One of the biggest questions that I had prior starting out on my honey bee keeping journey had to do with how the chickens and the bees will coexist in my yard. I was nervous. I knew nothing about keeping bees, yet I knew a lot about keeping chickens. I wondered to myself. Will the bees sting the chickens? Will the chickens bother the beehives? What will happen if the bees swarm? Can my chickens still free range in the yard with beehives present? Do chickens and bees get along?
I have read beekeeping books cover to cover multiple times and I’ve been busy browsing the internet for videos and resources. This Winter, I have had the pleasure of taking a beekeeping class though our local Beekeeping Association. The learning curve has been huge. I feel as though I have learned so much yet have only touched the tip of the iceberg. I look forward to attending each new class. When I’m there, my mind is no longer focused on kids’ homework, laundry and dinner plans, but on the intricacies of colony life and the hive.
Apparently, bees and chickens can get along famously.
Chickens can happily free range even with bee hives present. Sometimes, they like to hang out in front of the hive snacking on bees that are fully loaded with pollen coming in for a landing returning to the hive. If this is the case, chickens can be deterred with temporary fencing.
People who live in areas with bears keep their hives inside of the chicken’s run for safety. Chickens will hop on top and roost on the hives, happily coexisting. Flock keepers, as a precaution, will lock the chickens into the coop when the hives need to be opened or manipulated.
Chickens will pick clean the areas under the hives, cleaning up hive debris and dead bees. They will also eat live bugs and beetles that prey on the hives.
Chickens will pick honey comb clean of unwanted and unnecessary debris.
Some people place their hives on the roofs of their chicken coops.
Sometimes, chickens will get stung, but not often.
Swarming bees will not bother chickens. Apparently, swarming honey bees are rather docile.
My two hives are now completely built. They are sitting in the garage waiting for the warmth of Spring to receive a fresh coat of paint and to be located outside in a sweet sunny spot. In the beginning of May, I am scheduled to pick up my bees from a beekeeper in New York State. Our adventures are certainly about to become much more interesting for us and for our chickens.
Click here to read more on my beekeeping adventure.
|A clever homeowner constructs a coop with hives on top.|
Disclaimer: In certain parts of the United States, Africanized bees exist. We do not have these bees anywhere near Cape Cod. Keeping honey bees in an area where Africanized bees are known to exist, may require additional safe guards that I have not researched and are necessary for keeping your honey bees and chicken healthy in your area. I would strongly advise you to investigate if you live in an area with Africanized bees.