Friday, 20 May 2011

Time flies

Sorry been really busy with work and I just haven't had time to update.

Definitely "small chickens" now.  We did a one-by-one check yesterday, and now many of them are in 14mm rings with the rest still on 12mm.   They don't particularly want to be caught, but are mostly quite happy to perch on our wrists.hands/shoulders if we do pick them up.  

Tonight will be their first night with the Electric Hen turned off. I'm sure they will be fine, but I can't help but worry.   We'll leave the Hen in the coop anyway as it also provides an extra shelf.  They still don't fill the whole house.

The Sussexes will be going to their new home very early next week and the plan is that all our lovely babies will go to the allotment a day or two after that.    To start with they will have a big shed as a coop,  we'll move them to a more traditional coop when we have fewer chooks.

The shed has been cleared, cleaned and sprayed ready.  We just need to put Diatom powder down, and some Aubiose to cover the floor. DH is going to replace one of the windows with mesh, as they generate quite a bit of heat and I think they'll need the extra ventilation.

We need to mow the grass, but we don't want to risk disturbing the bees at the moment.

Allotment Birds
Norman seems to have moved in with the breeding group, laying her eggs in their nestbox as well.  We discussed whether she was stuck there and couldn't find her way back to her own coop, but really we're sure she'd figure it out if she really wanted to get back.    Having said that, DH decided to return her to her own coop for the last time. If she gets back in with Roo and his Ladies, she can stay there.

The other 2 little laydees are still broody.  I think we might try and integrate the two flocks,  keeping both coops available so they can choose where to sleep.  We'll start by letting them mingle when we are around and see how we get on,  and I'll make sure we get some saffles for the Laydees, just in case Roo decides to try his luck.  The Laydees eggs are easily identifiable from the other 3 breeding ladies,  so we can make sure we don't hatch them (unless we really want to).  We'll see.

We're thinking we might keep one of the new cockerels, with a couple of ladies to keep him company.  If we do so, we'll be running two breeding flocks as I don't want to have to cull Roo.  We'll see.

Garden Girls
My lovely Garden Girls are mostly OK.  Lily is still a bit of a worry, still very quiet, but she is eating well and doesn't seem to be in any discomfort.  Florence, my Australorp, is still broody.  She's been broody for weeks now, much more than the 3 weeks they normally go through.    Every day when I hoik her out of the nest box, I explain to her that she doesn't have any eggs and, even if she did they wouldn' t be fertile...but she just OOKs at me, and goes back into the nestbox as soon as she's had a little smackerel of something.

I gave her notice yesterday that if she was still broody at the weekend I would get the dog crate out and put her in it.  She just OOKed a bit more, and ignored me. 

The Bees were fine over the weekend.  On Monday, our adjacent plot holder got stung by a bee, and he rang to let us know.  We went down to have a look, and the bees seemed fine, although there were a couple of scout bees around.  We moved around teh plot, and around our neighbours plot,  and a couple of the scouts came to investigate.   We wondered if there was a "line of sight" problem, and we thought that covering the Heras fencing between the plots with fine mesh netting might act as a bit of a screen.

We went to the allotment on Tuesday morning to put up the etting.  Immediately we arrived, a couple of bees came to see what we were up to.  They weren't too bothered by my presence, but they stung DH. Twice.  There were a lot of bees around the hive entrance, but they sounded quite calm.  We had enough netting to cover several panels,  the ones that directly adjoin our neighbours plot.  

We ordered more netting, which arrived on Thursday. On Friday (today), we took the netting down to complete the screening.   The bees were fine, didn't bother us at all.   We didn't do anything else,  we didn't want to risk annoying the bees just before the weekend.

We have one other thing we can try, if necessary, which is putting a netted Heras fence panel in front of the hive.  We don't really want to do that as it'll make it harder for the bees, but we'll do it if we have to.

We'll do a small bee inspection on Monday....hope it goes OK!

1 comment:

  1. You have been busy!

    You must take some pictures of your small chickens now! :)

    Your DH isn't having much luck with stings is he..

    Martin :)