Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Coronation Sussex - The Poultry For Royalty

What better way to commemorate the royal wedding than to offer a 30% off sale on the chicken created for royalty so many years ago?  The beautiful Coronation Sussex was created to honor the Coronation of King George.  I like poultry with a history and I think you will too.
This past weekend we watched as the Royal couple Prince Harry and Megan were given the title of Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Hive Maintenance - Spring Hive Inspection

I always try and do a quick hive inspection in February just to check and see if all the hives have survived the winter.  To my great disappointment this February I discovered that we had lost two hives over the winter months.  We had a very harsh winter this year but I'm not sure if that had anything to do with the hives collapse.  Our spring came really late and from February until May we lost another hive and back in February this hive looked to be healthy. 

We've now had bee hives for about four years, I think, and we're still learning so much about the bees.  Probably one of the hardest lessons learned last summer was don't add a super (or box) onto the hive too far in advance of them needing it.  It's such a fine line, if you wait too long they feel out of space and they'll swarm.  Last year I'm pretty sure I gave a hive a super before they were ready for it and it gave them too much territory to patrol and it allowed wax months to get the upper hand and take over the hive.  That was my fault and I felt terrible about it.

We opened our remaining two hives today.  It's always necessary to smoke the hive before you begin.  Start by puffing smoke into the hive entrance and wait a couple of minuets before opening the hive.  Once you open the hive then give a few puffs of smoke from the top of the open hive.  Maybe you already know all of this information but there could be someone who doesn't know this.  It's taken a lot of painful bee stings before I was able to convenience my husband of this procedure.  It's much less stressful on the hive and the husband if you use smoke.

The hives seemed to be healthy, they're foraging, capping honey and raising brood.  I did see some queen cells being produced in one hive, so it's looking like they will swarm soon.  I need to keep an eye on them, I would like to catch the swarm and start a new hive.

We added new beetle traps to the hives.  I put 2 in each hive, they work very well.  Fill with oil, I use vegetable, or mineral oil.  The bees chase the beetles around and they run to hid in the holes of the trap and drown in the oil.  Hive beetles are probably our worst problem.  Our hives are sitting in a slightly shaded area and really need to be moved into the direct sun, no shade.  Beetles don't like a hot hive.

We opened the hives that collapsed over the winter just to take a look and see if we could tell what had happened.  Each hive had a full box of uneaten honey, so that tells me that they didn't starve.  Some of you more experienced bee keepers, if you have any ideas for us to check for let us know.  We would love to hear what you have to say.

Hive collapse is a serious problem here in the US and we need to do all that we can to help the bees. 

Share your words of wisdom about bee keeping with us, we would love to hear from you.  I'll leave you with these words that I know to be true.

Proverbs 25:16
If you find honey, eat just enough - too much of it, and you will vomit.

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Southern Illinois Water Emergency - Rend Lake Water Crisis

Photo credit, Chris Kays for the Southern

A breach in a 36 inch water pipe yesterday evening has shut down water to several cities and towns across Southern IL.  Residents have been asked to conserve water.  Many business, restaurants, hair salons and schools have been closed until workers can create a bypass for one of the three pumps that service our area.   
As you can imagine this has caused much panic and ciaos through our area as people scramble to the stores to purchase every last bottle and jug of water on the store shelves. 

The tiny town of Dahlgren IL, where two of our children live, will have it's water turned off within the next 2 hours and they aren't sure when it will be up and running again.  Would you be prepared in your home if something like this happened?  It hasn't taken much to shut down half of the water in Southern IL.  We've found that we're not very prepared.  We do have a pond for watering the livestock if needed and I suppose we can boil the water for ourselves.  We can use pond water for flushing toilets also.  What would you do, have you even considered it?  I hadn't until now.

As we sat and thought about how to plan for the next couple of days with the water issue,  we know that we must make preparation for our two incubators and hatchers that have a couple thousand eggs in them.  Our incubators and hatchers require a lot of water to keep the humidity at a constant level.  

This might not seem very important to some flocks but these eggs will be chicks and young pullets that will be shipped out for several weeks and months.  So it's important to us.

We'll be setting large pans of warm water in the bottoms of each unit which should keep the humidity at the correct level but will need to be checked often.  Hopefully they'll get the water back up and running before we need to test this theory but it's not sounding like it. 

Take a moment and make a plan today about what you would do if you wake up in the morning and there is no running water.  If you have a pond, do you have a way to filter that water to make it safe for drinking?  If you don't have a pond where will you get water, it's not as easy as just going to the store, keep in mind the shelves will be bare.

All will be good here on the farm with or without running water, I'm assured of that as I keep this verse in mind.

“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14  

Have a blessed day!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Boost A Chick Hydrating Gel - Poultry Shipping Gel

Out of complete desperation two years ago I began the process of creating a hydrating gel for shipping our poultry.  We had used a gel that's been on the market for several years now but it just wasn't performing as we needed and we were experiencing high mortality rates with our chick shipments.   We've shipped chicks now for around 10 years and when we first began, the postal system would get them  to their destitution in a very timely manner but for the last couple of years that has all changed and now the postal system gives themselves three days to deliver poultry.   Well as you can imagine that doesn't work out so well for live animals. 

We needed a product that could stay fresh for several days and provide what the poultry needed in the way of nutrition, hydration and beneficial bacteria no mater the age or size of the bird.  I've tested our product for two shipping seasons and made a few changes here and there.  Our mortality rates dropped, which was my goal all along.

Boost A Chick Hydrating Gel can be used to ship all bird species, quail, ducks, turkeys...if it needs nutrition and hydration, then you need Boost A Chick Gel.

The gel product that we used in the past would spoil and smell bad after the first day, I needed a gel that would stay fresh for three to four days in the mail.  I finally achieved that goal, I feel totally equipped and ready for this years shipments.
The gel is easy to use, just mix with water.  We glue plastic cups in the corners of the boxes and the hatch-lings have easy access to nutrition.

You can purchase this product from our website or Etsy shop.  If I never sell a single package I'll still be completely happy using it for my own shipments.  I hate to keep it to myself when I know how well it works and there has to be other small farms that can benefit from this product.

Boost A Chick Hydrating Gel is available in 500 dose or 2000 dose packages.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Down On The Farm Photos - Spring On The Farm

I have some sweet Jubilee pullets available for shipment now.  Isn't she cute!!!

Spring has sprung!

If your interested in purchasing Gotland lambs drop me an email.  I will have a couple of ram lambs and maybe one little ewe lamb for sale soon.

Happy Spring!!!