Baby Quail

gardeningmaryMay 21, 2009

On Sunday we went to pick up our baby quail. The farmer was in the process of hatching 1500 eggs. He raises them as a hobby for training bird dogs. He was very friendly, gave us lots of information and a tour of his bird houses. He also gave us an extra 4 quail and over a weeks worth of food just to get us started. It seems as though backyard poultry folk are as friendly and generous as gardeners.

Here is my brooder - formerly a guinea pig cage. The baby quail need to be kept at 100F for the first week, reducing the room temperature by 5 degrees each week till they are fully feathered. Two lights with reflectors and an overhead infrared bulb keep the room nice and toasty. In case you were wondering, they are in my newly renovated powder room. I hope they are enjoying the new tile and wainscoating.

They drink out of a shallow dish filled with marbles to prevent them falling in and drowning.

Food (turkey chick feed that has been pulverized in a blender) is scattered on the floor. They like to stick together and sleep nestled in with each other. All 14 of them.

Aren't they cute?

The quail will have the use of the mini chicken coop once they are able to go outside. I also have a 10 x 10 metal gazebo I'm planning to convert into a flight pen by covering the top with netting and the bottom with hardware cloth.

They are funny, lively little things and it's easy to spend hours watching them (if you can stand the heat). They are far too similar to give names which is just as well as they are destined for the table. However, I have a feeling we will be way too fond of them to enjoy our New Year's supper as originally planned.


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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Ahhhh, they are as cute as a bug's ear. :-)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:35PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)


    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:12PM
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How cute ! Bet they never appear on your dinner plate Mary !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:29PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)


I remember the work involved with our 2 rabbits, kept in the barn: lots of heat lamps to keep the water from freezing(unsuccessful), lots of food and cleanup, etc. So I hope it is fun and not work for you in the long haul!
. .
. .
. .
. .
. Just teasing here:

Apricot Quail
(30-6- minutes. Serves six.)
6 quails --6 oz ea
6 bacon slices
***Apricot Basting Sauce***
1/2 cup Apricot Jam
1/4 cup Dried Apricots -- Finely Chopped
1/4 cup Dry White Wine
1 tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Prepare Apricot Basting Sauce, set aside. Heat oven to 400F. Wrap each quail in 1 slice of bacon. Place, breast side up, at least 1-inch apart, on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes. Brush generously with Apricot Basting Sauce. Roast until done, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Heat remaining sauce to serve with quail.

Apricot Basting Sauce
Heat all ingredients over low head, stirring occasionally, until jam is melted. Makes about 1 cup of sauce.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:49PM
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They certainly are cute and what an undertaking for you. It will be quite an experience I'm sure. Alot of hunters hunt for quail along with pheasants around here.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 11:12PM
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Yes, they zre adorable.

I spent too many years in 4-H to not understand that animals are frequently raised for slaughter. The lambs some of my friends raised and showed all had names and tasted delcious. And yes, they were enchanting and adorable.

Go for it, Mary!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 4:46AM
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Mary they are adorable, and you are so resourceful in reusing your items. I had an aunt who raised game birds. I think she had to stir them up at night sometimes to keep them from smothering each other. Also our neighbors raise game birds and have a huge flight pen. They allow guided hunting on there property. They tried to get us to allow their hunters on our property but we declined. We have a pheasant stroll through here every once in a while.

Bugs recipe sounds delish. Norma

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 5:58AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Oh my!!!!! they are as cute as it gets! I don't think I could stand to eat them.... You are a braver soul than I.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 7:51AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Definitely cute little things! If they do end up on the table, I wonder what the economics of raising them yourself will be...? Are you keeping track...?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 7:59AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

They are very cute! I think they should be very pretty when full grown too. It will be interesting to see whether raising these will be different from the chickens. The kids must be tickled.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 8:07AM
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Woody - It will be a good idea to keep track of expenses. So far I've spent $12 for the little birds, and $8 for a new light reflector. We're still eating the free food but I'll make a stop today for more supplies. The quail are also something of a hydrid between pet and livestock so I don't mind indulging a little as we are all learning so much. Quail and chicken petting have become a favorite activity with Annie and David's friends and neighbors.

GB - after a decade of pocket pets kept inside (guinea pigs, hampsters, geckos) there feels great freedom in something that will be housed outdoors, within a stones throw of the compost heap. I remember your rabbits - do you still have them? I love the recipe by the way - this is the first year my apricot trees have set fruit - they appear laden. I could have an almost totally home produced dinner if Saucy sends me a tablespoon of honey. (Well, except the bacon - I don't see pigs in our future.)

I'm also of the philosophy that I'd rather eat an animal that has been humanely raised (even if it does have a name) than an anonymous one that has endured appalling conditions in its short life. I think if we saw first hand how those cheap fryers and turkeys are raised we would quickly lose out appetite. But with children it is a little different. I don't want Annie and David to remember me in later years as the mean mother who made them eat their pets LOL!


    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 8:29AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Those are to darn adorable - how could Dan and Marilyn and family end up on the table for a meal? eek!

It will be interesting to see if you and your family can do that, Mary.... what a riot they are in the marbles.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 8:48AM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

OMG Mary, they are so adorable! They are just so tiny and cute! They would grow old and die as pets at our house.
When I was growing up a family in town raised rabbits and frequently had them for dinner. It gave me nightmares even then.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:25AM
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