Coturnix Quail and How They Saved Our Garden
This adventure starts with bugs, to be exact roly polies…
At first I thought “oh, how cute, roly polies!” but then they started to take over the garden! How did they even find their way to my desert oasis? I started to look into them a little and it turns out they are actually called armadillidiidae which would make an amazing name for a child. They are supposed to eat moss, bark and other decaying matter. Seems great for the soil right, it should have been fine? However our little “friends” actually prefer fresh produce. They ate all our strawberries, the entire stalk of a zucchini plant and continued ravishing our kale, lettuce, cabbage and Swiss chard. I thought about putting a couple of chickens in there to take care of the problem but they love the fresh produce as much as the little invaders that I want gone.
Then last weekend a thought came to me, a brilliant thought! We could put quail in the garden. Our garden is completely enclosed with bird cloth and covered in shade cloth. It would be perfect to keep the little guys in. I asked my Friend Chelsey from Tiny Homestead, who raises these cute little birds and she said they shouldn’t bother the veggies much and that they love to eat bugs. She was actually going to be purchasing some and said she would pick some up for me as well. I asked for four.
Yesterday she brought them to me and on the way one of the little girls laid an egg! I will tell you our chickens are quite temperamental and I don’t think any of them would lay an egg if you put them in a box and drove an hour or more away. We added the little birds to the garden and they seem to really like it. They immediately started eating bugs and an hour later we found another egg!
I have been slowly getting pictures and videos of the little guys but they aren’t quiet tame yet. I read that because they fly and are prone to scatter when startled they are high risk for a broken neck, so next on the agenda for them is to clip their wings so they can’t get as much height if they do fly.
At first I thought of them as a temporary addition but we might make quail a permanent feature on the homestead? Looks like hatching quail eggs might be in the near future? Scroll down to see more pictures.
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