Bees or Chickens?

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by Diggman, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Hi, this is mostly relevant for those who have both hives and keep chickens (or experience in both).

    I have a small uk garden but have also recently taken on a plot on an allotment site provided by the council

    If I go for bees on the allotment plot, I am forced by the ''rules'' to join a beekeeping association, I can't remember what the rules are for chickens, I feel that I won't be able to afford feeding the chickens and I would personally want them to be fed entirely with plants they can forage on. Bees need checking once a week but with foxes around I would need to see the chickens more often, there is enough space in my garden at home for maybe 3 chickens.

    recently I bought a small jar of nice Real honey in my local area for £8, processed honey is £1.45 in the shops, I know organic eggs cost quite a lot as well, I do love bees though but then again, I plan on enticing a swarm into a home made top bar hive rather than purchasing one for £160 - it's a strike of luck if a scout finds your bee hive box so there's the chance it won't even happen at all once the swarming season is over...

    keep in mind when replying to this, we have limited space here in the UK and I definitely don't feel I could be caring for a hive as well as chickens. I have considered quail before but seem to find many permies feel quail are useless.

    Opinions and advice are very welcome, If I had the space I would get into tractoring big time but that's far away for me right now, which do you feel are easier to start with and why?
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    there is a good reason for requiring people to be a part of an
    association. to make sure the hive is not spreading diseases
    that have become a real problem.

    for a hobby, beekeeping is not low expense to get going, but
    once you get enough hives going then it can start paying for
    itself.

    i am irked with the person who put the hives along our property
    as the bees constantly swarm our birdbaths and the birds no
    longer use them much at all. besides also blocking access to
    our back part. will have to talk to them before they put them
    back out for the next season...
     
  3. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Songbird is spot on about the reason to be a member of an association or club, you also get the benefit of many years of experience to utilize in shortening your learning curve. Apiarist are very friendly and love to help newcomers to the hobby. Along with diseases there are mites and so on that you need to know and watch out for.

    Now to some good stuff.

    Top bar hives are my favorite (Ware hives are second) for several reasons; they are easy on the bees and bee keeper, you can easily build your own top bar hives with very basic carpenters tools, the biggie is a power saw (I have both hand held and table saws but my first top bar was built with the hand held power saw). There are attractants you can purchase that will actually attract the scouts from a swarm, they will inspect and then go tell the swarm and you are off and running. Here in the USA there is a large up swing on the demand for raw honey right now, should be as high or higher in the UK I would imagine. Don't forget that you will need keeper gear to go along with the hive. This includes, hive tool, smoker, bee keeper suit and gloves or at least hood, feeders for winter time if you take too much of their honey, also you will need to make sure wasps can not easily get into the hive, that can be a hive disaster causing many worker deaths or worst case, the queen is killed and the hive taken over.

    I have one TB now that I just check for health of the bees, I never take any honey from this hive. Next year I will have an other top bar set up and baited so the swarm will go to it instead of leaving our property.
    It was discovered a few years ago that I became hyper allergic to bee stings. I got rid of several hives when that happened, but now I have epi-pens and adjusted my thinking and reactions to bees and wasps flying around me because I want at least two hives on our land for pollination and some honey, beeswax, bee pollen and maybe some royal jelly.

    Chickens in your situation will be as if not more on hands intensive as you alluded to them being. you will need to visit at least once a day and you have coop, water, bedding, coop cleaning and feed expenses on top of that.
     
  4. Australian Beekeeper

    Australian Beekeeper Junior Member

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    Council rules.. they sure know how you need to live your life :) Ahh well it is public land so I guess that is ok.

    I know I'm late to the party here but here is my 2c.

    I wouldn't keep bees in an allotment if it's the kind of thing I am picturing (small plot with other people's plots all around). It will be difficult to find a time to work the hives with people coming and going and there are going to be times when despite your best management you have swarming etc. Imagine having to requeen a grumpy hive with people around....

    If the plots re larger or you have a corner a little further away then go for it. Associations are good for learning but like all associations they can have their politics and I hate the idea that they force you to join one.

    You mentioned quail... Quail are the bomb :) more efficient for both meat and eggs than chickens and you can maintain a large number of birds easily. There is still the feed cost though but if you sell eggs/quail then you could offset this some.
     
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  5. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Having had chooks off and on for years, I would start with these. You definitely need at least TWO!!! they dont do well by themselves.
    Contrary to popular belief, you do Not have to visit them everyday. If you have a self feeder and a good source of water, they are quite happy on their own for a few days to a week.
    I found that if I did not collect their eggs everyday as recommended, they did not try to hide them from me by laying elsewhere. You will need to spy on them if they start doing that.
    One trick I learnt, was to see where they started cackling and what direction they are facing. If you stand on that spot and look the opposite way to how they stood, you will find there nest within 12 feet of there...somewhere within a 45% angle in front of you.
    Having said that. Why can you not do both?
     
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