Today I am going to discuss a bird of a different feather. The cute and personable quail. I was proposing the idea of getting Coturnix quail to my dear and wonderful husband. Being the way I am, I researched like a mad woman and drew out a sketch of my proposed quail pen to show him. So why quail? There are so many great reasons. While quail farming might not be ideal for every homesteader, they can fit into homesteads both large and small.
You have never seen a more quirky homestead critter than a quail. They are so funny to watch and will begin amusing you from the day you hatch. Despite their small stature, quail produce delicious eggs at a marvelous rate. Quail are perfect for a small or city homestead as you can house quite a few in very little space. Because the males are generally quiet (just letting out a sweet cooing sound) you can have them on non-traditional homesteads.
Today you are getting Zoologist Jessica instead of Homesteader Jessica. For those of you that don’t know, I went to school for zoology, but decided that I didn’t want to live in a city, which is what led me to farming. One important aspect of animal care they taught me about in college was animal enrichment and how important it is to an animals health and overall well-being.
Animal enrichment is activities that create a more stimulating environment for the animals and elicit some of their natural behaviors such as exploration, foraging, locomotion, social interaction, manipulating objects, or simply playing.
Sprouting fodder is something farmers have been done for generations. Fodder is defined as “food, especially dried hay or feed, for cattle and other livestock.” Sprouting fodder growing the fodder and allowing the livestock to eat it at a young stage. This feeding technique can offer a varied diet for livestock at a fraction of the price of traditional feeds. Although you can sprout a variety of grains, today I’m going to chat about sprouted barley because it’s a great all-around grain for livestock.
I am in love with mason jar feeders and waterers. They work for all ages and sizes in the flock and if you’re like me and have hundreds of jars laying around, it’s a dirt cheap way to go. The only flaw to them is they can be very challenging to hang. When left on the ground, they quickly fill with bedding and droppings. With a little crochet knowledge and some yarn or even twine, you can make a hanger in a matter of minutes.
Keeping quail is an experience that I believe every homesteader should enjoy. If it’s not for all these reasons, or even these delicious quail egg recipes, it’s because they are so darn funny. I did a lot of research before I got Coturnix quail. I knew how many females I needed for each male. I knew how to incubate them and brood them. I had the right setup prepared and the right foods on hand. I thought I was ready. That was before they arrived. Many things the quail do will scare the bejeezus out of you when they first do it. That’s why I felt it was my duty to give you a heads up with these funny facts about quail.
A friend of mine had asked if it was possible to make deviled quail eggs. I had honestly never considered it. It seemed like an awful lot of work for such a tiny hors d’oeuvre. I joked that you would need a pretty tiny spoon to clean them out, but she was not put off by the idea. She thought it would be insanely cute.
When I first decided to raise quail I noticed through research the majority of quail were raised in wire cages or some type of cage that looked similar to a rabbit hutch. This wasn’t how I wanted my quail experience to end up. The vision I wanted was for these little birds to roam the grass hunting for bugs, much like they would do if they were living in the wild.
The internet would have you believe that incubating Coturnix quail is difficult. I’m here to let you in on a secret… it’s not. Forget fumigation and floating techniques. It’s really no different than incubating a chicken egg. The only difference is that it takes less time and you might as well forget about candling. You simply pop your eggs in the incubator and start the clock.
Spraddle leg, also referred to as splay leg, is a condition where a chick’s legs “splay” out to the sides. Sometimes one leg is affected and other times both are. Often it occurs from brooding chicks on a slippery surface such as newspaper, but other causes include incubator temperature issues, vitamin deficiency, or being in a poor position in the egg.
Many non-traditional homesteaders turn to keeping quail when they discover they can’t keep other forms of poultry. Some homesteaders choose to add quail even if they already have other poultry on their homesteads. Why? Because quail offer many benefits to the small-scale farmer and the exchange of time and money for these benefits is great. There are several varieties of quail available, but Coturnix Quail are one of the most popular choices.
There is a dark spot in homesteading that bloggers like myself don’t want to tell you about. This lifestyle is amazing and freeing, but it comes with a cost when livestock come into the mix. Losing an animal sucks. But caring about your livestock means you actually care. It means you gave that animal the very best.
Winter is on its way here in Maine. It may have already arrived for my friends further up north. Just this morning there was a layer of ice on the outdoor water buckets. I’m not ready yet. Are you? Being ready for winter makes the experience a bit more bearable. Here are some tips to get you started.
Electrolytes are just one of the things that you should have in your Poultry First Aid Kit. This water-soluble solution is perfect for heat stress, dehydration, illness, general stress and more. Get my thoughts on Sav-a-Chick and discover my homemade recipes for electrolytes. Find out what is safe to use in emergencies.
Those who are working with a limited amount of space may wonder if they can house different types of poultry under the same roof. I have bantams, large fowl and ducks in one coop. Does it cause issues from time to time? Yes, but I’ve worked out ways to make it all work.