My husband and I always chatted about having quail, and one day in the markets we spotted some Jumbos for sale, and just bought two straight away! After a week, we extending our flock couple of days ago (went to a farm and suppose to only get 2 or 3 more hens, but the man was really friendly and gave us 4!!).... looking after birds is new to both of us, and are feeling pretty confident...but need to clarify somethings.
All these guys are about 6 - 7 weeks old, the Roo(?) is the rossetted(?) one on the far left in front of the golden girl
The farmer vent sexed the four he gave us, however the two from the markets were colour tested...which we started questioning the roo, so I ended up trying to vent sex both myself, and I am pretty sure it is a roo...the other market girl is the golden in the box.... Moreover, the boy made the same sound as this guy when we played the video to him http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcijYZXv8dU
I was after a male:female ratio of 1:3 or 1:4 maximum ....given the extra bird, is 1:5 too many females??
They don't seem to really be fighting, I assume the pecking at each other's back is to establish a "pecking order"...none seem injured or look distressed...is that ok? or are they really distressed and I cant tell????
When we introduced them, we put a divider in the cage to keep the new ones separated from the original 2, then left them there for the arvo and night...then the next day I took the cage outside for a new enviroment (and so I could clean the tray =P) and put them all together (they all seem happy, and not fighting)...they are all back inside today... is all this moving around stressing them out?? and not letting them settle?
The first two seem fine with being moved in and out, and love to go out for their grass...we just bring them in at night for risk of snakes and coldness during the night, which leads me to my next question: It is still winter here in Australia, If we did leave the cage outside at night, is it too cold with the nights lowest around 6 degrees celcius, average of 8deg???
And we quickly converted a 30.5" x 19.5" x 23" dog carrier cage (with removable tray, now has a mesh wire over it, we use when the birds are inside)... We want to build a proper coop for these guys, are these dimensions ok for 6quail ? (hence why I was scared of having too many when we got the free one...)
Does temperature affect egg laying? cause inside the house we turn on a light for them...
also I was told they don't like direct sunlight...some of the new ones were choosing to do some sun bathing yesterday though???
Also, after reading about dust baths, is beach sand ok to use for a dust bath?? we're not far from the coast and poped-by yesterday to pick up some sand, which they seem to love...but I am worried about them eating it =\
Lastly, when I get things right...how long would it take them to settle and start expecting eggs? the farmer said his girls are ready laying...?? Should I put some nesting material in the box like straw etc?
Just to clarify, for now they are being used for eggs, and later in late spring/summer try for some chicks for meat...probably next year we will bring in a white boy from out of state, trying to keep diversity and heaps of colours with our flock ;)
Woah, that is alot to ask, So sorry! Sorry for all the questions, I am sure they are all the answers are written somewhere in this forum, just having a bit of difficulty finding everything... Together, have or grown up with: Dogs, cats, horses, fish, turtles, rabbits, and mice, so having birds and understanding them are new to both of us! Nonetheless super excited!!