Quail in the Garden

What makes a garden special?  It’s the moment you enter; a sense of peace fills the air as you reflect on the accomplishment of green production.  Every garden space has a unique atmosphere, mainly because the space represents the gardener.  Is there something special in your garden that reflects your personality or are you still seeking that special something?

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I have an idea, how about adding something live, like quail?  There is a fun way to add quail to your garden, and a few benefits will follow.  Think about fresh eggs, meat production, and my favorite the enjoyment factor.  If you like this idea let me recommend raising quail naturally on the ground, allowing them to thrive and help decrease the bug population.  Bugs seem to be a constant battle for us Texas gardeners; a natural way to decrease destructive bugs is a blessing.

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Naturally Raise Quail

Quail need to be raised in some kind of confined space; they will fly away or become bait for ground and sky predators if not protected.  Establishing a home on the ground is the most natural way to introduce and raise quail in your backyard.  When I first started raising quail I built an 8 x 4 frame that could be moved allowing the birds to always have a clean living space.  As time went on a larger space became necessary because I wanted my birds to be able to fly.  These options can be found at my blog on the home and garden page.  A large sanctuary may not be an option due to space but it will give you ideas for your own planning.  Today I’m introducing a concept that gardeners will enjoy.  It’s simple and allows you to experience the benefits of raising quail right in your backyard without taking up a lot of space.

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Backyard Garden Coop

The backyard garden coop is something I use during the summer.  It allows adding a few birds so they can decrease the bug population in my covered raised beds.  You might remember that project we built and gave a couple away last August at the Texas Home and Garden show in Fort Worth.

I grow low plants in the covered raised bed like lettuce, carrots, cauliflower, and selective herbs.  If you want to grow higher plants then I would recommend building a taller cage but shrink the frame and bed size as it could be heavy to open. Quail like to nest this is why the wooden house was added.  It fits level to the surface of the bed; add hay so the quail can nest during the evening or day.  I only leave them in this set up for a couple days and then move the quail and house to the next run continuing the debug process.   This setup is a temporary option for my garden; if you like it and want to use it as a full time set up then you’ll want to take a few thoughts into consideration for planning purposes.

  1. Make sure you have more than one covered raised bed.
  2. Keep your flock small, under 6 or 8 birds as they may destroy your plants while looking for bugs.
  3. You’ll need to weed and harvest, this is why having more than one bed is necessary.
  4. Quail like fruit; keep them away from low growing fruit they will peck at it.
  5. Move the birds every 2 or 3 days to a new bed.
  6. Rotation offers the soil to rest and be clean when they return.

 

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Inside the House

The house is cozy, adding hay will welcome the idea of nesting.  Don’t be surprised if they find comfort in the dirt.  Remember to keep the front of the house open, quail don’t like to feel trapped.  I have a Plexiglas window that covers the opening of the house.   When it’s time to move the birds I entice them with food and they come right in the house if they’re not already there when upon your arrival.  Once there in the house you carefully close down the glass and move the birds to the next run.

There are many ways you can raise quail in your garden if that’s something you seek.  I’d love to hear what you came up with. Raising quail in my garden has been a positive experience.

Carole West - Gardenup GreenCarole West is the founder and writer of GardenUp Green. She’s been gardening since she was a small child, learning from her Italian grandmother. Carole shares her all natural gardening techniques and projects on GardenUp Green so that readers can learn, discover, and be inspired. Carole has been putting together patio gardens and backyard escapes and has even ventured into small scale farming. Her greatest reward comes from her family. Their love and understanding has helped her build an amazing and creative life! Check out GardenUp Green on Facebook, Hometalk, and Pinterest.

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