Package of Bees
Being new to beekeeping, the most sure fire way to get bees for our hives was to order packages of bees from a bee supplier. Some people order them through the mail, we were fortunate to have a local beekeeping supply company near us in Northern Virginia called Virginia Bee Supply. They bring packages of bees up from larger apiaries and sell them on a weekly basis during the beginning of “bee season” (typically mid-late April – May). We called in early March and while sometimes packages of bees can be in short supply, we were fortunate that this year we were able to get our packages from one of their early shipments (last week of March).
We also needed a smoker, bee brush, and veils which we also ordered from the supplier to be picked up with our bees.
Each package includes approximately three pounds of bees and a queen bee. The package includes a can of syrup that the bees feed on during transportation. Next to the feeder hangs a separate queen cage that contains the queen bee. They are kept separate because the queen was not necessarily part of the group of bees in the package so they need time to get used to her. Continue reading
Top Bar Barrel Bee Hive Chicken Coops
A bee hive chicken coop?! You probably think I’m joking, right?
If you recall our last post about the benefits of raising chickens, we were inspired by the idea of chicken tractors. Since we didn’t want to give up any more yard space from our gardening, we already had these wonderful top bar barrel bee hives built, and the space under the hives was about the same area as some of the chicken tractors we’d seen, that they’d make a perfect area for our own chickens. Continue reading
True 100 Years Ago, True Today? - Source: http://bit.ly/HyXs5U
According to a post on backyardchickens.com this ad was circulated in poultry magazines back in the early 20th century. After doing some research about the benefits of raising your own chickens and research done leading up to our family’s decision to not eat commercially raised meat I really found the message of this ad appealing. At the same time I found it very ironic with all the government subsidies going to mega food producers, burdensome regulations that make traditional family farms all but impossible, and local municipal and community association codes that further restrict such activity in our “modern” society.
But it really makes you think, what if we all had a couple chickens in our back yard? We wouldn’t have to use all the energy involved in processing, transporting, and refrigerating poultry based products, we’d have readily accessible manure perfect for enriching our garden soil, feathers for pillows, and much more! Not to mention the need for medication in small scale chicken operations is significantly reduced compared to mass factory farms, resulting in healthier chickens as well as mitigating super bacteria that have become resistant to conventional antibiotics. Continue reading