Spring is almost here.

The sorrel is up, and boy do I love this stuff! It’s the earliest edible green for me, and it just sprouts up all on its own. It has a lovely lemon bite to it!

After a long winter hiatus, the chickens have begun to lay eggs again. They have been solely missed. Ophelia the frizzle cochin laid her first egg a few days ago. I knew it was coming, because she had started “crouching” whenever I walked near her. It’s a sure sign when you see that; she’ll be laying in about a week! Ophelia’s eggs are a pretty brown, almost a pink. They are currently spotted with white, but that will stop once she uses up some of the extra calcium she has inside her right now.

I went out to feed the bobwhite quail the other day, and noticed something cute: they are getting on super well with the parakeets. When I threw seed on the ground, the green parakeet came right down with them – she was so unafraid that she actually was walking underneath the quail! Sadly, though I did get a video, I didn’t manage to capture any of the walking underneath action. But it’s still cute.

In other bird news, I purchased a ‘Lovey Dovey’ dove nest from Amazon, and hung it with a little grass stuffed inside. I’m hoping I’ll get a pair of mourning doves to nest.

The weather has been fairly decent the last few days, and I’ve got a lot of cleaning up in the garden accomplished. The summer kitchen area is ready to build in, and I’ve finished the raised beds in front and planted a few plants around. The summer kitchen will be roofed, and I’ll catch rainwater off it, to water the raised beds.

The area where the old duck coop used to be will now become an edible food forest. In the picture below, the first section of rough boards is where I plan to build a raised hot bed for winter growing. In behind, the two boards mark off the site of the future serama chicken coop.

I’ve got a bunch of trees and shrubs coming; the first batch is being delivered Monday. I’m so excited!

I’m so impatient for spring. Every time I go outside, I see more signs of life.

The violets are up.

The moss is growing.

And the roses are alive.

It’s still hard to believe that in about a month, everything will be green and I’ll have baby chicks out in the coop!

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4 responses to “Spring is almost here.

  1. Hello! I’ve so enjoyed reading about your backyard gardening and animal keeping. I’ve especially been interested in the quail because there are so few people who talk about keeping quail more naturally. I’d really like to see how you recommend a beginner quail keeper should set up a quail coop. I’d really like to make a movable coop for them so I could rotate to fresh grass daily. The only predators of concern are hawks, rats, and snakes. I’ve kept backyard hens before, and they freeranged my backyard and we’re closed in at night. I live in Central FL in a zone 10 microclimate. So it gets hot hot and humid in the summers with mild winters. Any recommendations you could give would be great! Also, I have a family of 6, so I’d like to keep at least 8 quail in one movable coop. Would 3×4 be large enough? Thanks! Erin

    • Hi Erin, I’m glad to hear you’ve been enjoying my blog! If you’re keeping eight quail together, I recommend having all females. Some folks make it work, but in a naturally setting, my quails’ instincts always kick in if I have males, and they end up pairing off in monogamous pairs and attempting to kill all the unmated females! Not fun. A 3X4 pen would be large enough for eight girls. If you do try keeping a male in the group (it does work fine for some folks) only keep one male, or they will fight. I love my all-girl pen; it’s calm and quiet, and everyone gets along. I was going to do a moveable coop, but then I ended up going a different direction. One thing, if you have rats, unless your coop has wire on the underside, the rats might be always digging under to get the quail food. I build raised beds with hardware cloth on the bottom of the beds, then fill with soil, then put my coops on top of that. Rats can’t get in, and the quail still have a natural space. Quail don’t seem to be bothered by cold, but they don’t like wind, and mine never had the sense to come in out of the rain, so I always put a roof on mine. Since you’re in FL, make sure part of the coop is always shaded. If you’re on facebook, I manage a group called “Natural Quail Keeping”. There are a bunch of great people on it, and they have awesome suggestions for different cages, etc.

  2. I am thinking of making a outdoor parakeet pen, I live in Dequeen, ar and the summers are hot and the winters get down to 20 degrees sometimes. I read that yours are outdoors but I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, do you think I can do it where I live? I would hate to kill them all on accident. Thank you, I just found your site and love it!!

    • My temps range from upper 90s in summer to a low of 16 degrees F in winter. Most of the winter is around 40 degrees in the day, and just below freezing at night. My parakeets didn’t seem bothered at all, even when it got the coldest. The biggest thing is putting them outside in the summer first when the temps are fairly close to indoor temps, and letting them adjust slowly as winter comes. Make sure the pen is draft free in winter….wetness and drafts are what is harmful to birds, not cold. I ended up giving my parakeets away, though…because they loved being outside too much! All they wanted to do was raise babies, and since they were all girls, that wasn’t happening. I decided it wasn’t good for them to be so constantly sitting on eggs, and not enjoyable for me since they were always in the nest boxes!

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