Monday 12th April 2010
Quail Diary - New owners!
Because I obviously have so many spare hours in the day, we have decided that keeping a few birds could be fun. Actually, I have always wanted to keep birds - as a child, Lovebirds, but as I have gotten older, and some say, wiser, I have come to appreciate the rising cost of our food, and the naff quality of a lot of what we buy, and as we have only the best fruit and veg courtesy of the allotment, and the local producers, I felt it about time we tried to produce more for the table, so we are now the proud owners of 5 Italian Quail.
We purchased them from a local breeder in Chelmsford, and they are darlings. Plump gals, somewhat stroppy, and of course, to be a member of our family, greedy little darlings.
We have modified the greenhouse and Mark has made a fab run for them, with a little door, so they have access to the outside world and grass and mud in which to play. I have also temperarily covered the opening window with chicken wire so I can open it during warm days, just to let a bit more air circulate. However, I have done a lot of reading over the last 3 weeks, and it seems that quail like to be toasty and hate drafts, so the greenhouse should be the perfect penthouse with en-suite. As the weather warms, I will remove the glass from the opening window and compeltely cover it with chicken wire. I think we will do the same with the door as I am concerned we will come down one afternoon and find them all spit roasted!
Mark has built them a lovely home, which they refuse to use, prefering to huddle together under my greenhouse staging. This is fine and I have shoved some straw under there for them to make them comfy. I have also put down some turf at one end of the greenhouse. Well, we all like a little shag pile in our living rooms. Today, after yet more research, I went out and brought a bag of bird sand and oyster grit for them to eat and bath in. I also put in a few large flower pots, on their sides, in case they wanted some privacy. Finally, I have brought some seaweed and vitamin dust to add to their food. A teaspoon is enough for 16 girls, so a scant quarter of a teaspoon went into their feeder today. Now, this mix claims to improve laying. Laying huh?....do we mean laying in the sun, topping up our tans?....laying a carpet so improve our living conditions?... no, we mean laying some eggs please girls!!!! Have we discovered any eggs yet? No we haven't!! I tell you, at £4.50 a tub, this seaweed extract had better live up to it's promise otherwise I sense quail casserole might be on the menu pretty soon.
So there we are, it will be 3 weeks on Saturday 17th April since the girls moved in, and 3 weeks with no eggs. Rumour has it we may add to the brood, as according to 'the experts' our quail accomodation could house up to 16 birds. I don't want 16. I just want layers.
I will keep you posted of egg production....if we get any. Oh, to be fed up with quails eggs on toast, poached quails eggs, mini scotch eggs, hard boiled quails eggs..........