Mum and I walked down to do the chickens just before lunch today. The sunshine is still unbroken and the temperature is continuing to rise. We opened up the shed and put up the new wreath that my parents had bought us as a shed warming present. It’s absolutely stunning and adds to the crafty vibe perfectly.
We walked down to check on Emily who is still resolutely sitting on all twelve eggs. She had moved off a couple when we first looked which made me wonder if she is about to kick out some of the eggs. However, when we went back with fresh water and food, she was back on all of them. Emily has had some of the water and definitely eaten some food which is great. Some broody chickens will nearly kill themselves by not coming off their eggs even for a few minutes to eat or drink. To ensure Emily doesn’t starve, I always put a small pot of food and fresh water bowl next to the broody, close enough that she doesn’t have to leave her eggs to drink or eat if she doesn’t want to.
On to the other girls and they were all lined up on the top of the food bins waiting for us. Whilst Mum fed them their bread, I ran around and topped up their food, water and cleaned out the nest box. We spent a while watching them before deciding to go home for lunch.
As we were leaving, we ran into Steve who wanted to check the hives. Mum had never seen the hives being checked before, and I haven’t seen inside the hives in months. We delayed lunch so that we could help out.
Unfortunately, the remaining colony in the Community Garden are struggling and its quite likely the hive will die. There were no eggs which means the Queen isn’t doing her job and no new bees means over the next couple of weeks, they will all die out.
On the other hand, the hive on Phil’s plot is thriving. Steve and I have had to add another brood box as the Queen has been laying fit to bust in the current one. Adding a new brood box allows her more room to lay and makes a swarm less likely. The super is already full and weighs a ton! We added another super to give them twelve new frames to store honey in.
Due to the size of the colony, it seems likely that we will need to split it. It might even be big enough to split twice, bringing us up to three colonies on site. Ideally, the colony will produce a queen cell which we can transfer over with some worker bees into a different hive to start a new colony. It’s early in the season so anything is possible!
Before we left, I checked the wormery quickly and added some water as the heat has dried it out a bit. It’s hard to gage quite how damp it should be, not too damp and not too dry is all very well in theory. To be on the safe side, I sprinkled both boxes with water in the hope I wasn’t drowning them!
Your bees are staring the season off well! I’d be very interested in how you split a hive – so please post when you do it.
That particular hive has done incredibly well – it looked like it wouldn’t make it through the winter only a few weeks ago!
There are a few different ways of splitting a hive. We tried to split one of the hives last year but it didn’t go exactly to plan and we had to deal with a swarm! Have a look back to some of last year’s posts and you will probably find it – May 2018 would be my best guess
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