Yesterday saw the arrival of one of my birthday presents from Nigel. Here he is assembling all the pieces:
Yes it is my new ‘made from recycled plastic chicken coop’. It is made by a company called Green Frog Designs. I have been looking for a new chicken coop but preferably not one made out of wood to cut down on maintenance and one that was more hygienic and easier to clean and also one that was easily moveable. It didn’t take that long to put together and here is the finished article:
I think you will agree this is a vast improvement on my current wooden house pictured below:
Before, the chickens were in a permanent run, being let out on the grass but the temporary fencing had to be always linked up to the old run as my original house was built in situ and couldn’t be moved. I had fun and games last night seeing if the chickens would put themselves to bed. One persistent old girl kept escaping and heading off back to the old house, 2 had sensibly gone to bed by themselves in their new des res but the other four I chased round for ages to catch them and put them away. I shut the pop hole up last night just so they would get used to being in there but usually I would have left it open. I am well pleased with the new house and it will be nicer for the hens to be moved about on fresh grass in the summer.
We bought my bees back from Ranworth on Tuesday night where they had been for the oil seed rape. Both my hives are very weak this year and I wasn’t expecting any honey from the rape this year unlike last year where I got about 60lbs, but I thought visiting the rape fields may build them up a little. One of the hives has built up nicely but the other one is still very small and my suspicions were confirmed when I opened them up yesterday and spotted the dreaded varroa mite. As there are no honey supers on this hive I quickly put some thymol treatment in and hope I can catch it in time. The varroa mite has had a major impact on bee keeping here in the UK and is becoming a huge problem especially as they are now becoming resistant to the treatment. Later in the year I may get some honey off the strong colony I have, we shall just have to wait and see. Tony, a fellow bee keeping friend who also took his bees to Ranworth managed to harvest 115lbs of honey – mind you he has been keeping bees for about 40 years and as I have only been doing it for about 8 years, I am still a novice.
All my beehives were built by Nigel, the first is a WBC style hive and the second is a Cottage style hive.