Category Archives: quail

Hatching has happened… thank God

The first quail chick has hatched, about 3 minutes ago.

I’ve been very worried about the hatching, nothing seems to have been happening at all. Normally a coulpe of days before you see the first signs of hatching (or pipping) you hear the chicks calling, then a few eggs get craks in and then you get chicks,but this time there has been nothing.

Not even a little peep, or cheep, until just now. While I was sat here, tranferring video of the Christmas carrots, there was a ‘creep,’ then a lot more. Both me and Rhys made ‘shhing’ signs at each other and there was a chick just busting through its shell.  


Winter Solstice

Today was the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. From now on days will be getting longer and everything with start to wake up.

As a sort of celebration I have spent this evening making paper pots and sowing peas, carrots (to be grown in buckets until the warmer weather when they can go outside) and a few leeks. I’ve been reading a little bit about how leeks can be started off now in polystyrene boxes  so thought I would try it.

The carrots and leeks were also to do my second bit of moon planting, so far I’ve only managed root crops on the right day, last weekend I planted some onion sets and garlic.

Rhys has spent this evening making chocolates for Christmas presents, and when I first got home from work we tried to ‘candle’ the quail eggs. It didn’t work but I’m hopefully, the weight has changed in them from how it feels when they are first laid. It will be time to stop turning them in the next day or two ready for hatching.

Quail Egg Setting

Eggs all now safely in the incubator!

Getting ready for hatching

I’m getting ready to hatch some quail eggs, I’ve been collecting the eggs and turning them for the past two days and the incubator has been washed and is running ready to put the eggs in on Saturday.

It seems like an ideal time of year for hatching now, especially after the disaster of the lot of eggs that I tried hatching in May, all the quail are inside for the winter now so it’s not an issue hatching chicks now and having to have them inside until the spring as everyone is inside any way. There is almost no chance of any thunder storms, which I’m sure was the many problem with the May hatching and if I set the eggs on Saturday hatching will happen around Christmas eve which means I will have a few days off for it but there will be other things going on so I won’t be as likely to keep wanting to have a peep inside to see what is happening.

Some of my current quail are getting on for two years plus now so their life expectancy isn’t that much longer either so I need to be replace them too.

Well, winter is finally here

Outside it is snowing, huge flacks but it’s been raining all afternoon so the ground is, touch wood, to wet for it to settle.

October has flown by; I’ve spent most of it working. I work right though from the 13th until the 22nd, two days off and now I’m back at work. Officially I’m on holiday, but only from one job this week. Next week though…

Everything is mostly indoors now, on the 12th I almost completely cleared up the vegetable garden. Planted out the kale and spring cabbage plants, pulled up all the nettles, potted up all the strawberry plants. The garden looks bare now, the purple sprouting plants are coming back well have being completely massacred by caterpillars. The sprouts are coming back as well, but the ‘sprouts’ aren’t forming as sprouts but leafy bubs. I thought that some of the red cabbages had survived the caterpillars but the remaining cabbages are rotting away at the stream and falling over.

We also mated Keris, Kniteshade is such a good boy. He could easily flatten any and all of us if he wanted to but he just does as he’s asked. Mother has taken him out for a few walks with the other goats and he’s been really good then as well.

Indoors I’ve been pickling lots of quail eggs, they are all indoors for the winter now and still laying at least one egg a day each. Working on pegloom-carrier-bag mats for the next LETS meeting.

Tonight mother took me out to buy my 21 birthday present, I didn’t know what I wanted when it was my birthday. I now have two drop spindles and a big bag of ‘rolls’ to play with. A while ago I was thinking about self-sufficiently and clothes, it’s just not practical to try to make all of your own clothes while working, tending to animals, processing food, etc. there just isn’t enough hours in the day but something on a small scale is doable. So I’m learning to make socks, right from spinning the wool to knitting them. That’s my plan any way, and that’s what I’m working on re-learning to knit and now spin. 

A rambling update

Life if very much about being outside at the moment, as might have been guessed from my lack of posts lately.


Even when it’s raining it still nice outdoors.


There was a big event at work over the Bank Holiday, when it chucked it down of course, and then I started my new job which is working out really well & at home things feel like they are getting done. In a very un-organised way, must start making lists again, last weekend I spent most of a day on the veg garden, which has exploded mostly with weeds in the last couple of weeks. Last year I tried growing potatoes for Christmas, it was a challenge on a forum I belong too, but when nothing happened I thought the potatoes must have rotted, Wrong! It’s just the poatoes from this year that don’t seem to have come up. I managed to plant out the rest of the Garlic I started off in paper pots and have been sitting in trays in the garden. They’ve done really well though.


I’ve mostly cleared the base of the old chicken shed & the meat chicks have moved onto that off the veg garden and some of the quail have moved from the house outside as well.


I’ve planted loads more seeds& bought plants from the carboot & some from Lidl that were reduced.


We’ve got two broodies that I’m trying to find eggs for, I want to breed some Silver Dorkings to go with the hen we have but there are a few other breeds ‘the family’ would like as well, middle-sister has some hen & call duck eggs in the incubator. One of her oldest cockerels died so she’s trying to hatch some of his off-spring before it’s to late. It would seem that I wasn’t the only person locally to have a rubbish hatch at the start of May, so it must have been that weather.


Muma has a pair of geese, nasty, sharp, hissy things, that were being given away in the local paper. So the meat-eaters of the family are having goose (not these two, our own hatched ones) for Christmas dinner this year. Last year they had the same, just bought in.


Rescue ewe, now called Iris, & lambs are doing well. My ‘spoilt AN’s’ have reached over the wall & eaten the hair along her back (they don’t much like sheep.)


My weekend starts again tomorrow.

A bit of an egg

I doubt I would have enough found this egg if I hadn’t had just cleaned the cage out and put down newspaper instead of wood shavings:

A weekend of half dones

Last weekend was hot, I was off Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I think only on the Thursday was it cool enough to be outside working all day. The other days had a few hours mid-afternoon that just had to be spend sat inside in the cool until outside was cooler.

So really it doesn’t feel like much was done, Rhys did very well at cleaning the kitchen. We started taking down an old chicken shed ready for a move round and new goat pen, we collected and shredded a load of gorse for the goats and picked branches for them all but Sunday, changed over the water butt by the goats as the old one had started to drip and we were given a much bigger one, gave most of the sacks of muck that had been collected away on Freecycle (me and mummy were told a very funny story about mice and shampoo), I picked out wood for splitting one of the goat houses in two ready for kidding at the start of next month but we didn’t actually manage to split the house.

I half-heartly started planting some more potato’s in sacks (we eat alot of potatoes and I can’t bare the thought of any being left in the ground so they’re all going in sacks) but gave up because of the heat. I thought about planting some carrots and beetroot in the garden (cats have messed mummy’s up) but never got out there to do so.

Ooh, I did pick up some ‘new’ hutches for the quail to go in from someone belonging to LETS, it’s my first time spending Deans and the people I got the hutches from had an interesting holding and might want some quail…

…Basically lots of things got started and were on My List but never got finished.

And then there were none

This hatching really hasn’t gone well.

Out of the eight eggs I put in the incubator one hatched, another one started to hatch and a day and a half later I did the no-no of trying to help the chick out (I REALLY wanted the one chick to have a friend) but it lived for a few hours and then died.

Another egg I found had a small chip in it and had dried up inside. And the other five… Well I’m sure they have chicks in (because of the weight of them) but they’re just not showing any signs of life, or hatching.

And to cap it all my ONE chick died for no reason at all!

I came in at about seven o’clock from cleaning out the chickens and was going to sit with a cup of tea (with honey not sugar) for half an hour ‘watching tele’ which really means watching the chick as the brooder is next to the tele and the chick is a lot more interesting. I watched it pondle around a bit, have some feed, sit in the feed dish looking at me for a while, then it went over and had a drink and came back to the lamp and settled down and went to sleep, all very normal behaviour, then it just stop breathing.

That was it, nothing I could do.


Since I stopped buying loads of stuff I didn’t really need from ebay I never really get any interesting post anymore, so it was extra nice this morning to get a little package full of cuttlefish fresh from the beach for the quail.

Thank you to TheGirlsMum from the River Cottage Forum who sent them to me!