Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 76 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We had a nice warm day down here in TX, and the bees were all over the chicken feeders.

Had the same issue last year, the chickens won't go near their feeders. I've got 3 'flocks' so multiple feeders for each group. The feeders inside a 'darker' coop didn't have bees, but any out in the open did.

My question originally was going to be any recommendations on keeping the bees out of the chicken feeders. But as I'm typing this, I have an idea. Tomorrow (it's supposed to rain tonight), I'm going to take an open pan & put chicken feed 'dust' into it. I'm going to put that up higher above other feeders. The bees should prefer being higher and a big flat pan with smaller particles should be more attractive as well. I'll post how that goes.

But since I've already typed this, anyone else have any other suggestions? For all the comedians, I've already tried small 'no trespassing, that means YOU bees' with the picture-warning to no effect.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,028 Posts
This could be a lot like trying to keep bees from drinking in swimming pools. :p

You could try giving the bees something that they might like better than chicken feed - such as pollen substitute. There are a variety of commercial formulations, and a number of threads on "homemade" versions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,166 Posts
For all the comedians, I've already tried small 'no trespassing, that means YOU bees' with the picture-warning to no effect.
Sit in a lawn chair with a cooler full of your favorite lager and fire warning shots. This works well when scaring off scouts from Odfrank’s swarm traps. It might work on your chicken feeder problem!

17E538F3-55F4-48A0-89D0-B9E2CC4F3C89.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
yup, I knew the commodians would show up!

A buddy had that issue on an active hive, dumb teenager with a 12 gauge... what can you do?

shotgun hive.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,920 Posts
We had a nice warm day down here in TX, and the bees were all over the chicken feeders.
build a few dry pollen sub feeders until natural pollen shows up.
They look like this:
pollen-feeder.jpg

materials:
1 - 4 inch Thin walled Drain Pipe (or sewer pipe) PVC
1- 4 inch PVC adapter Fitting (to attach down spouts)
1- 4 inch PVC Pipe Cap
cut the thin walled drain pipe to 12"-16"
glue on the ends (pvc cement or silicone)
stand on end and fill 1/2-3/4 full of dry pollen sub.
the feeder is mounted horizontally with a slight pitch downward on the entry side to keep water out.
mount on a fence or tree.
easy to make, and cheap. all parts readily available.

the bees will find it and abandon the chicken feed. better if you got it out there before they found the chicken feed though.
I have a yard on a free range tractor style chicken farm and have to keep them out of the chicken feed early in the
spring before natural pollen shows up. pvc pollen feeders is how I do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,390 Posts
I noticed them going into the coop myself. I also noted that they were on the stinky fill that the neighbor brought in and going crazy for water around the green seams of the water catch tote. Figured just odd behavior.
Do you have to fill it ½ full? I put some out in a pan under the eves last year and some in the bird feeder the year before with no takers. I hate to use 5 lbs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,352 Posts
They do this every year to my chicken feeders. I always figured if I didn't feed half cracked corn (cheaper) and stuck with just laying pellets that this wouldn't happen. I usually let the chickens fend for themselves. I have seen chickens eat with the bees and neither bother each other. I also usually only see this for a couple of days in my area. It will happen for the first few flying days in feb/march and then they are on the trees. I have never seen it go on for more then a few days. I saw it even before I got bees. A couple of times I went out and tried to throw flour on the bees to turn them white so I might see thier flight path but my eyes were never good enough to follow them if they got near any branches of trees and so that ended up being a wash.
I have heard others say like Clyderoad indicated that they used the bees doing this as a sign it was time to offer pollen. I won't offer pollen cause it usually happens pretty early and I don't want my bees to have any help on build up till I get a little better at swarm control.
Cheers
gww
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Gww,

Bees are going after my laying pellets as well as my new chick feed.

I did put out some of the feed crumbs in easier-to-fly-in locations. Also mixed a few cups of Mann Lake pollen with more chicken feed crumbs about 100' away early this morning. We'll see this afternoon when I get home if that cleared things up. It's nearly 70F again today. I'm not sure if we going to get any more real freezing weather this year.

Just out of curiousity, I looked up some of the DIY pollen substitutes. Every one is meaningfully more expensive than just buying it, and that's for the better off-the-shelf stuff. Are DIY formulas any better? Just curious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Don't bee so cheap. Buy sum Mann Lake Ultra Bee and put in a bucket, turn bucket on its side outside of chicken pens and bees will leave chicken feed alone. If the bees are going to work at least don't let em waste energy gathering corn dust. in the winter it is doubtfully they will gather enough pollen sub to cause them to kick into full brood rearing but may benefit from some pollen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Don't bee so cheap. Buy sum Mann Lake Ultra Bee and put in a bucket, turn bucket on its side outside of chicken pens and bees will leave chicken feed alone. If the bees are going to work at least don't let em waste energy gathering corn dust. in the winter it is doubtfully they will gather enough pollen sub to cause them to kick into full brood rearing but may benefit from some pollen.
jsterling,
I actually am using the Ultra Bee. The reason I mixed it with the chicken feed dust is to give them that same 'chicken feed' scent as well as to slow them down. Mixed a few cups of pollen with a couple of pounds of feed dust. They're going crazy on it, just checked a few minutes ago. The reason I want to 'slow' them down is that it's still early here and I don't want them going into full pre-spring ramp-up just yet. I'm assuming that the blended chicken feed will make them work a little harder to get to the pollen? I'll want to go early as I want to do splits this year, but not quite yet as drones aren't out yet.

Keep in mind it's near 70 and will be most of this week. I've got about 10 hives within 500 ft. How much pollen is 'too much' to avoid the population ramping? Note that the other day I put out a gallon of 1:1 sugarwater in an open feeder, and it was sucked dry within an hour.

PS: By 'going crazy', here is what I saw. One group had set up a disco ball with lighting at one end of the pollen/feed. Another group in the middle were doing break-dancing (not my style). At the far end 400 bees were doing country line dancing. Really! I tried to get a picture. They are out of control.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,276 Posts
TexasFreedom, It sounds like the bees are hungry and ready to go. I don't think purposely starving them is a good idea. Now, compare the protein and ingredients of your layer feed to the pollen sub. I'm beginning to think you are onto something. If the bees will eat it while waiting for real pollen, why not? Seems a bag of feed is a lot less expensive than 50# of ultra bee. I can make dust in a food processor. Unconventional does not necessarily mean wrong.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,873 Posts
The fact that they are picking it up and packing it away into their hives does not necessarily mean that it has nutritional value for the bees. I don't worry about them hitting my layer pellets, but I don't want to do anything that encourages that. I am not sure just how discerning bees are when it comes to quality of pollen. I once watched bees work a pile of saw dust. I know they didn't get anything nutritional out of that.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,276 Posts
Maybe they were not bees but really large termites? Anyhow, that's why you need to look at the ingredients. Commercial chicken feed is way more than a bunch of ground up corn, I just don't have a bag handy to compare. But since the primary ingredients of pollen sub are soy flour and brewers yeast, I dont "know" if chicken feed is all that different. Somebody look it up, please.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Commercial chicken feed. Looked at 2 bags from different manufacturers I have here. Not very informative. Basically, chick starter is 18% protein. Layer formula is lower protein, I think 12 or 16%. No list of ingredients at all. But at $10/50 lb bag, I can be certain that it's not quality Brewer's Yeast!

My chickens are all afraid of the bees. So the chickens aren't eating. That's the reason I need to distract the bees to somewhere else.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,276 Posts
I was looking at my local coop for their ingredients. Not much there either, just protein and in some cases meds, which I definitely don't want the bees ingesting. Ok, it was just a thought. Still think that if the bees are going after it, they are signalling their need. Break out the Ultra Bee
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
JWP,

My question again is how much is too much? Again, 10 hives within 500 ft. I've got most of a 10 lb bucket of ultra bee sitting here. My concern again is them kicking into baby production.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,352 Posts
My chickens are free range and if they were penned up, i might worry more. I did find that the bees did not stay interested for too long but there were a lot of them when they were there. I did not worry about the chickens too much and they did not seem that intimidated by the bees even though there were a lot of bees. I did see chickens pecking the food while the bees were there and so just didn't worry about it but they could go elswhere and eat grass or a bug.

I have watched this interaction for 3/4 years and never worried and never noticed an impact on the chickens and like I said, the bees usually find something better out there with in the week. It always seems to happen when the first few days are warm enough to free the bees from the hives for full day of more then just cleansing flights.

It could just be that I am mean to my chickens. If your chickens are penned up and have no alturnative but to get thier subsistance from just what you provide, it might be a bigger worry but chickens are pretty good survivers food wise. You might try throwing some stuff out that you know bees don't like, like lettuce, kale, table scraps. That could get you over the hump no matter what the bees do. Maby some oat meal on the ground or something. I was given a bunch of flour and have been making bread and feeding it. They say bread is not very nutritious and can gum in thier craw but so far so good.
Good luck.
gww
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,028 Posts
But since the primary ingredients of pollen sub are soy flour and brewers yeast, I dont "know" if chicken feed is all that different. Somebody look it up, please.
Various chicken feeds differ, of course. But its not unreasonable that bees find usable protein in chicken feed/chick starter IMO. For instance, one product:
Ingredients:
Organic Corn, Organic [HIGHLIGHT] Soybean Meal[/HIGHLIGHT], Organic Oats, Organic Barley, Organic Wheat Midds, Organic Soy Oil, DL-Methionine, Iron Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Salt. Monocalcium Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Choline Chloride, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfite, Zinc Methionine Complex

https://www.petsmart.com/bird/food-...ium - Specialty - Bird | Food &utm_medium=cpc
 
1 - 20 of 76 Posts
Top