Honeybees in the chicken pasture

Chickens with bees

I’ve posted before about
chickens and mushrooms

(in the permaculture sense, not literally).  Another way to save
space on the small homestead is to put honeybees in your chicken

I’ve read that a few
chickens learn to nab bees out of the air as the insects come in for a
landing, but most people seem to have no problem putting a bee hive in
the chicken pasture.  The only small problem we ran into is that
our chickens wanted to scratch all of the straw off the kill mulch
around the base of our
Warre hive.

Bees in a Warre hive

Bees like living in an
area without too much activity, so if you have too many chickens in
your pasture, adding bees might not work.  Of course, if you have
too many chickens in your pasture, you’ll have other problems to
contend with as well.  In our
, chickens
are only pecking around the hive for one week each month and the bees
don’t seem to care.

Bees at the hive entranceAfter compost worms, I think
chickens and bees are the first livestock beginning homesteaders should
consider.  Bees take less time, but are also less intuitive, so
you’ll need to study a few books or take a class before starting your
apiary.  Chickens require just a little more caretaking (although
not much more if you install our
chicken waterer), but they have the benefit
of acting enough like a pet cat or dog that you don’t have to learn a
whole new skill set before adding them to your farm.

Either way, I highly
recommend never adding more than one type of livestock to your farm per
year.  I’ve learned the hard way that it’s awfully easy to go
overboard with animals!

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