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GaryD

Gary's Quail System

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Hi,

It's been quite a few months since we gave away our last batch of quail breeders.

We'd decided that, with all of the moving around that was going to be involved in the development of Creek Street Micro Farm, we'd be better off without them for a while.

The good news is that we've just obtained eight new breeders from APHQ member Julie.

We'll probably boost that number to 15 - 12 in the coming weeks.

We've housed them in the Quail Hilton but we plan to develop a more comprehensive quail production unit in the coming weeks.

It's good to have them around again. Life without quail is not quite the same.

Gary

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Hi Gary,

Have you had any progress on your new and improved Quail Palace? - had to think of something better than the Hilton. :)

I'd be keen to see your plans, and how you go about making the palace.

Ken

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Hi,

A few days ago, we were asked if we'd like to have 80 Japanese quail........free. The young lady who owned them was moving from acreage into a city place and she needed to get rid of them.

Early this morning, we drove the hour or so to her place and picked them up.

As it turns out, she got them from a man who had sourced them from all over Australia.....to avoid having inbred birds (a common problem with quail).....so they went from an opportunity to get some cheap meat to a rather more valuable opportunity.......outcrossed breeding stock.

We selected out about 40 breeders and culled the remaining 63 (there turned out to be over 100). It took us about two hours to process the culls.

We had to do a quick mod to the Quail Hilton and gave it a bit of a tidy up. The arrivals are settling in quickly and are busily burying themselves in the fresh woodshavings that we put in their pen.

Gary

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Hi Mark,

This opportunity just reinforces the need to get our quail thing happening again.

Once things settle down, I'd be happy to send you some fertile eggs. It's the best (and safest) way to get new blood into your flock.

I haven't weighed them yet, Mark.

I'd really like to do some selection for bodyweight.

Several years ago, we sourced some birds from Toowoomba that the owner described as Jumbo quail.....and he wasn't kidding. They were at least 50% bigger than any other quail that I'd seen.

Regrettably, we didn't keep the birds and when I went looking for more, he was gone, too.

Dia.....nothing terribly scientific about it. We just selected the biggest and brightest-looking birds to keep.

Gary

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Hi,

When we picked these birds up, we noticed that they were being kept in pens which had welded mesh floors and were raised off the ground.......high enough that droppings could easily be removed with a rake.

In recent years, I've persuaded myself that litter floods (using shredded paper or wood shavings) were best.

These birds were active, clean, well-ventilated and didn't seem the least bit unhappy with their pen.

The bird's owner had placed clumps of grass (roots and all) around the pens which softened the harshness of mesh pens.....and so that the quail could escape from their more aggressive mates.

I find that cleaning pens is arguably the worst job associated with raising quail so seeing these pens re-ignited my interest in mesh floors.

Gary

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Hey Gary,

Having the same dilema. Due to my work schedule and my inherent tendency to chronic laziness, cleaning pens and collecting eggs are a MAJOR problem for me (not to mention the wife.....)

I am working on a design for a build this weekend that incorporates a wire top, front and floor, with a slope, but for comfort I will include a dust box as well.

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Hi,

We took delivery of 50 day-old Japanese quail today.

I'd been hunting around for some breeders when I happened across someone who said she'd set some eggs for me and sell the quail as day-olds. They hatched a couple of days ago.

They are now resting quietly in their new brooder pen.

Life without quail is not quite what it could be.

Gary

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Thanks Pugo,

The new arrivals seem to have weathered the night well enough in their new abode.

They are like ants.....scurrying about at high speed.

If the quail house appears faintly familiar, it should - it's an extension of my ongoing fascination with mega bins.

For me, mega bins are the quintessential farm-in-a-box. I've developed a long list of backyard farming uses to which they can be put.

Gary

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Hi,

A week later and the quail have almost trebled in size and are growing feathers. They spend all day eating, drinking and pooping......and practising their flying skills.

The recent hot weather has meant that we only provide supplementary heat to the quail overnight.

Gary

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Hi,

Our quail are now in their third week.....and are growing like weeds. No casualties thus far.

The mega bin is proving to be a great place to grow them out......and happily contains 50 birds (so far).

Gary

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Hi,

I've begun to introduce the quail to BSF larvae.

Yesterday's high temperatures caused a lot of juvenile larvae to "walk off" prematurely......so many of them are just the perfect size for small birds to eat......and that's what they did.

Gary

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Hi,

My quail are now 31 days old.

They've been on BSF larvae for the past week.....which they've taken too without issue......and I've just emptied the first 20kg bag of organic poultry food.

They are busily growing new feathers......and practising their flying skills - the exercise of which are limited to their mega bin home.

They've coped very well with the hot weather that we've had here during the past few weeks.

Photos later.

Gary

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Hi,

After mulching some bamboo trimmings and mango leaves, I decided to try them as deep litter in our quail mega bin pen.

I tipped a coupled of bucketsful of the mulch into the pen.....and spread it about. I just added it to the existing litter. I plan to allow for it to build up, over time, to the point where the bin can't accommodate any more mulch and quail/chicken poop.....at which point, I'll harvest about 600 litres of high grade compost.

There's some fine tuning to be done. I might spray it with water between batches of quail or chickens.....to get the bacterial action happening.

Within seconds, the quail decided it was a toy and the fun began. I returned to the shed about twenty minutes later to find most of the quail buried deep in the mulch. They were have a good time burrowing around in it.

No more wood shavings to be bought.....and another step closer to sustainable quail production.

Gary

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Please excuse my complete lack of knowledge as to raising these guys. Since they are burrowing into the mulch, it must be somewhat thick. Are there any concerns in regards to pests growing in the same bedding when multiple batches are using it?

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Hi Scott,

The mulch is currently about three inches deep......and it will end up a couple of feet thick.

It's possible, but most external parasites that affect quail or chickens need a live host.....so, if there's a break between batches, that's most of the fleas and mites taken account of.

Anything that walks or crawls is likely to become food.

We keep a close watch on the birds and, if anything appears to be biting them, we'd be onto it pretty quickly.

Part of the proposed management process involves ensuring that the manure is turned into the litter.....and that it is always dry (but not dusty), friable and sweet-smelling.

Gary

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Hi,

Our BioPod has been really firing the past few days and I found myself with half a collection chamber full of larvae (about litre or 2 pints+).

Feeling a little experimental, I just tipped them out on the flood of the quail pen. I think that, once the quail have tired of them, the rest will be allowed to escape into the mulch......where the quail will dig for them....or where they'll hatch into flies. They are quite groggy when they first hatch out, so the quail will almost certainly harvest them at that point.

Gary

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