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.