Today seven of the eight quail chicks almost died. Let me tell you the story.
I woke up about an hour earlier than I normally do, and it’s so fortunate that I really had to use the bathroom…and then, that I decided it wasn’t really worth going back to bed. Instead, I came into the living room and checked on the chicks.
Seven of them (all but one) were laying stretched out on their sides, limp and completely cold. They apparently had left the warmth of the Brinsea Ecoglow Brooder (as they frequently do during the daytime), and had wandered to the opposite end of the brooder box, where they had been unable to find their way back in the dim light. Two of them were feebly opening and closing their beaks; the rest looked completely dead. I thought it was probably too late to save any of them. They were so cold. They almost felt like they’d been in the fridge.
I picked them up and put them under the Brinsea Brooder, then found the old heat lamp I’d used for the previous hatchlings, and held that over them instead. It was a more intense, focused heat, which was, I thought, the only thing that might save some of them. And it worked. After about five minutes, a couple of them started to move slightly. I began to hope I’d be able to save at least one.
By ten minutes, all but one was starting to showing signs of recovery. I was so sure that one of them was gone, though. It was completely still and cold; no signs of life whatever. If you’ve ever held a dead bird, you know what dead feels like; this one felt dead. But you should never assume a creature that “died” of cold is actually dead, until you warm it up completely.
A few minutes after the rest were starting to move around, the “dead” chick opened its eyes and looked at me.
All seven survived, and tonight, they are all running around as if nothing ever happened. Quail chicks look fragile, but they are surprisingly resilient. Still, if I hadn’t drank so much water before I went to bed, or if I’d gotten up even a few minutes later…I know I would have only one chick left. Miracles do happen.
Lesson learned. From now on out, I’m leaving the overhead light on in the living room so the quail have enough light find their way back to the Brooder if they decide to go Crazy Quail Adventuring in the middle of the night.
And that eighth chick who had enough sense to stay under the Brooder? If she’s a girl, I should name her Athena, after the Greek goddess of wisdom!
Besides rescue quail, I did a little work in the garden. I’m in the process of making a small water garden inside one of my flower beds, out of a plastic tub.
The tub is sunken into the raised bed (I will eventually bury the front of the tub as well.) It will be lined around the edge with bricks.
Inside are two concrete cinder blocks, to raise ledges for the plantings to sit on.
The holes in the cinder blocks will be nice hiding holes for future fish.
I also swung by the local nursery and picked up two more gooseberries. One Black Velvet, and another of the Captivator gooseberries that I planted one of last year. We got about four berries from it, and they were SO good. An absolutely wonderful sweet flavor, right off the bush! I knew I had to at least one more of this variety. I also got a Petite Negri fig, which I will grow in a pot, and something I’d never heard of: an Apple Rose.
It is a very old type of rose that is grown for its large, flavorful hips. They actually had it in the edible fruit area of the nursery, rather than with the other roses.
The garden is really starting to wake up. Everything is greening out, and several types of early flowers are blooming. I put my mason bees out, so hopefully they’ll come successfully out of their cocoons soon. Oh! And I saw my first bee today; a bumblebee. I was so happy to see her buzzing around. She appeared to be on a mission; I suspect she was a scout out searching for a new place to build a hive. Hopefully her and her sisters will choose someplace very close to my garden, if not inside it. I adore bumblebees.
In other bee news, Mom painted the new honeybee hive, and it’s out in the garden on its new stand awaiting its new residents!