I was amazed by the way Ginger had accepted the quail chicks and they had instantly warmed to her. During the day she continued to keep them close and was worried if they went over to the other side of the box.
For the quail chicks it must have been slightly confusing, as they had been used to Snow Queen and responded to her but they certainly picked up Ginger's voice patterns pretty quickly. On her time-scale the quail chicks had just hatched and as I had also given her one of her eggs, she kept everyone well clamped down. This was really important because although it was warm enough within the house, quail chicks always seem to feel fluctuations in temperature so much more quickly than hen chicks (other than Sebrights). I was also amazed at how much she was aware of perceived danger, these were obviously totally new surroundings to her and she had no idea whether she was in a safe area or not. She made the most incredible noises if the chicks went out of sight. They could easily do this as, to make her feel more at home, I had put edible greenery in the box. As the week has progressed she has begun to jump out of the box and then realise she is parted from the quail, then her voice rises to fever pitch!
Watching them together also solved a nagging problem I have always had, with regards to past experience of raising quail with a bantam, that of quail chicks burrowing down into the chicken's feathers and getting stuck and on occasions almost strangled. Well Ginger can move around the box and I never see the chicks move because she is carrying them. They obviously hang on or somehow attach themselves to her feathers but when she stops they can quickly release themselves. On occasions I have seen them fall out as she moves but it has been rare. Perhaps my using of Frizzles helped me in this because they could not attach themselves so well. However, I am so pleased to have witnessed this as it throws a whole new light on the problem, as it is a proactive and deliberate manoeuvre by the chick rather than, as I had thought, an accidental 'sticking' to the feathers.
Later on in her first day with the chicks I gave them ant eggs and she really enjoyed offering them. She also got them to eat greenery, which Snow Queen hadn't and they never made a squeak all day except their happy eating sound. Tomorrow I am taking them out to the greenhouse if the weather permits and am hoping to hear and see some new facet of quail and quail chick bonding. I am so pleased that Snow Queen seems happy with her eggs which maybe will hatch in a few days time and Ginger is totally overjoyed with her quail chicks, of which she is the biological mother. I am convinced that Fred was monogamous for the first week until Ginger turned against him, so the chances are that some of the quail eggs under Snow Queen may hatch.
And now, if you'd like to, sit back and watch the film:
Update:None of the other eggs hatched, although Andy, who checked them, did think that one of them could have been fertile. As for Ginger, it's now seven weeks after hatch and she is still very much a mother, even though she stopped communicating verbally with them except at night, around the 31st of May thus two and a half weeks after hatch. Even so, one of the quail chicks still sleeps cuddled up next to her at night and Ginger takes interest in an individual chick's activities.
This has been a most interesting experience and one I will love to repeat when I can get hold of a suitable male quail, which at the moment seems to be a difficult task!
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© Sue Cross 2015