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wellington womble

Introducing more quail

I have a trio of young quail, and I would like to add more. The chap who we bought some chickens off recently reckoned you can't introduce more quail without a massacre. Is this actually the case? I'll run out of houses (also, I think I need more female. They seem happy enough, but the male is vociferous in his appetites!)
Chez

Yeah, he's right. They're nasty little things.You could try putting them in adjacent cages for a few days and see if that works. But after the Eye Removal Incident of 2013 I've been very cautious. I'm sorry he's so rampant Sad
Tavascarow

Introduce them in a cage or pen to keep them from injuring each other & once accepted release them at dusk.
I used to rear new birds every year & just let them loose at dusk but my flock was much larger (40-50) & the house large with plenty of vegetation (conifer) for cover to hide.
wellington womble

Chicken Man said that they peck each other's eyes out, too.

I'm sorry he's so rampant Sad


I hold you personally responsible, naturally! I'm not sure if he's actually all that rampant, or if he just has a preference for one lady. Or if it's just that she puts up so much fight. The other one submits and is on her way, but the paler one tows him round the run! Her neck feathers are growing back, though so it's not so bad. I just like the cute eggs. They have some vegetation, but they trampled it. I do have some drainpipe corners kicking around that would be good though. Don't think I have any conifer.

I suppose I'll just have to hatch some eggs, but I don't have any spare housing at the moment as back up. Jenna adores their little eggs, and saves them up all week to have for breakfast on Saturday.
Chez

I think Tav's suggestion would work if you had patience. I may have some spare in three or four weeks, once I've worked out which I'm putting on the BBQ.
wellington womble

I'll see if I can hunt out a small cage. I wonder if a cat carrier or similar would do?

Sadly, Madame Reynard has partially solved my housing crisis.
Tavascarow

A cat carrier will be fine as long as they have access to water & food, & are shaded they should be fine for a few days.
One cock bird to five or six hens is about the right mix.
One to two will always result in the over amorous male paying to much attention.
Cutting down the day length will help but that also has an effect on egg laying.
wellington womble

I think Tav's suggestion would work if you had patience. I may have some spare in three or four weeks, once I've worked out which I'm putting on the BBQ.


In that case, I will sort out something. If it's small enough, the new ones can just sit in the run until they all calm down, there's enough space. Otherwise, I might barbecue these three and get half a dozen in one go.
Fee

Do I want quail, too? Smile I've got a book about keeping quail somewhere... wellington womble

I think you probably do. While not exactly charming (they are vicious, frankly) they lay lots of super eggs, cost nothing to feed, need hardly any space and the males have a lovely call, which sounds very tropical. I keep them in the garden (rather than down in the field) for this reason.

They need a low run, or they fly into the roof and break their own necks (yes, really) and need protection from rats. I also find a little heat in the winter (I use the electric hen the chicks have in the spring) means I feel less sorry for them, as they are too stupid to go to bed at night. Also, you can’t free range them, they don’t come back. Half a dozen in a small eglu is just right for them, I think.)

In the butterfly house at Stratford they have quail pottering around on ground. When I get a polutunnel, I’m having some in it. They don’t scratch like chickens, so all but the tiniest of seedlings are safe from their titchy feet (which can get mud balls on them. This is the only difficulty I have with them. I bring them in to the house and put a soggy towel in the bottom of a plastic bucket until they are soaked off. Then put a dry towel in until they are dry, and can go back outside)
Fee

Ooh, well polytunnel is on the list, might have to get some quail once we have that, the timing of which depends on the financial situation once we've got moved! If they don't go to bed, what do they do? And do they lay all over the place then, or go to a nestbox?

Have you hatched any? Babies must be titchy!?
wellington womble

Chez says it’s like hatching bumble bees. They’re bonkers though, their natural state is full on panic.

In the small eglu, they lay in the nest box. I have the occasional egg in the run, but it’s rare. I think if they are more open, they lay all over. I did have one go broody, and I was tempted to to see if she would hatch (quail are supposed to have had broodiness bred out of them, but I have read that they do brood if kept with more space). Only she killed another one defending the nest box, And I remembered that it’s virtually impossible to mix hatches.

I wonder if you started them off in a small space, and they got used
to laying in a box, theyd keep doing it even once they had more range? Or if you provided tons of boxes around and about. I wanted to start them off with dummy eggs, because they usually lay where they see eggs, but I couldn’t find any quail ones. I had grand plans to blow some quail eggs and fill them with plaster or resin or something, but I never got round to it, and they laid in the box anyway.

I’m mildly concerned about them being hot in a tunnel. They’re ok at Stratford where is hot, but not uncomfortably so, but I’m guessing they have some fairly close climate control for the butterflies and zillions of people that come through.
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