These are my three “R”‘s for this winter.
1. Rebuild garden fence and expand the vegetable garden for spring.
2. Renew the existing beehives and add to them.
3. Renovate the chicken tractor to accommodate 25 new chickens this spring.
Let’s get busy!
I have big plans for the apiary: doubling it! I just picked up the materials to build 12 hives. How long does that take? I will let you know.
12 bee hives in their boxes
We decided to take the plunge and expand the apiary because:
1. We’d love to get more honey! (We are usually sold out by early September).
2. Bees are important to our local agriculture.
3. The State of Virginia is giving grants to anyone who starts a new hive! (Up to 12)
I will post picture of the hive building process and the finished apiary as it all comes together.
The chicken tractor has been a great home for our six (then four, now eight) laying hens. My brother built it a couple of years ago with scrap he had lying around his farm. He did a great job!
When he decided to move back to the city, we inherited his chickens and their tractor.
A lesson we learned from this experience is that:
We love chickens! And their fresh eggs! But also that pressboard is not good for outside use over the long term. The roof has absorbed about so much water that it is hard to lift, and the floor looks like a wave. So, my plan is to replace the interior floor with wire and walk boards and the roof to metal. Also, I am going to enclose the entire top section which will more than double the roosting and nesting space.
When it was new!
Hopefully, the weight will not increase. I can move this tractor by myself and I would like to keep it that way! (The picture here shows the tractor before it had wheels even.)
Since our hawk incident, I changed the access for the chickens. We used to just prop the roof open during the day and they would fly in and out of the top section. Now that we used electric netting fencing (to protect them from legged predators), I have opened an access for them to the bottom section. They climb up the chicken ladder to roost, eat & lay their eggs.
Anyone have any feedback on different breeds of laying hens? I would like to have a United Colors of Meeting House Farm in the chicken yard and am considering adding some other varieties. We currently have 4 aging Golden Comets and 4 Rhode Island Reds. I am considering adding Araucanas, Silver laced and Golden Wyandottes and Black Austrolorps. (Mostly because I like the different colored eggs and I think these breeds are cool looking.) I’d love to know what you think.
I will post pictures of both processes and we will talk about the garden later.