We have 2 new hens which we bought yesterday. One is a white leghorn and the other is a pied suffolk. The leghorn is a bit more nervous and smaller but the two spent yesterday afternoon, after being added to the chicken run, hiding away in the henhouse. Today they were a bit better. They both came out into the chicken run but stayed together whilst the other hens followed us around as we did some weeding. Alas, this evening, Snow White, the boss hen, chased them and they took shelter back in the henhouse. I doubt they will come out again before I lock them up at 10pm.
Meanwhile we have checked the new hives we have put into our additional apiary. This was another job we did yesterday. All 4 hives appear to have established themselves though the final one which was created on Tuesday has drawn out comb in completely the wrong part of the hive. We will consult with other beekeepers before we decide what to do.
We visited Bill Quay Community Farm in Gateshead yesterday to do some volunteer beekeeping. There are 3 hives at the farm, up one since we were last there. The new hive was created from a swarm that the farm managed to catch. Colleagues had been in last week to feed the new hive and when we checked it yesterday, there was no need to give them any more food. That is not the story with the hives at our Apiary 2. They all needed feeding - each one had drained a bucket of sugar syrup since they were created other than the new hive set up earlier this week. This time we gave them fondant.
I mentioned ealier that today we have been doing weeding. I have to admit we have been a bit negligent with weeding recently. The abnormal weather recently has been a real boon for the weeds so the job is doubly difficult. A few days ago I managed to weed half the fruitcage and part of bed 2 on our main allotment. Today we did a significant amount more and created a compost heap of monumental proportions. I also made a trip up to Dad's allotment at Marley Hill, the next village up from us. I had to weed half the main bed there so that I could put in 35 strawberry plants.
Finally, back to the main allotment to pick the gooseberries. We have planted a large number of small gooseberry bushes. In a couple of years' time they will be producing prodigious quantities of fruit but as they were all planted in last autumn, this year will see just a very modest quantity. I picked all I could find, which turned out to be more than I expected. They will be made into gooseberry and elderflower jam.
I will leave you with this photo taken of 3 of our hens getting in the way of the weeding: