If you have followed our blog for a while you will know that we have been hand rearing a pure-breed copper Marans chick who is named Shadow, brought as a dark brown egg at a market we placed it in the incubator in hope one would hatch and it did! But only one, so we grew attached teaching shadow to run up and get some treats when I clap, climbing all over me and my favourite reading the poultry books to shadow as he or she would peck the chickens. Then I realised it was all to good to be true! Shadow was deffinetly a boy, we integrated him into the flock carefully all was well until this week, him and pixie the domminant cockerel have started to fight and sadly we don’t have the room for them to have the acquired space or seperate pens. So shadow is up for rehoming, he’s roughly 21 weeks old and a handsome young chap, showing all the qualities and feature of his type would be perfect for breeding since he’s already starting to charm our girls. Please comment if your interested and I can send some contacts or find us on Facebook at Theurbanhens and message us there. We’re located in Stamford lincolnshire and only want him to go to either a home as a pet or to be used in breeding even showing , please take in to account we have grown attached to him and chosen to let him go for the best and therefore he is not to be used in cock fighting or to be slaughtered .
We have six egg laying female quail who live in our back garden, they like to dust bathe and hide in the straw playing chase on the warm summer months but when winter encroaches the quail need some slight changes in their care. Originally quail would fly over to Africa for winter, yes you heard me right, tiny quail flapping with their little wings all the way to AFRICA! But let’s face it who wouldn’t rather go on holiday to Africa when winter in England can be so bitter. But our girls being domestic can’t make that journey across the challenging seas so we have to try and keep them warm and mostly dry. But we didn’t have the time, space or money to build a ideal housing situation such as a shed so we’ve got some simple steps we’ve taken to keep them happy over winter.
- Covering them up. Our quail are in a old chicken run which already has plastic sheeting on the roof but we’ve used a table cloth to give the sides of the run extra cover from wind and rain.
- Adding a deep layer of straw in the run, this not only can keep them warm but also creates cover from wind and enchanted their environment and natural behaviour eg. burrowing into the straw. Remember if this bedding gets wet it will need to be changed to keep them dry.
- Adding a house. Quail don’t seem to enter their house at night so if the forecast for the night is unbelievably cold, then placing your quail in the house and retaining them from coming out till the morning is best for them, also adding a extra house. We’ve used the tortoise house as this has a lager door which quail prefer. Also tunnels and Guinea pig play housing are good to use it means if you are unable to shut them away they still have extra shelter.
People say that quail eat more when out in the cold. I think that really it’s not changed. They eat the food in the summer for to lay eggs and eat the same amount but just aren’t laying their putting it towards the energy to pull through, this is the reason naturally kept quails eggs will be more expensive since they’re not laying in the winter and can be a bit hit and miss in the summer still when they do lay the eggs they do taste amazing!
So it’s been awhile since I’ve updated I think since way before Christmas, now it’s the new year so happy new year!
Just a update for you if you haven’t seen on Facebook that our birds also got Xmas pressies too, a eglu cube for the Chicks we hatched out this ye….. Last year. And now at least three of them first a speckled egg belived to be autumns as its identical to her mothers egg, then a sort of darkish brown egg which I believe is Maia, we thought as a arucana X she would lay a nice green egg but still her beutiful plumage Makes up for it. Then a cream egg was laid most deffinetly by Lyra. My cousins have visited, first thing in the morning we let out the birds gave them some corn but sadly we opened up each house with a result of no egg, later in the afternoon we got two eggs, opening up the eglu cubes door to find Lyra setteling on the nest “give her half an our and we’ll come and see if she’s laid one by then” and hey presto she did! They’ve taken a dozen home initially to eat but they might try having ago at incubating them in the airing cupboard 🙂
BIRD FLU UPDATE: please still keep your birds undercover or away from wild birds until the 28th of February And take safety precautions such as devoting clothes for when you are doing your chicken chorus such as wearing a pair of shoes only in your chicken run and monitor your chickens closely for signs of bird flu. Find out more at http://www.gov.uk and read the recent article on the situation .