Monthly Archives: September 2013

Quail Chick Update

This a video of little Frog, as I was calling her – the weak little baby that needed help hatching and had to stay inside for a for a couple of days until she was strong enough to go back outside with mama quail and her siblings.

She was the sweetest little thing.  Unfortunately, there must have been something wrong with her besides being a little weak.  We found her dead out in the nestbox one morning.  It’s so sad when little baby creatures die.

But the other seven are thriving, and their mama is so good with them – even though they drive her crazy.  I wonder how any wild quail survive to adulthood?  They don’t listen to her when she gives the alarm call.  She’s running around screaming that there is danger, and they are just start jumping around and playing, completely oblivious to her terror!  Insane little creatures.  But SO cute!

It’s darling how they pop their heads up through her feathers in random places.

Every morning when I open the door to the nest box and let them out into the run, they get so excited.  Mama is less excited; she pops her head out to see if I’m watching, and if I am, she stays put in the nest box and tries to make her babies do the same.  But all they want to do is dance, dance….

And just for fun, here’s a video of Isabelle eating noodles.  She’s a Cream Brabanter hen.

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Travel

The world is such an amazing place.  I just want to go everywhere!

The Mama Quail Did It!

Remember I talked in a previous post about how “they” claim that quail won’t hatch their own young?

Fiddlesticks!

This is my Standard Coturnix female, with her chicks that hatched the day before.  I firmly believe the reason they say quail won’t hatch their own chicks is because they keep their quail in a unnatural wire cage, and the quail don’t like it.  And who could blame them?

Here’s a video of mama and babies:

She had about ten eggs under her when she started laying – some hers, some belonging to other females.  Oddly enough, while she was sitting on the eggs, she continued to lay more.  This must be a quail thing, because chickens stop laying once they start to sit.  When the first babies started hatching, she was up to 17 eggs under her.

She successfully hatched eight.  Considering that the more recently laid eggs didn’t have a chance to hatch because they didn’t have time to develop, I think she did very well.  She actually left one chick behind when she abandoned the nest, partly hatched.  It was chilled and too weak to finish coming out of the egg when I found it, but I put it under a heat lamp and helped it get free of the shell and it’s going to be fine.  Since it’s still weaker than the rest, I’m keeping it under the heat lamp inside tonight, and I’ll hopefully re-introduce it to the mother tomorrow.

It’s SO MUCH EASIER raising quail with a mama quail than with an incubator.  I can’t imagine how she manages to regulate the heat (and especially the humidity!) so perfectly.  And the babies are so cute popping out of her feathers and following her around!  I’ll get more pictures and video later, but I’m trying to avoid bothering her too much.  She’s new to this mother business and very stressed out!

Geez….it seems like just yesterday that she was hatching out of an egg herself!

Rabbits Eating Bananas!

Notice that Daisy’s ears are all crumpled?  It’s like they are wilting and need to be watered!  Never saw a rabbit with ears like this, but I guess she just wants to be unique.

Here’s the latest view of the quail coop.

The squash plants are on their last legs.  But they are still producing lots of squash!

Blue Hubbard:

Pattypans, and this mystery squash.  Or is it a gourd?  Any of you know?

And the other mystery squash turned out to be an acorn.  I’m pretty sure that’s what it is, anyway.

I’ve been eating it immature, and it’s really tasty that way.  Just cook it like a summer squash.

The watermelon is about 3 pounds now.

And in quail news – the broody mama has a hatching egg!  I checked on them a couple of hours ago, and saw that at least one of the eggs has a pip.  So excited.  I hope they hatch ok, and she’s a good mama to them.

I’ve been holding the blonde male quail almost every day; he’s a friendly little guy.  And so pretty!

He’s keeping his toes crossed that a couple of those hatching babies are girls.  He would really LOVE to have a girlfriend.

My friend who took my extras males (to eat) has eaten them.  She says that were both easier to butcher then she expected, and harder.  I have decided that I am definitely not raising quail to eat.  They are just too small; you’d have to kill at least four for one decent meal, and that seems too big a waste of life.  Plus, I’ve finally realized that I love birds more than I love furry animals.  I don’t know what it is, but I always bond too deeply with birds!  My chicken Ellie is my “animal soulmate” – we have a genuine relationship.  I trust her completely; she knows not to peck my face or do anything to hurt me, and she knows I won’t hurt her.  I love her more than I’ve ever loved a dog or cat.  We understand each other.  I swear, she either understands English or she can read my mind!

In contrast, I enjoy having the rabbits around, but I haven’t bonded to them in nearly the same way.  I’m actually considering getting into breeding rabbits for meat.  I love the taste of rabbit; my dad used to raise them, I remember him bringing little tiny babies in for me to see, and then in a few weeks having a delicious dinner.  It makes a lot more sense than eating quail; one rabbit is at least a couple of meals – that’s one death instead of eight!  I need to do a lot more research into pens, etc, but I’m really thinking this is the way for me to produce my own meat.  Factory-raised meat is SO unhealthy, and the cruelty involved is beyond belief.  With my quail and chickens, I have healthy, “happy” eggs; I’d love to do the same with meat!

Don’t worry, though – Daisy and Dandelion will always be pets!  🙂

42

It’s been awhile since I posted anything about my Big 42nd Birthday Year Travel Plans.  A lot has changed in the world, and at this point, I’m pretty sure Egypt is going to have to wait a few more years.  Especially with this new, completely wrong-headed and immoral war with Syria we’re plotting – it just appears the region will be too unstable in 2015.  So, I am turning my attention to my back-up plan: England and Scotland.

The problem is narrowing it down.  I want to go everywhere in Great Britain!  I am trying to make it a good mix of everything I love: history, geekery, and nature.  Also, I have always wanted to sleep on a train, so naturally I’ll travel from London to Scotland via the Caledonian Sleeper train.  The little rooms are so cute.

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Once in Scotland, as part of the geekery, I will visit Edinburgh’s Castle (Hogwarts!) and ride the jacobite steam train.  Any Potter fans out there will recognize this iconic moment from the film:

Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Hogwarts Express

It is believed to be one of the world’s most scenic rail trips.  It will take me to the coast town of Mallaig, where I will hop a ferry to the Inner Hebrides islands.  White sand beaches, turquoise water…sounds like the Caribbean, right?  No, it’s still Scotland!

anthony-waltham-white-shell-sand-scarasta-beach-north-west-coast-of-south-harris-outer-hebrides-scotland-uk

Mull, I think, will be my home for at least a couple of days.

Duart-Castle-Isle-of-Mull-Scotland

From Mull, it’s possible to visit Staffa, famous for Fingal’s Cave.  There is nowhere else like it in the world.  I have always wanted to go there.

4681115733_5741ec75c4_zIn addition to being stunningly gorgeous, these islands are also FULL of wildlife.  Whales, otters, and my primary focus: Puffins.

They aren’t afraid of humans, and will readily approach.  This can even happen:

Puffins!!!!

I have also located the hotel chain I will stay at while in London and Edinburgh.  easyHotel.  I LOVE this concept.  What do you need in a European hotel?  A bed, a bathroom, and a super-central, clean, safe location.  Nothing else, so why pay for it?  EasyHotel is such a brilliant concept.

Maybe one night I’ll spring for the tv.

Or not.