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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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?
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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 :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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.
 

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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?
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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! 😮
 

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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 ...
 

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We had the problem when the bees were all over chicken feeders so the chickens won't go near their feeders. We tried to change the feeders and the feed, but after all decided to place some chicken feed in a different, that's what we call a compromise
 
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