Saturday, May 26, 2012

Shearing and Fly strike

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While shearing our older sheep we were horrified to find Flystrike!
She always has a soiled behind but I guess the 
warm winter and more parasites this year than ever she suffered a terrible case of flystrike. I had no idea  of what to do but I started with a good washing after shearing and packed and powdered her back side with Kaolin clay. In my opinion Kaolin is something every farmer should have on hand.  I use it in the 'orchardina' to protect the early fruit from flies laying their maggots on young fruits and spoiling them. It can also be used in animals to stop diarrhea (kaopectate). It is an all around good thing to have.

Now we know: Symptoms 
soiled areas of wool
loss of enthusiasm and appetite (I thought she was just hot)
weakness

Treating our Bessie girl:
Washing daily and hand picking maggots (with gloves)
Packing the wet area with Kaolin clay daily 
Feeding electrolytes
Ivomec treatment 
Garlic, whey, molasses, honey puree in  daily grain feeding

Outcome: 
She is doing great but has a bare pink back side. Poor thing... at least she can see it!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Second Swarm


We went out to see the bees last night and found another swarming new colony about 10 feet away on a downed tree branch. After a day of exhausting work I had to sit down and gather my thoughts a bit. 




With my lack of experience how was I gonna get this colony with no equipment? We have an order on the way. My husband went hunting for a box which turned out to be a drawer from our old kitchen. He built a bottom board quickly with scraps in the wood shop. Then we all walked out. We suited up for the occasion and got in there with a plan of action.





As I checked them out I tried to find the queen in the mass of bees. It was just my lucky day... She was perched about six inches above the mass on the branch by herself plain as day! I couldn't believe it! In my little bit of experience I can never find the queen and there she was! All I had to do was gently scoop her up and move her into the box. Then I place the box entrance under the swarm and brushed the swarm down onto the box over the entrance so the bees would know where she was and freely go into the box.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Split Hive



So we went out to add some bee tea to the hive feeder in hopes of keeping the bees happy and drawing comb. While I was suiting up my middle girl noticed a pile bees across from us on a vine on the ground. It's spring and they produced a new queen and sprang.
A little sugar water spray. 

Aaaaccckk! I had no extra equipment except an old bottom board to work with. My better half knew exactly what to do and had some excellent advise from our farmer friends at Urda Farm. He grabbed an old bowling pin crate from the shed we call a barn. It fit perfectly over the hive bottom. I scooted the hive bottom up as close I could to the swarm and he place the box over the new colony. Little by little we inched the box back over the hive bottom board and the bees followed the darkness into the makeshift hive box. The weather worked in our favor because it turned unexpectedly colder and misty and the bees don't like that.
nevermind the shovel. no scooping happened


This morning during farm chores I peeked under the box since it was cold and there were no bees moving around. Sure enough there was cluster the size of a volley ball hanging inside the box. I guess I just got a nucleus hive goin'.  This was all so exciting and a cool experience in my learning process as an absentee beekeeper.  I think best of all my hubby is absolutely inthralled and may be turning into a beekeeper.