Tag Archives: hatching quail

New Babies, and DUCKS

It’s that time of year again! I have babies.

This is a Golden Italian Coturnix quail, just hatched. Notice she’s just slightly damp from the incubator, still. I wasn’t sure if it was too early for my quail to have fertile eggs, but I decided to take a chance, and put 11 eggs in the incubator awhile back, and surprise! Five were fertile, and hatched.

Four of them were strong and healthy, but the fifth needed some help getting out of the shell, and he was obviously weaker and smaller than the others. His legs were unable to support his weight, and he was crawling around by pushing himself on his stomach. I tried taping his legs like you do for spraddle-leg, but that didn’t help him at all; what he needed was something to help him stand upright. I came up with the idea for a therapy box.

Just a simple box, too narrow for his legs to spread out in.

It started working right away. With the help of the box, he was able to stand up and start strengthening his legs.

It definitely helped, and by the fourth day, he was walking around fairly well, and I thought he was going to make it. But you just can’t tell with animals, sometimes. On the fifth morning, he died. I figure there must have been something more wrong with him than just his weak legs. Well, at least I tried, and I know have a technique to try again if I ever get more weak-legged quail.

The other four are growing by leaps and bounds, and already have their wing feathers growing in. Here’s hoping most or all are girls. I can’t keep any more boys – I already have one too many!

I just love having ducks in the garden. They make me laugh, every day.

Besides being on constant slug patrol, I’m pretty sure they are actually keeping my small lawn clipped. It’s been very wet here, but warm, and I know the grass would have been too high by now if it weren’t for their grazing.

They are absolutely in love with the chickens, who they believe might be drakes. They are constantly following them around, necks a trembling, hoping the chickens will one day return their love.

It’s not going to happen. Ever. The chickens think the ducks are possessed lunatics.

I can see both sides. The chickens are insanely gorgeous, and the ducks…well…they are just a bit looney.

Every chance I get, I’m out in the garden. This time of year is so splendid for working outside. I finally finished the duck yard fence, and put in their cute little duck door.

I also put up a new trellis, and now I need to figure out what to grow on it. One half (the sunny side) is a white clematis. The other side gets more shade. I need something there…

And hog fencing panels are the best trellises ever. They last forever, and they are STRONG.

My peas are coming up.

And so are my kale and radishes.

The new fruit trees are in the ground, and pruned to knee height.

You know, I counted the fruit trees I have the other day, and I have twenty-two. TWENTY-TWO. In a small(ish) city garden. And that’s just trees, not counting all the bushes, like currants, gooseberries, blueberries, or other fruits. Some of them are potted, some are espaliers, and some are growing according to the methods in Grow a Little Fruit Tree.  It’s going to be fantastic when they all start producing. Last summer, I got a couple of apples, this year, I’m hoping some of the other trees will produce. I’m really excited about the peaches and pears!

The chickens are also hard at work. Here they are preparing one of their garden beds. After they finish prepping it, I’ll plant it in wheat grass for them.

In the front yard, I’ve taken over part of the too-large driveway, and put in raised beds of blueberries. Inside the area formed by the blueberry beds, I’m planting potatoes this year, under straw. Though it’s a bit early, I’ve got a few potatoes out already – they were sprouted ones that I grew last summer.

And if you’re local to me, I’ll be doing a program Monday evening at the Mount Vernon City Library with two of my friends on our trip to Europe last fall. We’ll be covering Iceland, England, Scotland, Venice, and Paris.

girls

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New Quail Hatched!

The new Brinsea Mini Advance incubator performed perfectly. It is a marvel.  The hatch was still immensely stressful though!  Eight of the twelve eggs pipped on Sunday afternoon.  The last batch of quail I hatched were zipping within a few hours…not these little guys.

Nooooo….these little guys decided to completely freak me out by pipping and then not doing anything else for nearly 36 hours!  Luckily one of them kept poking at the pipped edge of the shell to let me know at least one was still alive, but I was having serious worries about whether or not I should attempt to help it hatch.  Most internet sources said they should be zipping within 10 hours, and if they didn’t, the humidity had likely gotten too low, and the chicks were “shrink-wrapped” inside their shells, unable to move enough to get out.

Luckily, I found one person who said it was normal for them to take this long (sometimes) and I should just sit it out.  So I did, but Monday night I didn’t sleep very well, thinking they might all be dead in the shell by morning.  I finally got up around 2:30am to check on them – and yay miracle! – two of the little lazy buggers had hatched.  No sign of any difficulty whatsoever.  I went back to bed feeling MUCH better, and by morning, six were hatched, and two more were on the way.

The very last egg that hatched was the plain white one.  I put a little spot of paint on that chick’s back; if she’s a female, I want to keep her in the hopes she will lay white eggs like her mother.  Since the girls from this hatch will become Loki’s wives, I think I’ll name them all after mythological goddesses.  Since this baby was born from a white shell, I think she has to be Aphrodite, don’t you?

painting-aphrodite

Assuming she’s a girl, of course.  If not, well, he will be nameless.  And sadly, dinner.  I can’t keep any more males!

Right now, though, they are just so adorably tiny and sweet.

Aphrodite is already photogenic.

And worn out from hatching.

They love their Brinsea Eco Brooder 20.  It also is working perfectly, keeping them brilliantly warm and contented.  I did my trick of tucking a piece from a feather boa underneath with them, and they LOVE snuggling into those cozy feathers.

All eight of the hatchlings are inside the brooder box now.  They have food and water figured out.

Oh look – do you notice something?  Just like last year, when the hatchery accidentally sent me one Texas A&M chick (Peabody), this year I also got a cuckoo in the nest.  I’m assuming that little dark chick is not an Italian, but rather a sneaky little Standard!

Whatever, it’s cute.

And so are the Italians.  At this age, they love to snuggle in hands, and come right up and crawl up into your palm whenever you put your hand into the brooder.

At this age (barely one day old) they already have the worm-hunting instinct.  Just look at this little one hunting a loose thread on the duvet!

There are still four eggs unhatched in the incubator, and I’ll leave it running for a few more days, just in case.  Sometimes there’s a late hatch.  If not, eight very healthy chicks from twelve shipped eggs is a really good hatch rate, so I’m happy.

Keep your fingers crossed for mostly girls…

Fertile Hatching Quail Eggs

The Great Quail Adventure begins…now!  I ordered the eggs from Stromberg’s, and they arrived today.  And just like when I ordered live chicks through the mail, the Post Office screwed up.

First of all, they were supposed to call me when the box arrived, and I was supposed to pick the eggs up at the PO.  I even made a point of calling the PO and letting them know the eggs were coming, and refreshing their memories on the procedure.

I did not get a call this morning, so I assumed the eggs would be in tomorrow.  Imagine my annoyance when I discovered they had been delivered to my house, instead.  I really did not want the poor eggs bouncing around in a mail carrier’s truck all day.

And then, despite this label being on the box:

The box looked like this:

Sigh.  I was so afraid the eggs would all be crushed.

They were packed nicely, though, and all seem to have survived.

We ordered three dozen eggs, one each of three varieties of coturnix quail.

Standard:

Blonde:

Italian:

My partner in the Great Quail Adventure and I speculated that perhaps the different varieties of quail would have differently marked eggs, but how odd it is that the eggs’ markings seem to be completely random!

The eggs are now “resting” from their shipping trauma, and after the recommended number of hours of rest, they will go into the incubator.  And then we will see if these little guys will hatch.

They are so tiny!