The Quail Escaped… And Didn’t Go Anywhere

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Where’s dinner?

I had an interesting thing happen to me today.

I had finished dealing with a visitor bringing me a Silkie chicken, gone back inside for an hour or so, and then went back outside for a reason I can no longer recall. Probably because the very first thing I noticed were the quail. Very casually walking around outside their cage. NO!

My Coturnix quail chicks are off heat now and I’ve been placing their cage in the garden during the day so they can get some fresh air and sunlight. The door to the cage is on the top and opens like a flap, I usually keep it locked with a carabiner.

Well apparently today I didn’t do such an awesome job of locking it. The top was flipped open and there were about ten of the twenty-five quail wandering around near their cage, very pleased with themselves. I panicked, ran out into the garden in my socks and started grabbing quail. How many had wandered off?

Quail are not chickens, they don’t put themselves away at night. Or do they? I’ve heard of free-range quail who come back at night for dinner but I don’t really buy it. They didn’t escape on purpose, the cage top must have flipped up accidentally when one of them popped up into it.

So how many quail did I lose? Not a single one. They all stayed within feet of the cage and their cage-mates and were easily scooped up. I still don’t think I’ll be free-ranging them any time soon, they’ll only be predated right away. But it is nice to know they have the good sense to stay put.

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