Quail diary

Quail for eggs — life in a London garden

Quail diary – 102. Eggs!

with 2 comments

quail eggs and penny

Quail eggs and penny - Oeuf's on left, Emmet's (probably) on right

The quail have laid! Yippee, slurp. One egg yesterday, one the day before, two today. Enough for lunch.

“How can you tell who is laying?” asks Bantam Neighbour, staggering in with another crate of spare eggs from the Stakhanovas. Hens apparently flush up to their wattles with the effort.

Zat so? Well, there’s no flushing in the quail house. Although Emmet and Oeuf do seem to be doing a lot of rather grumpy sitting, interrupted periodically by Harass on her sweeps of the perimeter. Harass is a tad short on social skills. She doesn’t do ladylike (or eggs, I suspect). Instead she barges around like a toy tank on patrol, tramping straight across all obstacles encountered – stepping casually on the head of any sister quail quietly recovering in the straw.

And they need to recover. Quail eggs are about 8% of the quail’s body weight – which would be like squeezing out a 12lb baby, every day… or at least from April to October. Think about that next time you dip your soldiers. (Apparently hens only manage 3% – about 5lbs. Not that I’m competitive, or anything.)

Meanwhile, Oeuf and Emmet need calcium: oyster shell grit and dandelions. Nothing is too good for my elderly gravidas. Put away those bus passes. Let the foraging on scuzzy verges commence. Season IV has started.


2 Responses

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  1. Those are amazing hens. Yes, I have noticed that bantams make a great song and dance out of egg laying compared to the stoic little quail (though I do think their eggs might be a greater proprtion of their body weight than applies to full-size hens). Funny you said that about wattles; I noticed how unusually red Dora’s seemed this morning when I went to collect a warm egg.

    I still only have two of my one year old quail laying and they’re taking it in turns. The nine week old ‘chicks’ don’t seem to have realised they’re supposed to have started….

    Flora Fauna Dinner

    April 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm

  2. That was quick! How’s life in the sunny north? I know what you mean about temperature controls. I was born to be a cold northern European. Your garden’s looking excellent. So far I’ve only got baby runner beans, and the foxes have torn holes in my salad bed – trying to get at the buried kitchen slurry. Ho hum.
    Go Tavish!


    April 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm

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