September 24, 2010

quail fail

We awoke to a bad scene the other morning.

Just before we arrived here at the farm, Jen had just gotten some quail. They lay the tiniest, most beautiful eggs. Inside the shell, they're much like chicken eggs only smaller, and with more health benefits.

In an effort to give them a happy living situation, Nate built a little quail pen which is a little house on wheels. It has chicken wire around it and mesh on the bottom so they can forage on grass and their manure can fall through, fertilizing the grass. We move the pen around to fresh grass every day. Basically, we thought they should have a home similar to what we raise our meat chickens in. We moved them outside and though they seemed happy, they eventually started laying less eggs. We thought that maybe it was because we combined males an females, which I'm sure is a factor (we're working on that). Aside from laying less eggs they started looking rough and we found one of them with a nasty gash on it's chest the other day. So we've all been brainstorming and trying to figure out how to remedy the situation.

Yesterday morning after we did our turkey chores we discovered 3 dead quail in the pen. *sad face* All of them missing their heads. *even sadder face* Something, most likely a raccoon, grabbed them in their sleep through the chicken wire and pulled their little heads off. There were 2 others who were pretty injured, one of which we had to euthanize right away. It was a hard lesson but now we know a little more about what's been going on with them. I think the predator has been after them for a while and that's how the one I found the other day got wounded. They have been laying poorly lately because they've been spooked and stressed over the predator issue.

We modified their pen adding extra protection around the edges, put some 'rescue remedy' in their water to help combat the stress of the attack and set a trap.

It's never fun learning lessons at an animal's expense and losing them never gets easier. But we're determined to help those little ones feel happy and safe again. I'll be back to update on 'project quail'.

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