It’s been a dream of ours for years to keep honey bees, and this year that will become a reality. We have a great mentor, Bob Duxbury of Silk Ear Farm, living right next door so it’s about time we get started! Morwen and I just completed the NPBA Beekeeping class, which was fascinating. Today we had fun painting the hives. Our bees will arrive later this month. I hope they like their new home!
It has been quite a winter–the coldest one I can remember, but signs of spring are finally all around us! The fields are greening up, trees are finally beginning to bud and bloom, and we have lots of new farm babies.
Lambing season is one of my favorite times of the year. These Hog Island lambs are the promise of another generation for their rare breed. Who could help but love these sweet little things?
Our Red Dorking hens have really picked up egg production and now the chicks are hatching. We start off with a few batches of eggs in the incubators and when the hens are ready, they take over by making their nests in out of the way places to hatch and raise their own broods. Right now we’ve got a hen setting in a corner of the barn, another in the compost bin in the garden (cozy!) and even one up in a pine tree.
The Cotton Patch geese are on their nests, and the ganders are standing guard. Stay tuned for goslings later this month.
The turkeys waited about three weeks later than usual to start laying their eggs this spring. They always seem keenly attuned to the weather, and they know when the time is right to start laying.
Our first batch of this year’s Cornish chickens are out of the warmth and safety of the barn and on to sunny, greening pastures.
The breath of spring brings relief and joy to all of our hearts, and we hope it does for you as well!
It’s time for a new hen house. The old one served us well for years, but it is beginning to show it’s age and our flock has outgrown it. Experience has taught us several improvements that we could make on it’s design for the comfort of the hens and for easier cleaning and maintenance. So, one of this winter’s projects has been to build a bigger, better hen house.
It was essential that we keep the cost of the new building low. The basic expenses in keeping an egg laying flock include the price of chicks or hens; time in caring for them daily; gathering, cleaning and packaging eggs daily; the hen house and fenced yard to keep them sheltered from the elements and protected from predators; good quality feeds; feeders and waterers; and the inevitable losses that will occur in a free-ranging flock. Our new hen house needs to be about 200 square feet, and we didn’t want to have to raise our egg price this year to cover an expensive building, so we came up with a design that we could build almost entirely out of recycled materials: wood pallets.
We owe a huge thank you to The Paint Bucket of Culpeper for supplying us with most of the pallets for this building.