05.30.08

User Signups and Post Comments

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:11 pm by Ravenshadow

I have enabled the ability for people to sign up to this blog under their own user name and password (via the ‘login’ link in the menu then ‘register’).
The only real use for this is so that signed up users may leave comments under posts that I have made. Whether or not any one will actually want to do this is another matter.

So, if you feel like leaving comments on the various posts, that is how you do it.

Eggs : Day 4

Posted in Quails at 7:34 pm by Ravenshadow

Being a curious sort I decided to fully candle all thirty eggs.
After carefully going through each egg one by one to make sure the core temperature did not drop too much, I seem to have 18 eggs that are fertile and have growth inside them and a couple of eggs that I was uncertain about (looked like they may have been late growers, but I can not be certain).
Although 18 out of 30 eggs is not too bad thus far. I am hoping a few more might show some signs of life at some point in the next few days, although I will leave it until day ten before I candle them again.

All in all, I am quite excited!

05.29.08

Eggs : Day 3

Posted in Quails at 11:27 am by Ravenshadow

And there was life!

After reading some information regarding candling eggs and embryos I decided to give a quick check on some of my eggs now that the ‘spider’ structure of veins should be visible. The first egg looked clear (although might be a slow grower… I can hope) but the second egg I picked up had life! I only checked the two eggs, but may check some more in the same row at another point. I am so happy right now, and now more than ever hope that I get some eggs hatch by the end of the incubator period.

Fingers crossed for lots of little lives!

05.28.08

Eggs : Day 2

Posted in Quails at 11:11 am by Ravenshadow

Due to the possible problems with my current dial hydrometer I have decided to buy a digital one. I was hoping that I might be able to find one in the various stores we have in the area, but sadly it was not meant to be. The new reptile shop we had open around the corner (well, on the other side of the valley) was closed when I went to visit around 4pm today… Even though they were supposed to be open until 6pm. I won’t be going back there, that is for certain! Very unprofessional… And by the look of the place I doubt they would have what I was looking for at any rate (their windows were covered with water, I guess they do not use any kind of de-humidifier).

After some searching (then being pointed to the correct location by Suz) I came across a nice looking combined Thermo / Hydrometer which looks like it will do the job just nicely. For just under the £16 mark it was not a huge hole in the purse, and for a little piece of mind when it comes to the humidity of my incubator then I am quite willing to pay that.

The Thermo / Hygrometer from eBayDigital Dual Display Max / Min Thermo-Hygrometer.
 
-50ºC – +70ºC range 
Max/min display 
Max/min alarm 
Inside/outside readings 
Dual LCD Display 
Easy to use 
3 Metre cord on probe 
Display resolution of 0.1ºC 
Detachable outdoor probe 
Integral fold away stand 
Blister packaged 
Battery included

 

I find that digital units which have a inside/outside option are very handy… It means you can keep an eye on the temperature outside of the incubator and put the thin wire with sensor attached inside to keep an eye on that at the same time. I know that the outside temperature is not a major factor, but it is still nice to know none the less. Not to mention you can keep the display outside of the incubator and place the sensor as close to the eggs as you want, with nothing blocking your view or having to open up the incubator to check the readings! My current thermometer is very similar and seems to be working well. So fingers crossed that this new unit will be the answer to my worry problems.

05.27.08

Eggs : Day 1

Posted in Quails at 11:32 pm by Ravenshadow

Just a brief update post.

The eggs are turning better now with the cardboard insert. I still have to turn a few by hand from time to time but otherwise it is going much smoother now.

The humidity is still a problem. As I write it is currently reading at 45% again. I am inclined to believe what some people have suggested; that the dial hydrometer is incorrect in it’s readings. I will attempt to look for a small digital one that I can use instead (or as well as the dial one, to compare the two readings).

Lastly … The incubator is driving me mildly insane as it seems to wait until I turn the lights out and go to bed before it starts making a horrid racket … Sounds like the fan is slightly loose, or out of posistion. It is still working fine, but just makes a really annoying sound from time to time. When the eggs have finished with the incubator I will remove the plastic grid from the top unit and have a look at the fan to see if anything can be done about it…
Funny thing is, the incubator ran silently for 48 hours before I put the eggs in. As soon as I put the eggs in it started making that horrid noise. Figures, really.
Next time, I save up for an RCOM or some such!

05.26.08

Eggs : Day 0

Posted in Quails at 12:54 am by Ravenshadow

The eggs after being placed into the incubator.Well, today was Day 0. The eggs had been able to rest for twelve hours after their journey from Welwyn to Epping then from there back to Northamptonshire. It was a bit of a round trip but the eggs were none the worse for ware even if the people transporting them were a little tired after the long day.

I set up the dividers in the incubator with a space of five gaps each (the base of the incubator has slots along the front and back for the placement of the dividers). The first twenty eggs were placed into the incubator with a little fiddling to make sure that they all sat properly, the last ten (pictured in the right most row) proved to be a little bigger than their mates and the same spacing was a little too tight for them; they sat too snugly and would not turn when the incubator tray was moved. I moved the dividers out by another hole, but that proved to be too big a gap and the eggs would turn themselves sideways when the tray was moved.
After pondering over this for a little while we have since decided to place a piece of cardboard along one side of the larger eggs to keep them in place yet still allow them to be turned over. I will know how that turns out tomorrow when I go to turn the eggs again.

Another problem has crept up whilst I have been writing this … It seems that the humidity inside the incubator has clicked from 35 % up to 45%! This is much too high for my liking and we have been trying to find ways of lowering the humidity. I am guessing that this has happened due to a slight raise of temperature in the room (around 4oC) due to having an extra person in the room and an extra computer running.

I am hoping that the problem will settle down over night, but in the mean time I am going to be looking for ways to get it to drop again.

Fingers crossed.

A Visit to Welwyn Quails

Posted in Quails at 12:44 am by Ravenshadow

Today I undertook a journey that is fast becoming a ‘rite of passage’ for new quail breeders. This adventure included quails by the hundreds, £1000 canaries, electric fences, lightning reflexes and a flat battery.

Travelling down from Northampton along the A1 took us only an hour to find the village of Welwyn, and only two attempts of driving past the road to actually find it. Driving up the private road past the houses, apparently inhabited by snow leopards, we soon found the place we were looking for. Unfortunately we didn’t find the front door, fortunately the back door has a door bell.

We were met by Dimity who happily told us that Nino was checking on quails and we soon met the man himself. Nino wasted no time in showing me his brooder house and his latest batch of various types of quail. I have never seen so many little feathery things! Dimity and Doug soon found the common bond between partners of quail nutcases; its like ‘golf wives’ but with quails. Over tea and coffee, Nino talked a lot about his experiences with quails and other birds and I learnt so much that I am still sorting it all out in my head. After a long chat we were shown the incubators that live (inhabit) the dining room. Big whirring machines that hold little cheeping eggs. In one of them, the latest addition to Nino’s flock, was busy drying and wondering where mummy was. This was a day old Mearns quail and I wish Nino the best of luck in raising this difficult species.
After the eggs came the birds…

Swapping my indoor shoes for a pair of stout wellingtons (thanks again Dimity!) we moved up the garden to the various aviaries and coops. First on the tour was the canary house and young quails. Nino started off breeding canaries, some of which could have fetched a price of over £1000!!! We’re in the wrong business! He left the world of canaries for the world of quails because it was much nicer people. The young quails liked to run around and over each other, but all seemed in good health and with lovely plumage coming through. With the space heater and a radio for company the birds were growing well. On the way out we noticed a young quail in a cage on it’s own. Nino told us this bird had dislocated it’s leg but as long as it could eat and drink and survive he would give it cage space instead of culling it as others may have done.

Up the garden were the aviaries and coops. The coops were constructed from high-tech modular components (read: bits of wood tied together with twine) and space-age insulation (read: acres of bubble wrap!) which seemed to work really well for their intended purpose. The aviaries resembled giant sheds with mesh walls, which is pretty much what they are. Nino showed us around like a proud father and with good reason. He has a good stock of quails, some chickens and random pheasants. One aviary had some free-range Coturnix running around the floor along with a random cockerel, and in cages were large amounts of very flighty Gambel’s and Californian quail. When Nino said these birds needed flight space he is really not kidding. On travelling the back of the garden we noticed the electric fence to keep out foxes and unwanted humans. Dimity mentioned putting the fence lower to better combat fox intruders.

The second aviary we went into held probably some of the prettiest quails on the planet. Blue Scale and Mountain Quail. The first, the Blue Scale, looked like birds wearing scalemaille armour, and so very pretty. They all crowded onto the highest possible shelf with a few wandering down the perches to eye us humans suspiciously. At the other end the Mountain quails stood regally with their back-swept crest and looking completely unconcerned by our presence. Clearly we were beneath the notice of these hardy creatures. As they moved we saw one of them only had one leg. Another example of Nino’s kindheartedness that has gone on to live normally amongst its fellows. We left the aviaries and returned to the house; and more tea and coffee.

Not to be shown up by the birds, some of the many cats of the household vied for our attention while we talked about my practice eggs and the dangers of eBay. In doing so, when I attempted to pick up the cat Rosie, said cat decided to knock a vase of flowers off the window shelf. Luckily Doug has lightning reflexes and managed to catch the vase even though he was sitting a good four feet away. Breakage averted much to my relief. Nino then went to get the eggs I was to hatch as my first practice. I was expecting to come away with maybe a dozen coturnix eggs and instead I now have thirty eggs made up of White Bobwhite, Red Tennesse Bobwhites and Giant Butler Bobwhites! Clearly Nino wants me to have a lot of practice.

After finishing off the last of the biscuits we said our goodbyes at the end of our four hour visit. On leaving we realised that whilst Doug’s reflexes are good his memory in turning his car lights off is bad. We tried the engine and got nothing. Nino cheerfully gave us a push to the road and got us started on the hill back to the main road. The car started half way down and Nino stayed in the road until he was sure it started and gave us a wave as we drove off.

It was four hours that felt like five minutes and even if I forget half of the fantastic advice Nino gave me I will still have learned a lot. These wonderful people clearly have alot of visitors to their house and if everyone is made to feel as welcome as we were its no wonder that many of them want to go back. I can’t thank them enough for their help.

The world needs more Nino’s and Dimity’s.

 My box of thirty Practice Eggs My incubator (courtesy of eBay)

05.24.08

Hutch Update

Posted in Quails at 8:35 pm by Ravenshadow

Well, the hutch is all paid for now and ready to collect. Sadly it does not look as though I am going to be able to pick up the hutch until next Sunday due to them not being open at all tomorrow and only open today until 2pm … What a pain!

On the bright side I pretty much know what I will attempt to do with the hutch when I do get it back here. I plan on seeing if I can keep it as two separate units (rather than both levels stacked) and make two mesh lids to replace the solid ceiling. If this works then I will cover the two front mesh doors with removable plastic with some air holes in and hang a lamp through the mesh roof in both units. I may leave the two ‘bedroom’ dividers in so that chicks / birds have some place cooler to hide if need be, and will put the lamps in at the opersite end.
If I can not split the two levels into two seperate levels then I will either leave the bottom level as unused or see if I can safely hang in a lamp on the bottom level as well so I can still use it if I need the extra space.
If all goes well I will have a working brooder ready sometime after next Sunday.

 

On a random thought… Any one noticed that my entrees seem to be rather one tracked at the moment? (Read: Quaaaaail!). It is only going to get worse when I am able to get my first hatching eggs…
Not that any one reads this any how! I might as well be talking to myself, me thinks. Oh wait… I already am!

05.23.08

A Hutch. A Small Start.

Posted in Quails at 9:41 pm by Ravenshadow

I managed to win an auction on eBay today for a small hutch that I am intending to use as an indoor brooder for quail when I am able to get some practice eggs to hatch. I would have liked to have won the slightly larger version of the same hutch, but sadly that one spirialed out of my price range at the last minute. Bloody eBay snipers …

I am tempted to use the small hutch as two seperate brooders by making two mesh roof panels and leaving the two levels of the hutch seperate if the build allows for it. If not, then I might be able to still use it as two seperate brooders if I am able to safely put a heat lamp in the bottom level without endangering any occupants by having it hang too low.
I guess I will see what is possible when I manage to pick it up. If all goes well then hopefully I will have it this weekend. If not, then hopefully some time next weekend.

 

Dimensions:

Overall Size: 41″ x 19.5″ x 37.5″
Actual Body Size: 38″ x 17.5″ x 17.5″
Living Area: 17.5″ x 17.5″ x 17.5″

05.22.08

A Planned Visit and Musings of Quail

Posted in Quails at 2:22 pm by Ravenshadow

As the title suggests I have a visit planned this coming Sunday to Welwyn, where a quail breeder (Nino, of Welwyn Quails) has kindly allowed me to go and look around his set up and ask various questions in regards to the keeping of quail.
This trip is going to be invaluable since I will be able to find out what each species of quail requires to be successfully kept and I can see it all in action in the hands of a successful breeder. Hopefully this will help me decide which type of quail I am going to keep and if I am going to go for a hutch layout, an aviary or a shed setup.

Up until now I have had a hell of a time trying to decide which type of bird I was going to go for and how I was going to house it. My original plan of keeping some Blue Scale Quail has pretty much been shot down since I did not realise that they needed quite so much space to be able to be successfully kept for breeding. Which is a shame since being able to sell those eggs as hatching eggs would have enabled me to help pay for the cost of the quail and the accommodation.

The next idea down the line is to start of keeping the more common type of birds and breeding them mainly for eating eggs and trying to see if I can sell those to help pay for some of the costs. Sure, I can still sell hatching eggs to from these types, although they will not fetch much extra on the market (so to speak) so … I guess we shall see.

Maybe some day I can win the lottery and actually start quail farming more professionally or something. Or maybe I could actually find myself a job that would take me on to help bring in extra cash … Stranger things have happened. Or so I am told.

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