Of Feathers and Swarms

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by GottaHatchAPlan, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. GottaHatchAPlan

    GottaHatchAPlan Chirping

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    Last week we got a hen. Mum brought her home.
    Today we got bees. They brought themselves.
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    :barnie
    It had started out as such a normal morning. Peggy had been let out to peck around the lawn. Mum was reading last month's issue of Women's Weekly. I was entertaining myself with whatever youtube had to other, occasionally glancing out the window to make sure the chicken wasn't terrorising the pot plants again.
    I slowly became aware of a low buzzing. It quickly built to a roar. I went to the window and looked out at the chaos that had become my backyard.
    The sky was full of bees.
    The yard was empty of feathers.
    Sounding the alarm and clad in my floral pyjamas, I scrambled out the back door to recover my chook.
    The patio? Nope.
    The veggie patch? Nada.
    The front yard, now suspiciously free of magpies? Also free of hens.
    I check the coop last, mostly because it's the closest thing to the whirring swarm. It's only a few metres from the tree the bees have claimed but is situated in a formerly un-used carport with both roof and fenced walls. And that's where Peggy is.
    A little bundle of black feathers waiting patiently inside her coop.
    As I check to make sure Peggy is safe and unharmed, she keeps glancing behind her at the swarm. She gives me this look as to say 'The hell's this?! Who invited these guys?'
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    I tell her I don't know. She doesn't cluck back. The sudden appearance of bees has shocked her into silence.
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    Mum finds us and starts putting the cardboard screens up around the sides of the coop. We usually don't put them up until bedtime, when they serve to block out the streetlights and rain so Peggy can sleep soundly, but we feel like putting some of them up now to keep out the bees. Just in case.
    Within an hour the swarm has congregated into an unsettling mass on a branch. Peggy calms down enough to ask to be let out, but we're still too cautious. She doesn't usually go over to that section of the yard but we'd rather not chance it.

    We let her out later in the afternoon, making sure she stays away from the Bee Tree. We're hoping the bees won't stay and this is just a rest stop. After some research, we've learnt that bees aren't usually aggressive in this form, what with no honey or hive to defend, but we're wondering what to do if they decide to stay, either in that tree or close by. Do chickens and wild bees get along? If she pecks around the base of the tree they build a hive in, will they attack her? Or us, if we mow the lawn there?

    UPDATE: The bees have left. They broke back into a swarm and flew off about 24 hours after they arrived.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
    drumstick diva likes this.
  2. LoveDatChickenLife

    LoveDatChickenLife Chirping

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    Very interesting story, indeed! But that hen you have... is she your only? Does she show any signs of depression, loneliness? Is she laying eggs regularly?
     
  3. GottaHatchAPlan

    GottaHatchAPlan Chirping

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    Brisbane, Australia
    Thank you!
    Yeah, we're planning on getting her a friend in a few weeks. I think she's a bit lonely (she seems to be plucking feathers) but she's currently sick with both lice and a respiratory disease. Under the circumstances, we thought it best to treat her while she's alone before adding other birds. The good news is that she's recovering quite well so far, so we may be able to get her some company sooner rather than later!
    No eggs yet, but between the health problems and the move (we only got her 2 weeks ago) we aren't surprised. She's also only 6 months old, so that might also be it.
     
    drumstick diva likes this.
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

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    Out to pasture
    She's pretty hope she is well soon and can have a friend or two to be with.
     
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  5. LoveDatChickenLife

    LoveDatChickenLife Chirping

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    I suggest getting an Orpington. They are really friendly, and also so adorable!! They are really fluffy, and the sounds they make, make them sound like babies forever (in my head at least)!!! They are dual purpose birds, meaning they are used for meat and eggs. So more eggs for you, and if you don’t eat them, one cute fat bird. Hope this helps!
     
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  6. GottaHatchAPlan

    GottaHatchAPlan Chirping

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    Aw, thanks for the advice! We already know what farm we're getting her friends from, and while we were thinking of maybe an Isa Brown hen I think checking to see if they have any Orpingtons is a good idea too!
     
  7. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    I used to have chickens and bees. The bees lived in hives and the chickens lived in coops and free ranged. Never had a chicken mess with the bee hives. They seemed to know better than to mess with the bees. Love the story and love your hen!
     
    GottaHatchAPlan likes this.
  8. GottaHatchAPlan

    GottaHatchAPlan Chirping

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    Brisbane, Australia
    Thank you!
     

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