Midwinter Bee Update

Bees are flying We’ve had a few warm days this week, and the bees are flying after six weeks or more cooped up in the hives. I was thrilled to see that the hive I thought would be dead by Christmas is still alive, if weak. They must have a queen after all. I gave all four hives a hit of syrup in their feeders.

I was initially concerned about the number of brown spots on the snow, fearing nosema. However the good folks at Homesteading Today reminded me that it’s only nosema if they can’t hold it long enough to get outside, which does not seem to be a problem.

Dead bee on the snow The bees also dumped the bodies of their sistren that had died in that time, to the great rejoicing of the chickens who hadn’t had a bug to eat since probably Thanksgiving.

Speaking of the chickens, we’ve been getting six or occasionally seven eggs a day for the last couple weeks, but only 5 for the last two days. It’s a bit early to claim a trend, but the change does coincide with a switch from Layeena to Southern States medicated layer pellets. I’m concerned because it took us a long time to get them to eat, let alone lay on the Layeena after the bugs went away. (Yes I know about all the issues with laying, but the bleeping birds simply weren’t eating period).

Keikur and the girlies Southern States brand feed is becoming an issue with the local Agway. When we ask for a kind of feed we never know which brand we’ll get. I’m sure SS is less expensive than the Agway branded products, because it’s defintely ‘cheaper’ and all our critters tell us so. Also, like the stuff from Tractor Supply, it defaults to being medicated, something we we prefer to avoid. If someone is sick, I’m right there with the drugs, however I’m not about to deliberately breed for drug resistant bacteria, which is what constant medication does. Much as we prefer to deal with Agway, I think we need to start asking the brand/medication status in advance, and ostentatiously not buying if it’s medicated, or Minx doesn’t like it.

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One Comment

  1. mollyrabbit
    Posted January 9, 2008 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Oh man. The stuff from Tractor Supply? They have mash but no pellets almost all of the time. Just kills me. We go to a local mill just to get layena (good people but lousy hours) just to get pellets at all. Have you ever tasted the difference (ok we’re nuts, but if it’s disgusting, you know it right away!) betw that Tractor Supply s*** and Layena? And we’re looking to do better than Layena. Historically, they’re not too great, but better now than ever in the past.

    That said, our Americanas and Irie are all laying beautifully.

    Off my soapbox!

    m

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