Introduction: How to Free-range Organic Baby Quail and Employ Them in Weeding and Eating Pests in the Greenhouse. Cailles Bio Et Permaculture.
Due to the difficulty in finding organic quail, we decided to raise our own. If you have hay fever and a garden, you should think about doing this too. For ten years we have been raising quail organically for the eggs, which cured Andy's hay fever. Although Andy has never had hay fever since he started eating the eggs in 2000, I got hooked on raising them -- they are lovely birds and the eggs are delicious as well as curative. This second film shows how, after a couple of days living inside with their mother, the quail chicks are moved to an open-topped run inside the Greenhouse, with Polly free-ranging close by. The Greenhouse is built from recycled pallet wood and old windows and is passively heated by the sun -- so is very good for starting the quail chicks this early in the year. The quail are still very small -- Polly is very careful but her main objective is to scratch for food. The quail chicks are only out for short supervised periods, as at this early stage of their development they get cold very quickly and need to go back under their mother. After a couple of days I remove the run and let the quail out with Polly in the Greenhouse - they have already started to hoover up all the greenfly and smaller insects, with Polly finding and showing them other edible items. The chicks have also seen her dust bath and are starting to do this themselves when we move to the cooler greenhouse ( made of recycled pallet wood and polytunnel plastic). Finally, with the exceptionally good weather, we take the quail chicks and Polly free-ranging whilst we we cut grass for hay in a neighbour's meadow. We let them out two at a time, whilst the others remain in their portable park. Polly is very cautious, being out in the open with crows flying overhead and will keep coming back to the run to check all's well. Even with only two quail chicks out it is hard work - quail feathers are so well camouflaged in the long grass but they have such a great time it is well worth it. One chick gets a taste for a plantain head which was lying on the ground and then wants more...
You don't need a greenhouse for quail -- although these two greenhouses cost very little to make and their main function is to provide us with vegetables. The quail also do an excellent job of cleaning up green and whitefly!
For more of my films on quail, chickens and pigeons in an organic forest garden: https://www.youtube.com/user/Pavlovafowl
For written articles: The Holistic Hen
For more images of the greenhouses and other uses for recycled pallet wood and windows go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/Organikmechanic