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Discussion Starter #1
I killed my chickens! As you all may or may not know, in an effort to deal with small hive beetle, my chickens live peaceably with my bees, all fenced in by chain link fence in a run 9 X 50. Up until today, that is.
On Inspection yesterday, I found a laying worker hive. I've done this before and, although it's a drag, I wasn't worried about it. Had it all planned out how I was going to do it. . .I would remove the hive down to the bottom board and immediately replace it with a box of comb, so that returning foragers would find their home when they got there (last time I did this, there was a pile of bees waiting for me to get back with the box!), then I would take the hive over to the other lot (500 ft away) to remove the bees so that the girls--all except the laying workers--would fly back home. Tonight I'd close up the entrance and then tomorrow, I would do a paper combine of these bees with another colony (a recent split) that has a good laying queen but is small in number (about 15,000). Sounds logical, no?
Now to the meat of the matter. . .I did not smoke them because (1) I didn't smoke them last time and all went well, rationale being if you smoke them, they go into the honey cells and start gorging and it's difficult to get them out, and (2) I was moving the entire hive except for the bottom board, and wouldn't be disturbing them to any extend. Boy, was I wrong! The bees went into a frenzy and pelted me all the way to the other side of the property. I decided to go back and get my smoker before evicting them. When I got back to the apiary, I saw chickens laying all over the place and others running in a frenzy. They were covered with bees all over their eyes and wattles! :shock: I retrieved all of them, tossing them in the coop and closing the door. Once they were all in, I went into the coop--which, of course by now was also full of bees--and started retrieving chickens, three at a time, and carrying them to my garden shed. Once they were all in the shed, I went back out to open all the doors on the coop so the bees would leave and I noticed that all of the hives were in turmoil!!! That colony must have thrown out some pretty strong alarm pheromone!
So now the chickens are in the garden shed. Three of the eight have died so far and I have one questionable. The other four look okay. . .so far. . .maybe the venom's just taking a little longer on them; I don't know. I removed as many stingers as I could. . .it's not easy. . .but I really wanted to get the stingers out and away from their eyes especially! I feel like a murderer.
So, lessons learned: (1) next time, SMOKE!! and (2) from now on, put the chickens in the coop before working the bees *I never have before and there's never been a problem, but. . .).
 

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Best of luck to you and your Ladies. I also have chickens and would be devestated if this happened to them. I always use smoke or at least have the smoker lit (hopefully) and ready if I need it.
 

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Too bad about your chickens, but "Master Beekeeper"? By whose designation? EAS Certificate?
 

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I am very surprised to hear this.
Were these bees africanized? I can only imagine how many stings it would take to kill a chicken. How many chickens you have? They sting once so to kill even a small flock (12 maybe) would be a huge amount.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
They killed 3 of my 8 chickens. Their wattles and eyes were just covered in stingers. As indicated above, they are not Africanized. I was in them yesterday (with smoke) and they were no trouble, and later in the day I was mowing right in front of the hives without incident.

I'm still trying to figure out what set them off so badly and how they incited the other hives.
 

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I would not put up with a hot hive, Queen-less or not. I'm sure you heard the roar when you opened the top telling you they were Queen-less and didn't like it, begging for smoke.
I have never seen them gorging themselves, I only hear that stuff.

I know, free food for the chickens and it gets rid of some small hive beetles.

Small hive beetle hatching in the ground, use Diatomaceous Earth under the hives, out about 15 feet and water it in or do it just before it rains. In a few days, there will be nothing, not even ants around your hives. It will kill them and the others will avoid that ground. The beetles can still fly in, but if they hit the ground, there toast.

Too much time to devote to one hive, I'd streamline that.
There is always 100 ways we never learned or thought of, we just need to ask.

Hope the other chickens are OK. And Diatomaceous Earth is good for the chickens, your dog and us too.
 

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Sorry about your chickens; it's tough to deal with hobbies that get into conflict (pheasants were bad for me; they killed everything that got in spurring range...). I had two hens with about 40 chicks by my hives today, and the bees completely ignored them. I think that chickens and guineas are good for bees; they keep the area around the hives cleaned up really good. I guess bees aren't any more predictable than a wild animal.
 

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Hi Tia,
As a fellow master beekeeper (EAS), I feel badly that you had to take grief for it. There's always one or two on this forum that will denigrate what it means. We should be encouraging more people to study and take the tests.

I'm guessing your chickens went into a panic mode and the bees reacted to the motion. I'd like to reprint your post in my club newsletter. Sorry about your chickens.

Big bear aroma:
There's a lot of sarcasm in your posts. Perhaps what you are putting in as humor on your end doesn't come across as humor on our end. Suggest you read your posts twice.

dickm
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just checked the hens and the "questionable" one did die overnight. The remaining four and the rooster seem okay this morning; just anxious to get out into the run. I need to finish what I started before I let them out again. . .probably not until tomorrow.
Dale, I did not open the hive. . .I moved it in one piece. It's too late to consider diatomaceous earth. I put a fortune into a new coop and chain link around the apiary/chicken run. I need the fencing for both the chickens (keep them away from my garden; keep the possums away from my chickens) and the bees (bears!) and can't afford to fence them separately. They've been together for five months without incident (and without SHB). I just have to get past this problem.
mrsl, thanks for the condolences. I'm glad someone understands.
That goes for you, too, dickm. I didn't notice my hens panicking, but they surely could've done so when I left the run. You certainly may print my post. The first thing I did was send it to all our club members so they could have a "heads up" that this might happen. Lots of them have hens and bees and some have them fenced in together!
 

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Tia, so sorry about your chickens. That had to be a tough day. :cry:
 
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