About meAfter growing up on a smallholding surrounded by ancient woodlands filled with beauty, adventure and the freedom roam as far as my little legs could carry me I am trying to creat a slice of the good life and a special place in the world that I can call my own... Without having to let go of any of the magic of childhood or join the Rat Race to get there
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Tag Archives: quail
There is still snow on the ground here, and more fell last night. There was also a power cut, I’m not sure how long it lasted. I woke up to the smell of a burnt orange candle and Rhys telling me that there was a power cut but not to worry, he’d already put a blacket over the chicks to keep the heat in. Thank goodness I didn’t put another batch of eggs in the incubator like I’d planned to, the weather isn’t at all warm at the moment and the temperature is all over the place as the stove doesn’t stay in over night so it’s very cold in the mornings and then much warmer later. Not good incubation conditions.
The quail chicks are doing well though, eating and drinking very well and feathering up well. I think they’re growing well too but it’s hard to tell when you see them everyday. I cleaned them out last week and took some photos, I couldn’t find a box without gap in, for handles etc., so I put them in the old tin bath we have for bring wood in.
I’ve got a lot of seedlings coming on nicely, cabbage, rocket and spinach. And I’ve potted up the last of the onion sets I had in a paper bag in paper pots ready to plant out when the snow has cleared. I really want to get out into the garden and start things, I keep telling myself that this weather is a very good start to the year, garden wise, as it’ll kill off lots of the bugs.
I’m a little bit last with everything this week, I went on a residental at the weekend which was great fun. It was in Wales by a beach, I haven’t been to the beach for ages and I also liked the beach at this time of year.
We spent loads of time on the beach and I collected one and a half carrier bags of cuttlefish for the quail. It made me really happy, and the quail love cuttlefish. They were all very sandy and some had bits of ‘meat’ on:
On Monday I was given some new quail as well. Someone contacted me about them a few weeks ago from a new quail forum I’ve joined. Any way, they are all lovely and I can’t wait for them to start laying.
And my quail eggs started to hatch yesterday.
When I got home on Sunday night there was some babies in the kitchen:
They were born on Saturday night, their mum has been looking like she’s been going to kid any day for a couple of weeks now. I even spent last Thursday night getting up to check on her as she was looking ‘odd’. there really isn’t an easy way to explain how a goat, or anything else, looks before they give birth. There are all the signs you get once they have started but once you’ve lived along side animals for a while you just seem to know. It’s nice, it’s a part of living with animals that I really enjoy being able to communitcate without any sort of noise. And they do it back too, I often use to spend time in the goat pen/houses when I was younger just sitting or reading and they would know if I was up-set about something and always come and sit close and nussle my face.
Any way, the kids mum wasn’t very good with them and kept knocking them across the house if the stood up so they are in the kitchen. Their mum is very up-set about it and crys everytime you walk past her house or go out to milk her (she’s also started drinking milk from herself) it’s very sad but if she’s going to treat her babies like that than nothing else can be done.
I started some more eggs off in the incubator the Friday-before-last, I bought 24 White Texas A&M eggs to try and have 11 of my own eggs in there as well. The time has gone really quickly, they’re due to start hatching a week tomorrow.
I’ve only put in eggs from one of my quail houses as I didn’t have a very good hatch rate last time. Out of 22 eggs, 5 hatched (but only 3 lived), 2 dead in shell and the rest of the eggs were empty. When I started to think about it I realized that the male in the house with the most girls is about 2 – 2 ½ years old, which is very old by quail standards. I will see how this hatch goes and possibly do some moving around, I’m just not sure what to do with the old male if it turns out he’s no longer fertile. I don’t want to having him living on his own, but I don’t want to keep him with hens that I could be using for breeding. I’ll just have to see.
I’ve started keeping a log this time as well, it’s part of my ‘be more organized in 2009’ plan.
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.
Eggs all now safely in the incubator!
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.
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.