Thursday, June 4, 2009

Breakfast in Bed

Mostly the weather has been mild, and the bees are still foraging with some earnestness and enthusiasm. To help get their stores up for when it gets really cold, I have started feeding my little girls. They now have a choice - breakfast out or breakfast in bed.

I make them up a sugar syrup with a tiny pinch of sea salt and some dried chamomile flowers. The chamomile is to help stop them from getting a tummy ache from all that nasty sugar. I learnt about this little trick at a Natural Beekeeping Course I did last year. Apparently it is also good to put in a little dried thyme. They don't make real honey from the syrup, but more of a low grade emergency honey.

Anyway they seem to like it quite a bit, and have gone through about 750gms of sugar over the past three days. Apparently 2.5kg of sugar equals a full frame of honey. The last time we checked, they had perhaps one or two frames of real honey, and they will probably need three or four to make it through the winter, so the syrup should help their chances.

It has been drizzling the last few days, which has slowed the girls down a little, but they are still tucking into the syrup. The feeder allows them to access the syrup without getting wet.

In other news, the onions are starting to come up, and the beetroot is just wonderful this season. We are making lots of bright purple soups.

Esmond and Amelia are now BFF. He has settled in really well.

that is all. Enjoy the rain.


corinne said...

Beautiful ducks!

The Duck Herder said...

thanks corinne - I love your sheep!

WeekendFarmer said...

I love the info on the flower in the sugar syrup. Will share with our bee keeper. Enjoy the rain : )

Do you know if the ducks molt as well? Mine stopped laying : (. period. nada. no eggs. I have a few annoyed customers.

Valley View said...

Hi Mrs DH you didn't make it to the Bee meeting - I hope your OK. Ducks stop laying - and Chickens this time fo year because thery use all the protien they consume in thier diet to make winter down, once they have enough feathers they should begin to lay again slowly - unless it's really cold.


The Duck Herder said...

Hi folks
WeekendFarmer - I can't really think why your duckies have stopped laying so soon in your spring (note to MR BVVF - Weekend Farmer is in the northern hemisphere!) Mine definitely stop laying in late summer or autumn, but start on or soon after the winter solstice. Like clockwork. And continue through the whole spring/summer/early autumn unless they stop to sit on eggs.

So unless they are clucky, or perhaps from a not great laying strain, it seems strange that they would stop so early. Khaki Campbells in Australia have a reputation as equal or better best with Indian Runners as far as laying goes.

And hello there Mr BVVF, yes. I had grand plans to come to bee club but I ended up with a BIG headache and went to bed all sooky. Sorry to miss you (and put in an order for any leftover bits of piggy) I will try again next month. Was it a good meeting? I have some new bee hive bits - new supers arrived this week. I need to paint them and put them all together. How exciting. The girls seem to be going ok. They stay inside when it is cold or wet, but come out strongly as soon as there is some sun around. The feeder attracts the odd european wasp, which I am VERY proud to say they are quick to despatch of as soon as it goes inside the hive. (I am so proud)

anyhoo hope you are all well. GOod luck at piggy processors!