Just ordered six Cotswold Legbar eggs and six Arucanas. Both of these breeds lay different colour eggs. One blue, one pastel shades, turquoise, peach, pink and olive! Should add some colour to the egg run.
The quail start turning two weeks old tomorrow. I am astonished just how quickly they grow and feather. They have doubled in size have all their wing feathers in and some are up to 80% feathered already.
Whilst I knew they had three weeks brooding, instead of six. Reach POL and table weight at 6-8 weeks, I am really surprised at how fast they change (everytime I top up their water).
for the pastry:
175g white spelt flour
75g cheddar cheese grated
1 large egg
For the filling:
200g smoked salmon chopped
100g prawns chopped
1 tbsp capers chopped
150ml sour cream
1tsp dried dill
Heat oven to 220 degrees C
Put flour with a pinch of salt in a food processor, add butter and pulse until butter is rubbed in. Add 50g of the chees, and crack the egg into the bowl, turn the mixer on and process until you get a pastry. Wrap pastry and rest in fridge for ten minutes.
In a bowl mix the salmon, prawns, capers, dill and soured cream together with a little black pepper.
Roll out the pastry until it is about 2-3mm thick. Cut 8cm circles out of the pastry, roll up the ends and repeat 9you should get about 25 circles).
Take a pastry circle, using a little water moisten the edges. Place one teaspoon of mixture in the base and then press the edges together firmly. Place on a baking sheet.
Repeat until all the pastry discs are full. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for ten minutes.
Brush each pastry with a little milk, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over teh pastries. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden. Serve with salad, sour cream and chive dip, or take on a picnic.
Started with 71 eggs.
34 hatched (four with assistance)
1 chick died after hatching
6 culled (two splay, four with non functioning feet and legs – assisted hatch)
3 bad eggs
4 dead in shell
29 eggs still in incubator when it was switched off. With chickens i would crack and check all of these eggs. I am not going to with the quail just because there are so many of them.
Warning some of the following photos are of the chicks that didn’t quite make it. Judging by the assisted hatchings my guess is that these also had problems.
I don’t usually assist with a hatch as it is a very risky business and you can do a lot more harm than good. Also if a chick can’t get itself out of its egg then the chances of it being a healthy thriving bird are very low indeed.
Two of the quail chicks have splay legs. One is really bad with legs almost at right angles, the other is bad but not quite as bad, though the second chick also has a hole in his abdomen where his yoke sac is protruding. Which does not bode well.
With chicken chicks you brace the splay legged chicks with vet wrap and with a few sessions of helping them get back on their feet and find their balance, working to build up their leg muscles they are usually okay. I have now discovered this does not work for quail. Both chicks where braced, both chicks went down hill fairly quickly after bracing and both had to be culled.
leaving them with splay leg isn’t really an option as it gets worse the longer they are left. In future I now know the kindest (though hardest) thing to do will be to cull straight away.
Spent a bit of time in a flap today. Whilst collecting eggs from the nest box, I noticed blood on one egg, and blood on one side of the nest box, along with a cracked egg shell.
Initially I thought something quite nasty was going on with one of the birds. Though watching them in the run they all looked perky. Then I spotted blood on Hermione’s beak, and that Harry had blood all over her comb.
Hermione and Harry are from our first hatch, and will be three this year. Harry has a tendency to go broody when it warms up, which means she hogs the nest box, gets twitchy and irritating. Hermione doesn’t stand for that kind of behavior. And gets cross about the nest box. We will have to keep an eye on her and try and discourage her broody tendencies.
There seems to be some debate about this on the internet. I have read posts where people claimed to feed their quail chicken food, cat food, budgie food, millet, Game bird starter, and quail food.
The chap i bought my hatching eggs from says turkey starter which is higher in protein than chicken feed, is ideal for quail especially if you want them to grow well. However the layers pellets i buy for my hens is 16% and the only turkey starter i could find didn’t say. I rang another chap with an extensive quail information website, who makes and sells his own quail food though he had never heard of quail needing more protein than hens and that his quail food had 13% protein.
I found several manufactures that sold a game bird starter (between 25%-28%) but none that did mail order or had stockists closer than a five hour drive, the only one i could get was medicated which is not something i want in a feed.
Eventually i found a feed manufacturer who not only makes quail starter crumbs, but a quail layer pellet as well. Only problem with the starter is that it is only available by the tonne. Which might be a bit much for a backyard flock keeper. Eventually i found an online supplier of the quail layers pellets, so i have a back of that, a giant tub of mealworms (to up the protein a little) and some chicken treats (they sell all kinds of different chicken feeds too).
Now to decided what to hatch next. More quail or more chickens.
Friday I had a quail incubation panic. When do I top up the tanks and turn the turner off? There seems to be some disagreement, depending on the type of quail as to when they should hatch. I decided to go with day 14.
While making the changes to the incubator I noticed that two of the eggs had pipped. Saturday we had one chick, Sunday we woke up to loads, mostly brown and stripy, a couple of golden.
13 were removed last night to the brooder.
This morning we awoke to a load more, though one of the golden chicks didn’t make it through the night. I have just moved another 15 to the brooder, leaving two goldens in the incubator to dry off. I pulled out an weeping bad egg, and one where the chick had died after popping its beak forever poking through the shell. There are still eggs pipping, and hatching.
Count so far 71 eggs, 1 infertile, 1 dead in shell, 1 dead, 29 quail chicks.
100g of pudding rice
1 litre of Kara Chocolate coconut milk
50g Golden caster sugar
Knob of butter
2tblsp cream (optional)
Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C
Put the rice in an oven proof dish, add butter, sugar, cream, milk and vanilla extract.
Put dish in oven. Take out every half hour or so and stir, until most of the milk has been absorbed. This takes two and a half to three hours.
Remove from oven and serve. Quantities stated makes enough for five, with enough left over to have cold the next day, which is also rather tasty.