All cooped up

Our quails are growing well and are a nice size now. They almost have all their adult face feathers and will be ready to go outside shortly. We’ve been slowly weaning them off their heat lamps over the last week or so.

Zoe is almost at the age where she should be laying eggs, so we’re keeping our eye out for our first home grown quail egg.

We do have a few chicken eggs in the incubator that are due for hatching any day now too, so we do need to get the quails outside and make room in our brooder for the new arrivals.

We’ve been scribbling down plans for the new quail pen our students are going to help build.

Quails don’t need a lot of space, they naturally live in the brush and undergrowth so they like a nice shady spot and things to hide under. When quails get startled they tend to jump straight up in the air, if the pen is too high, the force they hit the roof with can cause some serious injuries. So we’re going to keep it fairly low to prevent this from happening.

Unlike chickens they can’t free range out on the paddocks. They don’t have that instinct to come back to the coop on a night. So we need to make sure it’s a nice safe and comfortable space where they can live all year round.

We lost our first flock of chickens to a hungry fox last year, since then we have had a small electric fence surrounding their pen that we turn on at night. It seems to do a good job of keeping the predators out, but it also means our sheep can’t get in to graze and keep the area tidy.

We do usually rotate the pen so the chickens have fresh grass to scratch in on a morning before we let them out. But with us having a few broody hens lately we’ve not wanted to disturb them. This has meant the grass has become fairly wild, and today’s job was to move the pen and let the sheep at the juicy grass. The ground under the pen will also have time to recover now too.

Hopefully next week we will have some new baby chicks to show. Until then, take care!

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