The new quail coop is nearing completion. I just need to put on the three roof sections, and add the hardware (hinges, catches, etc.)
And also fill the bottom six inches or so with dirt. Now that it’s Spring, the quail are enjoying digging around in the dirt so much. I went out to check on Cinna and his girls this morning, and found they had dug massive holes. I thought maybe it was just for dirt bathing, but then I saw one of the girls unearth a worm. This led to a high-energy game of chase, as the other girl wanted the worm too! Then Cinna found a worm of his own, but instead of eating it himself (he’s such a sweet little boy) he tugged it up out of the ground just enough so it couldn’t get away, and called for the girls. The wormless girl came running and grabbed it, and then both girls were doing the mad worm chase, neither stopping to realize that they each had a worm of their own. There were several near collisions, and much drama! I can’t imagine raising these little guys on a wire floor; they get so much enjoyment from their lives being “natural” quail.
I tried to get a video for you, but Cinna was in the nest box out of sight, and the girls had calmed down. And they had also managed to fill in their biggest holes. And oops – I need to find a better water system; this energetic digging is throwing too much dirt into their water. I’ve cleaned it out four times today!
And they are also beginning to lay again; I found my first little speckled egg this morning!
This winter I’ve been planning lots of plans. I’ve sketched out each section of the yard, with what I want to do. These plans are constantly shifting, but right now, here’s a portion of the side yard. There will be some fruits and vegetables here, plus a yard for meat chickens/ducks.
Right now, that yard is a disaster. Junk from this-and-that, plus mud. Lots and lots of mud. It’s been raining pretty much non-stop here.
Another view (from the other end):
The chickens better enjoy it while they can. Once I start renovating things, they won’t have access to this yard anymore.
Don’t feel sorry for them, though – they are getting their own yard renovation, with a private kale garden, apple trees, roses, and herbs. I’ll show you photos of the “before” of their yard soon. Right now, I’ll just show you one thing: the chicken garden plot.
I just planted out some kale starts, and some peppermint plants in cement cinder blocks. The cinder blocks work really well as planters; they can’t really dig them out very easily, and they don’t like to eat peppermint. It does, however, help deter flies and keep things smelling nice in the coop yard.
I’ll put a proper fence around the garden bed at some point, but right now I just needed something quick and easy to protect those little kale until I can start harvesting leaves for the chickens to eat!
There is one other section of the side garden. I’m growing mostly fruit bushes and vines here, but I also plan to install a duck coop for a couple of Indian Runner ducks. I need some garden slug patrol. The chickens do a great job of keeping the slug population way, way down, but I can’t let them run freely in the garden during the growing season, or I wouldn’t have a garden. Ducks, though, especially small, light Indian Runners, are perfectly wonderful in a garden part-time.
Here’s my sketch:
And here’s the current reality. This portion of the yard is further along. I have a large number of the fruit bushes/vines already planted.
We’re still in the process of building raised beds, etc. There is still such a long way to go!
But Spring is finally making an appearance.