Our original plan was to begin the year by introducing rabbits onto the farmstead. We chose to use stackable cages because of the limited area in the barn, which is the best area for us to house the rabbits. Equipment was ordered from a reputable manufacturer with one of the best stackable rabbit cage designs. Unfortunately, the manufacturer, due to a series of nearly comical circumstances, is now five months behind in fulfillment of orders and apparently nobody is cancelling. To prevent our plan for this year from becoming seriously derailed, we have moved forward with the introduction of Coturnix quail to the farmstead.
Our first batch of quail came from a nearby family that had them listed for sale on Craigslist. We bought 28 birds and soon discovered that the cock to hen ratio was much too high. Because males eat the feed but obviously do not produce eggs in return, eight of them quickly found their way to the dinner table. Let’s just say that the first meal was not the best. Cooking quail is similar to cooking chicken, but not exactly the same. We will need to experiment with different recipes and techniques to get it perfected.
Here is Anastasia holding our first egg. What an expensive egg that was! It took nearly two weeks for the hens to become relaxed enough in their new home to begin laying again. We were worried for the entire waiting period that we had bought birds that were just too old to lay. After sexing the birds and separating the cocks from each other, we paired them up with hens and began collecting fertile eggs. We were excited to amass our first batch for incubation, which will be discussed further in the next blog post.