View Full Version : Chickens & Bees?

01-02-2008, 04:56 PM
I have 11 chickens and I was wondering if I could put a hive in their run. I would put the hive 5 ft off the ground. Should I do this or would the chickens just eat all the bees? Thank you for any opinions or advice.

Robert Hawkins
01-02-2008, 05:30 PM
Picture your hive in a nectar flow. That's three deeps and four shallows going about five or six feet high. You can't harvest those shallows or work them if you start five feet above the ground. I have raised bees and chickens but not in the same space. Let us know if you try it how it works out.


01-02-2008, 06:39 PM
Why wouldn't you place the hive in another location ..... say a few feet away? I have both chickens and bees but not on top of each other like that.

I agree with Robert. Accesibility is very important. Maybe you could use a step ladder or build some stairs to work the bees in that set up but something tells me that after breaking a leg (or worse) you may regret it. What ever you decide to do give it some thought. Once that hive is established it is full of bees and heavy to move.

01-02-2008, 06:49 PM
same advice here
I have my bees near my chickens but not in the run
how high is your run?
mine has wire over the top to keep predators out and there's no way I could have a hive in there


01-02-2008, 06:59 PM
Consider also working the hives, setting something down into the chicken pen and then back into the hive. Keep it away from the pen.

01-02-2008, 09:13 PM
The chickens will be an asset to the bees. They will not eat them, but will eat wax moths off the outside of the hives. I haven't had chickens since the SHB showed up, but the chickens may eat them also. My chickens were free range, so the cleanliness was not an issue.

Michael Palmer
01-02-2008, 10:21 PM
In the old "Gleanings in Bee Culture" magazines from the early 20th century, bees and chickens went hand in hand. The chickens won't bother your bees, but your boots may
suffer. :-)

01-02-2008, 11:53 PM
Is it that the chickens won't eat bees, or that they learn not to hassle a bee colony? They sure seem to eat any arthropod encountered, and with gusto too.

Panhandle Bee man
01-03-2008, 12:14 AM
I have a hen who roosts on a bee hive nightly, she doesn't bother them, and they don't bother her. She does leave a mess on the cover, I scrape it off when I think about it, or when I open the hive. The hen, and the other chickens seem to stay away from the front of the hives. The bees and the chickens also share the watering system I have for the chickens, again no issues. My only concern would be how high off the ground you want to put the hive.

Michael Bush
01-03-2008, 06:07 AM
I've had free range chickens and bees since about 1974 with no problems, but I don't think I'd put them in their run for two reasons. One, if the bees get aggressive the chickens have no where to run. Two, if the chickens get bored or hungry, there's nothing better to do than eat bees.

01-03-2008, 07:37 AM
I have never seen my chicken eat a bee - maybe they are fast learners. I have seen bees drinking the chicken's water and just a week ago saw the girls eating the chicken's laying mash - (pollen subsutute?).

Chickens just love wax moth larva. They also like drone larva if you have excess.

01-03-2008, 08:09 AM
I've read it's also successful to hang one of those japanese beetle traps in with the chickens, with the bottom of the trap cut off, over a tray. Smorgasbord!

01-03-2008, 08:28 AM
"I have raised bees and chickens but not in the same place". - R.Hawkins

"I have both chickens and bees but not on top of each other like that". - Benton

Is there a good reason why you need to put your hive in such close proximity to the chickens? Maybe you have limited space for a hive? Actually I am not sure what you mean by "run". Is it a fenced pen? My grandparents had a lot of chickens and we had about 15 at the most for awhile. My recollection is that their "coop" or pen can be pretty dusty, smelly, etc. Not that 11 chickens are going to be like having hundreds in one place but I am thinking about "bird flu", dried chicken feces [in the wind], and other possible airborne diseases that fowl carry. Somehow this makes me more uncomfortable than putting "chemicals" in a hive, but maybe these concerns are unjustified.

01-03-2008, 02:17 PM
I have both chickens and my bee hive in the backyard. For the first 4 months I had my chickens, they ignored the bees, even ones that were crippled and walking lamely on the ground, but at some point they realized they could eat the bees and not get stung (yet), so I had to block the chickens from the hive because they now eat the bees.

I saw bees flying around them trying to sting them, but perhaps they couldn't get through the dense feathers?