As Twelfth Night approaches, the light returns, and the New Year heralds new beginnings.
We are very much at the beginning of our journey to learn more about bees : both the wild ones, and how to keep Honey bees here.
As we are in a big planting phase, it is important to keep in mind our future plans as we go, so we are learning lots.
Here are a few resources we have picked up so far.
Some of us are interested in Bees : wild ones, keeping for honey, as pollinators, and also planting for attracting. (personally I am at the beginning of the learning curve, so really hoping there are others with experience here to share)
Here are a few resources that can help us learn more.
http://www.snhbs.scot Scottish Native Honey Bee Society : new organisation to encourage the keeping of the Scottish Native Honey Bee Apis mellifera mellifera. (in early 1900’s most of these were decimated by a disease and to populate hives subspecies from Europe were brought in to the UK. There are increasing efforts to re-populate Scotland with the Native Honey bee, and local bee keepers are aiming to be in the forefront of this.
Other than the obvious attraction they are also usually more docile than other strains, and they are far hardier for our varied climate.
https://scottishbeekeepers.org.uk/ Scottish Beekeepers Society
has lots of information, membership includes insurance for public liability etc, separate members area on website.
https://www.facebook.com/obanbeekeepers Oban Beekeepers group
monthly meetings in the winter and summer activities for beginners and experienced. Secretary is Nigel Mitchell *@themitchells.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/Lochaber-Beekeepers-Association-481788111988029 Lochaber Beekeepers group – a course happening there starting in May www.lochaberbeekeepers.org
Identifying British Bumble bees Bombus spp
Farm Handbook makes interesting reading
Egg production figures for 2015
Total for UK 10,008,000,000 and still most in cages
type : 1965 : 2010 : 2015
Cage : 53% : 50% : 52%
Barn : 37% : 5% : 2%
Free R: 10% : 42% : 44%
Organic: – : 3% : 2%
If you seriously want to change things, and reduce the number of hens in cages – stop eating processed food, because that is where most is used – ready meals, biscuits, cakes, bread, you name it, you likely eat caged eggs sometime in the week.
We cannot produce Ten Thousand Million Eggs from free range birds in the UK – we do not have the land or the expertise.
Reducing the amount of processed food would also improve our nations health – double win.
There is a Delivery of our customers henhouses this weekend and a limited capacity for more run panels to be made and delivered .. these are ideal for enclosing birds in the current Bird Flu lockdown.
VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL POULTRY IN the UK
LOCKDOWN OF ALL poultry – Avian Influenza Prevention Zone declared in response to spread of H5N8 in Europe.
how to make things work – http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00511175.pdf
The Scottish Government and DEFRA has declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone requiring that all poultry and captive birds must be kept indoors, or otherwise kept separate from wild birds.
“We have declared a 30-day Prevention Zone as a precautionary measure to protect Scotland’s valuable poultry industry, particularly in the weeks before Christmas. It is important to stress that there has been no cases of this strain detected in the UK” 0 this is the same in England too
This wee fella follows us around as we work.. quite the model 🙂
He loves the Robin Mix feed we put out for the wild birds here. .
(and sell too – 2 kg and 12.75 kg bags) High in protein rich Sunflower Hearts and Mealworms with two types of high energy Suet, perfect for feeding all year round.
A few of our fleeces for sale
Pure Jacob Fleece raw: whole fleece, 900gr, lightly scoured, little vegetable matter, lovely mix of dark and white, 900gr
A lovely mix of the Brown and White colours in this pure Jacob fleece, lightly scoured, very little vegetable matter, no grey, a few parts will need a bit more carding for spinning than some of our best fleeces, perfectly good for felting and peg loom weaving. 1.45 kg
A bigger fleece, more white than most, lovely long staple, a little bit of grey, lightly scoured, very little vegetable matter, 1.8kg
First stage in the build creating homes for bugs, winter shelter, bird bath, insect feeding point.
A great way to use up pallets, old tiles, broken crocks, hollow stemmed weeds, straw, cones, rolled up feed bags, old roofing, left over pond liner.
Now to hope we get more than slugs and wasp nests !!