3.13.2011 It’s all about the birds and the bees really

Four days after the big rain and it’s still too soggy to do anything soil related. So yesterday I spent mostly with the poultry. I’m just a few days away from the hatch date for my Buff Orpington and I’ve got a hundred chicks coming in a little more than two weeks. Which means it’s time to get the coop ready for chicks. The bedding I had in there was a lot of hay layered on top of pine shavings. It was really deep. A chick could get lost in stuff like that. I pulled all that out of there, took down the turkey roost opening up more floor space and just generally tidied up.

After that, I moved on to the turkey pens. First I moved them off their winter lodgings. That used to be turf covered with a deep layer of hay. Due to the winds and recent heavy rains, the pens migrated off their bedding base and into an area of thin turf. In a matter of days, the birds had scratched it down to dirt and mud. Now they are on fresh spring grass.

Then Michael came out and installed a dog kennel in the corner of each turkey tractor to serve as nest that will moved with the tractors. Now whether it was the warmth of the day, the sunshine, the fresh new grass, having another man in the coop or the manly sounds of power tools, I don’t know. But something got my toms motivated. Both Archie and the Burbon finally gave their girls what they’d been begging for. And this morning, I was rewarded with my first turkey eggs! Laid right there in the grass. One from a Narragansett hen and the other from the Burbon. Yay spring! I had a talk with the hens this morning about where to lay their eggs and left a few bright colored plastic Easter eggs in the kennels just to give them the idea. The Narragansetts thought the eggs were great fun and showed me how to properly conduct an Easter Egg Roll. In typical turkey fashion, the obvious escapes them and the whole nesting idea might as well be fairy dust. For now at least.

Last night I spent with the bees, sort of. Each hive currently consists of a deep and a medium super, which are the boxes that hold the frames for the bees to draw their comb upon. The combination of the deep and the medium, was enough to get the hives through the winter. But with the honey flows that are drawing near, they are going to need more space. Those two supers will soon be filled with brood and the bees will need somewhere to store their honey. I have a medium super ready to go for each hive, each with eight frames. But if the hive and the honey flows are strong, the bees can theoretically fill up a super in a matter of days. I need spares. So last night, I put together 8 more frames. Only 24 more to go and then I’ll have frames for all my supers. What I’m going to do with the honey once it comes in . . . well, I’ll figure that out later.

 


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