Tuesday, 14 December 2010


If anyone ever tells you quail are lovely, simple to care for little gamebirds, remind them of how silly these feathered friends can be.

Having spent many weeks deliberating over the best way to keep mine - penned in a shed or space to run around outdoors - we eventually settled for building them an outdoor pen with a large sheltered platform. Quail are originally migratory birds, so they should not like the cold and they certainly shouldn't like the dampness followed by sub-zero temperatures. However...
My lovely little home-hatched, Japanese Coturnix Quail defy everything I've just said, so ignore it all. They don't hate the cold. Mine are hardy, Scottish quail. MacQuails, even!

Last night, it being such a clear, starry night, I wrapped up and went outdoors late to watch the Gemenids - meteors - that were flashing overhead. It was about 10.30pm, it was -5C and the sky was amazing, so I guess that must have been why all the quail were out runing about their pen! I could hear them chirping and gurgling that throaty noise they make when chasing one another. They were out playing in the freezing moonlight!

This morning, I peered anxiously into the run half expecting to see stiff little feathered bundles frozen to the ground but oh no, that wasn't what my quail were doing, they were dust bathing in their shavings inside the shelter and there were eggs lying OUTSIDE, FROZEN TO THE GROUND! Lifting them out, I could clearly see that the eggs were frozen solid, they had expanded and had split their shells from end to end. No wonder the Frugaldom cat likes meal time... I'd to thaw the eggs in her porridge so she didn't miss her fresh quail egg breakfast.

How does the saying go? Toffs are careless? Frugal living does have some luxurious side effects besides helping you remain debt free.

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  1. Not quite quail eggs but our dog gets any eggs from our chickens which get cracked. I swear she runs into me on purpose so they knock together and if I put them down the bench while I take my wellies off, she "accidentally" nudges that so they roll off... Tsk!

  2. Louisa, frugalcat is just as bad. I've lost two duck eggs this week, already, because I stupidly sat them on the door step while I broke the ice on the ducks' bath. Cat was there in an instant and swiped them down the steps. I also have the problem with the hens trying to steal the quails' eggs! They just grab them and leg it round the garden first opportunity they get... can't help but laugh, though. :)


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