Thursday, 4 August 2011

Quail hatch in progress - STOP watching, GO and pick dinner!

Japanese Coturnix Quail Chicks in Assorted Colours.

Yes, this really is the second blog post of the day, but I need to keep certain people up to date with the hatching progress.

First of all, I find it very difficult not to sit watching proceedings but the eggs were left in the incubator this time, as opposed to being transferred into the hatching box, which has a viewing window. This means I've been unable to peer in, so had to keep myself otherwise amused for most of the afternoon.

Bread has been baked, freezer has been repacked to fit in today's order and numerous cups of tea have been enjoyed on the patio.

Some weeding got done, the duck pond got topped up, more eggs were collected (and sold to neighbours) and then it got really hot outside, so more sitting about on the patio. By that time, I could make out at least 7 chicks bumbling around inside the incubator, but I daren't open the lid at that stage as the sudden drop in temperature and humidity can affect the rest of the hatch.

Outside, I cleared and swept a small space under the kitchen window, repotted some plants, planted the first of the strawberry runners into individual pots, sowed another row of peas (can but try) and then potted up all my herb cuttings.

From left to right, I don't know what the first plant is, the second one grew from wildbird seed, the third is Thai Basil, next it's the parsley seedlings and then the rosemary, which I rooted from sprigs I bought reduced to 10p in the supermarket.

 The herb cuttings are an assortment of three types of mint - common, lemon balm and grapefruit - two types of thyme and several cuttings from my hardy curry plant that survived the -10C winter last year.

If I can get all of the above to develop into healthy plants, these will go into planters and get sat out on the little cobbled yard at the front of the house.

Dinner time arrived, so I did the frugal act of pulling some carrots and picking some peas. I also brought in some lettuce, a couple of courgettes and an onion, as I was desperate to see how these were doing.

As you can see by the photos, the onions are doing really well and are quite huge, considering how late the sets went in and the fact that the person who gave me them thought they'd be past their sell by date. Not in the least! These are growing great guns! I can hardly wait to pull them up and get them dried for winter use. This one will be going into tomorrow's spicy stir fry along with the courgette and some homegrown chilli peppers.

So, has anyone tried to count the quail chicks in the photograph? I can see 12, so am really happy that we've managed to achieve over 40%  Even I am surprised at how many of these eggs are hatching, as they were neither stored correctly, nor turned daily prior to being incubated. These were simply surplus to requirement eggs that I decided to set in the off chance that a couple of them might be fertile. :)

Nice result, so far.


  1. Those chicks are gorgeous!

    Congrats on all your produce, never thought of growing herbs from supermarket sprigs. We are in need of a new rosemary plant.

    Our onion stalks have flopped over but we were told for them to go brown. Is that correct?

    Sft x

  2. Everyone seems to have their own theories, SFT. I read somewhere that the onions can all be lifted as soon as half the crop's stalks have fallen but mine are starting to attempt to flower despite the ends of the leaves turning brown and I don't want to lose them.

    The rosemary sprigs rooted easily, I simply kept them in a glass of ordinary tap water on the windowsill until they had enough root to plant each into its own pot. 10p 'whoopsie' pack was a brilliant buy, as my mum got plants from it as well.

  3. Gorgeous chicks and a lovely looking harvest. Your onion especially is fantastic. I have a good crop this year but they are much smaller than yours.

    I harvested some slightly early (we needed onions) and they were gorgeous, some have been strung and the rest have been left in the raised bed for a while as they are under the Jerusalem Artichokes and can dry off nicely in situ.

    You'll have your hands full with all those chicks, but in a nice way. We have just two on the farm at the moment, tiny Lavender Pekin Bantams that have been hatched out by one of our Speckledys....they must think they have a giant for a mum!!

    I too, have never thought of taking cuttings from supermarket herbs, as there are nearly always 'whoopsies' on offer I might just have a go next time I see some.

    Sue xx

  4. We have Pekins as well, 6 of them now. They're great little birds, seldom any trouble. The pair we collected en route home from the show are a lavender cockerel and a blue hen. I already had salmon, lavender splash and lemon cuckoo.

    Supermarket whoopsie herb bargains are great! Better still, if they have any of the potted ones reduced, they're ready for planting out! :)


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