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Reynard's Achievements

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  1. Reynard


    As a beekeeper myself I would agree with poly hive apart from the bit about keeping them in your garden. It all depends on how agressive your bees are and the size, design and location of the garden. However, if in doubt get advice from the local beekeepers association. They will usually visit and will advise whether it's suitable or not. You will also need more than one hive for swarm control and for when sterilising. Bees cannot be left to wander around the garden like chickens while you powerwash the Cube. Also if you only have one colony you have all your eggs in one basket (sorry!) in that if the queen fails or dies they may not have the ability to create a replacement if the brood is too old. If you have more than one colony there are methods of using the spare colony to re-queen. I assure you that loosing a queen is common and if you don't have access to a replacement the colony is doomed. During May through to Mid July they have to be checked every week without fail to make sure they are not preparing to swarm, otherwise half the colony will fly off and cluster in a neighbour's hedge until they find a new home. That is up to 30,000 bees in the neighbour's garden that have left your hive.....! Are your holiday plans able to accommodate this? Furthermore, they also need constant monitoring for disease and have you thought about how you will react when manipulating a colony containing around 50 to 60 THOUSAND bees - some buy the gear and then panic realising it's not for them having shelled out hundreds on equipment. Bees are like people - sometimes they get in a bad mood - even the weather can make them grumpy - and 60,000 grumpy bees can be scary! And for the record they can and sometimes do sting through the bee suit - bee suits are not 100% sting proof and I have a lump on my forearm to prove it! So, bees are not a fashion assessory, they take skill and dedication to look after. They are not cheap either, we've spent a small fotune on them. My advice to anyone thinking of keeping bees is to take advice from the experts at the local beekeeping association and handle someone else's to see if it's for you. Don't buy anything until you do!
  2. When we last had chickens I built a wooden henhouse but they are unhygienic and difficult to clean properly. If you hose them out they stay wet for days in the winter which is not good for the birds. The cube can be pressure washed and dried with a cloth easily and quickly. Also a well made decent sized wooden hen house is heavy and a pain to move. I can assure you that the Cube is far more user friendly and hygienic but that's just my opinion!
  3. Spookily I've just been discussing this with my OH and she thinks our 5 are the maximum for the run - although we may be able to squeeze in another if someone she knows is as good as his word and gives us another pure breed gratis. We think the main problem is the quick build-up of poop and as a result have been moving them to a new position on the lawn every day, even though we do let them out to free-range under supervision. To us it seems unhygienic for them to peck the ground that is carpeted with their own poop! http://club.omlet.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25314
  4. We went to the poultry market today and acquired three pure breed light sussex pullets (we only went for one!) They have adapted to the Cube really well but took about an hour to work out how to work the glug (Olga and Audrey the Omlet girls showed them). Hopefully they will enjoy their new 5 star home. We've never been to a poultry market before so were quite unsure of what to do, but it worked out in the end. You cannot usually get just one and a high proportion of the lots included cockerels which we did not want for obvious reasons. We had a light sussex when we last kept chickens and we got these at the request of our (now) 18 yr old son as it was his favourite. He used to walk around the garden with it tucked under his arm when he was about ten years old.
  5. Thanks for the posts. The other side of the garden is like a building site as I've been building a raised sandstone circle in the opposite border. Whilst George was assembling the Cube I was mixing cement in a mixer and bricklaying!! George was on his way to Wrexham after us to deliver another Cube, his final stop of the day. I hope he didn't have too much trouble getting home with the bank holiday traffic on the M6! If you are from Wrexham and George brought your Cube on Friday 23rd I hope you like it as much as we do. If you are getting chickens and keeping them on the lawn a word of warning - they like digging holes! We're not bothered and will probably put them on a soil border eventually, but if you like your lawn to be perfect don't keep chickens on it!! The run extension is a must - even if you are having only two chickens but that's just my opinion. The run is a compromise to protect them from harm, in an ideal world I'd prefer them to free roam all day so the bigger the run the better. The gingernut is very friendly but the pepperpot is a bit nervious, we couldn't catch her and had to herd her back to the run when we let them out today. She'll calm down the more we handle her I'm sure.
  6. The Cube arrived on Friday and we got two eggs the next morning. How good is that! We got a pepperpot and a gingernut ranger from Omlet. We're going to a local livestock market tomorrow to see if we can get a light sussex and an araucana to join them. If not we have reserved one of each from local breeders but they will not be ready for a few weeks. To make the run more secure we used tent pegs to fix the mesh to the lawn, and have been shutting them in at night (although I have been up early to let them out). Having said that with the tent pegs we would leave the door open on the odd occasion if we had no choice. The tent pegs work really well! It looks great in orange!
  7. Many thanks to everyone who has signed. It is possible that Colony Collapse Disorder is linked with the activities of a mite called varroa destructor. The mite is an alien to Europe so our bees have no defence against it. It's also getting immune from the chemical treatments which is worrying. Try this link for some photos of the mite on the developing bees.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varroa_destructor
  8. Here is the full explanation from the Government website.. The British Beekeeping Association has requested £8m for the government to fund 5 years research into Colony Collapse Disorder. The government has stated that no funds exist within the existing farming research budget. Kept honey bees provide a significant percentage of pollination to food crops, fruit orchards and of course provide honey. Colony Collapse Disorder is a disease which has affected hives in the US and has been reported in France, Germany and Italy. Its entry into the UK is most likely inevitable. This fundamental research needs to be performed in order to protect the country bees before it arrives. As in almost all cases, being prepared for something reduces its impact for a fraction of the cost compared to being unprepared. Currently only £1.35m per annum is available to the National Bee Unit (part of Defra), this funds all its statutory activities as well as research. If there is no money in the farm research budget, then money should be made available from contingency funds.
  9. I have cut & pasted this from the Bee Craft website. Bees are so essential I hope you will give up a few minutes to support the petition. Tell all your friends! Thanks Given the scale of unexplained and unusual colony losses in the US and Europe and the discovery of Nosema ceranae in the UK, Bee Craft are supporting the appeal for a reasonable allocation of funds for beekeeping research. If you would like to register your support you may like to sign this petition to the government found at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/BeeResearch On April 13th there were 1497 signatures. Please add your signature before June 11th.
  10. When we last had chickens one of the warrens found a baby bird that had fallen out of a nest - before I could intervene it was swallowed whole. They are definitely not vegetarians! I read somewhere that they have proved chickens are descendants of T-Rex.... must be in the genes....
  11. Cats are no deterrent to foxes, despite us having 2 large adult male cats a fox gave birth to cubs under our shed, they used to play on the lawn in broad daylight with no concern for our felines! We also suspect that a fox took a small immature female cat that we had adopted, she went missing and there was signs of a fight in the garage - entry via the cat flap. We can't prove it but we are convinced it was a fox that took her. Check out other posts about foxes.. best to play safe and keep them in a run when you can't be there to supervise... http://club.omlet.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24039
  12. Thanks for the comments regarding security of the run. I suppose they cannot say it's foxproof in case they get sued if one somehow gets in. I think we will keep them locked in overnight as much as possible, as I suspect a cube with an open door - even behind mesh - will attract foxes as the smells and sounds of the birds will be more obvious. Plus I'm sure that the birds must get stressed if they can see a fox is trying to get in - especially if they know that Omlet doesn't offer a guarantee! I wonder how our cocker spaniels will get on with the chickens... When the orange cube arrives I'll try and work out how to post some photos.
  13. I'm glad the reply from Omlet assisted although the Cube roof issue was not recognised. Just to clarify when I say enclosure I mean one with a roof. My friend had a 6' fence but no roof. I think he relied on his geese and dogs to guard them but it didn't work. He lost about 20 over a couple of nights in addition to ours. I just hope the cube's run is really foxproof. Some forum users leave their cube open and rely on the Omlet run ...(?) Ours will often be left unguarded during the day (in the run), including in the winter when it goes dark early. Can anyone vouch that the Omlet run is foxproof when positioned on a lawn? We have a good population of foxes here so if it isn't we're in trouble. We were planning to use tent pegs to keep the mesh in position.................
  14. This is the first forum I've ever contributed to but having read some of the existing entries I thought I'd take the plunge. We have ordered an orange cube, 3m run and 2 chickens which are due for delivery later this month. After ordering it I read some comments on the form about water getting into owner's cubes, roosting bars that fall to pieces, panels that don't fit and sticking roofs. I emailed Omlet asking for their comments and they replied promptly. I have pasted their reply (which is quite reassuring) for the benefit of others who may be tempted to emither them on the same subject - I hope Omlet don't mind! I was also going to comment about foxes as there are some really sad stories about people loosing their feathered friends. We are not new to keeping chickens but haven't had any for about 7 years. Before moving to our present address we backed onto a railway line and had built a wooden coop which was positioned at the end of the garden surrounded by a 5' fence. We had 6 chickens including a cochin cockerel which we had raised from a chick. One day (early afternoon in the summer) I was kneeling in the run next to the fence positioning some paving flags. I heard a noise and started to stand up to see what it was. For a fraction of a second (it seemed longer as if in slow motion) I was nose to nose with an adult fox looking directly into his brown eyes! The fox exploded through the undergrowth back over the embankment and had I not been there I'm afraid there would have been a bloodbath. The next day I caught it walking down the embankment to have another go so we gave the coop and chickens to a friend, (they were later killed in his garden by a fox despite a 6' enclosure) as I was not in a position to secure the run. To make matters worse we had been looking after a couple of chckens for a friend, one of which had disappeared the week before. We then realised why! Protection from foxes was one of the reasons we have ordered a cube as we don't want a static run at this time. To make it even more critical we had cubs living in the garden a few years ago but they haven't bred since we removed the shed. My advice to anyone who has not already done so is to make the chickens as secure as possible with an enclosed run. Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't! Having said all that I don't hold a grudge against the fox - they have a tough life and are only trying to survive. The cubs used to play on the lawn and were fantastic to watch. Also very cute! Apologies for the long post..... *************** There have been a few problems with regards to the cubes leaking and now this has been rectified by a retrofit spout which is directing the water correctly. With regards to the poorly fitting panels 99% of the time this is due to the fact that customer have put the cube together themselves incorrectly and then once reassembled it is fine. If there is a problem with a gap on the cube and we establish that it is a faulty part we rectify this for you. The roosting bars that we do currently have are made out of wood and we have had people commenting on the quality of them but if there is a problem with them again we replace them for you. With regards to the roof sliders, this is not an issue I have heard about so I am afraid I cannot comment on it. If you do have any other concerns then please do give us a call on 0845 450 2056.

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