This is not going to be a long life thread but animal lovers may find some fun ! We once had a had a hen thread and so there may even be some poultry raising musicians who can advise!
As we have a scorching heat wave forecast I decided that the only chance to go out into the garden yesterday would be for early breakfast in the shade of the plane trees before the sun began to burn. So Mattie the poodle and I settled down for a pleasant half hour. There we were, communicating with Nature when I just happened to look up from my coffee in time to see a bird walking towards the overgrown rose bush at the end of a stone wall. There was something odd about the bird. At first I thought it was a turtle dove ? we have a lot here, but it wasn?t quite the right shape. Curiosity got the better of early morning myopia and I left my coffee and went to investigate. And there, looking utterly bewildered ? was a young quail. It was not a wild quail but rather the eating variety (of which I am almost embarrassed to say, we already have two - in the fridge.)
Well I picked it up, knowing that any one of my five cats would soon put an end to its probably hard won freedom and I took it indoors. Have you ever tried waking up your snoring partner up with a quail in one hand and an inquisitive poodle in the other and explaining that you needed help? Well, we found it a tiny temporary cage and went to look for some seeds. The packet we found was full of nasty little insects so I got the car out and drove to the co-operative at the end of the road to buy some fresh ones. There I was seduced into buying a cotton shirt as well and two enormous rolls of industrial kitchen paper. By the time I got back the quail had been christened Quilly and was looking slightly less bemused but standing only on one leg.
Quilly tucked into the new seeds, showed us how quails drink and ? from the safe confines of his/her cage ? tried to out stare the nearest cat. We spent most of the day searching the attic for a suitable cage and the net for suitable information on what to do with a quail.
It was interesting to note that the French sites had nothing but recipes. Roast quails, stuffed quiails, quils in cranberry sauce, quils with grapes - youname it, they cooked it! Only the English or American sites had any information about what you do with a quail if you have no intention of wringing its neck and cooking it. Would this have any relevance to a study of national identities, I wonder? (I am beginning to feel terribly guilty about the two in the fridge and the other two we roasted and ate two days ago)
Actually I think I know where it came from. Our Horrible Neighbours to whom nobody in the village speaks have chicken and other edible birds in their property. They once lost a guinea fowl and it turned up in our garden. Mrs Horrible Neighbour came to ask if they could bring their hunting dogs in to flush it out from the undergrowth. How she had the nerve, having cut us dead for several years, I don?t know, but we thought it might be an opportunity to re-establish civil relations so we said yes. In came her son with his retriever and out came the bird. Their dinner was assured ? but they then marched off without so much as a thank you and they still don?t speak to us. So they are not getting Quilly the Quail back.
We do have a bird house in the garden which would do, but temporary cooler accommodation will be needed until this scorching weather is over. Also the websites inform me that quails are not lone birds. I think my partner may be planning a visit to the local Bricomarche where they have a Pets? Corner. I am assured that there are quails (of the ornamental, not the eating variety) there just waiting to make Quilly?s acquaintance.
Meanwhile we contented ourselves with boiled eggs for dinner. I really should never have gone outside for breakfast.
We are now at Day Two of our Adventures with Quilly. Having read everything I could find on the net I now know how to tell if Quilly is a he or a she ? except that IT doesn?t seem to fit either of the descriptions exactly and I am not sure that I am yet up to what the Knowledgeable Quail Breeders call the ?vent test.? I also know that quails require a high protein diet and that the females will lay one egg per day if they get at least 14 hours of daylight. Quilly is at the moment in the cat proof shower room. I have, of course, left the light on.
Actually, Quilly is not looking too good today ? he/she is drinking but loathe to eat and wants to sleep all the time. The last time we had a bird showing these symptoms it was a wood pigeon who took. six months to recover and we never did find out what was wrong. We called him ?Tournedos? as he continually sat with his back to us. We took him to our caravan which was then on a farm near Princes Risborough and released him. When we went back the following weekend he was waiting for us! He flew down to say ?Thank you ? and then took off for the trees again! I was quite glad when he left as stuffing fifty dried peas (one at a time!) down his gullet twice a day had been rather a bind. After he regained the ability to eat by himself I spent most of my time picking peas up off the floor.
Quilly is not so obliging about being hand fed. Perhaps he/she thinks he/she is being fattened for the oven. I think we are going to have the quails in the fridge for dinner this evening but we will not tell Quilly.
PS The punctuation might not work as I have typed this rather long story in Word before pasting it and even if you correct it afterwards it is usually still haywire.