Monday Miscellany: Birds and Bees Edition

As a happy chicken-owner myself (except when the ladies happen to lay a 6 A.M. egg and wake me up!), I’m always excited when I find some cool resources that help others learn to keep chickens. Really, they’re great pets, turn table scrapings into eggs and useful manure, and the eggs! Bright orange yolks and a fine flavor. You can’t compare supermarket eggs to them – no, not even the “free-range” kind.

As for bees, I’ve always been a fan. In almost 14 years of gardening professionally, I’ve never been stung by a honeybee, bumblebee, or bee of any kind. Yellow jackets and wasps, yes. Bees are sweet, though – they only have one sting on them and while it hurts you, it kills them. Lots of incentive for them to be peaceful!

I’ve pruned Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Rock Rose, and lavenders that were covered in happily drinking bees, and as long as I moved slowly so they had a bit of reaction time, we were cool. (I do try to wait till all the nectar’s gone before pruning, but occasionally something’s hanging over the pathway of a bee-allergic person, or someone’s having a party and you have to prune on a schedule.)

Anyway, here are some chicken and bee resources I’ve been coming back to…

Backyard Chickens:Esther the Chicken

Amy Stewart’s bimonthly column in the North Coast Journal has some great advice for getting started with backyard chickens:

Trying to Resist Chicken Lust

Questions Answered About Raising Backyard Chickens

And Rosalind Creasy’s take:

Getting Started with Chickens

Some helpful advice on giving treats:

A Listing of What You Can and Can’t Feed Your Ladies

And my take? Five Reasons to Raise Backyard Chickens and Two Reasons Why Not To

(You can see me gardening with my ladies here on my Cobrahead Weeder review.)

And On to The Bees:

Here’s a long listing of plants that bees particularly enjoy from the Daily Green.

And for Californians, a list of CA natives and plants that love the California climate, that feed the bees.

From Rooted in California, some interesting info on bees in Cali, including how to figure out if the native bee you’re looking at is a boy or a girl.

My recent article on bee-safe pesticides and how to spray safely.

If you’re thinking you and bees really don’t have much in common and why should you care about them anyway – well, here’s a bit of info for you – bees love their morning joe as much as you do! Um, sort of. 🙂

And finally, some sticky controversy in the world of honeybees! Daffodil Planter covered this important story of Obama offense in Capitol Bees.