Yes, you read that right. But I’m talking about *actual* birds (chickens, in this case) and *actual* bees. These two important species can live in harmony and actually help each other!
Bee populations have been on a steady decline over the years and are threatened with extinction. Bees are instrumental in the reproduction of plants, which keeps our crops in production. Without bees, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy many of the fruits and vegetables we love. Bees also produce delicious honey!
Your chickens enjoy eating the hive beetles, ants and other bugs that tend to live near or under hives. This will prevent the beetles from infesting your beehive, keeping it healthy. Chickens may eat dead bees but will generally stay away from live bees. If you find that your chickens are attempting to eat live bees, it could be that they aren’t finding enough to forage on. Giving them some additional scratch should help.
Bees benefit chickens through pollination. You’ll notice a huge boost in your flowers and gardens, and your chickens will, too! We all know chickens love to help tend the gardens. A better garden means more scraps for the chickens, which leads to healthier hens and healthier eggs for you. Everyone wins!
If you place your hive near your coop, be sure it’s raised off the ground so that your chickens don’t get near the entrance of the hive. Keep a separate water source available for your hive that has rocks and branches for the bees to crawl across. If your bees discover your chickens’ water, they risk being trampled or drowned by chicken activity near the waterer. One solution is to water your chickens using a nipple or cup system so there isn’t an open pool of water to draw the bees’ attention. Check out The Chicken Outfitter’s options here and here.
Bees are generally too busy to be worried about your hens pecking the ground outside the hive. And your hens are too busy cleaning up the ground under the hive to even notice the bees buzzing overhead. Once established, bees are easy to keep and pretty independent. So give beekeeping a try, you’ll find their worth their weight in gold (honey, that is).