The sun gods are smiling upon us here in Olympia on this first day of April and I only have one thing to say…..IT’S ABOUT TIME!!!!!!!!!
To say that this was a wet winter would be the understatement of all-time….in fact, all-time is accurate, because it was, in fact, the wettest winter in recorded history, and that’s saying a mouthful for our neck of the woods.
So outside we headed and the first announcement I have for you is the new aviary (or, as Bev likes to call it, quailary) is finished. As you can see from the pictures, it looks pretty good considering my carpentry skills are just above novice. It ended up a half-inch off square and quite frankly, for me, that’s perfect.
And the aviary is up at the perfect time because, as you can see from the pictures, the first babies of the year are with us. We will sell half of them and keep half of them as egg-layers.
So let’s talk a bit about quail.
If any of you are serious about having an urban farm, then you really need to get serious about quail. We absolutely love them. They are entertaining, they take up very little space, they are easy to clean up after and they produce the best eggs known to man.
So right now we are getting about forty eggs each day….that will increase to over one-hundred in the next few weeks. We have three incubators going, so that’s a whole lot of babies each week…and the excess eggs will be sold to neighbors, friends and restaurants.
If you are just starting out with quail, a word to the wise: they are completely defenseless birds, so make darn sure your enclosure is critter-proof. In other words, learn from our mistakes. A weasel can get through a hole that is two inches in diameter, so plan accordingly.
We are proud of the fact that our original six hens are still alive and laying after two years. That’s miraculous considering the mistakes we made starting out. Having said that, we almost lost one to a raccoon last week. I was on the couch reading about ten at night when I heard one of the hens clucking like crazy…that’s an immediate warning because we never hear them after we lock them in their coop….and for those of you thinking ahead, you know what the problem was…we forgot to lock them in their coop that evening. Daylight savings time has really screwed me up with regards to things like that.
Anyway, a coon got into the coop and Butch was the first chicken to run for it and luckily the raccoon followed Butch out into the yard. If the coon had just stayed in the coop he could have killed the other five easily because they were just hanging out on the roost. So the sounds I heard were the coon nipping at Butch. Luckily I got out there fast enough and all Butch lost were all of her tail feathers. No other injuries other than a bruised ego (for me, not Butch). Lesson learned!
A side note: the other hens are treating Butch with a bit more respect now since she saved all their lives.
We are woefully behind on the garden. The good news is the last frost probably won’t be until late April. That’s the only thing saving us right now, but we better get it in gear quickly. I’ll keep you posted on the hay bale garden as soon as I have something to report.
AND THAT’S IT!
More in a week or so, as time allows. Have a great April!