Monday, April 19, 2010

Nobody Got Stung

When you get new bees there are mainly two new ways to get them. One is called a "nuc" which is short for nucleolus, the other is a package, which is about 3lbs of bees and a queen. I have always gone for the nucs because they seem easier to install and bees are more established. But in an effort to mix things up we went in a package this time. We got them from a local apiary called Busy Bee Apiaries in the chapel hill area. You know that place on 40 where you can see all the hives from the highway? thats the place.
Naomi carrying the queens, one queen for each package of bees. They come in their own little protective case with some "nurse" bees, so that when you introduce them to the hive the bees wont kill them. See the side with the white stuff? that is the candy side, when we put them in the hive we will poke a little hole in that side, so the bees can smell the new queen while they eat the candy. by the time they get to the queen they will be used to her, hopefully.
Leviah giving the queen a whatfor

Six pounds of bees getting ready to go in the back of the subaru. its times like this that you hope you do get rear ended.

Getting the two new hive boxes ready. They will each get a new empty hive to start their happy home in.

once you are ready, you take the lid off and then shake the bees. well before you shake them if you spray them with sugar water, they are so busy eating the sugar water off each other that they don't mind the shaking.

Naomi giving a few of the bees a scooch so they don't get smooshed. Then you put the feeder on which is filled with sugar water to help them get started and you are all done.

Here is a video of naomi putting in the rest of the sugar water and getting the lid on.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the chicken tractor

After a few weeks of working out all the unexpected I have officially finished the chicken tractor. Lacey and Naomi still have to paint it but all the functional stuff is done.

The last coop I built on a wheelbarrow stand thinking that if you can move 80 pounds of concrete around why not a few chickens and some eggs. What I didn't think about was the run. Every time I wanted to move the coop I had to remove the run, then move the chickens and then connect the run back. This While process took about 30 mins, which is just way to long plus the chickens would get out and run the backyard until dark. The old coop also had a roost which was good enough for them before the got big and fat now only two of them can fit on it. The ventilation was also pretty poor which made for a super stinky coop.

So the things that I wanted for this coop was as follows; more room, a roost that fit them all, better ventilation, a better way for my egg collector to collect eggs and easy mobility.

My idea was to basically make a run for them about the same size as the old one and then put the coop part on top of it. to keep things simple I also moved away from the A frame design and just went with right angles which was a lot easier for me.

I have moved the chickens three times already, once a day pretty much since they have been in there and it is super easy now that I have the wheels on the back too.

Here are some pictures.
Side View

Wheels on the back

Ladder on a hinge so I can pull it up when i move the coop

Egg doors

Inside shot of nesting box

Ventilation and a little window to see the birds

I made a little stand for the bucket that feeds the chicken nipple