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UPDATE (February 18):

For those who watched the video, things have moved on from the previous post below.  I am now slaughtering spare males and old females who no longer lay.  Yes, I'm quite comfortable with the decision.  No, there is no cruelty what-so-ever.  In a complete random act of insanity, I am testing whether Big Bertha (the barred plymouth rock) will sit on quail eggs.  Oh, the quails are laying and it's too hot for the chickens to want to perform.  Therein is the value of quail. 

In other news,  I planted a Wurtz avocado in a big pot today.  I killed a Hass putting it in the ground last year so I figured a different approach was required.  Apparently, Wurtz don't have the same, big vulnerable tap root.  We shall see. 

 I've been drying and powdering a lot of chilli.  The still is working tonight.  Beer has been brewing a treat for me. Sourdough production is a success.  I think I need to make some blue cheese again.  I've been slack.  

Final comment - I've lost power twice this week.  It's buggered by big expensive air-conditioner which may be a problem.  The good news is that time without electricity has not cost me frozen goods or aquaponic fish.  On balance, the world is a good place. 

Original Post (March 17): 

I worked out that many of my quails are 2 years old or more.  That's ancient for quail.  Rather than let the old

birds die, I really should cull them while they can be eaten.  

In terms of my cages, two of the three whites are younger (1 boy and 1 girl) so I just need to cull the oldest female.  Second cage is the piebalds - both of those are old and should be culled.  Third cage - the male and a recent chick (from Darren) are okay.  Sadly, my old girlfriend needs to go.  She was one of my original birds and loves a cuddle (yes, that will make it hard - I am being very honest here).

This is all easy to say, but might be a bit more of a challenge in the actual doing.  

I'll let this tale unfold as I work out what to do.  It grieves me to kill a bird but it upsets me to let them die and be wasted.  

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Comment by DARREN JAMES on March 20, 2017 at 18:24

I agree Andy ,this is my second season and at the end of the year I will be having the same dilemma.It really does seem a waste to have them die even though they have laid hundreds of eggs for me .Ill wait till they have shut up the egg shop then sharpen the knife

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 19, 2017 at 23:12

Have you pondered on the viability of 'my own eggs'? :-)

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 19, 2017 at 22:06

I'm using this blog to plot the changes in my thoughts - in the last 36 days, I have incubated 10 of my own eggs.  Not a one has been fertile (yes, I autopsy every single egg that doesn't hatch). 

Conclusion:  what few eggs they do lay are not viable.  My current thoughts are that I have a white male that is only a year old, a younger standard male and one of Darren's standard hatchlings that appears to be a female.  Those are the only three birds common sense says to keep. 

Even when I buy new birds, the breeding season is pretty much done now.  This has been a very good learning experience and suggests I need to manage the quails on annnual basis rather than two yearly which was what I expected.  Add that to the fact that I need to remove excess males as they reach maturity and you have an inescapable conclusion - don't keep Japanese quail unless you are prepared to eat them (or replace your entire flock every two years). 

Comment by Lissa on March 18, 2017 at 11:37

Keep the old "cuddle bird" and do the rest.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 18, 2017 at 9:39

You're right there Elaine.  The only one that is really a pet is "my old girlfriend".  LOL.  That's as close to a name as any of them ever get. 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 18, 2017 at 8:33

Sure it is me who is evil, Andy? You asked a question, I gave you a practical answer!

Keep animals as pets and they die a natural death; keep them for food and they cannot be pets or you find yourself in the quandary you now face.

Comment by Lissa on March 18, 2017 at 6:06

It's a heck of a quandary isn't it. If we were dependant on these animals for food (not the supermarket) it might come a bit more naturally. I understand your pain in the doing. After all, I couldn't bring myself to kill my snails that I had grown so fond of how are you going to go with a bird who loves cuddles. 

Comment by Susan on March 18, 2017 at 3:48
Good on you Andy - though I don't think Roz will be too happy with you ;).
Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 18, 2017 at 0:08

Oh you evil woman!  Composting a perfectly gourmet quail body??!!!  What were you thinking?!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 17, 2017 at 23:58

Not wasted since the bodies can be composted.


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