Today I came across this interesting booklet produced by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board. Poultry Pocketbook is packed with statistics of interest to the egg producer (and egg eater) alike. Below are a few numbers that caught my eye.
October is a quiet time for bees. Pollen-bearing flowers are scarce and the beekeepers main job is to make sure the bees have sufficient stores for winter.
A quick 'heft' of the hives this week suggests they do. 20kg of stores is the bare minimum and both our hives seem to be well over that. It has certainly helped that there is plenty of ivy on the farmhouse — one of the few reliable sources of late-autumn fuel.
Other than that, this is a good time of year to make sure all the supers are clean (burnt off) and stored away. Drawn comb needs to be stored also. There are a number of approaches to this, with the main objective being to deter the dreaded wax moth.
Egg production has been picking up at Charli's Chooks, as the chickens mature. The egg sizes have also increased and so we are ready to start sales. Initially this is in Grindleford only, where we already have a couple of orders.
Here's a look at our flier. If you are interested in having eggs delivered in our area, email firstname.lastname@example.org
A few trail omelettes suggests they are very nice indeed. And the combination of brown, blue (Charli insists they are green!) and white eggs is very distinctive.
The main job at Charli's Chooks this week has been 'operation chicken take away' – moving our new brown hens out of quarantine and integrating them with our main flock at Magclough Farm.
Chicken moves typically follow the pattern of a late-night henhouse raid, taking the roosting chickens off their perches and stuffing then (gently) into boxes. They are then put straight onto perches at the other end, where they wake up in their new home.
A mixture of bee and chicken-related fun has kept us busy this week. We have completed our chicken acquisitions, for now, with 14 warrens arriving from a smallholding near Sheffield. We are hoping these will be strong layers. But they have been settling in and so far haven't been too productive.
Because the arrivals have come from another flock, we are quarantining them on another part of the farm until we are sure of their health.