In addition to our flock of British Soay sheep, we raise honeybees for pollination and honey, hens for eggs, Brina for flock protection, and Pippy the cat for rodent control. Everyone works on the farm! Our animals are as much family members as they are farm workers. They receive a lot of individual attention from us and visitors. Read on for their stories.
Honey Bees (apis mellifera) are an important part of the farm’s ecosystem. In 2010 we set up our first hive to establish pollinators for future crops. What started as an experiment became an integral part of the farm. Our goal is to raise bees naturally using integrated pest management, and yield enough honey for the bees and the farm store.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices strive to reduce chemical dependency to promote bee health and reduce the presence of pests by using a variety of tactics that are environmentally safe and economical. Examples include ensuring good ventilation for the hive, trapping mites in drone comb, and using screened-bottom boards.
In 2010 Wilderbee became one of the first Bee Friendly Farms in Washington State registered with Partners for Sustainable Pollination, whose mission is promoting the health of pollinators through conservation, education, and research.
Brina is our livestock guardian dog. Born April 22, 2011, she came home to Wilderbee at 9 weeks old. Brina is half Great Pyrenees and half Bucovina. Great Pyrenees have guarded livestock for Basque shepherds in the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France and northern Spain for hundreds of years. Bucovina come from the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. Both breeds are confident, gentle, and affectionate especially with children. While territorial and protective of their flock, their general demeanor is composed and patient. LGDs are attentive, fearless, and loyal to their duties. They are also strong-willed and independent, and may wander if left unattended. Brina is a hard working member of the Wilderbee Farm family. She barks off curious coyotes as well as predator birds that attempt to swoop down and snatch free-ranging hens (and occasionally the cat). Once outside her gate, Brina is affectionate and playful. Her favorite greeting is The Paw.
Our hens free-range daily year-round. Their natural range diet is supplemented with oyster shell, oats, and layer pellets (non-organic). They share pasture with the sheep and help keep the bug and grub populations under control.
About our breeds:
Buff Orpingtons originated in England. Prolific brown egg layers, friendly, affectionate, broody, excellent mothers.
Easter Eggers lay blue-green eggs and sport a pea comb, beard, and muffs. They possess the blue egg gene, but don’t meet an official breed description by the American Poultry Association.
Golden Laced Wyandottes originated in the U.S. in the 1870s. Docile, dual-purpose breed, variety of colors. Devoted mothers lay up to 200 brown eggs per year.
Speckled Sussex is one of the oldest English dual-purpose breeds. Alert, docile, good foragers, productive egg layers averaging 250 large brown eggs a year. Varieties include Speckled, Brown, Buff, Light, Red, Silver, and White.
Black Australorps are a large heritage breed from Australia. Hardy, docile, loud talkers, good mothers, and prolific layers averaging 250 brown eggs per year.
Barred Rocks developed in New England in the mid 19th century. Beautiful black-and-white feather pattern. Outstanding for meat and brown eggs. Hardy, long-lived, broody, and docile.
Brahma is a massive, stately breed with feathers on their feet. Developed in the U.S. from large birds imported from Shanghai. Docile, prolific brown egg layers.