Spring is in the air at Charli's Chooks

Northern exposure: Charli sledges out the eggs
Northern exposure — Charli sledges out the eggs

Winter has been busy at Charli's Chooks. Firstly there was the snow. We had two heavy snowfalls at the chicken field — after the first one we couldn't actually get in to the farm and we had to ship the eggs out by sledge. 

Since then it has been very wet. The chickens don't actually mind. In fact they rather like pecking for worms. But it does involve some extra work for us in keeping the hen house, and the eggs, clean. Having said all that the albeit brief spell of warm sun in early spring was most welcome.

The bees were less troubled by the cold winter than they have been by previous mild ones. My theory is that, when it is cold, they just stay in the hive and use up just a small amount of energy keeping warm. In mild winters they keep popping in and out the hive, but as there are no flowers out there, they dwindle down their honey stores.

Our hives — featuring our new design of hive stand

A hive check this week showed that honey supplies are already building up — nearby gardens are in flower, as are the dandelions and the blackthorn trees. We added honey supers, rehoused an over-wintered 'nuc' (a mini hive for growing a colony) into a full sized hive, and added a couple of feeders of syrup to help the bees draw out honeycomb ready for, hopefully, a fruitful summer.

Winter work for us beekeepers included getting new hives and frames for the coming season. We have also been making a few new hive stands to our own design.