On Saturday we picked up our first two hens. Two Wyandottes, one Silver Laced and one Gold Laced. As we are not going to eat them I decided to name them - I'm told it's not a good idea to name anything you intend to pop in the pot! Neither girl is perfect for showing but that makes them perfect for me. What I want is to have beautiful birds that eventually will free-range on part of our property - with eggs as a great bonus. There may even be some eggs to spare - some breeds lay more than others.
Up to now the hens haven't ventured out of the coop into the run. It will take a few days to get used to the new surroundings but they are eating, clucking and getting used to me bit by bit. I encourage them with a little 'scratch' [a mix of whole grains] which is rather like candy to them. I need to make friends with the hens - not only because it's fun but also because I need to handle them to check that they are well etc.
Sylvia and Adeline also don't seem keen on the perches but cuddle together in a corner at night - perhaps they prefer it that way - time will tell. They are both big hens so perhaps it is more comfortable on the floor.
In a week or so I'm getting four more hens to join Sylvia and Adeline. Two Light Sussex, one Buff Orpington and one true coloured Rhode Island Red - very dark unlike the commercial hens.
This is all really exciting. I'm looking forward to it all!
The spring weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been pleasant for a few days now and like all animals, the bees are ready to reproduce. We noticed some swarm cells in our beehive just over a week ago so we tried to pre-empt a swarm by removing the queen, some brood and stores to a new hive – trying to trick them into thinking they had swarmed.
This morning I thought I would check the new hive and saw another swarm cell – meaning that they had decided to swarm again. By the time I had walked to the barn to get the kit to make another artificial swarm they had done it for real! The bees were pouring out of the hive and forming a bee tornado all around me, but because they are fueled up with honey for the trip they don't sting.
They settled in a fir tree a few yards away and so I climbed a set of stepladders and shook the cluster into a large cardboard box – they were surprisingly heavy, probably 4 Kg in all.
Then we simply poured the bees into yet another new hive, we must have caught the queen as they stayed put.
So now we have three hives when a couple of weeks ago we had one! Whew! Charles
This used to be a chicken house when the previous owners lived here but we've decided to use it as a chicken supplies shed - so we're moving it round to be beside the chicken run.
We had a spell of lovely weather at the end of March so we decided to get the job done. We have a few minor tracks in the grass now but it's worth it as I can keep the metal feed container, first aid supplies and clean-up equipment etc right beside the predator proof safety run.
We're getting closer to being ready for the hens - - - can't wait!
PS Forgot to say hat my last post "Seedling Puzzle" is on the old page if you want to see it. :o)