 and 14 all you really need to do is you fill the reservoir and check it’s topped up every 3 days, set the humidity (45) and temp (37.5), set the ‘turning’ to ‘on’ and you are good to go!
18 days later up the humidity to 65 and set ‘turning’ to ‘off’ then wait for the baby chicks to hatch 🙂
The eggs above are from my pekins 5 from flower x Alice and 2 are frizz x Alice. Tomorrow I shall pop some more eggs in from the lovely Andy at Chickenstreet
I shall post candling results hopefully with pictures if embryo’s are clear enough to see.
Fingers crossed for a happy hatch 🙂

The chicken thing…

Some people don’t ‘get’ it…Most people like the chickens, chooks have their own little quirks and are amusing to watch. Some people like to ‘joke’ about killing and eating them. Can’t say I find it funny or ever will. But thankfully those are in the minority or at least know when to stop.
My chickens regularly wander into the house. Flower mooches in and makes her way upstairs to thomas’s room where she will perch and watch tv with him.

I’ve always wanted chickens, ever since we bought this house & hubs always said no. I think he only gave in after the devastating time we had with Dad being taken gravely Ill.
(To cut a long story short Dad was brought back from the brink by amazing itu staff moved to general ward then suffered a catastrophic brain haemorrhage because of incompetent nursing staff. I nursed him round the clock supported by my sisters the following few days til he died. We then had to wade through a year of pre inquests & endure his inquest by jury)
So I’d had a pretty pants year and because of that I was allowed some chickens. I got two ex batts. Posh & pecks. Love the way they are so inquisitive and do things like jump up and run off with my sandwich.
They also very quickly told the greyhound who’s boss 🙂

yep, that would be the dogs food

next the hub bought me 2 pekins, flower & Dave.

Then I got 3 bantam Plymouth rocks.

I hatched tikka and nugget from my own stock. Then hatched frizz a mottled pekin.

I bought a box of pekin cockerels (they were supposed to be girls) from ardingly, frizzles noodles, Alice and two smooth reds.

Next hatch was pekins spot and Sally.

A few weeks after them I upgraded the incubator and I hatched Dobby a bantam orp & pekins Hattie,jelly,tallulah & moony.

I was also given two pretty little lemon pyle brahma girls

There have been downsides, Dave & 2 of the rocks died 😦
And some of the others went to fab homes.

I currently I have 10 hens and 3 doodlers can never get them all in 1 pic together…

Thats todays gratuitous chicken blog mainly just to say there is more to chickens than eggs, KFC, yorkshire puddings and gravy! they make fab pets and are great little characters to have bimbling around the garden (or the living room)

DISCLAIMER: having got them a new massive shed I can AND will do one more hatch 🙂

Mid February…

it’s been a busy week. Hub now working on a site in town, so thats good.
H’s eye is healing after the ‘stitches poking thru his eyeball’ episode.
Thomas has dates for his knee operations and we are all set for that now with hotel and trains booked.
Chickens new mahoosive shed arrived and is nearly all put together (still needs to be felted and glazed)
Noodles the over frizzled doodler has had a rough few days. His flirting with the girls has earnt him a bit of a beating from Alice the dominant cockerel but I think noodles’ll learn to leave the girls be.
He slept indoors last night and was quite gobby this morning…

oh and one final piece of advice, dont leave the dishwasher door open. found a chicken in mine picking out bits of sweetcorn…

Scrummy Cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and chocolate drizzled meringue

Ingredients:
‎200g butter softened, 
200g caster sugar
150g self raising flour,
50g cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder. 
4 eggs. 
1-2 tbsp milk

Pre heat oven to 180*c
Cream butter with the sugar til light and fluffy.
Stir in flour, cocoa and baking powder.
Gradually whisk in the eggs.
Stir in milk to loosen the mixture to a dropping consistency.

Spoon into paper cases and bake for approx 17 mins (test with a wooden skewer, if it comes out clean they are ready) 
allow to cool on a cake rack before decorating.

Buttercream:
175g butter 
450g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
50g cocoa
 
Beat the butter with the sifted cocoa & icing sugar. 
Add the milk and beat until smooth and creamy
Pop into a piping bag with a big star nozzle.

 For meringues you need :
2 egg whites
100g caster sugar

Make sure the bowl you are using is spotlessly clean
whisk egg whites til it peaks
Then add sugar a small bit at a time all the while whisking til mixture is thick & glossy. 
Pop in piping bag with star nozzle and pipe on to greasproof paper to make the cake decorations

 Pop in preheated oven at 150*c for ten mins then turn heat down to 140*c 
bake for further 30-40 mins.
keep an eye on them! 
Turn off oven but leave meringue in to cool

Melt dark chocolate in bowl over saucepan of hot water and drizzle over cooled baked meringue, leave to set. 

Pipe buttercream on to cakes then stick a meringue star on the top 

Variations of decoration mmmmm

We were sent some dog treats from the lovely people at wagg for Blue to test!

Blue is a 9 year old greyhound who spends most of his time asleep or being harassed by chickens.

Being an old racing greyhound with not exactly brilliant teeth he doesn’t know what to do with the hide type chews 
So these little treats looked perfect.

We taught him to give a paw last year for bits of cheese and he’s very keen to show his paws for a treat 

He really enjoyed these little treats, they don’t upset his tummy or give him bad wind….which is brilliant!

And he gets to upstage the chickens for a change 🙂

*drool*


Gimme!

Can I eat the pack?

All in all I think its fairly plain to see Blue loved the treats. 🙂

Wagg dog treats

First you need some vet wrap, one roll is around £3.50. (you don’t *have* to choose pink)

You need to cut a thin strip along the width

I have substituted pens for chick legs in the absence of tiny chicks….

Wrap one end of vet wrap around chicks leg and press into the middle then repeat on opposite side, it doesn’t need to be tight around the leg just secure to stop legs splaying..



And there you have hobbles!
The vet wrap ones don’t stick to the chick like plasters, they don’t impede walking, eating & drinking like plasters either. Easily adjusted multiple times as will always stick to itself. So 3 or 4 days in vet wrap hobbles and hips are usually sorted! You just unpeel the wrap away from itself when finished.