Spring is here, and it brought snow with it. We’re not letting the cold weather stop us though, there is so much to do! On March 9th we said goodbye to Kristoph our rooster and brought 2 Swedish Flower Hen chicks home. Kristoph went to a farm in Reading Pennsylvania where his good looks are being fully appreciated as he is used for breeding. His new mom has been sending us updates with pictures and apparently he is in heaven! We couldn’t let one chicken go without bringing at least one more home, so we yet again have found ourselves with little chirping birds in our house.
Our new Swedish Flower Hen chicks are a breed that is coming back from near extinction in the 1990s. For decades Swedish Flowers Hens were only found in a few remote villages in Sweden, but over the past 15 years people have fallen in love with these beautiful chickens and they’ve become a rare treasure for chicken owners in the United States. They’re known for their extra large eggs and their beautiful white speckled feathers. Over the past week our 5 week old chicks’ downy feathers have been replaced with their adult feathers and they are absolutely gorgeous.
In other less exciting news, our bees had a very bad winter. Out of the 4 beehives we had last fall, only one survived the cold. That’s a loss of 75%, much higher than the national average of 35% reported by other beekeepers. We inspected the hives earlier this month and came to the conclusion that a lack of food and the below zero temperatures are really what did them in. What we’ve learned from this is that we should have left them with more honey to eat to keep warm and should have made the honey more accessible to them.
Lastly, we’ve finally gotten a bee vacuum. It was built for us by Trevor Walsh, a beekeeper, craftsman and graduate of Philadelphia University. This crazy contraption allows us to capture bees that have decided to swarm by hooking up a shop-vac to a beehive and sucking them up, then using those bees to start a new colony. For more info about bee swarms and how we remove them, visit our Bee Swarm Removals page. We’ll be posting more as the weather gets warmer, so check back soon. We still have a lot to write about!