Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Quail Pens

Finished the Quail Pens....

quail pens

That's 4 cages total - 2 over 2. Each cage measures about 2' x 3'. I'll run 1 breeding pen (3 hens and 1 cock) and 3 "grow out" pens. "Poop boards" go beneath the wire floor of each cage to catch the droppings. Then the droppings get dumped on the compost pile.

I also knocked together a brooder setup in the garage - but it's nothing photo worthy. Just two halves of a very large dog kennel with netting stapled to a wooden frame over the top to keep the birds from hopping out as they mature. I still have to pickup heat lamps. Baby chicks have to be kept around 95 degrees for the first week after they hatch.

So here's the Poultry gameplan (subject to change): I'm planning to pick up a dozen straight run (unsexed) Buff Brahma Bantam chicks the first or second week of March. That's more than I want eventually - but since they are sold unsexed there's no way to tell if you're getting pullets or roosters until they mature a bit. I have to buy more than I want to increase the likelihood that I'll have at least 3 or 4 females when all is said and done. 

These will be day-old chicks and will go immediately into the brooder in the garage. Over the next several weeks they will mature and feather out, needing the heat lamp less and less. It will also, hopefully, be getting warmer and warmer outside so that I can transfer them from the brooder in the garage into the chicken yard outside.

At some point (depending upon on several factors) I'll be able to tell the boys from the girls and cull my flock down to the 3 or 4 pullets that I want to keep.

I'm space limited. I'll only be using the garage brooder for actual Bantams one time. The rest of the time I'll be using it in a smaller configuration to brood the batches of Quail chicks for two or three weeks before moving them outside to the growout pens. They mature faster than the bantams. For these reasons it makes my timing kind of a grey area for the first run of both chickens and quail.

I don't want to start incubating my first batch of quail eggs until I'm pretty sure that the Bantams will be out of the brooder before the quail eggs hatch - you see? And there's no way to forecast exactly when that will be. They are ready when they are ready. If the quail eggs hatch and the brooder is still occupied by bantams, then I've got no place to brood the baby quail. If I wait too long, then the bantams will be out of the brooder and it will just sit empty until I can get my quail eggs hatched.

Won't be a disaster either way, of course. I can always rig up something temporary to use as a one-time quail brooder if I have to.

1 comment:

Six said...

You do nice work Paladin and you're giving me thoughts. I have enough room in the back yard for a coop or two....