What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?
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  1. #1
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    Jun 2019
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    Default What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    I live in NE Tennessee. Winter weather here is erratic. On warm days my bees are swarming the chicken feeders. What are they gleaning from the chicken feed. My husband says they are flying home with pollen baskets full.

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  3. #2
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    May 2009
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    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    They’re after the corn powder, they’ll do the same thing for many things including sawdust.
    Rod

  4. #3
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    I live in NE Tennessee. Winter weather here is erratic. On warm days my bees are swarming the chicken feeders. What are they gleaning from the chicken feed. My husband says they are flying home with pollen baskets full.
    What do they do with the corn powder? Is it a source of pollen? What do they do with sawdust? Is this an indication that the bees are low on honey stores? Or are they just bored?

  5. #4
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    What do they do with the corn powder? Is it a source of pollen? What do they do with sawdust? Is this an indication that the bees are low on honey stores? Or are they just bored?

  6. #5
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    They might just be workers needing work and so go for the stuff that is closest to what they need. Both sawdust and chicken food would also have some sugar content though I would think they would not pack that on their legs just due to sugar. They like my chicken feed and maybe they actually do get something from it even if it is not prime for them.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  7. #6
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    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    Is it purchased layer mash or are you grinding your own? Purchased layer mash is 15-20% protein by weight. Soy meal or canola meal is added to the ground grain in the purchased and meal can be added to home ground grain. The soy meal or canola meal are part of the flour mixture the bees are collecting. It may be well over 30% protein in just the flour weight. I don't see why bees could not utilize this protein in brood rearing.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  8. #7
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    Sep 2019
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    Jasper, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    Lacking chickens, wonder if you can you tell visibly if bees are bringing in something other than pollen from the neighbors? Hate to have to do a taste test

  9. #8
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    Jonesborough TN USA
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post
    Is it purchased layer mash or are you grinding your own? Purchased layer mash is 15-20% protein by weight. Soy meal or canola meal is added to the ground grain in the purchased and meal can be added to home ground grain. The soy meal or canola meal are part of the flour mixture the bees are collecting. It may be well over 30% protein in just the flour weight. I don't see why bees could not utilize this protein in brood rearing.
    I use commercial co-op layer crumbles for the chickens. The bees are also raiding my neighbors scratch chicken feed.

  10. #9
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    Jun 2016
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    Woodbridge, VA (But planning to move to NW Louisiana soon)
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    I always figured the bees were confusing the corn dust with pollen and were wasting their time and energy. Is it actually a useful protein source?

  11. #10
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greeny View Post
    I always figured the bees were confusing the corn dust with pollen and were wasting their time and energy. Is it actually a useful protein source?
    They aren't wasting energy they just know they need protein of some sort to commence brood laying in the late winter early spring. Its a good sign. The bees will abandon those kind of sources as soon as a fresh pollen flow commences.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  12. #11
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    Sep 2018
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    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    I live in NE Tennessee. Winter weather here is erratic. On warm days my bees are swarming the chicken feeders. What are they gleaning from the chicken feed. My husband says they are flying home with pollen baskets full.
    Pollen Sub often has Yeast in it. As grain or other parts of chicken feed may have Yeast on the surface or in it, they are likely collecting yeast, or any other thing they can use as a substitute for pollen. they will also collect blood, some kinds of mushrooms, if available. If you have a shortage of pollen in the hive you could try open feeding a granular pollen sub. Some chicken feed is medicated, not sure how that will impact the bees.
    GG

  13. #12
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    Oct 2016
    Location
    Albany NY
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    Default

    Taste test? Medicated grain to rear brood? In the spring we get runoff from the manure piles. There is plenty of clean water closer to the home yard colonies but they prefer the manure. What are they getting? And where are they putting it? I am VERY confident it does not go into the honey or propolis or comb or anything else we eat from the hive! Yikes! 😮

  14. #13
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    Apr 2015
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    woodland, wa usa
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    70

    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    Bees go after protein in whatever form they find it, and as Rod says "even sawdust".

  15. #14
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    May 2017
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    oak harbor washington USA
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    77

    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    More importantly this is a clear sign that you need to give your bees some pollen sub.

  16. #15
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    Jun 2009
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    Ardnamurchan and Fife, Scotland
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    Default Re: What are the bees gleaning from chicken feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amibusiness View Post
    Taste test? Medicated grain to rear brood? In the spring we get runoff from the manure piles. There is plenty of clean water closer to the home yard colonies but they prefer the manure. What are they getting? And where are they putting it? I am VERY confident it does not go into the honey or propolis or comb or anything else we eat from the hive! Yikes! 😮
    They're after the salts and the minerals. They prefer what we'd consider as 'dirty' water to pure water. They're using the salts and minerals to rear brood ...
    The Apiarist - beekeeping in Fife, Scotland

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