Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The new lambing year starts here

We are breeding only from 10 Hill Radnor ewes this year, and aim to slowly build our flock from our own replacements. Once the present Tup's daughter ewes are over two years we will replace him with the young ram we are bringing on at the moment.

Hey up, who's this

The new kid on the block, our tup is introduced to the ewes for the first time since last autumn.

A quick getting to know you time

And we're off, a new season starts

Job done, nice green mark on her back shows all is well. One down 9 to go.

It is important now not to run the ewes around for about two weeks or they could loose the embryo before it is set.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Bees ready for winter, almost

Every year at this time we boost the bee colonies stores by giving addition stores we give the equivalent of 15 lbs of honey to each colony to get them trough to Feb when we will give them another 5lbs each. This winter feed we find very useful in preventing starvation and giving the opportunity to do a winter check on the health of the colony.
All our hives have these frame feeders in all year round (seen here on the right of the brood box) As a result we don't have any problems storing bulky feeders and if we have a sudden starvation issue we can feed at a moments notice.
Also in a hot drought summer (remember them?) I can feed water which prevents workers being taken from foraging duties to collect water. thereby reducing stress on the colony.

Feeding the bees is finished for this year, we use Api-invert which is a pre mixed liquid with a sugar levels roughly equivalent in weight / concentration rates. We buy it in pallet tank loads of 900 or 1300kg. A significant advantage of using this pre mixed sugar solution is that it will not ferment even if left in the feeder.

All our colonies are now reduced to one or two boxes now with some of the smaller colonies put into 5 frame nucleus hives.

Just one more job this year, to treat all colonies with Oxalic Acid for Varroa. This will be done by applying 5 ml of sugar solution oxalic mix to each seam of bees in the brood box during late November or December.