This afternoon ended up being unexpectedly exciting. First Chris spotted a fox attacking one of our chickens and after scaring it off we tried to track it for a while to figure out if its nesting nearby. We were unsuccessful. It killed two of our chickens and injured another one. We have a trap set out to see if we can catch it if it comes back again.
While looking for fox tracks we discovered a swarm of bees in one of our trees. This wasn’t terribly surprising since we’d found some queen cells in one of our hives last week which is a sign that swarming will occur soon. But even though we knew it was coming, we still weren’t entirely prepared for it. Thankfully we have a local “bee guy” — one of Chris’s coworkers– who is generous with his time and equipment and comes out to save us whenever we have a bee situation. So this evening around sunset, when the bees are nice and calm, he brought his tall ladder over, climbing up to the branch the swarm was on and brushed the bees off into a box. Then he helped us to dump the box full of bees into a new hive. This all sounds much simpler than it really was, mostly because of how high the bees were and how awkward it was to get to them. Chris and I were very glad to have an expert willing to come out and show us how its done. Hopefully next time we’ll be confident enough to handle it ourselves.
I guess in some ways the day balanced out. We started the day with 15 chickens and 2 bee hives and ended it with 13 chickens and 3 bee hives.
More photos from the swarm re-capture here.