Thursday, 4 April 2013

Lost a hive

The bees were flying great yesterday. Bringing in plenty of pollen for their hungry brood. One hive had no activity at the entrance. This worried me! I have been feeding them since January so I felt they should be all ok.
I went in home and put on my bee suit and came out and opened up the weak hive. I felt such relief to see the fondant that I had added a fortnight ago had been half used with plenty remaining and a few workers feeding on this. I took off the brood board and my heart dropped.
The number of bees had decreased and all that remained with a cluster of a few hundred bees half dead with their heads stuck in the comb. Dead and dying of starvation.
This was a weaker hive last autumn but I had made sure to feed them up well. They had emptied their own stores some time ago and I always made sure they had plenty of fondant. I guess the weather was so cold that they couldn't break cluster to feed on fondant.
A disappointing loss but a good education. I'll know for again!

We have eight chicks in the brooder now doing well. They finally figured out how to eat and drink. We will leave the unhatched eggs in the incubator till tomorrow and consider them failed after that. They were due yesterday.When I went to check on them this morning, I thought they were all dead! The cat jumped up on top of the brooder, well it is warm after all, and knocked the heat lamp off to one side and it was below freezing last night. I lower the heat lamp so as to be warmer for a couple of hours. This seemed to revive them, all but one! I thought it was good considering, although the cat was called a few things under my breath.

I went to the co-op today to buy them chick crumb but they only had grower pellets in the small 5 kg bag. I bought it and crushed it in a bowl and it does the job great. I will only need to keep crushing it for a week or two. Then they will be big enough to eat it as it is hopefully.

The chickens are free ranging around but that will end this evening. In the last few weeks they have moved into the veg garden and are doing terrible damage. They will have to be penned till hubby fences off the orchard for them.
At last the yard will be cleaner and no more checking the soles of our shoes for chicken poo before entering the house! We might get more eggs also as the two dogs get most of them. It will be fun trying to catch them!
Four days till we are back to milking alley the cow. I love my milk and that cow. It's the best part of the day and soon the freezer will be full of veal. Yum!

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