Homesteading with bees. Do they bother your chickens?

Discussion in 'DIY / Self Sufficiency' started by Lizard Lady, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Lizard Lady

    Lizard Lady Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 29, 2011
    I live on an acre and a half, though a lot of it is wooded. I've been researching bee keeping for months now and can't seem to find anything about how far from the house the hives should be. I have a spot down the hill from my house, but it's still close enough to the coop that I wonder if they will bother my chickens, or if the chickens will bother the bees.

    Have any of you kept bees on a smaller lot and any issues with your fowl?
  2. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2013

    We've had bees for 5 years now- crop pollination used to be a problem in our rural, hot and dry, scrubby area.

    Our honeybees are pretty docile. We have the hives in our backyard garden, which the chickens visit quite often. Having them somewhat close is just easier for us to keep a good eye on the health of the bees. We've never had any incidents involving the chickens and the bees, in fact, one chicken insists on occasionally laying her eggs right next to the beehive. The chickens seem to avoid eating bees after testing them. I've been stung twice (a few years ago) when I was picking vegetables in 110 degree weather and couldn't limp away from a hot, angry bee fast enough (had a broken foot). Bees do not like excessive heat and get cranky like we do, so we have the hive in a shady, wind and deep cold protected spot all year round.

    Bees love the garden, and like to lay in cool folds of lettuce and New Zealand spinach on hot days, and seem to lap up any excessive water on plant leaves. They are still happily laying in summer squash blossoms.

    Good luck!
  3. Lizard Lady

    Lizard Lady Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 29, 2011
    How far do you have your hives from your house? I have three kids who like to play catch out back, but they're old enough to know to stay away (teenagers). I'd love to have them close to my garden, but that's fairly close to my back door. lol
  4. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2013
    If any of you, or, your children have bee sensitivities, move the hive to a good distance. However, our hives are in close proximity to the house- within 20 yards of the door. For us, having the hives close have always been a non issue. Having a docile breed makes all the difference. The only times we purposefully avoid them is when it becomes very hot, or if they seem otherwise agitated, which is fairly seldom. No bees have ever made it into the house. If they are happy they will do their job and there is harmony. My husband checks the hives without using bee clothing. He has only been stung once while he was talking and the bee flew into his mouth. lol The key with bees is to always be calm around them.
  5. Deb B

    Deb B Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2012
    Southern Maryland
    My bees are located about 100 feet behind my house and about 35 feet from my coop. My chickens free range in the afternoons and they sometimes visit the hives to dig around. The chickens seem to have learned very quickly to stay away from the front of the hives when the bees are flying. The bees don't seem to mind the chickens scratching around as long as they aren't directly in front of the hive.

    I haven't had issues with the bees and people being in the backyard at the same time. Just keep in mind that during a nectar flow there will be bees zooming in and out of the hives constantly during the daylight hours. I have had bees run into me on occasion as I walked through their flyway on my way to the coop, but they always just kinda bounce off and go on their way. But that being said, they will be flying in and out a lot in the spring and summer, so I would situate the hive so that their main clear path to and from the hive is not where your kids are going to be playing outside. (Alternatively, you can plant bushes or place a fence in front of the hives to get them to fly upwards first, and avoid having them flying at people height through your yard if you want. Personally, I like to see the front of my hives from the house.)

    On days when you work in the hive, it would be best to keep people away from the hives for a few hours afterwards as they may be agitated and find movement near the hives more of a threat than usual.
  6. McSpin

    McSpin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2007
    South Western NY
    I have 3 hives within 15 feet of a chicken pen containing 20 chickens. They've been together for about 6 years. The chickens are constantly around the hives scratching in the dirt, etc. I've never noticed any interaction between the two, but I'm leery of the chickens. I suspect if they took a liking to the bees, they could eat many of them very quickly. Bees will pretty much ignore anything that isn't bothering the hive or making a lot of noise. On the other hand, chickens seem to want to eat anything that moves and most things that don't.
  7. BrickWall Honey

    BrickWall Honey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 24, 2013
    Accomac, Va.
    My hives are about 30; from the coops. Chickens will usually find any dead or dying bees on the ground and clean them up. They rarely ever try to catch a flying bee, I think it is the buzzing sounds that keeps the chickens off. They also help in finding any SHBs larvae that fall to the ground and eat them.

    If you have any wax moth damage, or other bad frames you can let the chickens clean them right up.
  8. oldbird1

    oldbird1 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2013
    Wollongong Australia
    Hi mate I have 2 hives in the chook yard situated along the back fence for the past 5 years and I live in a built up area, my hives are registered and my hens don't worry the bees vice versa occasionally on a hot or windy day they run past the hive entrances which makes me smile as I am cautious on them days all so the main thing with bees is to have a quiet hive , if they are aggressive change the queen I live down under but I cant see no reason you couldn't do similar best of luck oldbird1.
  9. Lizard Lady

    Lizard Lady Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 29, 2011
    What about posting them in the trees? I know they need some sun light, but I was thinking of putting them along the tree line with the North side on the back and the front facing the South. Where I'm thinking is the least active part of the yard, still close to the house, and blocked from any northern winds.
  10. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    A wind break from the north is a wise idea....but make sure the hive front receives morning sun. Bees will not fly in cooler weather - need at least 55 degrees to get them moving. So if the front of the hive is warmed from the sun, they'll be out moving sooner in the day. Some afternoon shade is appreciated when the weather gets hotter for you.

    My two hives back up to our run's fence. Their entrance is eastern with a westerly tree providing afternoon shade. I've seen bees at the chicken's waterer - and heard of other folks who found bees in their outdoor feeders for the soy. But I've not had that experience at all.

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