All Hail to the Quail Part 3
It is now the dead of winter. I can tell because the days are just starting to get longer, the snow is piled high, the vegetables and canning in the cold storage are starting to dwindle and the quail rarely seem to lay an egg.
We brought them inside sometime in September. We have friends with chickens that seem to do well over the winter with an insulated hutch and a few light bulb heaters, but I had heard that quail were not that hardy. And so despite the dangers of curious indoor cats and bird hating houseguests we set the quail up in a cage with a timed light in our guest bedroom. We had high hopes for winter egg production, but those hopes have been dashed. The three quail collectively lay about an egg every week or so. And don’t forget that quail eggs are half the size of a small chicken egg.
So what to do? The picture attached to this article is a picture of quail prints in snow, so they must be able to survive in the winter, but we were worried about our quail and wanted to let them winter inside. When we first got them we figured that if they weren’t laying enough in the winter we would just butcher them and eat them. We are interested in learning to butcher poultry but we figured that the effort to kill, pluck and prepare our minuscule poultry would be a wasted effort. And so I found myself regretting the quail and longing for my very own backyard chickens.
Originally the reason that I did not get backyard chickens was because of the prohibitive city bylaw but this winter when I was hanckering for backyard eggs I found myself wondering how bad it could actually be if I was found with chickens in the city. I got my answer when at the November InFARMation and Beer entitled Backyard Chickens I was told that you can get a $500-$1000 fine per chicken in Winnipeg. That definitely made me feel fonder of my quail.
So for now I have three cute little bird pets who occasionally provide a small amount of food, but I despite the relative failure of this experiment I am still very happy to count myself among the alternative food adventurers. Thankfully some of my other experiments have worked out much better.