Saturday, October 2, 2010

A great (and also sad) quail hatch!

I went to bed with one quail just barely hatched and this is what I woke up to:
In the incubator!

These are from shipped eggs from a flock completely unrelated to mine so I can refresh the gene pool. The eggs these guys came from arrived on a particularly hot day and sat in the mail truck touring the neighborhood for at least 5 hours. Needless to say I was worried about their viability but was pleasantly surprised when 98 hatched out of 118 set. :)

Unfortunately one of the last quail to hatch had an umbilical hernia. About an inch of intestine was protruding from the little guys belly button. This is the first time I've ever seen this in person and sadly this situation doesn't have a good prognosis so I had to cull the bird. Now I've eaten some of my quail before, but their death served a purpose. It was much more difficult to kill a tiny bird, only to bury it in the garden. One of the hard moments in raising livestock.

On a brighter note-- here are a few of the 92 smiling faces from the hatch.


Rachel said...

Wow! That's a lot of quail! Does one produce enough meat for two people?

rachelbess said...

Rachel(great name!)- After they are completely processed, I find that mine usually weigh about 5 oz each. So it's not a whole lot of meat, but I usually cook it up with a lot of vegetables etc. and together that's enough for two people. Additionally, when we're done I throw the remaining bones etc into a pot of water in the solar oven all day and get a few cups of great stock.

Rachel said...

Something for us to definitely consider then. Do you pluck or just remove the skin? Seems like a lot of work to pluch such a tiny boyd.

rachelbess said...

I pluck. You don't have to scald them like with chickens, the feathers pull out pretty easily without all that. It probably takes me about 10 minutes, so it would be a pain if you were doing 20, but I tend to only do one at a time so it's no big deal. Cooking them with the skin on makes for a much moister (and I think tastier) bird. Especially if you put a pat of butter in between the skin and meat!