Food Dehydrator and my flaxseed cracker recipe.

Anyone who has been into the shop to look at food dehydrators will probably end up hearing my stories of what I use mine for.  The majority of customers buy them for jerky or fruit leathers but I’m a huge flaxseed cracker and kale chip fan.

Kale in the dehydrator

Our Novital food dehydrator has 5 trays – as pictured above with my yummy cheesy kale chips – the yellow stuff is nutritional yeast. (Not as good as this recipe which is one of my favourites)  You can can control the heat by turning on one or both heat elements.  With one it is just around 50°C and both makes it closer to 60°C.  Being slack I throw my soaked nuts and crackers in before bedtime (on the lower heat) and turn it off in the morning. Yes it is quiet enough to run in the laundry overnight without keeping anyone wake.

Novital Food Dehydrator Cabinet

 Helens flaxseed cracker recipe:

1 cup total of LSA, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds – usually I have abit over 1/3 LSA, 1/3 flaxseed and the rest made of the other seeds. (This is where I get my seeds, nuts etc and they deliver really quickly in Perth )

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (this the one I use )

1 teaspoon crushed/minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt – I love pink himalayan, use less if you are using a ‘salty’ processed salt

Optional extras: Lemon pepper, pulp from juicing, grated hard cheese to taste.

Mix all of the above in a bowl and add Water to mix… probably close to a cup – start with 1/2 cup and work on feel.  It does soak up alot of water.

I usually leave mine on the bench soaking for at least 30 mins plus – up to a few hours while I’m doing other chores before spreading in the dehydrator shelf.  You may find yourself adding more water as the mixture sits as it gets thicker.  Its easier to remove/turn/flip the crackers if you use baking paper as in the picture below but the shelves clean very easily.

Yes you can make these in the oven – but you need to watch them so they don’t burn.

**I’ll check these measurements again in a few days on my next batch – it’s become very much throw everything in the bowl recipe at home. And yes Mr 5.5’s gluten free (and non gluten free) friends do eat these 🙂

Tested on 28th Jan 2015 and they worked perfectly and tasted yum.  A single mix of the recipe ended up making enough cracker blobs to fill 2 trays.

Dehydrator nuts    Dehydrator full of crackers

There is a mouse in my bedroom.. and I don’t want to kill it.

One of the more memorable days I’ve had working here was made by a lovely 11 or 12 yr old girl who came in looking for a friendly mouse trap.  She had googled live catch mouse traps and after finding us, gotten her mother to drive her nearly 100km to come and get her one so that they could take the mouse out of her room but not kill it.  I believe the plan was to catch the mouse and release it in the park nearby.  While this particular memory is unique the sentiments expressed by the girl are not.  We have many customers who for many different reasons prefer a live catch trap for rodents.  Some live in rural areas and wish to check for native rodents (and remove them)  before disposing of the vermin, others don’t wish to kill any thing they have caught.  For those of you wondering how to tell the natives from the vermin here is a very interesting article on how to tell which rodent is which – from The Australian Museum…

So if you are after a live catch trap (for any reason!) what choices do you have??

Well if you definitely do not want to injury the critter in anyway your best bets are craypot trap – made in both rat and mouse sizes or the mouse tip trap.  Since these traps don’t have any moving parts there is much less risk in any injury occurring.

Craypot Mouse trapCraypot Mouse Trap

Tip Trap:  

Other choices include the ‘see-saw’ multi-catch mouse traps with either one or two entrances. See my post on these traps:
Mouse traps – the ‘see-saw’ style live catch trap…

Helens Humidity Rant…for incubating eggs.

Just noticed I’ve been alittle slack with posting… but as mentioned last post it is incubation season and if you have been to shop you’ll probably have been told how busy it has been 🙂  As a result of an increase in incubator sales, I find myself giving my humidity talk.. alot!  So I will attempt to write my ‘lecture’ on humidity here – please ask questions/comment if I miss something out.

We usually recommend for chook eggs you have around 50-55% humidity for the first 18 days and bump that up to 70-75% for the last 3 days of hatching.  Everything you read will have slightly different percentages – how else would you sell soooooo many books on incubation?  The exact number doesn’t concern me… as proved with the school chickens, you can still hatch under less than ideal conditions.  My father-in-law told me when I started at the shop – if you know what you are doing, you can hatch chook eggs in a fry pan – it’s just abit easier in an incubator 🙂  Mother hens do not have hydrometers!  In most incubators this means that to start with you fill up a water dish – the manufacturer has done all the calculations for you and then for the last 3 days you fill up the second water dish -or in IM machines, close the vents down to one third.

Humidity is all about surface area of water – it doesn’t matter if the water dish is 5 mm deep or 10 inches deep.  If you measuring humidity and want to decrease it, decrease the surface area – cling wrap or foil works well, naturally then to increase humidity increase surface area – sponges are a great way to do this.  Other suggestions include using containers like ice cubes trays which allow you more precisely control the surface area of water.

In normal circumstances you will need to check and top up the water about every second or third day.  If you find yourself constantly filling up the water dish, consider putting a dish of water outside the incubator to boost the humidity of the air going into it – if the air going in is very dry it will use more water.  It also goes without saying that the water you use to top up your incubator should be ‘blood temp’ – just like a babies bath, so the incubator doesn’t have to warm it up.

While they are not necessary, if you do want to monitor the humidity/temperature in your incubator(s) this set allows you to monitor up to three incubators:


Oregon Scientific RAR502

Feeders for Ducks…

I got a question the other day, that made me think for few seconds.  ‘Have you got feeders for ducks?’  People ask about baby chickens all the time and I know exactly what feeders to show them but ducks need abit more room than chooks and don’t like the ‘guards’ that many of the poultry feeders have to stop the mess and waste.  After a little looking around…and consultation with Jeff (who knows all about the different sorts of birds and all of our stock!) I realized that we do actually have quite a few feeders suitable for ducks.  So if you do have ducks and need a feeder for them, these are some of the feeders you could consider.

10 or 18kg chute feeder.. from Italy.  These come in both chicken (not so high) and chook base and there is room for a ducks bill.

Bulk Chicken Feeder -10 kg                          Bulk Poultry Feeder - 18 kg

The Yellow plastic 7, 9 & 12 kg feeders.  These have plenty of room for ducks (or geese) to feed and they are great value.

Yellow Feeder 7 KgYellow Feeder 9 Kg  Yellow Feeder 12 Kg

If you don’t want the storage, the hanging metal troughs (available in several lengths) are another option.

Novital Trough Metal Feeders

Happy duck feeding, Helen & Molly

Web Link to feeders:


Aluminum folding trap: ‘Elliot Style’ for small marsupials

Had a question this morning about the inside workings of our ‘Elliot Style’ folding trap for small marsupials and since I took some photos of the trap thought I’d share them.  Most of these traps are sold to environmentalists or universities doing fauna surveys.  We do have people asking about them as a rat trap, but we don’t recommend them as a rat trap, as the rats can chew the mechanism if left in the trap too long.









Being interested in the uses and history I did some quick ‘googling’ and found that the ‘Elliot Style’ trap is based on a Sherman trap invented in the 1920’s – see  Most documents about the trap are related to scientific trapping practices.

To find these traps on our website see:

All about Foxlights…stories we hear about them

Sold a few more Foxlights this morning… and for once they were actually for sheep 🙂  Naturally enough most of the lights we sell are for around the poultry yard and anecdotally they are working very well.

Sheep with Foxlight

The word about Foxlights must be getting out there as instead of meeting customers the day after they have lost all their chooks to a fox attack (which unfortunately we had quite a number of cases of  last year – 2013) now we are getting customers buying their Foxlights before they buy the chooks.

So what is a Foxlight?  The simple version is a Fox deterrent.  It runs on a large 6V rectangle battery like the dolphin style torches and has 9 LED lights around the top.  No switches, nothing to do – the Victorian sheep farmer who designed it wanted it to be simple – it comes on a sundown, turns off at sun up and totally randomly flashes light around – rather like someone being out there with a flashlight.  I’ve been told that the flashes occur between 5 seconds and 2 minutes apart and that you get anything from 1 LED to all 9 of them at once.  The light appears to come out sidewards (not from the top) so it seems to come from different directions – tricky 🙂  It is made to put onto a star fence picket or hung from wire.

So a great Australian invention that is doing a wonderful job (here & overseas) of protecting your livestock from the vermin fox.  To find them on our website see:  

Foxlight with cm

Incubators: the 162 egg, Digital Auto turn Cova Tutto

I realized the other day that I’ve now written several posts on a poultry equipment blog and haven’t yet mentioned an incubator!  Anyone who has been in the shop quickly realizes that Jeff is the poultry expert and the one with the experience…my incubation experience is limited to the school chickens and one batch Jeff’s dad Chris did here at the shop.  While I grew up on a farm with some chooks.. my mothers hens largely took care of themselves and if they did decide to reproduce, did so in the natural way.  Sometimes we’d find them sitting on eggs and move them into the spare run, sometimes they would re-appear with some chickens and occasionally we’d find some feathers and broken egg shells.

However I have studied hard to learn all I can about incubators and the machine I’m most familiar with is this one, the Cova Tutto 162 egg machine.  I got the job of ‘playing’ with it a few years ago when we first brought the digital Cova Tuttos in from Italy.  It is very easy to set up, and what impressed me most (I’ll confess a slight basis – I like the Cova Tutto incubators) was how it managed to keep constant temperature and humidity in the main part of our shop on a day with a 30% humidity variation and 10 degree temperature change.

Cova162 Auto Digital

Like all the Cova Tutto machines above the 24 egg, the trays are adjustable for any sized egg (one of their best selling points in my opinion!)  so if you want to do quails or geese you don’t need to worry about getting different sized egg trays.  Each tray, there are 3 in the 162 egg machine, has its own auto turn motor – and yes these motors can handle the bigger eggs. As well as digital temperature control, the incubator gives you a reminder beep to top up the water trays.  It is fan forced and has been quite popular for customers wanting to do a larger number of eggs at a time or a regular weekly hatching.

26th July 2018:  We no longer have this incubator in stock.

To find this incubator on our website see this link:

Checking the temperature in the shop while thermometer testing

Been very busy with the end of financial year and stocktaking.  It’s been very chilly in the shop and I didn’t really need a thermometer to know it was under 10 degrees when we came in.  (Yes, Molly dog is wearing her coat and I’ve my beanie, scarf and gloves on!)  One of the many things I’ve been doing this week was ‘playing with/testing’ and setting up a Aqua Pro digital thermometer/hydrometer.

25th July 2018:  Unfortunately these lovely Aqua Pro units are no longer available and we have been unable to source a similar device for a similar price.

The Aqua Pro digital thermometer/hydrometer is very useful in incubators or as a mini weather station.  Along with the current temperature and humidity it also gives the date  and time, as well as been able to be used as an alarm clock.  As an added bonus you can also set high and low alarm conditions for both temperature and humidity so it let you know when your incubator is not in the range you have set.  For those of us that are use to both Celsius and Fahrenheit it is very simple to change between the two – just one button press.  If you think this could be useful tool for you, it’s on the website. [ no longer on website]Digital Thermometer-Hydro  Keep warm and until next time.  Helen & Molly



Mouse traps – the ‘see-saw’ style live catch trap…

Even with the event of wet weather, it appears that WA still has a big mouse problem – rodent traps are very popular. One of the advantages of a multi catch, live catch trap is that the caught rodent makes a noises and their ‘friends’ come to join the party. I watched this work at my parents farm over Easter – at breakfast time we had one mouse squeaking in the trap, by morning tea there were 3 of them, I left at 11:30am when 4 were eating the peanut butter and when Dad emptied it mid -afternoon the trap held 7 mice.

Mouse Trap - Repeater


The ‘see-saw’ style mouse traps, are sturdy and it is easy to see what you have caught (esp if you are looking for marsupial rodents before disposing of the vermin.) They can also be used as a ‘bait station’ – by putting the poison inside the trap, you don’t have the problem of the rodent running off to die in the most awkward corner of the roof, or in the wall. Nor do you run the risk of secondary poisoning as the deceased mouse is contained where other animals can not get to it.

We sell two sorts of these – one with a single entrance and a double ended ‘repeater’ version. Both are for sale on the website:

25th July 2018:  All the mouse and rat traps can be found here:

Making Pasta -using our Pasta Machine

What does making pasta have to do with a Poultry Equipment and Trap shop you ask?  Well we actually have a amazing array of interesting items, I refer to the shop as ‘abit of an Aladdin’s cave’  and one of my favourite sections is our kitchenware items – which I’d love to extend.  We sell pasta machines, mincers (and sausage funnels), food dehydrators and even ‘apple’  peeler/corer/slicers – much loved by my nieces. On the weekend  I made my gluten free lasagna. I love making pasta, and since having to go gluten free over a year ago have been struggling with fresh pasta.. but finally I think I’ve got it.  I loosely based my dough on this recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring – see recipe here  Cheating by using whole eggs – yes laid by our own beautiful speckled hens and made up the 3 cups of flour by using 1 cup of buckwheat, 1 cup of arrowroot and 1 cup of macro plain gluten free flour.  I mixed it up in my Kenwood with the dough hook – so much easier than kneading by hand, esp with my arthritic hands, and left it to rest in the fridge. A few hours later and quick kneed with a buckwheat/arrowroot flour mix, I rolled it through my new (only ever used for gluten free dough’s) pasta machine – yes the same one we sell in the shop 🙂  I did use a thicker – around 6, thickness setting but the dough held up really well.  We won’t talk about my first gluten free pasta dough attempts but they did fall to pieces and didn’t roll 🙁

Pasta Machine in Action        Pasta on bench

I did make lasagna but couldn’t resist cooking up a few left over pieces of pasta for a quick lunch – just lemon juice, freshly cracked black pepper and sprinkle of parmesan cheese – yum.

Cooked pasta                            Homemade Lasagna

So that’s the results and if you would like the pasta machine that rolled it, here is a link to our on-line shopping cart.

25th July 2018:  The kitchen equipment is here now