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Hatching and Raising Quail Organically for hay fever and eczema - Part 1 - Breaking down the cage door.

This is Polly, a rare-breed, organic Ardenner bantam and one of her brood of newly hatched quail. I first started raising quail when we came to live permanently in France some fourteen years ago now. 

Raising quail organically with a mother hen

Quail Fever - We cured the hay fever and eczema but not our addiction to raising quail


Organic forest garden with recycled glass window greenhouse
My husband Andy had suffered from hay fever every year since the Summer of 1976. We knew that coming to live a new life in an abandoned field and orchard, would be untenable unless we found a cure. We had already began extensive plantings of so many shrubs, trees and flowers, for our eventual food forest. 


Furthermore, in 1977 Andy had also worked on a machine, using an oil which had caused him to have a contact dermatitis which led on to eczema.

Organic quail eggs - home-raised
I had read that as early as the twelfth century in Japan quail eggs were being used in  the treatment of various respiratory diseases and allergies. They were also used in traditional medicine in China. We couldn't find any organic eggs so I decided I would have to raise the quail myself.
Rare breed Ardenner bantams organically raised



My first hens, a pair of Ardenner bantams called Chicklette and Pouldini, had been given to us in part payment for looking after a neighbouring smallholding whilst the owners went on holiday. Our Ardenners seemed ideal for the job, they were excellent mothers, foragers, they trusted us and they were very quick in everything they did, a great advantage with  precocious quail.

Why we all need to give quail a better deal in life 


Quail pen and runWhilst waiting to get my eggs I bought five quail from a livestock market in a nearby town. It was not initially a happy experience, the quail were totally neurotic when I bought them and equally so in the outside run we had made them. Luckily I had heeded the warnings and made a run with a soft voile top, as at the slightest noise they launched themselves up into the air. Over time however, they became accustomed to their environment, calmed down and began to lay. The one thing we used to love to do was to sit and watch them come out of their little house every morning with a hop-skip-jump and a beat of the wings, full of the joie de vivre. On visiting several places where they raised quail, I soon realised the key to their whole behaviour patterns. Everywhere we went quail were raised inside, on wire, mostly in artificial light and caged with hardly room to move. They were in effect laying machines, fed a high protein grain-based and sometimes medicated feed and with no greenery and certainly with no ghost of an attempt at their natural insectivore diet.


Four-year old organic golden quail
This is Golden Grandma out taking the sun in the little enclosed garden in front of the Bake House. She is four years old, having spent three and a half years with us as part of the flock. I'm happy to say she enjoyed life though she was never quite as tame as any of our home-raised birds. She was the last quail I ever bought,  my own quail having succumbed to a rat attack that same year. I lost the whole flock including our much-loved Flopsy a five year-old 'English white' quail, who would follow me around the garden as long as I had a fork in my hand. GG, when we bought her, was 'living' caged in a garage, most of the other birds with her looked terrible and all showed signs of injury. They had obviously been fighting, I should have just turned away and left but I couldn't, I bought five females in all and this little golden quail was the only one who survived past the first week. The man I bought her from invited us to view his 'exhibition hens', they at least, were out in the open air. I could not comprehend how he could not see what he was doing was morally wrong. Unfortunately he is not the worst. I know of hunters who train their dogs by tying a quail by the leg to a stick in a field and then letting the dog loose to find it. When I remonstrate, I am always told that the dog knows never to touch the quail. There is a mental block with some humans in understanding that birds are sentient beings. They would do well to heed Gandhi's words; "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated".'

My First Hatch of Quail Eggs


The hatching of my first ever quail with Chicklette was rather traumatic. I had obtained eggs from two colours of quail 'Isabelle' or 'Gold', (see Granny above) and 'Range' a dark chocolate brown.  Something I hadn't considered but which soon became apparent and was to affect the hatch, was that my Ardenner Mother had a total aversion to mice. In the main most hens love mice, to eat that is. I was right on hand when the quail started to hatch and we were probably more excited than the hen was.

Newly hatched organic golden quail

The problems started when Chicklette decided to take a good look at the babies, probably because they were making unusual (non-chick) noises and possibly because they smell different. Normally because she is at her most vulnerable, a Mother hen clamps down upon her chicks as they hatch, making encouraging noises in a low voice, something which would get no response with quail. It is true that some hens reach under and eat the shells as the chicks emerge and thereby remove the evidence of hatching which might attract predators.  However, Chicklette took one look at these quail chicks and suddenly they were flying though the air and I could see she was only throwing out the chocolate coloured ones, which looked uncannily like mice. I gathered them all up and presented them individually, showing her that they were indeed baby birds, and happily she accepted them all back under her wings.


Organically raised Ardenner hen and her Polish chicksThis is Poulie with a hatch of Crested Polish Chicks, she too was a wonderful caring parent. If you are thinking of going ahead and raising quail always chose a Mother hen who has a good track record with raising chicks. Quail need a mother hen who has an excellent understanding of and is quick to notice changes in behaviour. Some mothers are very good at finding food but a quail 'mother' needs to be equally good at recognising the moment the quail need to go back under her for warmth and rest. She needs to stop foraging and 'sit', not all hens are good at this. Cold baby quail make a lot of strange almost whining noises, which can be very disconcerting, a good mother hen responds to this immediately. She will also be the first to notice any nutrient deficiencies, very common in quail from non-organic hatching eggs. If you see her pushing Baby back up on its feet, then be aware she has noticed it sitting down too long. This is the first sign of a Vitamin B and/or selenium deficiency and is very common in domesticated game birds and hence in their eggs. A good mother hen will be watching for this problem in baby chicks because it is one of the more common signs and in fact part of a natural remedy for coccidiosis, that is to keep the baby bird moving and expel the problem.


Organically raised free-range quail chicks
Despite the initial trauma at hatching, Chicklette went on to form a strong bond with the quail, which allowed her to free-range them in the garden, doing sterling work amongst the bean rows. She stayed with them as their Mother for quite some time, longer than I had expected, I think the size of them fooled her into thinking they were still small chicks, who needed care.

Having cured the hay fever and eczema what next? The symbiosis continues in the Garden. 


Organic free-range quailAfter eating those few eggs from our first quail, all those years ago, Andy never developed hay fever. In fact he never had hay fever ever again, nor interestingly enough eczema. Five years ago the nature of the active enzyme, the trypsin inhibitor which effects the cure was finally identified and pills made of quail eggs may now be purchased at organic stores. We certainly owe our quail a debt of gratitude.

When my quail eggs hatched last March I had the luck to film the quail chicks as they emerged and I went on to document their first few days of life with Polly, daughter of Chicklette. In my next Quail Post I will take you through the joys and pitfalls of those first few days, culminating in the quail's first foray into the Greenhouse and the start of their full-time job in keeping down the greenfly, whitefly, black fly and any other nuisances they can help us with.

Part Two of my series on Hatching and Raising Quail organically can be found: here



 
Thanks for dropping by and if you have enjoyed this piece and found it useful think about sharing it and also may be about joining this blog. Please also feel free to ask questions or make comments in the section below.

All the very best,
Sue

RELATED ARTICLES

Organic quail chicks with mother Ardenner bantam

Taking you through the first few days.

Polly and the quail at three days old and already something of a handful! I kept them in the nest for the first three days, letting them gain in strength...read more

Organic quail chick and hen free-rangingHow your hen can bring out the best in baby quail.

Years of selective breeding have not only bred the broodiness out of domesticated quail but also their ability to identify and seek out their own food. read more

A comprehensive guide into the history & use of quail eggs in medicine Part 1


How we cured Andy's hay fever and eczema with a dip into Ancient Egypt and 60's France...read more

A comprehensive guide into the history & use of quail eggs in medicine  Part 2

Now we eat quail eggs for pleasure..here I look in depth at the clinical trials in the 1960s and the posology used then and by us...read more

RETURN TO CONTENTS PAGE
© 2012 Sue Cross

53 comments:

  1. I have been searching and searching for information on how to raise quail more naturally and ethical. It does not seem to be popular. Thank you for this information!!
    How do you know if a hen is going to be a good momma? What should I look for?

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    1. Hi schoolmarm,

      My pleasure and I know exactly what you mean, I did all this by instinct because no where could I find any information either. The fact is, it is so easy to stick the poor quail in a cage. Time and time again I see articles enthusing on how little space quail need. I sometimes wonder if these people ever think at all before they write such nonsense but so much of it is just 'cut-and-paste'. Thanks for your question, it's prompted me to think that I should write a blogpost on choosing the mother hen because this is really the key to success. In the meantime, observe your hens when they go broody, I have a film on my youtube site (link at the top right of the blog) called "Why do hens go broody" which will give you some pointers. Essentially you need a hen who is tame and trusts you because you may need to intervene, particularly at the start of the hatch. You need a hen who is quite light and light feathered so a bantam like my Ardenner Polly or several people have recommended Silkies. The hen should be quick at recognising changes in chick behaviours i.e. will notice if they are getting cold and sit down. Above all you need a hen who is good at finding food because she will teach the quail to forage, which is exactly what you need to get their natural instincts to kick back in, after years of systematically breeding this out! Observe your hens and build up a good relationship with the one you chose. All the best, Sue

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    2. Thank you, Sue. I enjoy your blog and am learning a great deal! Thanks again, Nicole

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  2. I'm new to the idea of quail so please forgive me if it's a silly question but why not let the quail mama raise quail babies?

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    1. It's not a silly question at all! The problem is that quail are mainly kept in battery conditions and like hens in similar circumstance, have been selectively bred so as not to become broody. The gene pool of laying coturnix japonica quail (as well as those bred as song birds) was severely depleted by the end of the two World Wars, so it was perhaps even easier to breed out maternal instincts from such a small group. There is also the question of how the males react because they too seem to be instrumental in the process of sitting eggs and brooding chicks. I'm hoping however that with the near as possible 'native' nutrition and with space and time, my quail will rediscover their natural instincts to nest, cover eggs and raise chicks. All the very best and thanks for your interest, Sue

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  3. Thank you for sharing your experience. I feel the same way about how quail are raised and I hope to have some silkies raise them for me this year. Did you have any luck getting a quail to hatch and raise the babies? I'm interested in trying to breed that quality back into them.

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    1. Hi Robin, (This is my third attempt to get this to work!!) Thanks for your support and I wish you really good luck with the Silkies. I have still only the experience of getting the one quail to form a proper nest and to lay two eggs in it but that was as far as it got. I also noticed though, that the male quail was beginning to stand guard - so I think that was a big step forward. The major problem, as I see it, is getting the quail to pair off into a monogamous couple because I think therein lies the root of everything - as it does with cockerels. There is still too much in the male genetic make-up of fighting rather than fatherhood. Humans originally 'domesticated' the jungle fowl for cock fighting and the quail too were used for such in ancient Egypt - you get mention of this in Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra! Part of the equation too though is bad diet, which over years has bought about a propensity for high stress levels, which in turn cause deficiency, in particular the B vitamin complex. I'm working on it though!! Did you see my videos on last year's quail hatch? I used a Cochin Frizzle who was quite brilliant , in fact she is still with them today in the greenhouse! The link is: http://youtu.be/8vFXGMbRa-Q All the very best, Sue

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  4. Sue, I am intrigued with your work. Thanks so much for sharing. We have just starting sprouting our organic non-gmo grain for our laying hens and they love it. I think they are using much less grain and making much less litter, a win,win,win, win! We have been discussing raising quail as well. Are your birds (the ones that make the healing eggs) Coturnix or Button which varieties/breeds do you have the best luck with. I am a total newbie to quail and chickens too really. Also do you have a chicken breed that you love to use as a brooding mother. None of our hens seem to want to brood. Do you make your own sprouted starter food for new babies

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    1. Hi John, you are very welcome. Re: quail, I raise coturnix japonica, I have never kept button quail, which have retained their monogamy and need to be kept in pairs. Ideally I would like my coturnix to pair off and get them to raise their own chicks which would be the easiest option!! I need however, to work on this and get the environment right, whilst making it safe from predators, I am still experimenting. In the meantime I have used several different breeds of mother hen. The Ardenner is a great breed for brooding quail but very rare outside Northern France and Belgium. My Sebright crosses too have made really good mothers for quail and last year I used a Frizzled Cochin, who was wonderful, in fact she has been in the greenhouse all Winter with them even though they are adults and they still get on really well together. You need a hen who is light-weight and also doesn't have heavy feathering hence the Cochin Frizzle - quail chicks burrow right down in the hens feathers. I have had problems with them getting feathers round their necks and then getting into trouble when the hen stands up. Temperament-wise you need a hen who is quick to notice changes in the chicks and is ready to accommodate to the different metabolism and behaviour of the quail in relation to that she would expect from her own chicks.. With regards to sprouting grain for chicks, you can feed them the grain you sprout for your hens as a good mother hen will break it up for them but even without that the grain is soft and easy for them to deal with. If you want to see the group of videos I made last year taking you step-by-step through brooding and hatching quail and the choosing of the mother hen then please visit http://www.youtube.com/user/Pavlovafowl where you will see I have a quail playlist. I will eventually get around to writing more detailed blogs on all these aspects of raising quail, so if you want to you can follow my blog to get updates - I am also carrying out some further sprouting experiments too and will be posting them also. On my youtube channel I do have films about broody hens, be aware that you perhaps need to get yourself one of the older breeds because if you have modern hybrids or commercial battery-type breeds they have had the broodiness bred out of them.
      Hope this helps and all the very best, Holistic Hen aka Pavlovafowl aka Sue

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  5. I have 30 new quail chicks. I am still trying to decide what kind of cage to build - the rabbit hutch or a chicken tractor. One thing that I read is quail can get worms from being on the ground, and then they would have to be "wormed." Have you had any trouble with worms? Also, what type of food do you feed them that would make them "organic." Thanks!

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    1. Hi Nicole, there is no reason why quail shouldn't be on the ground it is their natural environment and I have never had any trouble with worms. To my thinking, there are only two reasons quail would get problems, one because most people keep them in much too small a space and they are living in soil which is full of their own droppings. Thus the advice in many forums etc.,.to keep them in cages so the droppings fall through, which is both bad for their feet and is not a natural nor healthy environment. Secondly, most quail are on a 'complete diet' of pelleted cultivated grain and legumes, which does not furnish them with the optimum nutrients for immune system function. Quail have quite a high requirement for protein as well as a whole raft of micronutrients, which they get best, to my mind, by foraging. I try to provide this by having them in a large area - i.e. greenhouse and some free-range when the hen and/or I, are there to protect them. They also get extra insect and invertebrate protein from our compost heaps and a copious amount of organic green-leafed vegetables, root veg, fruit and weeds. I do feed them some organic triticale (an old wheat x rye with a high protein content) but it is sprouted. Check this blogpost, if you want to know more: http://holistic-hen.blogspot.fr/2013/11/sprouting-grain-and-pulses-for-your.html#.U0ULZqKJFBE As you will see in the post, I buy my grain for sprouting from my local organic dairy farms. Organic pelleted quail food exists but again I would prefer the quail to have a good mixed diet, such 'complete diets', as the former, are also very expensive and in my experience of trying them once on my hens, not a success! You have a slight problem in that you are bringing in I presume day-old chicks and do not have an adoptive mother? You therefore also have a problem with keeping them warm unless your climate allows otherwise. My hen taught her quail chicks a lot but even so it is not a great problem because quail chicks are precocial but they certainly do learn more from the hen and it does depend how well and quickly their instincts kick in. All I am trying to do is give quail a better deal - they love to fly and dust bath and dig about looking for food and there is no happier a sight than quail coming out in the morning with a literal hop, skip and jump. Just give them the biggest space possible, preferably so they can use their wings and the best diet you can obtain - I pay 30 Euros for 100 kilos of certified organic grain, which by sprouting gives it almost double the weight and volume. All the very best, Sue

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  6. Just like the others... I too have been looking for information on raising quail and didn't like what I found.. I even thought I would just stick to my girls (chickens) and add a few more hens. I am so glad I found this video... I have a hen just like yours and thought about trying this but was told not too... I will definitely do it now and I cant wait.... What a fun adventure... my 6 year old son will be so happy and so will I. Thank you again!

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    1. Hi there, You are very welcome! Thank you for your comments and I am so happy you are going to raise quail - the more the merrier, quail deserve so much better at human hands. My quail raising blog/vlog is on-going, so I have already posted quite a few more detailed articles on individual aspects of hatching and raising and I have many more to come. There are in fact, films I have made and posted to my youtube site https://www.youtube.com/user/Pavlovafowl but all these and more will eventually be written up here.

      People get really confused about quail because there is a plethora of 'cut and paste' articles, edited by people who have either never raised quail or only kept them in cages and which just, because these opinions are oft repeated, achieve the status of 'fact'.

      Your son will I'm sure adore raising quail because, one they are so super-cute and tiny and two they respond so well to care and attention and become very tame. On the more educational side, it will also be a great project, quail are intelligent birds and we can learn a great deal from them!

      The main thing and it will save you a lot of potential problems, is to get the best quality hatching eggs you can and if possible, to go and fetch them. In quail, nutritional deficiencies, passed from adult to egg to chick, show up really quickly because of the quail's speedy metabolic rate. Thus the better quality the egg the greater chance of hatching happy and healthy chicks, ready to hop, skip and jump as they never would in an incubator and cage. Quail eggs lose their hatchability quite quickly, so if you have to get them by mail then make sure you are guaranteed a speedy delivery. The optimum is to get organically raised fertile eggs, or if you can not get them, then those from a small producer who has non-caged quail on non-medicated feed. If possible, visit the people you intend to buy the eggs from and/or get recommendations from other customers. You might contact your local Chamber of Agriculture and/or Organic Farmers' Association and find out if there are any organic quail farms in your area.

      If you get a moment watch some of my more recent films, which take you through a complete hatch from choosing a mother hen to hatching, bonding, feeding, foraging and free-ranging, as I say they will be written up here eventually!

      All the very best and please write if you have any queries, or if you need any help
      Sue

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  7. Thank you for your blog. I tried to find some informations about the breeding of quail in french but I just found horrible way to "breed" quail. Fortunately, I can read english! I feel very sad tonight. I will come back to your blog to find more informations. Thank you so much for your holistic-hen blog :)

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    1. Hi aline, Thanks for your kind comments. I speak French so if you need any further information you have the choice of either language! I have more of my 'quail diaries' in film form on my youtube channel, which are not written up here yet but will be as soon as I can sit down and get them on here. So many people have been persuaded that quail can and should be stuffed into small cages with artificial light and a total grain diet, sometimes with added medication. My neighbour told me recently that the life expectancy for domesticated quail in France is 6 months!. All the very best from sunny Normandie, Sue.

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  8. what happens to the quail?
    do they stay or leave the area? hershy747@hotmail.com

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    1. Hi thanks for your question. They will stay with the hen whilst still bonded to her and then afterwards they bond with me, so I can then let them free-range when I am present. I did have a couple of quail escape, whilst I was away on holiday and a neighbour found them up in the meadow 3 months later when he cut his grass for hay. This was in the same place they had free-ranged with me, so it seems they stay in the same territory. Hope this helps and all the best, Sue

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  9. Thank you for this wonderful site! I haven't gotten any actual work done in 30 minutes, reading up again on quail. I am thinking of hatching a dozen quail with my four year old next spring. We live in a suburban area with a small yard. That said, we have two organic gardens (one at home and one at the community garden). My son has been able to tell when to pick a ripe blueberry or cherry tomato since he was 11 months old (totally unnecessary bragging here. I'm just a proud mamma hen. :) ) Anyways.... back to the coturnix. We aren't allowed chickens here. I have checked. but, quail are a different matter. Ive been doing some intense research on backyard quail keeping, and even the experienced writers only refer to the rabbit hutch like enclosure for the backyard enthusiast. I just cannot think that that is what is best for them. I don't have much space at all but I want to build something where they can forage. so I have some questions: 1) these little hatchlings will not have the benefits of a mamma hen to show them how to forage. I assume they will learn any how? 2) Would you still put them out in a run without the mamma hen and if so, at what age? 3) what sort of enclosure do they live in after they reach mature laying age? 4) what do you keep at the bottom of the enclosure. 5) Do you move the enclosure around like a tractor or is it OK to keep it in one spot? 6) what did you remedy about their housing after the predator attack. We may be in a suburban environment, but we still have fox, raccoons, oppossums and of course, rats. thanks so much in advance and again, thank you for the wonderful site.

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    1. Hi shauna and thanks for your great comments! I was thinking maybe it would be best to answer your questions in an article on the blog, as you raise so many interesting points. However, as I have not yet had the chance to get around to this, having so much backlog piling up over the Summer, I'm replying directly to you. Firstly, have you any chance of a social garden, where you could keep chickens or at least a couple of bantams to bring up your quail? It is just, I think quail chicks stand a better chance of success with a mamma. However, do not despair because you can do this on your own but it will mean being very attentive to temperature. It is this more than anything else that is important, as quail chicks will die purely from being too cold or even too hot. For hen chicks I'm usually looking at an outside temperature of 16 deg C around 60 deg F but this is with a mother hen. Quail chicks need it warmer and you need to cut down on any wind chill factor, so maybe take a look at my run in my most recent article, which is entitled 'Late Hatches of Chicks - Coping with Chickens in Cold Weather - Tips and Strategies 1'. You will find a photo of my set up run for quail. I have never kept quail chicks without a mother hen but recommendations for brooder temperatures at around 90 deg F in the first few days seem to be the norm. You would need to read up on this as it is crucial and it takes some time for quail to regulate their body temperature and weeks for them to become fully feathered. Therefore, if you live in area where there are wild quail, plan on brooding them around the same periods, although remembering that for their first few days the wild quail will have the option to be under their mother! Quail are precocial so they should be out foraging pretty quickly when in the wild but your outside temperatures will need to be the same as if they were in a brooder!

      Quail chicks will learn to forage, you can teach them that by offering them the opportunity, for example, at the start this may be to dig up a clump of grass with soil, that they can search through. Then, as I do in my films, give them a bucket of well-rotted compost which will be full of things they can catch and eat. (cont on next reply..)

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    2. (...cont) My idea would be for you to start with adult quail and get the environment conducive to them sitting their own eggs and raising their own chicks. This way you will get a lot less stress!!

      One of the ways to make sure they get a good varied wild diet and an illusion of space, if you haven't got room for a largish run like my greenhouse, which is 3m by 5m, is to have a type of chicken tractor which will fit over your garden beds, the quail will then be doing the weeding and pest control at the same time. This only works though in shrub type borders, as quail will eat a variety of greenery including tough leaves like Summer Squash, which hens won't touch. With a larger space you can keep them in there all the time as long as you are regularly moving the soil, i.e. adding compost and cultivating plants, for example this year I have had my quail amongst my tomatoes, although I had to protect them when small as they will eat the leaves! You will also need an area, which is predator safe for them to breed in, I am doing this with under-wired 'nest boxes' basically false wood piles, with a triangular inner structure where they can nest and which I can shut at night. The rest of my quail that are not sitting get put away in an under-wired house. I have soil as my greenhouse floors and I am chancing it rather as my quail sat eggs this year out in the open greenhouse at night. Ideally with such large predators as you have and who can dig well, you might think of a layer of wire under the whole run and then soil and planting on top. You can always, once your quail are tame put them out in wired- over beds during the day when you are around or even free-range them whilst you are out gardening if you feel comfortable with that.

      Everything is about learning and experience with quail because standard practice is to cage them and keep them inside, which is not my idea of a happy life! Hope this helps and please get back if I can be of further help. Good luck and all the best, Sue

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  10. Do you raise any of the quail for meat? We are thinking about getting some adults to start from and then hatching out babies for multipurpose. I am wanting to use them for eggs and meat. I love thecae of letting them on the ground, (clearly it makes more sense). I also had read about the worming issues but we never had worms with our free roaming chickens, so I think you must have the right idea with diet. DO your lay in the same spot or do you find eggs everywhere? Thank you very much.

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    1. Hi Leigh, Thanks for your comments. Firstly, yes, there is a lot of 'cut and paste' information on quail, there are so few people raising them organically and holistically, that there is no experience out there, they just follow the caged route and tout that as the only one. We have never eaten any of our quail, we tend to end up with mostly females, so I really like to keep them for the eggs. If you want a small meat bird, could I just also suggest pigeons, I have fantails and they are very prolific if you have them free-range, they raise two babies per month, even through the Winter, as long as you provide them with a safe and sheltered dovecote. Unlike other pigeons, fantails were bred thousands of years ago to surround sacred sites and they have retained that behaviour. Thus if you make them a place to nest, which they see as home, they will rarely go further than out-of-sight of it. Just an idea, trouble is like quail they are lovely birds so it could be hard to think of eating them. Re quail and laying, again provide them with the right environment and they will make nests and in my recent experience sit and raise their own chicks. I have a blog post and film showing my set up. If you take the 'Return to contents page' tab (bottom of article) and scroll down to the heading 'quail' you will see what I have written up but here is the first article on nesting http://holistic-hen.blogspot.fr/2015/05/one-of-my-coturnix-quail-has-gone.html#.VkHEyHpVKlN . I also have a load more films on quail than I have articles so if you go to my Pavlovafowl youtube site https://www.youtube.com/user/Pavlovafowl again I have a quail play list. Hope this helps and please do ask if you need more info. All the very best from Normandie, Sue

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  11. Hello - really hope your blog is still active - it's a great site! We have a few Coturnix quail in a large fenced orchard/vineyard in southern Tasmania (Australia) and really need advice on why our females are weakening and dying a few weeks after hatching and raising chicks. We've had two girls go broody, sit on their eggs, hatch their chicks, and when the chicks are only two weeks old the mothers start to be really tired, stop eating, and slowly die. It's very distressing to see, and we hate losing our beloved girls. They are relatively young - only a year old. Can you help?? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Chloe, I have a few ideas. Off the top of my head and having kept both hen chicks and quail chicks, I would say your mothers are perhaps sacrificing their food intake for the babies. Quail chicks in particular are very demanding, they have a higher metabolic rate than chickens and much shorter times between feeding and sleeping. This is why I always stress that if you are raising them with a mother hen you need a very adaptable and speedy hen who is able to keep up, also however one that is able to take care of herself, hence the Ardenner for example. Quail chicks also achieve adulthood very quickly, so again those first few weeks are a lot more demanding in the sense of speed of growth. The only time I have lost a hen with hen chicks was when she was in the moult and although this was in Spring and foraged food was abundant, she put on a complete set of new feathers, raised her chicks to a couple of months and then when they were ready to leave, literally keeled over with a heart attack. So the first thing I would ask is, are your adult quail in moult and/or is there enough food to go round because a mother will, in my experience always give to the chicks first and particularly in those first weeks. With quail chicks being supposedly precocial, at least in the wild, the mother would then be expecting them to start looking for their own food after this time but may not be strong enough to survive that long. One of the most important amino acids for feathering, physical and nervous system growth is methionine, available in abundance from invertebrates. I would therefore be looking at providing easy access to a compost bin or getting an invertebrate 'farm' going to provide an abundance of this, in order to take the onus of the mother to find it. I would also look at adding a daily hard boiled chicken's egg (fed in two halves am and pm) to each brood (including both mother and chicks) and make sure you see the mother eating it. Egg is an excellent all round food and provides almost all of the B complex vitamins so necessary for physical and nervous system health. You could check my films on riboflavin and thiamine deficiency - the riboflavin one is already written up here. If you go back to my blog contents page (direct live link 'Return to Contents Page' at the end of the article above), you will find it under the heading 'Quail'. My thiamine deficiency experience is just at the moment only in film form and on my Pavlovafowl Youtube channel - live link on this blog page - above top right-hand column. Once on my channel, scroll down to the heading 'Quail diaries - Raising Organic Quail - 21 videos' press that and it will bring up the whole playlist, Thiamine deficiency is number 19. Thiamine deficiency can be devastating in quail, the onset is slow and can be missed unlike riboflavin and they actually lose the ability to remember how to eat and just to make things worse, it affects vision too! Another B complex vitamin deficiency I would be looking at would be B9 folate from green leafy vegetables, needed in its own right but also to work in synergy with the 'DNA heavy hitter' B12 cobalamin from the invertebrate protein.

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    2. ...cont The other problem I can think of, is that the quail are not getting off their nests for long enough periods to eat sufficiently whilst sitting the eggs. I watched mine to make sure. Do you think this is a possibility and if so, could there be something causing it such as fear of predators or another bird taking over the eggs. This is of particular interest to me in my present research into quail in a natural quasi-wild environment. If you have read any of my recent posts on quail going broody and sitting, you will see that I postulate the idea that the male may have a role in sitting and/or brooding. Perhaps centuries of quail farming has bred that behaviour out and maybe the initial energy requirement to look after the chicks is too great for a mother who needs the father to be sitting and brooding too. There is so much to learn and a paucity of written research material. I wonder if you have thoughts on this? There is also the problem, again I have observed this in a few hens and had to remedy it, that the hen is so intent on sitting that she becomes obsessed and will hardly ever get off the nest albeit the eggs are not at risk. Thus if this is happening in your case, either by fear of something happening to the eggs or the obsession of a new mother keen to sit, then she will be having demanding chicks hatch when she is at a low ebb due to insufficient diet due to a low volume of food intake.

      Hope I have given you some ideas as to what maybe happening. I am presuming it is only the mother that is affected or are you losing the chicks too? If they are then I can think of another possibility, what about lead arsenate poisoning? This is a problem throughout the World where poultry is kept in old orchards, once lavishly sprayed and for centuries with this cheap home-made coddling moth insecticide. These toxins do not degrade but remains in the top 20cms of the soil just at a level to be dug up by a mother scratching for food for her chicks.

      Again hope this is of help and all the very best in finding a solution and please do ask if you think I can be of any further help,
      Sue

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  12. Thank you so much for your good advice - we fed our second mother-quail as many meal worms as she would eat, plus lots of seeds, and she has recovered well. You were probably right about mothers giving all their food to their chicks - we feel bad that we didn't realise this with the first one. I think they might also just get exhausted as the breeding instinct has been bred out of them. Ours live in a big enclosed orchard and vineyard and wander around all day hunting for insects and having dust baths and living naturally - and they are all breeding! We have now successfully raised two chicks from one hen - our mother-quail who died only hatched one chick - and it raced around like a mad thing and my mother accidentally trod on it. It was a week old. It was tragic for everyone - we wondered if the mother-quail died of grief...but we are pretty sure she was just exhausted and too tired to eat properly after sitting for nearly three weeks...
    The stuff about toxins is interesting as we know the fellow who owned the orchard and vines before us sprayed the weeds a lot, but we think the other quails would be affected if this was the case.
    We now have the two chicks reaching full maturity - one is a very handsome male but we hope the other is female...we have two chicks who were reared by my grandmother's bantams also thriving - the oldest one of these has gone broody (she's only about 8 weeks old!) and is sitting on 13 eggs!!! We are trying to feed her as much as possible because she is extremely dedicated and rarely gets off the nest...
    With our other broody girls we locked our male away because he kept driving them off the nest, but with this one we have kept him out - there are other quails around to keep him distracted and maybe he'll help protect her chicks if and when they hatch.
    Thanks for your wonderful blog and please post more pictures of your quails!
    I am 16, and my dad is French - he comes from a small town near Nyons, in the south. My mum is Australian and we live in Tasmania. We have only had our quail for 10 months but we love them and love learning about them.

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    1. Hi Chloe, I am so happy to have been of help. Unfortunately you can't find out about these things until they happen. As we enable our poultry to behave in a more instinctive manner by providing them with a natural environment these things will and do come up. It's as if their instincts come back to them but not all at once, they seem to 'remember' certain things but not all. The nurturing of young seems really the strongest thing to emerge, which I guess is normal. I have hens, who will look after chicks for six months, in fact one hen would meet her 'chicks' over a year later in the garden and still be offering them food. There is a symbolic wood carving we have here in Europe and maybe it is over the world, it is used as an allegory of Charity in many churches but is in fact a much earlier legend, which religion later adopted. It shows the mother pelican feeding her starving chicks with her own blood, it represents a time of famine and in some versions of the legend the mother's life is forfeit because she weakens herself in so doing. I'm guessing it was taken from Nature, something someone saw and used. Our problem is no one is doing this sort of research, as I wrote, I'm still trying to find out about if the male coturnix quail should be helping to sit eggs and rear chicks Certainly there has been research done on some aspects because there are two university studies to my knowledge but nothing conclusive. However, encouraging the male quail to remember his potential role in looking after the chicks would go some way to solving the problem of overworked mother quail! You are doing a great job and I do hope you are keeping notes and writing this up and/or filming it. I am particularly interested in your set up, you say it is an enclosed orchard and vineyard, do you have it netted over with game netting or are you predator free? My problem now is neighbours' cats and birds of prey, so my free-ranging quail all have to be supervised when out and about. This is why I am creating quasi-wild areas but within a large greenhouse so they are particularly safe at night when they are nesting. My main trouble in the past has also been rats, luckily this was no longer an issue when my neighbour stopped fattening up meat birds with unlimited grain. 30 rats were seen on her lawn during the day, which usually means there is a big colony. Once she had grown her fowl and sent them off, the rats, being highly intelligent, spread out to look for food elsewhere and I lost 12 quail in one season.
      I do not know Nyons but we have been to the Drôme several times, it is a very beautiful region. We visited Die which is not far from Nyons on our way to Pisa some years ago, they make a superb sparkling wine which we have every year at Christmas to celebrate and also remember a great holiday. If you haven't already, I hope you get to visit your Dad's native land.

      Really good luck with your quail and I repeat you are doing an amazing job. There are so few people who bother even to find out about non-caged raising of them. I get so saddened by seeing endless videos and articles on them stuck in wire mesh boxes. Let me know how you get on and if you can, do get something up on the internet to show and inspire others as to what can be achieved! All the very best, Sue

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    2. Thanks again for answering! Our orchard is fully netted with bird netting with extra chicken wire down the bottom because we had an awful time with rats chewing holes and eating our eggs and the small quails... We also had one quail killed by a sparrow hawk through the net, and our neighbours cats constantly prowl around but they haven't got in so far!
      the latest update is that two of our girls seem to have the "curled foot" issue that you talked about your chicks getting in one of your videos, one of our girls is very old and doesn't forage much, and the other is on her nest and only eats what we feed her. They've both been limping badly,and they're not getting enough nutrients. We have been feeding them extra mealworms and vitamins in their drinking water and they've been recovering quite fast (we have only been doing this for a few days). Thank you for your videos, have you heard of adult birds getting this deficiency?
      Thanks again, Chloe

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    3. Hi Chloe, You are welcome.

      Predators are terrible with quail and rats are some of the worst, they are so quick, clever and resourceful. Yes I've had the sparrow hawk problem too but mostly with my fantail pigeons. The thing I found with birds of prey is, they really like an easy life. I once knocked a sparrow hawk off the roof by throwing an apple at it, it was so annoyed it never came back!

      Yes that's a classic riboflavin deficiency and foods rich in B2 will start to remedy the condition within hours and a complete cure will only take 24 to 48 hours. I also mention selenium in the article and film and I've always found this is very important too. That is the amazing thing about quail because of their fast basal metabolism they show so well how getting the right diet is key. Yes I've had deficiencies occur in adult quail, particularly when I've purchased them. They've come from a caged environment and hardly moved all day and then they get here and can run around and fly. So they can quickly use up their store of nutrients as they may not always be quick enough to adapt to catching invertebrates and foraging. I noticed with the ones I bought a couple of years back, the first thing they did was consume a great deal of earth, so I'm guessing they were short of minerals as well and perhaps small stones for their gizzards, which would impact on their ability to digest their food. In a similar way your nesting quail and older quail can get nutrient deficient by not eating as well as they have been in the past. Helping them along is a great idea. I learned so much about B complex vitamins from quail and the severe health problems caused just by deficiency of tiny amounts of these crucial compounds. Quail also get stressed badly when they don't eat properly and the stress causes further deficiency so it is a vicious circle but knowing that, you can also remedy it easily. When we go away on holiday my adult quail can get stressed because they don't get the same choices of food and obviously they know the people who feed and put them away are different. When I come back I often see the emerging signs of nervousness and stress build-up so, the first thing I do is get them a good feed of invertebrates from the compost heap. Usually within a couple of days they are back to their old selves.

      Thanks for your comments about my videos, I really appreciate them. We love making films but that people enjoy them and/or tell us they find them useful, is the icing on the cake. Thanks for the information on the netting to, I really will have to look into that as I am expanding my quail area and would like them to be able to wander about in safety even when I'm not in the garden. All the very best, Sue

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  13. I have been interested in raising japanese quail for awhile but had been told and had come to believe that they could not be raised in the exact manor that you are raising them.

    I'm thankful for your YouTube videos they have been extremely helpful. I plan on doing more research but you have definitely opened up a new avenue that I thought was closed.
    Thank you, Ebony

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    1. Hi there and thanks for your kind comments. I think the problem is that there are many articles on quail that are just cut and paste, I see the same phrases repeated over and over again and I do wonder how many people who write these article actually keep or have ever kept them. The sad thing is that they perpetuate a myth by which quail are kept in cramped conditions on poor diets because of the illusion that is the only way to keep them. Happily from the comments I get here and on my YouTube Channel more and more people are sharing how they keep their quail in as near natural as possible conditions. The comments from Chloe in Tasmania, above yours, is a really good example of this. Your main problem is always going to be predators because quail are probably delicious and although they can fly, they do often just flatten themselves down to the earth when threatened, so are easy to trap. This is the nexus of the problem with quail, so it's easy to shut them up in a cage off the ground and forget about their quality of life. Quail are real sybarites they love life and show it each morning with a skip and a jump, it is a sight worth making the effort for! Hope this helps and if I were you I would just get some quail and get started with them and also, most importantly, share your results with others. There are a couple of academic papers on JSTOR, where quail were kept in a natural environment and began to raise their own chicks. Also some time ago, I received a comment telling me Texas A&M were involved in a similar project. All the very best, Sue

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  14. Hello Sue,
    This is Chloe again - I just wanted to let you know that my family have set up a new blog describing some of our experiences with our quails - you have inspired us! We are new to blogging so it doesn't have a lot at the moment but we thought it might be a good way to keep track of all the things that happen when you have quail! Our latest news is that one of our girls went broody, sat and hatched eight chicks from eight eggs (a record for us!) and is now busily raising her babies with the help of her daughter from an earlier hatching. The two are literally co-parenting - they both keep the chicks warm at night (four under each) and feed them during the day. This is despite the younger girl never having mated, or laid eggs. It's incredible to see.
    Thanks again, Chloe
    tassiequails.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Hi Chloe, I love your blog! The story of the two mothers is amazing. It has really got me thinking again about the best set-up for quail and how far the male quail has been manipulated by breeding and/or environment. I have a real problem today in that overnight my male has attacked one on my females and her head is a mess. This happened in their house in the dark. It has never occurred before but I am sure this is due to the way the quail has been raised. I bought him last year and has has been fine up until now. I remember you said that even with your environment the males were still a problem because I was thinking that it could be due to the confined space in the house overnight? However, they need this to keep warm enough over the colder months but I think it is probably just the Spring. So much to observe and learn and I am so happy that you are sharing your experiences, so useful! Keep on with the great work and if it doesn't spoil your layout I would appreciate a 'followers' button because for some reason I can not subscribe through the 'atom'. Otherwise, no problem I will just keep checking back for new articles. Thanks also for the back-link to my blog am doing the same on mine, much appreciated. All the very best, Sue

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  15. The alternative is to use an artificial incubator to hatch the eggs, which attempt to replicate the environmental conditions that the egg would be subject to under a hen by controlling the temperature and relative humidity within. They come in various types: still air or forced air, where the latter uses fans to circulate the air within the incubator, and automatic or manual.

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    1. ..but then you have to ask yourself, where would I rather be born, in a plastic box with a heat lamp or in a nice soft nest of hay with a warm and loving Mummy? All the best, Pavlovafowl aka Sue

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  16. Hire eating quail eggs for allergies. Do you boil or cook them or have to eat them raw?

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    1. Hi Sue, We actually soft boiled them but if you are producing them yourself or know the source, then you can eat them raw from the shell or raw in a mayonnaise for example. I wrote a blog post on the whole history, medicinal and practical use of quail eggs. It is here: http://holistic-hen.blogspot.fr/2016/01/organically-raised-quail-therapeutic.html#.VyNMQp6li1E Hope this helps but do get back if you need more information. All the very best, Sue

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  17. Wow, the hens and the chicks are both cute! I want to raise up some of them, hmm, thanks for your sharing.

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    1. Hi there, Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it and you are welcome. They are wonderful birds to raise and I do hope you will get some soon. All the very best from rainy Normandie, Sue

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  18. Wow, hatching and raising chicks is really interesting, I think so. And your chicks, they look really lovely. I haven't hatched or raised chicks before, but now I'm taking it into consideration. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Hi Carrie, Thanks for your comment, much appreciated. The only problem with hatching chicks is that it is addictive! The whole process is so fascinating to watch and each hatch, mother and chick is always so different that you can't help wanting to experience it again. I really hope you do get some chicks soon and when you do please write about/film the experience because the more people who raise chicks naturally and organically the more it shows how it can be done and the better life will be for domestic chickens. All the very best and Good Luck, Sue

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  19. Your garden looks great and thanks for all the information.
    My quail pen is sort of similar to the one you are showing on this page, had to quickly put it together when i got some quail. Unfortunately it doesn't look as lush underneath it as yours. My quail seem to be quite effective in killing off anything green in there I have 5 on 1.5x1.5 meter. My quail seem happy, especially the one rooster who seems to divide his time by eating and jumping the 4 hens.
    Sadly this is quite visible by the feather loss on their heads. Maybe I have to separate him for a while (in the same cage though).
    Trying my first incunbation as my hens (japanese quail) dont seem to have a great mother instinct yet (less than a year old)

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    1. Hi ed, you are very welcome and thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. Quail eat a lot of vegetation and they also eat roots, I actually use them for weeding and I have to keep adding greenery all the time. I also have another greenhouse where I can move them to, so it gives time for the one area to regenerate. I am also experimenting with growing meadow grasses in wooden seed trays so I can let them graze so far and then give the grass time to grow back.

      Sadly when quail were first taken out of the wild it was not to provide eggs but it was the males and they were used in cockfighting, so they would obviously pick the most belligerent. I think therefore, that a lot of male quail still retain that fostered aggressive streak. However, many people I have corresponded with have found, like I did, that quail will actually pair off and form monogamous relationships and then the male becomes much calmer. He will then actively engage in the nesting process and guard the nest. I think also it was part of my quail's learning process to be raised by a mother hen, as I am absolutely certain the hen helped to bring out their natural sitting and brooding instincts. Give them time they are still young and naturally bred quail mature much more slowly than those in cages. Is your male calling yet because it is the call that starts the females nesting. I would also up their invertebrate protein, as again that is a signal there is plenty of quality protein about and it could be a good time to raise chicks! Hope this helps!

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    2. tnx. Currently he keeps jumping all 4 hens and yes he is calling. I see some initial signs of brooding but after a while the hens give up. So till then I just try an incubator. Will add a seperate detacheble containment to my cage, to lure them in so it is easier for me to move the cage to another plantbed.
      tnx for yr reply

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    3. You just need to give them time. If you look at my latest post, you will see that in my monogamous pair, the female did not go broody, it was actually a single female who did this. So things can change and very quickly but the environment is everything. You will also see that I added three chicks from a friend's incubator and they have bonded incredibly well to the mother quail and she loves them and is becoming more 'wild' aka natural everyday. All the best, Sue

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  20. Just one more remark.. I got the quails for eggs and eventually for meat, but they are such lovely birds that I will probably not end up killing them. I know, cows and lambs are lovely too. Well with only 5 ofcourse I am a long way from eating them but I think I changed my focus to the eggs. That should be enough for my protein intake.

    I will consider your fantail suggestion, but probably face the same 'issue' there. Well we'll see. Maybe guinea pigs is a good meat source :-)
    Main reason: i want to know where my meat comes from and what it has eaten

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    1. .. no I really don't figure on eating them, I get too attached to them and they've all got names and that is a real no no for eating something! Naturally and organically raised quail eggs are high quality and therapeutic proteins so I would think you would have a good item of barter there if you wanted to swap with another organic breeder for say meat birds you hadn't raised. The other thing of course is to raise fish but my guess is that raising anything carefully and with a lot of love makes it pretty difficult to then imagine it on a plate. My sister has just started with rabbits and her kids are already saying that no way will they ever eat them. This is why I buy any meat we eat from our local organic butcher and he has a mission statement on the shop door and I even know the farmers who he buys from, most of the meat is local, except for the luxury items like Parma Ham, I buy the 'heel' that no one wants for a knock-down price and use it in so many recipes.

      Guinea pigs are too cute and furry but I have read they are very good eating!! All the very best and hope all goes well and I think local organic barter is your best option, that way you won't have personally known your dinner! Sue

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    2. Although originally planned, I dont think i will end up eating any. As a matter of fact I raise fish as well for that purpose... and still havent eaten any. It is not out of hypocrisie, as I understand animals are killed for food, but it is as you say indeed a bit harder when you know them personally.
      I remember a TV item around cook Gordon Ramsay, who at one time got some pigs he wanted to raise for food and told his kids specifically not to give them names as they were intended to eat. Turns out he was the one giving them names. Wether that saved them from being eaten i dont know :-)

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    3. My neighbour did exactly the same with his lambs, you can not give a creature a name and then expect to feel good about eating it. I remember my sister going to an organic farmers' event and the meat producers were all complaining because when they did farm open days, people didn't end up buying the meat, although the eggs and dairy did really well. You can not expect people to go around and organic farm and stroke the animals and then go back to the farm shop for a kilo of sausage! We can all get plenty of protein from eggs, so do swaps for an anonymous chop or roasting chicken! All the very best and good luck with your quail! Sue

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  21. I just wanted to add my own appreciation for your blog and your bravery reminding folks of humane, responsible quail raising. I am embarking on my own quail adventure, as an alternative to our previous backyard chickens, for the noise factor and the torn-up-yard factor. This spring, I built five 5'X5' raised beds specifically for quail use. Three are currently loaded with vegetable plants, while the other two have served as compost areas for yard-clippings and kitchen wastes. I'm constructing a moveable enclosure that locks down on theses beds, and a nestbox on a wagon, to be moved to whichever bed has the enclosure.

    I have two concerns:

    1. I have read in multiple places that quail "lay as they may", and I am worried a bit about collecting eggs from under plants or other difficult to reach places. Has this claim borne out in your experience?

    2. Because these raised beds are still only 8" off the ground, I am concerned about how the quail may respond to our family dog. I think with some patient training, he will not bother them or the enclosure (our chickens free-ranged, and we were able to teach him to have no interest in them). But these are a much smaller bird, closer to what dogs have been bred to go after (he is a shelter-rescued terrier). But I am more concerned about whether the quail would ever get used to his presence. Would you advise some sort of visual screen another 12" or so up the sides of the enclosure? Or do you not really see this as an issue?

    Thank you very much.

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    1. Hi Jeremy, Thank you so much for your kind comments they are very much appreciated.

      Firstly, the more natural you make the quail environment and the more invertebrate protein you can get into them, the more likely they will become more natural in their behaviours, including creating dedicated nesting sites. In my experience food and environment are so important for quail, as indeed they are for all living creatures but with their high basal metabolism, quail seem to me to be the epitome of what nutrition and style of living can achieve. Therefore, I am suggesting that when you put your quail in their planted environment, they will start to nest in a chosen dedicated area. You will however need a male quail to achieve this, as although there are few academic studies on this subject, the ones I have read confirm my observations that it is the male's song that encourages the female to begin nesting. In my experience he also guards the nest site - so that will be a good indication too! My quail often choose to nest in the enclosed box they sleep in at night and you could also make a dedicated area within the run, a clump of grasses for example, which would look inviting as a potential nesting site.

      Re your dog:- only you will know the answer to this. I do have a little experience with terriers and they are hunters but not in the sense of hunting/pointers/gun dogs, which can be trained to resist their natural urges. In fact, here in France these dogs, albeit illegally, are trained to leave quail alone by using live quail, weighed down so they can not fly when left in an open field! Again quail like dogs are individuals and again good food acts on the nervous system, my new quail chicks when they were left by their mother after 3 to 4 weeks went down to the bottom greenhouse which was near to the road and made no sign of worrying about the occasional tourist traffic noises. So your quail may take no notice of the dog or they may be 'freaked out'. Certainly the more methionine and B complex vitamins you can get into them (I'm presuming you may not be able to find and purchase organic quail and even so they may have been on a grain-based diet) the better they can handle the temporary stress of a new factor in their environment. It would really be the dog I would be worried about. Just off the top of my head, a rescue dog may have had a difficult emotional life and any new creature which claims your attention and to which you show affection, may be a cause for anxiety to the dog and thus a trigger for conflict. I do have experience of this, in that many years ago I sold three birds (chickens and a rooster) to a friend, who told me a fox was taking them until she caught her Collie with the final one. She doted on the hens and her dog had become intensely jealous. To contradict this, however, you have already trained your dog with your hens, so again only you will be able to judge. I just think 'holistic' every time and usually by taking everything into account, particularly personalities, I can find solutions. Try experimenting in a controlled environment where you can intervene quickly if anything goes wrong and then try again, observation is everything and birds change, as do dogs. So yes I see it as an issue but an issue that depends on many factors which may be overcome and/or the situation itself may change.

      Hope this is of use and I am so happy you are embarking on this adventure. Please do film it or write about it and share it with others. Everything that helps quail get a better deal from humans is for the greater good and the joy you will get back in seeing happy, healthy quail (even without therapeutic grade eggs!) is immeasurable. All the very best, Sue

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  22. Hi, how are you? i am wanting to get Japanese quails (cornex quails) that will brood and sit on their eggs. if i get very young ones and raise them would they go brood? i live in a small unit and my backyard space isn't that big for chickens but great for quails. i had cornex quails before and they didn't go brood. will it make a difference if i get 3 females from one place and the male from another just so they aren't same blood? toking forward to your response.

    Regards: Hamied

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    1. Hi Hamied, Sorry to be so late in replying I was actually about to make a film showing the stages of one of my quail going broody, so put off answering until I had made it and could refer you to it. Unfortunately once I had made the film I forgot to do this!! For me everything with quail, including broodiness, depends on a good and as near wild as possible, environment, so a planted area with plenty of inviting nest sites and good food. The food needs to be as near as possible to a wild quail diet, or at least part of it needs to have wild protein (for l-methionine and almost all of the B complex vitamins and green leafy vegetables for Vitamin B9). I find quail without these nutrients in their diet tend to be much more stressed and therefore they are much less likely to go broody and the males are much more aggressive and do not form pairs. You are totally correct in getting your male and female from a different breeder, they say here in France you need to purchase birds from 100 kilometres apart otherwise everyone has the same bloodlines! This is quite a task, so what I usually do, if I have to buy a quail, is get completely different colours, so I assured of no direct blood link. I also try to pair ones which have mixed bloodlines such as Tuxedo or Range with Golden. Also I don't know if you are aware but there is a lethal gene which can occur with the yellow colour 'Y' which creates the colour of the Golden quail and apparently can lead to low hatchability. As with all genetic problems though it is essentially very complicated and there is a great deal of controversy. However, as Golden quail are so very pretty many people breed Golden male and Golden female quail together and quite successfully but it is best to know if you have that problem in the area where you live. I know this lethal gene is a problem in France, where the golden gene pool is very small. The film is here, I just added it to the written article I wrote on quail back in July and if you haven't read it, you might find it useful for some ideas on broodiness and quail. The film is at the end of the article: https://holistic-hen.blogspot.fr/2016/07/tips-and-strategies-for-hatching-and.html#.WFaQoGdVK1E All the very best and good luck! Sue

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