November 24, 2014

Quail Loss

All our quail are now gone, taken by a predator while we were away.

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With the ability to sit and hatch their own young almost entirely bred out of domestic quail, our group of hens was extra special. They lived in the garden, keeping bugs at bay without destroying plants. We had three hens that hatched chicks. It was a real joy to be able to watch them all from inside our big, south-facing windows.

However, while we were away on one of our recent trips, they all disappeared. There were signs (including feathers) that a large predator (like a dog or coyote) had gotten into the garden, and hunted them down. A friend of ours would come up to check on things and top up feeders. He said he saw a couple of dogs there a few times, eating from our dog feeder. We have seen them since we’ve been back, but not on our property. They are the most likely suspects, as I doubt our male dog, Sam, would tolerate coyotes so close.

We plan to get more quail in the Spring, to see if we can replicate our breeding successes. In the meantime, we have had one very hopeful sighting: the other day, we saw one of the females. She was in the garden, drinking water and wandering around, and she then flew off. So we’re hoping that at least some got away and are not too far off.

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