Thursday, July 12, 2012

More additions..

This week was filled with lots of additions.

First, my beekeeping mentor has a friend whose business is removing bees from people's properties. Usually they are swarms, which are pretty easy to handle and docile, b/c they have no honey reserves to protect. However, he brought over a cutout that had been in the wall/ceiling of someone's house for 3 years.  So it was a very well established colony, with LOTS of honey.

The first few days the bees were very angry, as their was honey comb all over the yard and lots of carnage (piles of dead bees from the move). They were also crawling all over the grass and couldn't fly. Very weird. They  have calmed down some after I cleaned up all the loose honey combs, however seemed pissy still and just not acting right.  We did a hive check and discovered no queen (didn't survive the move) which also contributes to bad temperament.  We gave them a frame of eggs out of my hive, hoping they'll raise their own queen. Once they have a queen they'll be better. If they don't manage to raise their own queen, they'll die, or well merge them w/another hive.

My 1st hive is doing very well, they filled up one honey super already, which will be their store for the winter. We added a 2nd honey super, anything they put in that box we will be able to harvest off of the hive in August/September. This is pretty good, as usually a first year hive has not yet built up the resources to harvest from it. 

On Sunday we acquired 2 new hens from a fellow beekeeping apprentice who is getting rid of her birds. They are a little on the old side (2 years) but for free I figure if I get 6months of eggs out of them it's worth it. 

 Zippy is a speckled sussex (the mottled one) and a Buff (blonde).  Zippy has been quite the trouble maker, and has been getting out of the chicken area somehow, despite the fact that I've cut her flight feathers so she shouldn't be able to get airborne and over the fence. 

The past few days have been a little rough, they are unused to going into my henhouse at night by themselves like the others are accustomed to. They tend to like to roost on top of the coop. Last was the first night they made it in themselves.  I think they'll be in the habit of it now, as the prior night they tried to but were thwarted when the door close on them. Anyhow, they may go back to their old ways of roosting on top of the coop.

Also, they've had to re-establish pecking order amongst the flock now that there are 2 new ones. The worst part is over, and any squabbles have been minor the past few days. The first day there were a few minor scratches that I had to clean up.  Buffy is now firmly at the top of the flock, and Zippy is somewhere in the middle. 

We planted a few more blueberry bushes, as well as some raspberries, strawberries, and other things in the garden beds (after taking out what we harvested already).

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