Friday, 29 May 2015

May musings

Life is busy on our little farm at the moment!
I am on a few weeks leave from work and it has been great to catch up with the house, the animals and of course the children.

The weather has been very poor for the month of May. It has been cold and wet with poor grass growth. I hope to get a good honey harvest this year so a few weeks of hot temperatures will be necessary.
My attempted queen rearing using grafted larvae was a failure. The bees rejected the grafts by removing the larvae. I have three hives now with hopefully young queens. I will check them today to see if they have started to lay.

Our elderly wolfhound had a surprise pup two months ago. He is a Irish wolfhound x German shepherd named Fionn. We were quite shocked to discover the pup one morning, as the mum is ten years old and never had a litter previous.

We have our herd test this evening for the cow and calf. The calf is sold and will leave the farm in the next few weeks. 

The magpies are stealing the hen eggs from the coop. It infuriates me as all that is let is a mess of broken eggs in the nest box each evening.
I'm keeping them locked in until noon at the moment but when I return to work they will be let out early and I expect we will have no eggs again.

The pigs are doing well. We need to fatten up the two younger pigs and send them to the freezer. When the calf is gone, there will be plenty of milk for the pigs.


  1. We know all about magpies here...they have a nest in the tree which overlooks the courtyard, which is where the chickens live when they are not out and about, and have stolen many an egg and will even take a young chick if any are about. Horrid birds, although I suppose they are only doing what comes naturally to them, but have to go buy eggs from the supermarket because those birds have found them before we have.....well it's just too much! Hope you enjoy your time off with your family. Must be hard to have to go out to work as well as care for them and the farm.

    1. At the moment I am a wage slave! Short term pain for long term gain etc but it is awful. I don't know how people do it for years, decades , life time. I have no time for anything anymore!
      We are trying to save for land. I'm gone 12 hrs a day 5 days a week and I just want to sleep at the weekends.
      Did you manage to resolve the magpie problem? Do you have to put them back under cover again in chicken arc

  2. I hope the herd test went well.

    That pup is lovely, what a brilliant surprise. Are you going to keep him?

    1. The cow is halter trained and is such a sweetie pie. So it was super easy. The vet will check her on Monday to see if she reacts. Hopefully not!
      The calf can't move off the holding until tested. I will miss our relief milker but she has totally cut up moo's teats.
      The pup is lovely and we will keep him. I was worried of the breeding at first. The neighbour had a German shepherd and it had to be put down for killing his own sheep. This is the father :-( so hopefully big and lazy like a wolfhound instead of big and dangerous

  3. I have been keeping bees for over 40 years now and have never heard of grafting larvae, proving that you never stop learning with bees. What does this entail and why is it preferable to letting the colony re-queen?

    1. I don't believe it is better than allowing the bees to rear their own. It has it's advantages when starting apidea boxes and nucs. Many do it in my bee association so I would like to try it.
      The idea is that you would graft larvae from your best colony without taking them out of honey production and allow another colony to rear the larvae into queen cells. The cells are covered with a protector a few days before they are due to hatch and do that the first queen to hatch doesn't destroy ten or twenty other cells. The ripe cells or young queen are then introduced to apidea boxes or nucs.
      But I haven't been successful yet :-)
      Can I ask how you try to maxise honey production? Any tips?


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