We are definitely in the middle of spring, but there are still no little fluffy chicks. The hatching is expected to happen on Friday or Saturday. That is, of course, if they are viable little chicks. It is really hard to tell what will happen. Last night we candled the eggs again to find things progressing well for two of them with the third egg remaining enigmatic. We have to prepare for the best with the eggs and therefore set up the brooder box.
The brooder consists of some scraps of wood set up as a box with a drinker, feeder, and the all important source of heat. The one thing we are missing at the moment is the chick food. The feed that we use for the chickens in specially made for hens that lay and egg a day every day. The levels of calcium in this feed is set for the construction of massive amounts of egg shell. Such feed would destroy a chick’s kidneys if their heart did not fail first. We need to get the chick food sorted soon.
On Sunday I decided that the conditions were right to dive into the other bee hive. I have put off this moment as the ‘other hive’ has always been a little on the feisty side. It is not just their attitude before the winter that I have worried about; it is also the condition they are in now. When watch the hive entrances the ‘other hive’ always seems to have less than half the traffic. There are also more dead bees dumped at the front of the ‘other hive’. The extra piece of information that saddens me about this hive is that they refused to fly on bright, but cold, winter days. In my head I had all sorts of ideas about what could be wrong; a lost queen, a poorly mated queen or disease. So, I opened up the hive to expecting to find a pitiful sight. Instead I found it bursting with bees, much more bees than the hive I checked only a few days earlier. It turns out that the hive is thriving even though they don’t seem to like to be out and about in the cold weather. I had no option but to put on a super. A super is the box used to harvest the honey that the bees make. It does seem so very strange that this time last year I obtained my first hive which only had half as much bees as any one of my hives now. It also means I have to keep a close eye on these hives. Lots of bees mean they may have a mind to swarm. Last year my fear of swarming was a terror of the concept of it. Now that I have been through the process, and thoroughly enjoyed it, I now see it as a potential loss of my precious bees. A loss of productivity.