My first flock had a rooster. I didn’t order one, but he ended up with the group of chicks I purchased from the local Blue Seal store. He was beautiful when grown. And noisy. He crowed pretty much every day at 4:30 a.m. And constantly throughout the day. Con-stant-ly. Not so great in a neighborhood. And he was mean. My biggest fear was he would escape and terrorize the neighbor kids like he terrorized my stepson. So, he ended up in the great compost heap in the sky. Sad, but since I wasn’t going to raise chicks (at least not at that point), there was no reason to keep him around.
With the six chicks my husband purchased from the Chichester Tractor Supply store this year, he purposely paid a little extra to ensure we had all females. We did not want a repeat of the last time. But I’m getting nervous. There’s a chicken whose facial features are a bit redder than the pink of the rest of the quintuplets. And she’s getting “jowels.” (I’m sure there’s a proper chicken anatomical name, but I don’t know what it would be.) So I’m getting nervous that she might be a he. I have not seen mounting behaviour yet or heard any attempted crowing, but they are still relatively young — about four months. So, here’s who I call “Red” and who might be a rooster and one of the quints for comparison:
Not a huge difference, so it just may be unique facial characteristics of Red. However, the rest of the quints, and Brownie, look like the young lady on the right. So I’m a little nervous. I really don’t want another visit to the chicken processer until I have meat birds (next year, I think). So Red bears watching. I hope I’m worried for nothing. I’d much rather have the eggs for now.
So, why are bees in the title? Well, if you recall, I was supposed to get a shipment of bees a few weeks ago. Because of weather issues, they did not arrive until this past Friday. Most excitement. They were very crowded in their nuc box. I picked them up on a Friday night and simply put the nuc box on the bottom board of the hive. Saturday, I moved them into a deep box with additional frames that had drawn comb on them. (Drawn comb means the frame has honey comb in it already, that has had the honey and pollen removed.) I topped it off with a top feeder. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of photos. I find it difficult to work the hive and manage a camera at the same time. I suck, I know!)
When I checked on them Sunday morning, I could tell they had been busily cleaning the comb up. Generally, you leave your new bees alone for a couple of weeks so they get settled, but I suspect these busy ladies will have that hive in perfect order this coming weekend. I will need to add food to the feeder and will take the opportunity to peek at their activities as well as take pictures. I’m hoping they will be far enough along I can put another box on the hive. I suspect they may be ready, because there were just so many bees in the nuc and the frames I gave them had comb so they didn’t have to work as hard getting everything ready for pollen, nectar and brood (baby bees).
Before I forget, I started a little photo blog on Tumblr. Check it out and add something if you like!