Keeping quail in garden beds?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Tegan, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Tegan

    Tegan Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 2, 2013
    I haven't started with quail yet, but I'm planning on getting some to hatch out here fairly soon. I plan on keeping my breeders in cages in the basement (may move them outside if smell becomes an issue.) I will be keeping them for eggs and meat both. I have rabbit hutches out back with well established worm bins underneath that currently have no rabbits in them. I figured to keep my grow-outs out there.

    Then I got to thinking. We have 4 raised garden beds, 4x8 feet each. We are actually planning on adding at least two more beds this year. Would it be crazy to keep the grow-outs in mini hoop houses in the garden beds? They would be in there anywhere from 2-4 weeks while they grow out. We rest one bed each year, so we'd have one bed to dedicate to raising quail in for sure this year, possibly three if we build two more (I like to compost in the beds their first year.)

    We don't use chemicals in our garden beds, so that's not an issue. Predators aren't really an issue...I've been keeping an eye on tracks in our yard the last two years, and with the fence in place and a large breed dog the only tracks I've ever seen are rabbit tracks. Hawk or owl MAY be an issue, but I've never seen any land anywhere near our yard, even with the rabbits out there.

    But is it safe to keep them on the dirt? I would think I'd have to watch for mites, but aside from that I can't think of anything they could get from well maintained garden dirt....can you? I also can't think of anything they could do to the garden that would make it harmful for us, can you?
     
  2. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This actually doesn't sound crazy at all! It would be a great use of the space as well as a better environment than a basement. A few benefits to keep in mind with this idea...

    1. Mites can happen anywhere, but allowing the quail to have access to fresh soil will give them the ability to dust bathe, and this keeps them lice and mite free.

    2. The waste will provide an excellent fertilizer for your garden beds.

    3. Allowing them to live outside will give them the ability to free range in the beds, and this should help cut feed costs.

    Overall, I think this sounds like an excellent idea! Good luck!
     
  3. Tegan

    Tegan Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok cool. I didn't think I was crazy, but I've never done it before, so I wasn't positive if it was a good idea. This way I can keep my breeders in the old rabbit hutches, and my grow-ours in the garden beds. Awesome! Now to figure out a shade/rain structure to put in the beds that wont be picked up and taken away by our winds....
     
  4. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd be careful. Quail are adapted for arid conditions. They can develop diseases/conditions from being able to access wet soil. I go out of my way to keep mine on sand but not allow them access to any wet undrained soil.
     
  5. Tegan

    Tegan Out Of The Brooder

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    The only time the soil should be wet is after it rains. I don't waste water on the beds that are resting.
     
  6. Poetshens

    Poetshens Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 14, 2014
    I have my quail outside with a tarp covering most of the run so they can be protected from the elements. This helps with all the snow and rain that we get. It also protects them from getting swiped at by random cats or predators that might want a snack.
     
  7. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I missed that post ^^^

    If they are in old resting garden beds then there is little problem. You will need to rotate them frequently however because as much as they poop I could easily see them over fertilizing the areas your keeping them. Essentially if you put too much fertilizer in a garden it burns the roots of the plants hindering development or outright killing them.
     
  8. Tegan

    Tegan Out Of The Brooder

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    Old resting beds....not currently growing beds. The beds are grown on for three years before they rest one year...so they could really use a good fertilizing. The bed that quail will be on will be rotated every year, and only have quail on it during the late spring, summer and early fall. That gives plenty of time for me to balance out the beds the rest of the year. I also have the potential for two new beds this year to start them out on...then they will rest over winter and be ready to plant in the spring.

    My backyard in "unusable" for anything but gardens because the builder screwed up and got the drainage wrong...so we now have a big honking drainage ditch right through the middle of our yard....fixes the problem...but if we had known we wouldn't have bought the house. I have lots of potential for garden beds. I could always put enough out there to have three to four with quail in them, three to four growing, and three to four resting.
     
  9. LeenaB

    LeenaB Out Of The Brooder

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    I really like the idea of that. I have my quail in the basement now, with some due to hatch this weekend. I'm trying to figure out where everyone is going to live. My preplanning on this one wasn't good.

    I have to say I really do like having my quail in the basement as it gets cold here so inside quail are nice. I have chickens and goats that live outside so inside quail make like a little easier.

    However: one thing you'll want to do is invest in a shopvac. It comes in handy when cleaning up bedding, droppings that miss the pan, and sand that leaves the cage. Quail are messy, less messy than chickens though.

    I have baby chicks in the basement, can't wait for them to feather out and go outside.
     
  10. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    When you do get them and get them in their pens take some pictures and show us.
     

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