Thursday, November 27, 2008

Chickens and Bees

So, I have been saving up a whole lot of ranting, so much that I have not really been able to sort it into any kind of coherent post. I may just blurt out a brief thought by thought rant one of these days.

However, on my mind right now are chickens and bees.

As most people who come across this page are likely to agree, chickens are pretty cool critters. Taken care of, they can be very friendly and quite intelligent. Chickens are also a fine source of food, either in their meat or from their usually daily egg production. While providing this food, chickens are happy to feed partially off of our non-meat household table waste (pigs are also a great waste disposal favorite of mine). Chickens also provide a certain amount of spiritual benefit, when well cared for. Walk into a room full of happy nesting chickens some early evening, most any human soul would be uplifted by their gentle song (keep a wary eye on the roosters tho). One may find this song to be intially chaotic, but speaking softly to the hens will tend to bring a certain cohesion, allowing one to be a sort of conductor. Its a pretty amazing experience if one is open to it.

Bees are another fascinating, tho far more overlooked, creature. Honeybees pollinate our flowering plants and vegetables in the spring and summer time search for food and honey stores. This pollination allows for the production of a large percentage of our global food supply. While other flying insects play a role in pollination, honeybees do the vast majority of the work in assisting human food production. Obviously they are the only flying insect to provide us with vast quantities of vital natural sugars in the form of honey. This vital insect is also experiencing a massive die-off in North America (I am not sure about globally). While the reasons for this die-off are unclear, I tend to blame chemicals and atmospheric clutter (electromagnetic fields, microwaves, etc etc), what is important is that we must stop leaving the responsibility for honeybee stewardship primarily to large scale business interests. Small farmers and acreage owners HAVE to consider either maintaining small honeybee colonies, or at least endeavoring to grow flowering plants and vegetables as well as severely restricting our chemical insecticide use.

Having said all this, my parents are looking at increasing their egg production and are interested in maintaining a couple of bee colonies on our two properties. As such, I am looking for local (to Alberta) natural heritage chicken breeders and honeybee breeders. I would be exceedingly grateful for any leads in either of these areas.

Peace to all, be wary in this dark world and bring light where you can.


Apple Jack Creek said...

We've just started with Barred Rocks ... we'll have eggs in the spring, and breeding pairs ready in a few more months (once the ones we have get big enough to clearly identify roosters and hens). Send a note via the links at Apple Jack Creek if you're interested!

SoapBoxTech said...

I am so glad to know that you guys come by my lil rant site here, Apple Jack Creek!! Thanks for responding.

I mentioned your Barred Rocks to my mom, but she is more looking for hatchlings than eggs. She is looking at getting a couple of hundred birds, tho I am trying to convince her to go with 2-4 different varieties for the bio-diversity. I guess the best way for me to do that is to build her a pen that is conducive to multiple breeds. Once she is set-up, perhaps after a year or two, I would like to try to convince her to have a small amount of breeding heritage birds as well. Since I discovered the Canadian Chanteclers, I would love to see her have a few of those to help preserve the breed.

Thanks again and I hope all is well at Apple Jack Creek.

Liz said...

Hi SBT. Before we started raising chickens I researched and came across the Chanteclers through Rare Breeds Canada. We're still not set up for anything more than meat birds in tractors during the summer but I'm still hoping one day...

My husband and I were also talking about bees the other day. Don't know anything about them other than a farm down the road has a beekeeper come in and look after them on their property. It may be something worth investigating. I'll keep visiting to find out how your quest goes.

SoapBoxTech said...

Hi Liz. Bees are completely worth investigating! Thanks for the interest and please do check back and join in.