Friday, February 26, 2016

Hive Check and Chicken Invasion

It turned into a pretty nice afternoon even if the morning was a bit cool. I went down and cut another trailer load plus of wood off the old oak and even remembered to bring along all the large flat rocks I had been collecting to put down in the mud gate along the way.

After cutting for a few hours I did a quick hive check and discovered I might have lost two hives this Winter. Now is about the time when hives seem to suddenly die off so it doesn't surprise me any. I don't think I lost any hives last year if I remember right so I am about due and one of the hives that now appears dead was a pretty old one too while the other kept spitting out swarms regardless how hard I tried to stop them last year. I need to open them up to be 100% sure but the lack of activity and no buzzing when I wrapped on the side of the hive is a pretty good test.

If all I lose are two hives a year though with almost 20 going into Winter I am happy.  I went ahead and started putting out my open feeders of sugar syrup though as I noticed I had a large number of foragers already hitting my Arizona tea can recycling bin. I need to design and build a rain cover for my feeding stations though before rain hits.

It seems that no matter where I go around the farm at least as long as I am within about 100 yards of the barn I cannot shake the chickens however.

Where ever I am, no matter what I am doing there is always at least one hen right under my feet. Many of them are not a bit phased by machinery running, huge logs almost squishing them or nothing. On the contrary as soon as I fire up the tractor or log splitter they are right there. I am beginning to wonder how next hay season is going to go now.

These two hens showed up while I was unloading the firewood from the trailer and cleaning out the wood stove.

By the time I started filling the open syrup feeders I had almost the entire flock up around me and they started digging out the mulch I had placed under and around the deck and hand pump to the cistern.

They knocked over a bunch of stuff off the deck as you can see. Moved the water spout hose I have directing the water out into the yard for Winter and began throwing all the mulch off unto the concrete pad I have covering the cistern. They even managed to scratch my wood pile tarp out as well.

These chickens are a menace. And they are everywhere!!!

I did see another sure sign of Spring today though in the form of a Red Winged Blackbird. I hope we start getting some real blooms soon for the bees sake.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!


  1. We had a warm streak followed by a cold spell that did in 3 of our hives. Only one made it. And it wasn't even a strong hive. Maybe the cold spell you had got them but sounds like the others have over-wintered well.

    Dumb question: Why do you paint your hives different colors? And did you paint the inside, too, or just leave them plain?

    Enjoyed your chicken update. One thing to think about with your chickens is that they're doing maintenance. Not that they follow directions very well, but in their little bird-brains they think they're helping out. Just wait until they figure out where your 'coop' is, they'll be roosting on your front stoop when it is siesta time. And for pete's sake, don't leave a car door open for any amount of time or they'll have to investigate. And Mr. Rocky roo sure is a handsome fellow. Looks like he's posing.

    1. Hobo - Well the one hive if it is dead, which I am about 99% sure it is at this point, just kept pumping out swarms and by late Summer I noticed it's activity level was going down. My guess is they got a dude queen or maybe she died and they couldn't replace her. The other one I am not so sure about perhaps I didn't leave em enough stores cause it seemed like a pretty strong hive going into Winter.

      Only thing I can figure is they think I am some big rooster who's only job is to find them food. A few of the hens even squat when I get close but if Rocky sees em do it he gets mad.
      I am just afraid I am going to squash one some day.

  2. 2 flocks of robins yesterday. first i've seen and just in time for very cold, windy,snowy conditions.

    1. DH - They must know the cold is only short lived at this point though. Want to get up there and grab the good nesting spots to impress the ladies :)

  3. Dennis

    A long with that comment about leaving the car door open. The company use to do Walmart clean up and one day there was chicken running around. Lost and not knowing what to do when the owner came out and caught her and put her back into the car. He said that the chicken sometimes even gets into the engine area or was it the axial. They can be very annoying at times. I hope they do not start chasing the bees. :)

    1. Dennis - I have seen em cleaning up around the hives from time to time but so far not getting into my car or truck!!! I will have to watch that.

  4. Getting to practice my skills tonight. Some idiot wrapped a truck around a transformer pole and the whole town is in the dark.

    Kids are having a sleep over by all sleeping in one room and realized 4 of the flashlights stashed around the house have had batteries removed.

    Also discoveted that once the power is out more than 2 hours the battery back ups in every smoke detector start making them beep.


    1. Exile - Oh My. I would be lecturing some people about the battery stealing!!!

      Sounds like you had your hands full last night!!!

  5. PP,

    Sorry to hear about 2 hives not making it. You seem to be pulling strong though on the others.....that's a good thing.
    Your chickens seem very inquisitive and nosy......I'm sure it's a collective thing to harass you, LOL!!!!
    I have found 2 eggs with there shells cracked open on the property, baby birds being born sure signs of spring here.

    1. Sandy - These chickens are worse than the cats ever thought about being when it comes to being nosy. I never imagined they would be like this.

      Already new borns? Wow!!


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